Lightspeed September 2010
Edited by John Joseph Adams
Cover Artist: Adrian Michael Mulryan
Review by Sam Tomaino
Date: 28 September 2010
Links: Lightspeed #4 / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
Here is the fourth issue of Lightspeed, the new online magazine. You can find the issue and how to pay (or not) for it at www.lightspeedmagazine.com.
The fiction begins with an original story, ”Flower, Mercy, Needle, Chain" by Yoon Ha Lee. A woman, eventually identified as Shiron, wields a special gun named Arighan's Flower. She is approached by a man named Kerang, who has a proposal for her. The gun is an unusual one that destroys the target's ancestral line. It changes the past but leaves its wielder untouched. I won't say more but will say that this was an imaginative, little tale.
Next is a reprint, "The Long Chase" by Geoffrey A. Landis, originally in Asimov's Science Fiction in 2002. Our narrator is an uploaded personality, a mining machine originally in the Kuiper belt. She is escaping a group of hive mind machines and is headed for Procyon. As her foe approaches, she does what she can to survive. I'm sure I read this eight years ago and I'm sure I found it as good a story then as now.
Then, it's back to an original, "Amid the Words of War" by Cat Rambo. A creature, called Six, was bred for war but it failed in its mission and was taken by the enemy. Tortured and sent back, it is now under suspicion. To exonerate its clutch mates, it makes a false confession. This was a poignant, effective story.
The fiction concludes with another reprint "Travelers" by Robert Silverberg. This was published in Amazing Stories in 1999. This is set in a far future in which travel to other worlds is easy and, at least for the characters in this story, relatively common. Nikomastir, Mayfly, Velimyle and our narrator leaving from the world Galgala, where "auriferous microorganisms excrete atoms of gold as metabolie waste" (insert a cruder form of that phrase here), travel to Sidri Akrak, a crude frontier-type world with dour residents who don’t car of the planets monstrous animals walk amongst them. Our narrator does not like it but Nikomastir claims it as his father's birthplace. Silverberg writes a beautiful story here, depicting this group as rich adventurers, flitting from one place to the next. The story gives him license to create many worlds, described in a throwaway sentence or two. I know I read this back in 1999 and it was very enjoyable to read again.
The fourth issue of Lightspeed is another very good issue. Once again, I recommend that you check out their web site and support them in some way.