I've been catching up on my novel reading this month and writing as well but I put aside some time to enjoy some short fiction as well. The seventy-first issue of Lightspeed magazine had some interesting stories ranging from ghosts to superheroes to dragons to aliens. I found the stories engaging and fun.
In the science fiction section, the original fiction was about ghosts and superheroes. "Cause For A Haunting" by Patricia Strand had some chilling passages and the aspect of how the ghosts functioned intrigued but it took a bit of the story before the payoff. "Origin Story" by Carrie Vaughn took the approach of a characters living in a world city full of superheroes and told a nice love story. Origin Story won't break any boundaries but a fun read nonetheless.
The two reprint in sci-fi were exception reads. "Collateral" by Peter Watts told the story of AI technology gone rogue and the discussion around war crimes. I thought Becker the main character depicted PTSD in an interesting light and Watts showed an interesting picture of the future of war. "The Birth Will Take Place on a Mutually Acceptable Research Vessel" by Matthew Bailey was my favorite story of the issue with a touching story about motherhood and intergalactic relationships clashing culturally and biologically.
Neither of the original fantasy stories clicked with me this issue but I'm more of a sci-fi reader anyways. "Dragon Brides" by Nghi Vo had great writing but lacked a narrative structure to follow bouncing through time. I did enjoy the explanation for why dragons keep gold. "Lily, with Clouds" by Theodora Goss went over my head with a magical realism mixed in with classism. I didn't find much in the story for me with no likable characters and a subdued plot.
Of the fantasy reprints, "Of Metal Men and Scarlet Thread and Dancing with the Sunrise" by Ken Scholes was a cool story with a large world behind it that I found interesting and wanted to delve into more. The use of robots and magic plus an engaging plot had me enjoying this story the most of the fantasies. The Knobby Giraffe by Rudy Rucker was all over the place with time travel and dimensional shifting that I had a hard time finding solid ground in the story.
The novella "Incident on a Small Colony" by Kristine Smith took a while to get going and relied a lot on backstory to drive the plot, so I would rate around the middle of what I've seen so far from Lightspeed novellas. The chapter excerpt from the novel Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt had some intriguing parts but I won't be racing to check it out with my packed reading list.
I always appreciated insightful reviews and have been wondering about The Man in the High Castle so I enjoyed Christopher East's take on the show and was introduced to Occupied another show as well. I've enjoyed all the podcasts of Lightspeed and they allow me to revisit a story I might not have totally got the first read without straining my tired eyes and the Geek Guide to the Galaxy podcast is always discussing something of interest to me. I look forward to the next month of short and longer fiction from Lightspeed magazine!