Review: Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 111, August 2019

Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 111, August 2019 by John Joseph Adams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This issue was one in which I enjoyed all of the stories very much.

Science Fiction

One Thousand Beetles in a Jumpsuit (Dominica Phetteplace) – a dystopian story taking place “20 Minutes in the Future” that seems to me to be even more likely now than it was 4 years ago when this story was published. That said, I really enjoyed our protagonist and the story overall. I had originally written that I wanted to see more stories in this setting, but on reading the author interview I saw that they have another one coming up in a future issues of Lightspeed.

Calved (Sam J Miller) – That one took quite a turn! Hopefully, like lots of good SF, it can help people see things from another point of view.

No Matter (Kendra Formeyer) – Once the central premise was revealed, I had an idea of where it might go, but the author did such a great job spinning out the consequences that I loved it. The penultimate paragraph was a bit weird to me, but otherwise top notch!

The Macro be Conservation Project (Carlos Hernandez) – the author held that twist until almost the end and really took the story in a direction I was not expecting.


The Rock Eaters (Brenda Peynado) – I’ve read many science fiction and fantasy stories about immigration (and the immigrant experience), including Calved in the science fiction portion of this issue. But this is one of the few I’ve read that deals with what happens when those who left return, not in ignominy, but to visit. Very well written.

The Final Blow (Scott Sigler) – A story about what needs to be done to survive and about honoring the sacrifices of others. It begs to be continued, but also leaves the reader with the delicious ability to imagine what happens next. (Note: in the author interview, the author reveals he has many short storie snad novels planned to take place in this world)

Card Sharp (Rajan Khanna) – This is revealed in the first paragraph or so, so I’m not going to consider it a spoiler – the story takes place in a world where some people are like X-Men’s Gambit: able to use playing cards for battle. It’s more subtle than that, but that’s not a bad construct for understanding the world. Luckily for us, the author has many stories in this world because I want to see more of it.

A Leash of Foxes, Their Stories like Barter (Cassandra Khaw) – A splendid story with a fable structure that also reminded me a bit of The Gruffalo, only more adult. It is my favorite story in this issue.

An excerpt from Bursts of Fire. The description had me thinking of skipping it, but the excerpt made me add the book to my To Read pile.

Book reviews – Some great books in there that I already have in my TBR pile or have just added.

Media reviews – A scandinavian movie that sounds neat, but that I’ll never seek out. It’s one of those things where I know I will enjoy the Wikipedia summary more than the movie itself.

Interview: Silvio Moreno-Garcia – Interview with a great author whose work I love.

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