Lightspeed June 2010
by John Joseph Adams
Edited by John Joseph Adams
Review by Sam Tomaino
Date: 27 June 2010
Lightspeed is a new online magazine, devoted exclusively to science fiction in all its forms. Each month they intend to publish two new stories and two reprinted stories, from a variety of authors ranging from old pros to newcomers. They will also have a "variety of nonfiction features, fiction podcasts, and Q&As with our authors that go behind-the-scenes of their stories." You can read the issue, for free, as it comes out through the month, publishing fiction every Tuesday and nonfiction on Thursday. You can also purchase it in ePub format, Kindle/Nook/Sony Reader, iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch for $2.99 and get the whole issue at once. They also accept PayPal donations.
We are also told that "Lightspeed is also a podcast, which will feature one or two free stories each month in audio format, produced by Grammy and Audie Award-winning narrator and producer Stefan Rudnicki." For more details, and the issue itself, check them out at www.lightspeedmagazine.com.
The first issue actually has four new stories beginning with "I'm Alive, I Love You, I'll See You in Reno" by Vylar Kaftan. This is the story of a woman and a man, friends from childhood and lovers some of the time. They get together and part, each of them into space where relative time puts them out of sync, but that's not the end of it. This was beautifully told from the woman's point of view and was a nice way to start the magazine.
Next up is "The Cassandra Project" by Jack McDevitt in a (hopefully) not-to-distant future, the United States and Russia send a new mission to the Moon. Before the actual launch, Jerry Carter, the NASA Public Relations officer is asked about a picture in a tabloid. It's from the Russian archives and shows a dome in the Moon's Cassegrain Crater in 1967. What is going on? Carter starts his own investigation and finds something very interesting. McDevitt shows why he is one of the field's best writers.
"Cats in Victory" by David Barr Kirtley takes place in a future time in which catmen are engaged in killing off dogmen. They have already killed off monkeymen and birdmen and frogmen. Now, they have what might be the last of the dogmen in their sights. They hope that Cat will descend back to Earth and restore them to their true forms. Lynx is a young catman who is showing soldiers where he saw dogmen when they find a strange object with what they think is a monkeyman inside. But he has Cat with him. And Cat does not talk. We, of course, have a better idea of what is going on and all becomes clear eventually. This was a nicely imaginative story about the problems of dogma, or would that be catma?
Lastly, there is "Amarylis" by Carrie Vaughan. The title is the name of the fishing vessel that Marie commands. Things are pretty low-tech but this is a future in which things are highly regulated so that the populace won't run out of resources. Child-bearing is also regulated. Marie's mother had her illegally and, as a punishment, her family was broken up and scattered. This affects how some treat her and how she, herself, regards life. Vaughn writes a good story here with well-drawn characters.
So, that's the first issue of Lightspeed and it's a good one. I especially like the Author Spotlights, which discuss the stories. Even the nonfiction articles relate to that week's story. Again, I recommend that you check out their web site at www.lightspeedmagazine.com and support them in some way. We can use more sources of good short fiction and I hope they are around for a long time.