Review: Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 106, March 2019

Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 106, March 2019 by John Joseph Adams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The Synapse Will Free Us from Ourselves (Violet Allen) – a story that seems (however horrifying) even more likely now than it did when this issue was first printed. I don’t want to give anything away so I’ll say it would make a great episode of Black Mirror or The Twilight Zone.

On the Shores of Ligeia (Carolyn Ives Gilman) – a nice breath of fresh air in that this story is mostly a story of how and discovery without any dystopian elements.

A Temporary Embarrassment in Spacetime (Charlie Jane Anders) – If you listen to the podcast Our Opinions are Correct, you know that Charlie Jane Anders has a whimsical streak. That is on display in this story full of strange expressions and dad joke humor. I did find myself longing for more stories involving our main characters, so the story definitely has that going for it.

My Children’s Home (Woody Dismukes) – I have read lots of short stories and they all have varying amounts of world building with the short amount of word count they are given. This story stands out to me as one in which we learn both so much and so little. It seems to be a steampunk world and yet there are birthing vats. And what is the Auction? And why is it that way? Is this an alternate Earth or a completely different world entirely? And yet we have so much emotion in this story that it almost doesn’t matter. The world seems to be “real” even if we see so little of it.


Self-Storage Starts with the Heart (Maria Romasco Moore) – This story had me hooked from the get-go. It had such a neat premise that makes me wonder about how the world works differently than ours. 

Ambitious Boys Like You (Richard Kadrey) – a horror story. I was able to guess part of the plot, but the twist I would never have been able to guess 

A Hundred Thousand Arrows (Ashok K. Banker) – a fun adventure and more time with Vrath. Awesome!

Those Are Pearls (Kat Howard) – curses as a metaphor for social norms (especially as regards societal norms placed upon women). Quite compelling.


Of Love and Other Monsters (Vandana Singh) – I haven’t had too much occasion to read Indian SFF (outside of the Burnt Empire series that’s been serialized in the past few issues of Lightspeed), so it’s interesting to see it here. It seems less sterile than American SF and less “magical”/spiritual than African SF. The story itself was very neat. It could be seen (at least partially) as a metaphor for the fluidity of gender and identity, but that’s more of a background element to the story, which is mostly about solving the mystery we are given in the first few pages. I definitely will keep my eye out for more stories by Vandana Singh.


A Memory Called Empire (Arkady Martine) – reads like a combination between the Imperial Radch and The Independencey. Definitely want to read it one day. It’s already on my TBR list from when I head about it on the podcast Imaginary Worlds. 


Book Reviews: March 2019 (Arley Sorg) – A review of the excerpted novel, a directive novel, and an anthology.

Media Review: March 2019 (Carrie Vaughn) – a review for Mortal Engines that made me add it to my to watch list.

Interview: Sarah Pinsker (Christian A. Coleman) – focused on how history and music influence the short stories Sarah Pinsker writes.

View all my reviews