Review: Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 112, September 2019

Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 112, September 2019 by John Joseph Adams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Even though AI has been a constant subject in science fiction for nearly 100 years now, it’s interesting reading the two AI-related stories in the 2023, the year of ChatGPT. Although ChatGPT is still far away from general AI, the trope seems to be closer than ever to becoming a reality and so makes reading these stories feel a little different.

Science Fiction

Exile From Extinction (Ramez Naam) – This story, as many short stories do, combines a story in the present with the past. There were a few minor twists in the story – some expected and some unexpected, but the final twist exploded my mind. Excellent story-telling by Naam.

Sacrid’s Pod (Adam-Troy Castro) – I have come to expect great things when I see Adam-Troy Castro listed as an author in any of my SFF magazines. This story is no exception. It’s hard to talk about because the amazing aspect of this story is in the way that it is gradually revealed. However, what I can say is that it is a very layered look at quite a few aspects of humanity spun out into potential consequences in the future and also as seen by a rational AI. Very, very cool story while still being quite disturbing.

Hello, Hello (Seanan McGuire) – I kept looking for sinister possibilities but it turned out to be a nice, sweet story.

The Answer That You Are Seeking (Jenny Rae Rappaport) – this story is depressing on so many levels, but it’s also such a fascinating take on the idea. I especially resonated with the parent spending so much time to help their kids that they were missing their time with their kids.


A Bird, a Song, a Revolution (Brooke Bolander) – I was a little confused at first, given the fact that this is a fantasy story, and I’m still not certain about the identity of the witch, but I did like how the story ended up.

Flight of the Crow Boys (Micah Dean Hicks) – this story was tricky. Couldn’t tell if it was going to turn out sad or happy. Very fable-like quality to the narrative.

All In (Rajan Khanna) – a continuation of the story from last issue. This Card Sharp universe is very interesting, especially because the practitioners keep it secret.

Desire (Kiini Ibura Salaam) – That was a story that definitely does justice to its title. It was full of more desire than I’ve seen in some romance or eros collections.

An excerpt from The Future of Another Timeline – Newitz has great prose, but this plot is just too depressing to me.

Book reviews (Arly Sorg) – No obvious theme to the picks this time around, but I did add the first and last one to my TBR pile.

Media reviews (Christopher East) – A good compare and contrast of the Twilight Zone revival and later seasons of Black Mirror.

Interview with Lisa M. Bradley (Christian Coleman): interview about the book Exile. It doesn’t sound like my thing, but it does sound really neat.

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