Sunday, February 14, 2016

Magazine Review: Lightspeed Magazine Issue #69


I am a new reader to Lightspeed magazine and was very pleased with what I found in the first issue I encountered. The original science fiction and fantasy and the reprints were all engaging and thought provoking. 

"Charlotte Incorporated" by Rachael K. Jones made me have a whole new appreciation for my body and depicted a strange world that had a haunting familiarity. The idea of floating brains caught me off guard and was used deftly to ask questions of capitalism and the modern work life. I also enjoyed this one on podcast as well!

I've read Sarah Pinsker's work before and found "Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea" to be another of her great stories. I especially liked the world building and the two characters. Their interactions felt real and had such a great way of showing the sadness in each character without explicitly telling the reader. I also realized I never want to be lost on a tropical island.

The SF reprint "Hereafter" by Samuel Peralta tells a beautiful love story with conceit of time travel at the center and though I have heard variations on this storyline before, I found this one especially heartbreaking. The science and math in it also made me stop and think about the world around me a bit more.

Paul McAuley's "Transitional Forms" was the second reprint and had a very cool setting of a "alife" technology spread through a southwestern area. The romantic story at the center was also interesting. I wanted to see more of these characters and this setting and was glad Lightspeed introduced this piece of fiction to readers once again.

The fantasy kicked off strongly with "Not by Wardrobe, Tornado, or Looking Glass" by Jeremiah Tolbert. The world in this place is slowly deteriorating as fantasy worlds from rabbit holes slowly bleed into an urban setting. I loved seeing what the others were going to appear as and found the character Louisa very identifiable as a bookworm and dreamer myself.

"Starfish" by Karin Tidbeck transported readers on an icy cruise and showed sadness amongst some beautiful imagery. I found the skipper's tale very moving and the ending quite intriguing.

Both fantasy reprints were awesome. "Monstrous Embrace" by Rachel Swirsky told the tale of a personified Ugliness and develops a broad fantasy world while telling a love story that does not fit any conventional bounds. I especially liked this story and was glad it got a chance to reprinted.

"Map of Seventeen" by Christopher Barzak touched on so many themes from growing up in a small town, being different in a society that isn't totally accepting, and the confusion of adolescence. I wish the story had a bit more happening at the end but found the approach to these complex themes very satisfying. 

The novella on this issue had a cool premise and I was excited to see it was based on an actual historical figure and expedition. "May Be Some Time" by Brenda W. Clough tells the tale of a man out of time with a world both familiar and foreign to the one we live in now. I was glad to see that this novella was extended because I thought the ending abrupt but many of the characters the premise of alien time travel something that made want to keep reading. A great finish to the fiction in this work.

I would need a bit more to get into "Gathering of Shadows" the novel excerpt by V. E. Schwab but that's why they give us just a taste so we can check the book out. I found all the book review enlightening and will be interested to check them out. It's always nice to get a brand new list of awesome science fiction and fantasy to check out. I haven't been a fan of SyFy shows but I might check out Expanse too. 

Overall I was glad I subscribed to Lightspeed magazine and look forward to what they publish next month and beyond!

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