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Lightspeed Magazine, December 2014

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LIGHTSPEED is an online science fiction and fantasy magazine. In its pages, you will find science fiction: from near-future, sociological soft SF, to far-future, star-spanning hard SF--and fantasy: from epic fantasy, sword-and-sorcery, and contemporary urban tales, to magical realism, science-fantasy, and folktales. This month, we have original science fiction by Shale Ne LIGHTSPEED is an online science fiction and fantasy magazine. In its pages, you will find science fiction: from near-future, sociological soft SF, to far-future, star-spanning hard SF--and fantasy: from epic fantasy, sword-and-sorcery, and contemporary urban tales, to magical realism, science-fantasy, and folktales. This month, we have original science fiction by Shale Nelson ("Pay Phobetor") and Vandana Singh ("Wake-Rider"), along with SF reprints by N. K. Jemisin ("Valedictorian") and Paul Park ("The Lost Sepulcher of Huascar Capec"). We also have a bonus story to wrap up this year: a reprint of "They Tell Me There Will Be No Pain," by Rachael Acks, which first appeared in the limited edition of June's Women Destroy Science Fiction! special issue. Plus, we have original fantasy by Nik Houser ("The Drawstring Detective") and Damien Angelica Walters ("A Lie You Give, and Thus I Take"), and fantasy reprints by Delia Sherman ("The Faerie Cony-Catcher") and Nalo Hopkinson ("Soul Case"). All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author and artist spotlights, along with feature interviews with authors Kim Harrison and Steven Gould. For our ebook readers, we also have our usual ebook-exclusive novella reprint: "The Girlhood of Shakespeare's Heroines" by John Crowley. We also have excerpts from UNDERCITY by Catherine Asaro and from Sergei Lukyanenko's new novel, THE GENOME.


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LIGHTSPEED is an online science fiction and fantasy magazine. In its pages, you will find science fiction: from near-future, sociological soft SF, to far-future, star-spanning hard SF--and fantasy: from epic fantasy, sword-and-sorcery, and contemporary urban tales, to magical realism, science-fantasy, and folktales. This month, we have original science fiction by Shale Ne LIGHTSPEED is an online science fiction and fantasy magazine. In its pages, you will find science fiction: from near-future, sociological soft SF, to far-future, star-spanning hard SF--and fantasy: from epic fantasy, sword-and-sorcery, and contemporary urban tales, to magical realism, science-fantasy, and folktales. This month, we have original science fiction by Shale Nelson ("Pay Phobetor") and Vandana Singh ("Wake-Rider"), along with SF reprints by N. K. Jemisin ("Valedictorian") and Paul Park ("The Lost Sepulcher of Huascar Capec"). We also have a bonus story to wrap up this year: a reprint of "They Tell Me There Will Be No Pain," by Rachael Acks, which first appeared in the limited edition of June's Women Destroy Science Fiction! special issue. Plus, we have original fantasy by Nik Houser ("The Drawstring Detective") and Damien Angelica Walters ("A Lie You Give, and Thus I Take"), and fantasy reprints by Delia Sherman ("The Faerie Cony-Catcher") and Nalo Hopkinson ("Soul Case"). All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author and artist spotlights, along with feature interviews with authors Kim Harrison and Steven Gould. For our ebook readers, we also have our usual ebook-exclusive novella reprint: "The Girlhood of Shakespeare's Heroines" by John Crowley. We also have excerpts from UNDERCITY by Catherine Asaro and from Sergei Lukyanenko's new novel, THE GENOME.

30 review for Lightspeed Magazine, December 2014

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chrysten Lofton

    5.0⭐ “This happened because they decided it was better to kill, or die, or be imprisoned forever, than change.” **spoilers** ♡ LBR 2020♡ It’s LeVar Burton Reads season 6, and we’re gifted with “Valedictorian” by NK Jemisin. Comedian John Mulaney has a bit about how 8th graders will make fun of a person in an accurate way, how ‘they will get to thing you don’t like about you.’ That’s what NKJ does with humanity in her writing. Fucking... ouch. There’s a great duality too, because some people 5.0⭐ “This happened because they decided it was better to kill, or die, or be imprisoned forever, than change.” **spoilers** ♡ LBR 2020♡ It’s LeVar Burton Reads season 6, and we’re gifted with “Valedictorian” by NK Jemisin. Comedian John Mulaney has a bit about how 8th graders will make fun of a person in an accurate way, how ‘they will get to thing you don’t like about you.’ That’s what NKJ does with humanity in her writing. Fucking... ouch. There’s a great duality too, because some people will read this story and think, That’s me. I’m not necessarily Valedictorian—society's best, but I am above average. I’ve been insulted or ostracized for not conforming. Society doesn’t want me. But if you’re a realist, you know that not only are you not the valedictorian, you’re the society. We don’t even defend the most vulnerable of our own species to an acceptable degree. Whatever presidency you want to blame, Americans allowed children to go into piss-poor cages. Systemically, people agreed to that and then carried it out. We’re not the girl in the chair, lamb to the slaughter. We’re the butchers. It’s not about how good we think we are, it’s about what we’ll allow. I’ll share articles/stories and sometimes hang my ‘the aliens are never coming’ joke on the particularly bad ones. When I see the goings on, I can’t imagine any conscious lifeform would want to visit. We really do sacrifice our best. Constantly. What’s it going to take to evolve? When are we going to finally do something about it? This is a stunning, volatile piece. I absolutely loved it. Thanks for reading, and If you wanna chat about the latest LBR episodes, hit me up in the comments and come meet with us at LeVar Burton Reads: The Official Community on Facebook. - 📚☕♥ Goodreads Official Star Representation 5 - It was amazing 4 - I really liked it 3 - I liked it 2 - It was okay 1 - Did not like it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Noel

    Read Valedictorian from LeVar Burton Reads

  3. 4 out of 5

    Casey

    Pay Phobetor - 3 stars Second person pov. In the future, technology interfaces with people's minds, similar to apps on current smart phones. You get hacked and have to deal with a criminal taking control of your mind and physical abilities, and you don't know what is real and what is not. Really made me think of how criminality will evolve as technology evolves. Valedictorian - 3 stars Young adult focused. The main character works with all her effort to be the valedictorian of her class. In this wo Pay Phobetor - 3 stars Second person pov. In the future, technology interfaces with people's minds, similar to apps on current smart phones. You get hacked and have to deal with a criminal taking control of your mind and physical abilities, and you don't know what is real and what is not. Really made me think of how criminality will evolve as technology evolves. Valedictorian - 3 stars Young adult focused. The main character works with all her effort to be the valedictorian of her class. In this world, artificial intelligence has taken over, and the remaining humans reside in a walled area. The AIs take the bottom 10% of the class, supposedly to get rid of them in attempts to breed out low intellect, and also take the 1%, but it is unknown why. The story ends before the fate is finalized for main character. I liked the world-building and the fact that the AIs were taking on human-like traits in their own culture. Wake-Rider - 4 stars Main character rides in a scab ship, which is a small ship that is propelled by staying in the wake of larger ships in space. After following alongside a scavenger ship, the MC boards an abandoned ship, and finds people in stasis that were escaping a nano-plague brought on by their corporate economy. I really liked all the parts to this story: the action, setting, and the sense of danger and hopelessness. A great space scifi story. The Lost Sepulcer of Huascar Capec - 2 stars Main character uses the mental technique of memory palaces to remember things (this is actually a real method, I had never heard of it before). It was developed in earnest when he goes blind for a few years. When his sight recovers, his reliance on memory palaces influences how he interacts with the world. Reminded me slightly of Borges, as the character has an exceptionally great memory. There is no hard sci-fi or fantasy in this story, although it is well written. It is set in a country in South America. They Tell Me There Will Be No Pain - 3 stars Female soldier discharged from the military, suffering from PTSD. She had all of her special military implants taken out, which gave her all sorts of superhuman physical powers and prowess. She is trying to reintegrate back into society, but thinks they may have missed taking out one implant, or she may be going crazy. Although set in the future, the story represents the eternal struggle of military members attempting to rejoin society and act in a normal manner, as if they never left. The Faerie Cony-Catcher - 2 stars A lascivious adult fairy tale. Main character is enchanted by a woman on the side of a country road. Turns out she is a fairy and he gets drawn into her world, and presented to the fairy royal court. The language is playful and has an archaic feel to it. The mentioning of codpieces and such made me think of Gargantua and Pantagruel. The Draw String Detective - 4 stars I was surprised that this story packed a lot more punch that I thought it would have. Main character loses her wedding ring. She goes to an antique shop, thinking to buy a replacement, but instead buys a toy of a tin detective with a draw string. Pulling on his string reveals that he can talk and interact like any real person. The detective provides emotional support to the MC, especially since her marriage is not going so well. Soul Case - 3 stars A very short story. African setting. Soldiers advance on a village. The village witch plans to defeat them. Even for the short space, the world-building is rich. A Lie You Give, and This I Take - 2 stars In the vein of European fairy tales. The story structure was difficult to follow. It is essentially a metaphor for how the lies people tell can feel like sweet candy and desserts. Characters are living in a house of candy out in the woods. The Girlhood of Shakespeare's Heroines - 4 stars I didn't catch the sci-fi or fantasy angle on this one, although the author has written genre books so maybe that is why it was included. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the story. I think it would probably be very popular among literature readers, and if expanded, would make a great novel. Two teenagers in the 1950s volunteer their summer at a Shakespearean theater, created out of an elaborate barn abandoned by a Utopian community in Indiana. There is a romance between them, surrounded by the work on the set, and questions over whether Francis Bacon is actually the true Shakespeare. Tragedy occurs and the characters meet later in life. Well written and intelligent, engaging to read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Parker Hicks

    Since this was a periodical with a bunch of short pieces, I'll do a quick review on each. Pay Phobetor, by Shale Nelson, was a quick anecdote about wearable (or implantable) computing. It was an interesting idea, but I think the choice of viewpoint reduced the creepiness and body horror that the concept could have carried. 2/5 Valedictorian, by N.K. Jemisin, was about a girl excelling because she can and being forced to make a terrible decision. Her drive is powerfully illustrated, as is the alien Since this was a periodical with a bunch of short pieces, I'll do a quick review on each. Pay Phobetor, by Shale Nelson, was a quick anecdote about wearable (or implantable) computing. It was an interesting idea, but I think the choice of viewpoint reduced the creepiness and body horror that the concept could have carried. 2/5 Valedictorian, by N.K. Jemisin, was about a girl excelling because she can and being forced to make a terrible decision. Her drive is powerfully illustrated, as is the alienation she feels because of it. 5/5 Wake-Rider, by Vandana Singh, is about another girl faced with a terrible decision as she tries to sneaks around a dead ship, trying to salvage what she can before her mortal enemies get it themselves (or get her). The tension wasn't terribly well maintained, but I liked the world that was being built, and would read future stories by this author in this world. 3/5 The Lost Sepulcher of Huascar Capac is terribly atmospheric and is more magic realism than speculative fiction. The imagery is very strong, though, and a pleasure to read. 3/5. They Tell Me There Will Be No Pain, by Rachael Acks, is the sort of story that I ought to have liked, but I thought it didn't give its protagonist enough of a shot. It's the story of a veteran left at loose ends after they are cut loose from the military. I thought the character was well portrayed in the beginning, but the resolution came too quick and suddenly for my taste. I would have liked to have seen more of a fight. 4/5 The Faerie Cony-catcher, by Delia Sherman, is a fun period piece. It is light and cute and the language is amusing, and there is some fun, light-hearted faerie riddling and intrigue. 4/5 The Drawstring Detective, by Nik Houser punched me right in the gut. A chivalrous toy helps a woman figure her life out and deal with her deadbeat husband. It builds tension well and plays with continuity and hints at a broader world like Toy Story or Buckaroo Banzai in fun ways. 5/5 Soul Case, by Nalo Hopkinson, wasn't much of a story, but it was a beautiful anecdote. It was a well-crafted anecdote about, like "There Will Be No Pain," about the horrors of war and the decisions warriors must make. Enjoyed for what it was. 4/5 A Lie You Give, and Thus I Take, by Damien Angelica Walters, is a fever dream of symbolism and not really to my taste, I think. I'll decline a score. The Girlhood of Shakespeare's Heroines, by John Crowley, was the novella exclusive for this issue. Not much speculative fiction at all, but it was still probably my favorite piece in the issue. The narrator's description of the oppressive feeling he gets before growing sick is something I experience with myself. The story is sort of about a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but it doesn't follow the tropes, and it offers insight into the MPDG as a nuanced character herself. 5/5 I enjoyed the nonfiction, but I don't think I'll give it much of a review. The author spotlights are always fun for me to read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    G33z3r

    A pretty good issue with the number of excellent stories. Jemesin's "Valedictorian" is a reprint from a couple of years ago, but it's an interesting take on prejudice in a future society featuring post-singularity hybrid human/machines and the original biologicals. **** "Wake-Rider" is an old fashion piece of sci-fi adventure story that works very nicely in that context. ***1/2* Acks' "They Tell Me There Will Be No Pain" is a future-soldier take on PTSD, also nicely done. **** Nelson's "Pay Phobetor A pretty good issue with the number of excellent stories. Jemesin's "Valedictorian" is a reprint from a couple of years ago, but it's an interesting take on prejudice in a future society featuring post-singularity hybrid human/machines and the original biologicals. **** "Wake-Rider" is an old fashion piece of sci-fi adventure story that works very nicely in that context. ***1/2* Acks' "They Tell Me There Will Be No Pain" is a future-soldier take on PTSD, also nicely done. **** Nelson's "Pay Phobetor" is a cute enough story, though it feels a little late to the game, imagining the sci-fi classic brain implant plus downloadable apps plus malware. *** Houser's "The DrawString Detective" is an unpretentious fantasy story that's a lot of fun to read. ***1/2* On the downside, "The Lost Sepulcher of Huáscar Capac" lost me in a ton of opening exposition. "Soul Case" and "A Lie You Give, and Thus I Take" lost me in whatever they were about.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Original SF: "Pay Phobetor" by Shale Nelson - kind of scary tale of someone whose brain implants have been hacked. "Wake-Rider" by Vandana Singh - loved this exciting space opera-ish story about a freedom fighter against a corrupt corporation. Original fantasy: "The Drawstring Detective" by Nik Houser - never read the adventures of Charlotte and the Drawstring Detective before but this is such fun. "A Lie You Give, and Thus I Take" by Damien Angelica Walters - interesting and meta take on fairy tales Original SF: "Pay Phobetor" by Shale Nelson - kind of scary tale of someone whose brain implants have been hacked. "Wake-Rider" by Vandana Singh - loved this exciting space opera-ish story about a freedom fighter against a corrupt corporation. Original fantasy: "The Drawstring Detective" by Nik Houser - never read the adventures of Charlotte and the Drawstring Detective before but this is such fun. "A Lie You Give, and Thus I Take" by Damien Angelica Walters - interesting and meta take on fairy tales.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Interesting take on fairy tales.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lionel

    the dangers of becoming too dependant of technologie but for once, it isn't the technologie that takes over but a human. Great reads the dangers of becoming too dependant of technologie but for once, it isn't the technologie that takes over but a human. Great reads

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sidsel Pedersen

    Such a weird story. It is a fairytale and it isn't. It is this kind of weird meta-fiction, but I think I liked it. It might be riffing on a story that I do not know. Such a weird story. It is a fairytale and it isn't. It is this kind of weird meta-fiction, but I think I liked it. It might be riffing on a story that I do not know.

  10. 4 out of 5

    elle

    From Lightspeed magazine. Quick read, terrifying. Just the kind of creepy sci fi I was looking for. Note to self: write time stamped narratives, mind control or ransom AUs.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Elmson

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tor Wigmostad

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rose

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eleanor

  17. 5 out of 5

    Shawn

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rob Port

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chris Hyde

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Nelson

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gigio

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mathew

  23. 5 out of 5

    Toni

  24. 4 out of 5

    Asher

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jae

  26. 4 out of 5

    BrokenMnemonic

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ross

  28. 5 out of 5

    Boguslaw

  29. 5 out of 5

    Phil

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rachel (Kalanadi)

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