Review: Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 105, February 2019

Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 105, February 2019 by John Joseph Adams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Here are my reviews per story:

Life Sentence (Matthew Baker) – This story’s a real doozy. It’s about a potentially different way to handle criminal punishment. Because this is a well-written story, it’s not simple to decide which system is more cruel – the one in the story or the one in which we currently live. They’re both evil in their own ways. Definitely a powerful story that I recommend to anyone, especially if interested in criminal justice reform and/or abolishment. Also has the added layer (if I’m not misreading the story) of the protagonist being of First Nations descent, which makes it even worse, given the historical injustices.

Okay, Glory (Elizabeth Bear) – A great sendup of Siri/Alexa/etc plus the SmartHome with a modernized plot whose origin goes back to the 1960s. (url for Smarhome ep of OOACPod)

The Incursus by Asimov-NN#71 (Gord Sellar) – Not to get all woo-woo, but this is ANOTHER story that hits harder for me reading it in 2023 than it would have when originally reprinted in Lightspeed in 2019. It uses a more SF way to essentially predict where we are now with LLMs like ChatGPT. In the shadow of those new developments, this story is very prescient. WIthout spoiling anything, it definitely goes off in a direction that I did not expect when I first started reading it.

Marlowe and Harry and the Disinclined Laboratory (Carrie Vaughn) – A steampunk alternate history. Not too much happens in this particular story, but that’s because (as the author interview reveals) this is a pair of recurring characters for Ms Vaughn. The world sounds fun and I hope I come across more of these stories.

The Perpetual Day (Crystal Koo) – not a fan of the narrative style. But it does paint a scary picture of a world in which no one can ever sleep again.

Ti-Jean’s Last Adventure, as Told to Raccoon (KT Bryski) – a fun variant on a folktale about escaping death. Enjoyed it.

The Terrible Oath (Ashok K. Banker) – This story returns to what I loved about the first story in this series of short stories (Lightspeed is publishing a series of short stories in The Burning Throne world) – the bonds between humans and what they’re willing to do for each other. Very well done.

Healing Benjamin (Dennis Danvers) – it’s hard to talk about this story without any spoilers, so I’ll just say it was incredibly powerful.

Hath No Fury (Kat Howard) – I haven’t bothered looking up the chronology, but there has been a recent trend of, for lack of a better term, feminist readings/retellings/reconstructions of Greek mythology. Given how much of our current culture comes from Greco-Roman Mythology, I welcome these new ways of looking at things. This novella transports the idea to modern day New York City although it has some very clever ties to its source material. It would have been quite the story when it was first printed in 2014, but it would have been quite powerful in 2019 when it was reprinted for Lightspeed Magazine amongst all the gendered discourse in the news in the USA. Even today it hits hard in a way that is sad because the truths spoken by the story are still too true.

Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones (Micah Dean Hicks) – A story that makes the concept of a ghost town a lot more literal. From the excerpt, it seems depressing AF, so not for me. But the prose seems quite well written – it might be for you.

Book Reviews: February 2019 (LaShawn M. Wanak) – Mostly books I hadn’t heard of, but authors I enjoy.

Media Reviews: February 2019 (Christopher East) – Focuses on Netflix genre movies and shows. Hadn’t heard of any but the last one, but some of them sounded promising.

Interview: Lilliam Rivera (Christian A. Coleman) – The author is a New York Puerto Rican author who has (at the time of the interview) written a science fiction story that takes place in a future dystopian NY and has a lot of PR elements.

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