Scott McCloud at the Chicago Humanities Festival!

January 14th, 2015

So, I’ve been asked to interview Scott McCloud at the Chicago Humanities Festival.

I’m one of the many, many people who first learned about comics from Understanding Comics. I could not be more excited.

You should come. There will be Q&A. And a book signing of his new comic, The Sculptor! 😀

2014 in review and awards eligibility

January 8th, 2015

It’s that time of year again! I’m busy writing my annual report at work, so it’s a good time to write down What I Did in SF/F in 2014, too.

For Michael and I, the biggest accomplishment this year was all of us surviving Caitlin’s spinal surgery. Period.

That said, here are the things I made in 2014 that are eligible for awards. If you liked them, I appreciate your consideration.

In 2014, Michael and I launched a new short fiction market, and I participated in a podcast. Both of these activities are eligible for Hugo Awards (but not Nebula Awards), so I’ve listed the relevant categories. The short stories listed below are also eligible for Nebula Awards, and you can find a copy of them in the area of the SFWA Forums dedicated to that purpose if you are so inclined.

1. Uncanny Magazine! Issue One launched in November 2014 after a successful Kickstarter in August (THANK YOU), which means that the stories in it are eligible for 2014 ballots, although the magazine itself doesn’t meet any eligibility requirements for nominations that I know of until we complete some additional issues.

2014 Short fiction!

We also publish poetry that is eligible for the Rhysling Awards, and nonfiction that may be eligible for Best Fan Writer.

Thanks to my previous work and Uncanny Issue One,  I also once again meet eligibility requirements for the Best Editor, Short Form category of the Hugo Awards.

I also did some podcasting this year! The Verity! Podcast (which was also nominated for Best Fancast) had an awesome year, and I encourage you to check it out if you are so inclined.

I’m doing a bunch of reading right now, and I will be posting some of the things I’m looking at for my own ballot, too. But that’s another blog post…

New Verity! Extra! And A POLL

January 7th, 2015


There’s a new Verity! Extra! available for your listening pleasure, where we introduce this year’s theme.

Go have a listen, hear about our wacky plans, and then GO VOTE IN OUR POLL.

*ahem* here are some hints from me:








Doctor Who Nativity: for posterity

December 22nd, 2014

So, Mary Robinette Kowal dared Michael on Twitter to do a Doctor Who nativity with our action figures.




Someone else asked where the Daleks and Cybermen were. This was the response:

You’re welcome.

(Yes, the Season 18 scarf was the one I knitted while working on Chicks Dig Time Lords.)

Happy holidays. :-)

Call for Chapter Proposals: The 21st Century Special Collections Reader

December 1st, 2014

The 21st Century Special Collections Reader: contemporary approaches for special collections

Call for Chapter Proposals

Due February 1, 2015

The 21st Century Special Collections Reader will feature essays from emerging professionals and accomplished librarians and archivists, on a variety of topics that illustrate the depth, diversity, and complexity related to the broad realm of special collections in libraries, archives, and other cultural heritage organizations. Special collections work in libraries is not just about “old books.” We seek essays that describe current, pragmatic approaches to special collections work from collections of all kinds, sizes, and resource levels, and the diverse professionals that work within them, as well as reflective “thought pieces” about our current professional environments.We particularly welcome new perspectives on traditional roles and responsibilities and compelling examinations of the work of the contemporary cultural heritage professional.

Tentative topics include: curation in an age when the concept of curation is diluted; donor relations and administration; advocacy and marketing; the intersection of curation and digital humanities; “atypical” special collections; open access and open culture; linked data, metadata, and data wrangling.

Other ideas for chapters that reflect both current challenges and potential future frontiers are encouraged. Our target audience includes working professionals, students, and library administrators.

While we are not yet formally contracted, the publisher that we are currently working with has strong open access policies that currently meet institutional mandates in place at the editors’ respective institutions, and we are assured of the same for chapter contributors.

The editors:

Beth M. Whittaker and Lynne M. Thomas published Special Collections 2.0: New Technologies for Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Archival Collections in 2009, an influential text that continues to be a popular title from Libraries Unlimited. Between the two of them, the editors have written dozens of journal articles, edited several publications, and taught in two different library schools.

Submission procedure:

Prospective authors are asked to submit a Word document summary of their chapter concept, no more than one page in length, by February 1, 2015 to Lynne M. Thomas ( Authors will be notified about the status of their proposals as soon as possible after the deadline. More information about style and formatting guidelines will be provided to authors whose proposals are accepted, but final chapters will likely be 4500-9000 words.  We anticipate final chapters to be due June 1, 2015, although deadlines may be adjusted for revision and other concerns.


Yes, I’ve been a bad blogger. Here’s book of hours picspam to compensate.

November 21st, 2014

Both work and life at Uncanny Magazine and life in general have meant that blogging has fallen by the wayside.


Here, have some pictures of our newest acquisition, courtesy of the generosity of Dr. Carla Montgomery. Book of Hours, printed on vellum, Paris, 1510, newly added to NIU’s collections.

Uncanny Magazine Issue 1 is LIVE!!!

November 4th, 2014

Space Unicorn Ranger Corps!

Today is the day. Uncanny Magazine Issue 1 is now available to everybody at or at online eBook retailers! Please spread the word!

Here are the pieces of Issue 1 that are available on our shiny new website (designed by the phenomenal Jeremiah Tolbert) today:


(Cover by Galen Dara)


The Uncanny Valley- Editorial by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas

New Fiction

Maria Dahvana Headley- “If You Were a Tiger, I’d Have to Wear White”

Ken Liu- “Presence”

Max Gladstone- “Late Nights at the Cape and Cane”

Classic Fiction

Jay Lake- “Her Fingers Like Whips, Her Eyes Like Razors”


Sarah Kuhn- “Mars (and Moon and Mercury and Jupiter and Venus) Attacks!”

Worldcon Roundtable featuring Emma England, Michael Lee, Helen Montgomery, Steven H Silver, and Pablo Vazquez


Neil Gaiman- “Kissing song”

Amal El-Mohtar- “The New Ways”


Maria Dahvana Headley, Interviewed by Deborah Stanish

Beth Meacham on Jay Lake, Interviewed by Lynne M. Thomas

Thanks to our Kickstarter Backers


Episode 1: Editors’ Introduction, Maria Dahvana Headley’s “If You Were a Tiger, I’d Have to Wear White” and Amal El-Mohtar’s poem “The New Ways” (both read by Amal), and an interview with Maria conducted by Deborah Stanish.


The entire issue can be purchased as an eBook at Amazon, Kobo, and Weightless Books (our preferred retailer). Weightless Books is also offering yearly subscriptions.

The rest of the free online content will be available on December 2nd.

Thank you again for all of your support and generosity. You made this possible.



Lynne, Michael, & Michi

Caitlin Update After Yesterday’s Doctor’s Appointment

October 10th, 2014

Well, the good news is Caitlin regained the weight she had lost over the first 6 months of 2014, so she’s back to her pre-surgery weight.

The bad news is there’s no apparent explanation for her vomiting beyond “Aicardi Syndrome.” Her Upper Gastrointestinal study came back clean (nothing is out of place physically, and stomach contents are moving around in the system appropriately). She may have some mild reflux, but not anything that’s causing damage, and there’s no real evidence of it.

Any next step we could take, like an endoscopy, would be invasive, painful, need anesthesia, and possibly make things worse. The vomiting has been slowing somewhat, in the sense that it has been mostly one-and-done for the past 2 months and not a rolling day of barf on each occasion. So, the GI doctor was of the opinion that we were experiencing some sort of weird side effect from her body readjusting after a major surgery, which seems to slowly be getting better, and that living with it is the best course of action.

Given that Caitlin had a small seizure while she was on the exam table, I suspect that made him firmer in his commitment to not doing anything more invasive. He seemed very much in the “she has other fish to fry” mode.

So, we’re having the kinds of complicated feelings that make sense when a doctor tells you there’s not much more that they can do, coupled with the realization that the vast majority of our decision-making these days is about quality of life above everything else. Poor Caitlin throwing up every few days is just going to be part of our lives now. We just wish there was something we could do for her.

5 Things Make a Post

October 2nd, 2014

*dusts off blog*

We’ve been a bit busy this month,

1. We are setting up Uncanny. The big, robust website is being built, contracts are being signed,  we’ve found our first issue’s materials and are working on converting them into ebooks, authors are being paid, and are also working on all that setting up a small business stuff, too. Plus, yanno, fulfilling our Kickstarter rewards.

2. Caitlin’s vomiting still has not gotten better. We’re logging it. She seems to be maintaining her weight. She has a follow up with her GI doctor next week, at which point we’ll know what happens next. So far, we know it’s not reflux, but that’s about it.

3. I have a new role at work. Mike Duffy, our Head of Special Collections and Music Librarian, got a job at Western Michigan University. I’m really happy for him, and have been asked to take on the Head of Special Collections role as of yesterday. This means that I’m now the administrative head of five units instead of one: RBSC, Music Library, Southeast Asia Collection, and Faraday Library. So, I supervise a lot more people, write more annual evaluations, and have some faculty reporting to me now in addition to staff.

4. New Verity! yesterday, in which we disagree quite strongly about The Caretaker and still remain friends.

5. I’m turning 40 in a week. Not really sure how I’m feeling about this. However, I can tell you  that items 1-4 mean that I’m not watching much television other than Doctor Who, reading for pleasure (as opposed to reading stuff for Uncanny), or knitting as much as I’d like to given the fall weather.

As every day, I’m lucky to be where I am, and to be loved by the people who love me. And I love them in return, with all my heart.

Thoughts on Deep Breath

August 31st, 2014

I just watched “Into the Dalek” last night, and will share my thoughts on that on the next Verity!. :-)

I have some first impressions, and some nitpicks about “Deep Breath.”

In general, I really liked most of the episode. It was a pretty good introduction of a new Doctor, although I still think “The Eleventh Hour” is the standard for the Moffat era of same.

Caitlin’s experience of watching the episode is that she was thrilled to see her Doctor, Matt Smith, however briefly, and she’s somewhat dubious of This New Guy. That’s a legit part of the regeneration fan reaction cycle. But Caitlin has been through multiple regenerations. She knows that the Doctor is still the Doctor (splendid chaps, all of them, as the Brigadier would say). She’ll be fine, given time to get to know the new one. As is the way of things.

On Capaldi as the Doctor:

I love him. LOVE LOVE LOVE him. He is brusque and he is funny and he is deeply alien in his interactions. He’s playing it with shades of the Dark 7th Doctor and Tom Baker’s first 3 seasons. Even better, he’s getting plots and writing that provide what Colin Baker’s Doctor desperately needed to pull off the whole “Doctor is truly alien and has alien reactions” thing.

The whole bit with the dinosaur, and the scene with the homeless man with him discovering his Scots and his eyebrows were sheer brilliance. I pretty much love every single choice he made as an actor. And the costume. I especially loved the whole “I’m pouring myself a drink because I’ll likely have to kill you.” This is clearly a Grown Up Doctor. *nods in satisfaction* So much so that it doesn’t matter if the lead robot jumped or was pushed. (I vote the former).

On Clara:

It’s good to see Jenna Coleman getting things to do. Clara Oswald is finally getting more well-rounded characterization moments rather than being a plot device! The interplay of her being forcibly perky at the Doctor to needle him, and the two of them snarking together in the restaurant scene is made of multiple levels of win. I also rather enjoyed her performance down in the larder. Terrified and defiant and vulnerable and brave simultaneously. Brilliant.

On the Paternoster Gang:

It’s always lovely to see them. Vastra, Jenny & Strax are among my favorite recurring characters.  I generally enjoy their interplay. Vastra & Jenny’s domestic relationship has some interesting undercurrents, mostly played for laughs. Strax is his usual deeply, affectionately inappropriate self. The whole “the Doctor’s family” vibe is very much in play here, and I adore the fact that they are totally ready to incorporate Clara into family life if need be.

Yes, I have a theory about who Missy is. It’s one of the more popular theories, which involves “Missy” being an abbreviation for a feminized version of a particular title. If I’m wrong, that’s fine. *shrug* I’m interested enough to see where it goes, which is part of the point, obviously. And yay, female villain!

There were some things that bugged me, though. Nitpicks ahoy!

Pacing. We watched on BBC America, and the commercial breaks KILLED the structural pacing of the plot, because the plot wasn’t structured for the breaks that BBCA introduced. Obviously, this will be fixed when we own the blurays. But… annoying. US television is structured for these breaks in terms of act breaks and hooks. UK television is not, and that is totally fine. However, if the point of BBCAmerica as a channel is to showcase UK television at its best, why not structure your commercial breaks so that they fit the televisual structure that you’re showcasing?

Much of the humor in Clara’s scenes was aimed at Clara, which, because there was so much of it, began to come across as rather targeted. The slapstick newspaper to the head, the very upsetting medical examination that served no plot purpose (other than introducing the gadget for the Blue Peter winner, which could have been done another, better way–hey, how about examining the Doctor?) and generally just reinforced the whole “Clara is an empty vessel/”typical” woman interested in attractive footballers/has no clear non-narcissistic depths” trope that I have come to deeply dislike.

I realize that this is probably designed to underline and reinforce the veil scene where Clara pushes back at Vastra pointedly claiming that Clara has no depth. Unfortunately, I don’t think it was terribly effective, because while Jenna did a great job with the speech that she was handed, there was something missing in that speech about her issues with the regeneration: Clara’s acknowledgement that the Doctor is still the Doctor. And the plot acknowledging that her having mixed feelings about the regeneration is a perfectly reasonable reaction.

Let’s talk about my issues with how the regeneration was handled.

I accept that in the Moffat Era of Doctor Who, plot and clever lines will be privileged over honest-feeling character emotional beats that might mess up said plot/cleverness, just as I accept that during the Davies Era of Doctor Who, the emotional reactions of the characters to situations will generally be spot-on, but there will be plot holes that you can drive a truck through. So be it.

If you’ve decided to rewrite continuity so many times that it doesn’t matter anymore because every arc is now designed to ignore/erase the emotional consequences for any character at any given point, and you’ve trolled every pedantic fan desperately trying to make sense of the timeline for eternity? I will just throw up my hands and do my best to engage with what is before me. It’s easier. I’m not going to give you the satisfaction of spending a lot more hard-earned attention and brain-time on something that you clearly don’t think is all that important. Fanon will do the emotional work that you don’t want to do. *throws up hands*

Clara’s timeline before and after jumping into the vortex to save all the Doctor’s is now so hosed up beyond recognition that I will just accept her not understanding regeneration or knowing what it looks like.  She has not a clue, because the plot works better that way. Despite having established her as being a generally clueful and a worthy companion who has already saved the Doctor repeatedly.

Clara keeps saying “something’s gone wrong” and pointing out the age of this new Doctor. Understandable to a certain extent, as in Clara’s experience of “The Day of the Doctor” and “The Time of the Doctor,” the Doctor ages, but begins young. Assuming she remembers that. If she doesn’t, she still might be freaked out that after being told that regeneration is a renewal, the Doctor has renewed into a body that clearly has more wear and tear on it than the previous version. So she might plausibly suspect at first that something went wrong.  Clara’s reaction that she’s not sure this is the same person are perfectly reasonable. Especially given that the Doctor has some decently bad amnesia at first, and doesn’t remember her.

The phonecall then also makes a certain amount of sense. It’s supposed to be a plea for the viewer to give the new Doctor a chance. And, clearly (in retrospect, given the recurring theme in “Into the Dalek”), the goal here is to have the Question of the Season (or at least part of it) be Who is the Doctor This Time? Which is fair enough.

But the over-emphasis on the age of the Doctor (both based on his observations and Clara’s) ended up throwing me out of the story. It felt as though there was a meta-text of yelling at the vocal parts of fandom that were (assumed to be) upset that the Doctor is now older. These fans were assumed to be female, flighty, and only interested in attractive young men who are potential love interests, just like Clara was assumed to be. And Clara’s reaction was clearly an attempt to point that out.  So what you have is a metatext that yells at one set of fans about not liking the Doctor because he’s older, and another metatext (Clara’s reaction) that tells us that there’s clearly something wrong with being older. It basically slaps the audience with ageism both ways; if we accept that the Doctor is older, we side with thinking that young people are vapid, and if we don’t, we don’t want to think about/value older people.

As a result, I’ve now devoted much of my commentary about this episode to something that should have been a minor point from a plot and emotional POV.

We already accept that the Doctor is 2000+ years old at this point, regardless of wearing a young, pretty face to appeal to the masses. All we needed was one line that pointed out that the Doctor doesn’t always get younger, with the example of the Troughton to Pertwee regeneration. Explain to Clara (and the viewers at home who need it) that this sometimes happens, and move on. It solves the issue, and places the emphasis back where it belongs, which is on Clara and the Doctor getting to know themselves and each other in this new context.

The transition from one Doctor to another is always rocky. Accepting change is a major theme of the series. Chastising the audience by assuming that they will all fail to do so in different ways just seems a bit … illogical for a now hugely popular show that has world tours and simulcast premieres.

So, TL;DR: I liked Deep Breath, loved Capaldi & Coleman, thought some of the jokes fell flat, and thought that the deep suspicion of Capaldi’s age as the Doctor was a bit overemphasized.