Review: Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 104, January 2019

Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 104, January 2019 by John Joseph Adams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think the only story here that didn’t really click with me was “With Teeth Unmake the Sun”. It was beautiful and I appreciated that, but it wasn’t my fave. “Midway” hit me very hard at this age. Endor House is definitely my favorite story in this issue.

Here are the reviews per story:

Science Fiction
With Teeth Unmake the Sun (A. Merc Rustad): This story definitely has beautiful prose, but it also made it very hard to understand what was going on at first. Not my favorite kind of short story when metaphors are real and it’s hard to get a grip on what’s actually happening. Still, a neat set of concepts.

Engine at Heartspring’s Center (Roger Zelazny): Zelazny shows why he is one of the 70s-era (Silver Age?) SF writers that folks recognize as a good writer. The prose is definitely of its era – not quite Golden Age SF and not quite modern – but it actually works perfectly for the entity at the center of the narrative.

Midway (Tony Ballantyne): Especially as I get nearer to this age, I appreciate more SFF authors considering protagonists that are a little older. Very interesting universe that our character inhabits, too.

The Book Collector (Sarah Micklem): somewhat smaller in scope and plot, but reminded me of the Ryan Reynolds movie Free Guy, but from the point of view of the designer. You could also compare it to the HBO adaptation of WestWorld. Of course, right after I thought of those examples came the obvious; Pygmalion. Definitely contains some rated R material, but it’s also thought-provoking.

The Emerald Coat and Other Wishes (Emily B. Cataneo): I don’t know if this is meant to be a metaphor for contemplating suicide, but it could certainly function that way.

Son of Water and Fire (Ashok K. Banker): Not quite as moving as the first entry in this series of short stories taking place in Banker’s India-ish universe, but still pretty compelling. It’s a very interested world he’s created and I definitely want to see more.

The Pilgrim and the Angel (E. Lily Yu): The author uses fantasy (in this case a story and a character that I believe is in both the Bible and Koran) to explore very human ideas about family ties in the modern world.

Endor House (Meg Elison): A bio piece in a magical magazine that explores generational relationships. It presents a lot of neat ideas, including a device that allows the author of the magazine to go forward in time to be able to write the magazine piece and cover the entire lifetime of the subject. The story presents some neat ideas that I’d love to see expanded – although I guess we’ll eventually get to see it with Brandon Sanderson’s books – magic and science fiction combined (and not just in a Star Wars sort of way).

What There Was to See (Maria Dahvana Headley): A ghost story based on real historical figures, this was a crazy story. I found myself anxious to see how it ended.

The City in the Middle of the Night (Charlie Jane Anders): An interesting introduction to this world. It would be interesting to see how the folks in this story deal with their daylight locked planet compared to the characters in Sanderson’s Taldain.

Book Reviews: January 2019 (Chris Kluwe): A trio of books about outer space.

Media Reviews: January 2019 (Christopher East): Two genre-blending shows, including one of my favorites: Counterpart.

Feature Interview: Henry Lien (Christian A. Coleman): Not to bring this review “there”, but it’s interesting to see JKR referred to as an LGBT ally in this interview. My, how a few years change everything. But the book this interview is primarily about sounds awesome and I’m going to get it for my kids.

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