Uncanny Magazine Year Six – Kickstarter

Hello everybody!! The Kickstarter for Uncanny Magazine Year 6: Raise the Roof, Raise the Rates! is now up and running and delighted to be hosting a guest post from incoming Managing Editor Chimedum Ohaegbu telling her story of being an Uncanny reader as a teen, then becoming an Intern, and then being mentored and becoming Managing Editor.  Read the post, get your awwwws running then go support them because they are awesome!

If I’m remembering right, the first Uncanny
original story I encountered was Brooke Bolander’s
Our
Talons Can Crush Galaxies
”, which opens with:

“This is not the story of how he killed me,
thank fuck.”

And with that I was off to the races
because how could I not be, sprinting through that story and the rest of Issue
13
. Then I delved back in at a walking pace, the better to savour the
issue’s anger and determination. I needed both more than ever: in November 2016
I was eighteen, and a world which I’d known as unfair had become caperingly
blatant about it. Issue 13 was my lucky one.

So that was the beginning.

***

I’m big on binge-watching, much prefer it
to a weekly format. (Seven days is really long! This is why God rested after
the 6th. That waiting exhausts you, that time crawls.)

Likewise with podcasts. I take breaks to
let episodes pile until I can listen for hours. This was how I nearly missed
the deadline for Uncanny’s editorial internship. I was rejoining the Uncanny
podcast when I heard the announcement that it was the last day to apply.

Ah, I
thought, so neat that I am my downfall! 

After finishing my shift I calmly tore out
of the library, applied all breathless, and luckily landed the job. Life
lesson: stay caught up.

Some other things I learned initially:

  • how to make a newsletter
  • how to make a newsletter fun
  • that seeing all the inner workings of your favourite magazine will only make it even more your favourite oh no how much of your heart will they lay claim to
  • Twitter’s usefulness 
    • …for procrastination
  • how to cheerlead online

The last’s important because as an
(ex-?)shy person I’m a habitual lurker. With Uncanny, though, the pride
the team took in what we published galvanized me into saying what I was
thinking. This let me shine a spotlight on good work, inclusive work—strange
things, quiet things, scary things, stories that finally loved me back—while
hopefully bringing these tales to the attention of those who they’d also nourish.
This was and is especially exciting to do with emerging writers. 

The internship was meant to last until
December of last year, and by summer I was brainstorming ways to get Uncanny
to let me stay. (Brownies? I was pretty sure editorial types were into brownies.
Youtube would explain the baking.) But in September thoughts of bribery were
laid to rest by my promotion to assistant editor. 

***

I’ve wanted to be an editor since I was
sixteen, even though I still felt shaken by witnessing Gamergate and the Sad/Rabid
Puppies—I was Black, female, in my mid-teens when it happened, and my name and
culture marked me as Not the Kind of Black Person You See On North American TV
even if I was a Black person in North America. 

But I still wanted to edit speculative fiction.
I liked the idea of helping authors push their work to dazzling heights. I
liked the idea of sprinting (but, y’know, slowly) through a text and
fine-tuning it to make the next reader want to run where I had, or walk here,
or wheel there, or simply sit in the prose to know it. I liked, despite my
fear, the idea of some neckbeard irritated by my power, and I loved, despite my
fear, the idea of delighting someone like me by saying of their work: hey, this
matters. 

And all our publications matter so much to
me—from heartrending essays like Dimas Ilaw’s “The
Shape of the Darkness As It Overtakes Us
”, to the environmental “Packing” by T. Kingfisher and Arkady Martine’s
Everyone’s
World Is Ending All the Time
”, to N.K. Jemisin’s
time-bending “Henosis”,
to multilayered prose poems like “Blue
Flowers: Fragments
” by Sofia Samatar, or
the hopeful “drop
some amens
” by Brandon
O’Brien
.

Uncanny has
let me apply my passion for these and many other works to my day-to-day life as
its incoming Year 6 Managing Editor, alongside amazing previous/current
teammates Caroline M. Yoachim, Steven Schapansky, and Erika Ensign, and new
ones of astounding skill like incoming Assistant Editor Angel Cruz, Nonfiction
Editor Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, and podcast reader Joy Piedmont, as well as our
submissions editors. I’m thankful for the guidance I’ve received so far from
the team, especially Co-Publishers & Co-Editors-in-Chief Lynne M. Thomas
and Michael Damian Thomas and current Managing/Nonfiction Editor Michi Trota;
appreciative of the community-built success of our Kickstarter so far and
excited for its continued growth (still lots of time to support
it!
); and determined to do a lot of good and keep learning. High school me,
only a few years removed from 21-year-old me, would be thrilled to
bits—something she’d express shyly, sure, but with feeling.

Chimedum Ohaegbu attends the University of British Columbia in pursuit of hummingbirds and a dual degree in English literature and creative writing. She’s a recipient of both the full 2017 Tan Seagull Scholarship for Young Writers and a 2018 Katherine Brearley Arts Scholarship. She loves tisanes, insect facts but not insects, every single bird and magpies especially, and video game music. Her fondness of bad puns has miraculously not prevented her work from being published or forthcoming in Strange Horizons, The /t?mz/ Review, and The Capilano Review, among others.  Find her on Twitter @chimedumohaegbu.     

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