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Lightspeed July 2010
Edited by John Joseph Adams
Review by Sam Tomaino
Date: 30 July 2010

Links: Lightspeed / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

Here's the second issue of Lightspeed a new online magazine with stories by Carol Emshwiller, Tobias Buckell, Genevieve Valentine, and George R.R. Martin.

Here is the second issue of Lightspeed, the new online magazine, devoted exclusively to science fiction in all its forms. I'll give the setup again. 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 and nonfiction every Tuesday. 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

The fiction begins with one of the original ones, "No Time Like the Present" by Carol Emshwiller. This is a classic Emshwiller story and just great. The story is narrated by a young girl, telling us about a group of new people who suddenly move into the best houses in town. They are different, tall, skinny, blond and (apparently, independently wealthy). They talk strange with saying like "Shoe dad", "Bite the boot" and "Evolve". They are standoffish but our narrator manages to befriend a couple of them. She gets some hints about where they are from. Emshwiller, again, shows why she is one of the best in the business.

Next, is a reprint, "Manumission" by Tobias Buckell. This was originally printed in Jim Baen's Universe in 2008. At the time, I gave it a positive review and summarized it like this: Pepper has had all but one of his memories taken away and is sent by a huge corporation to retrieve one of its runaway employees. But this job proves more difficult than anticipated and Pepper must find a way to deal with it all

"The Zeppelin Conductor Society's Annual Gentleman's Ball" by Genevieve Valentine is another original. This was partly memoir, partly newspaper articles and things like that about a late 19th century in which zeppelins became a chief mode of transport. This is not as ideal as it sounds. Helium has serious side effects and there are other occupational hazards. Valentine gives us a nice little alternate history here.

The fiction concludes with another novelette reprint (from the 1975 anthology, Epoch), "...for a single yesterday" by George R.R. Martin. This is set in a commune far from the cities that were destroyed in something just called the Blast. Our narrator's name is Gary and he is the current leader of the commune. One of the members is Keith, a folk-rock singer who had been staying there when the Blast occurred. He gives regular concerts that everyone enjoys. He also uses a drug that allows him to travel into the past and be with Sandi, the love of his life. Things change when an ex-military man named Winters comes to the commune and starts making suggestions on how to make it a real village. Martin does a good job here with both sides and I was glad to read this old story.

The second issue of Lightspeed continues the good reading of the first and I recommend that you check out their web site at and support them in some way.

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