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Lightspeed October 2010
Edited by John Joseph Adams
Cover Artist: Scott Grimando
Review by Sam Tomaino
Date: 26 October 2010

Links: Lightspeed #5 / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

Here's the fifth issue of Lightspeed a new online magazine with stories by Sarah Langan, Joe R. Lansdale, John R. Fultz, and Stephen King, along with Author Spotlights on all of them and non-fiction articles by Dr. Pamela Gay, Matt London, Dr. Gregory Benford, and Genevieve Valentine.

Here is the fifth issue of Lightspeed, the new online magazine. The editor, because of Halloween, calls this "Horrror Month", but still maintains that it's science fiction. You can find the issue and how to pay (or not) for it at

The fiction begins with an original story, "Hindsight" by Sarah Langan. An anomaly called Black Betty has approached Earth and sent the laws of physics into a tailspin. To escape it, Sarah Vaughn and her family mist upload their minds into a ship called the Second Coming. Is this a good thing? Langan does the trick as she creates a truly horrific science fiction story.

Next, is a reprint, "Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man's Back" by Joe R. Lansdale, originally published in a 1986 anthology called Nukes. Our narrator used to build nuclear bombs and is able to get to a shelter with his wife before they start to fall. It is now 20 years later and they have decided to brave the surface world. The narrator's wife hates him because she blames him for the death of their daughter who was in the city. She has been carving a tattoo in his back of a mushroom cloud and Rae's face. The story gets really horrific from there and was a worthy reprint.

Then, it's back to an original, "The Taste of Starlight" by John R. Fultz. Dr. Andrew Pelops is awakened early from cryogenic sleep in a ship headed for a colony. His fellow physicist is dead from a malfunction of her sleep chamber. There is little emergency food aboard. Pelops is the only one of the remaining crew that can work the machines needed to save the colony orbiting around Wolf 359. There are twelve more crewmembers in frozen sleep. What can he do? This one was pretty grim, but quite a good story.

The fiction concludes with another reprint "Beachworld" by Stephen King. Rand and Shapiro crash land on a world that's all beach and no shore. Rand quickly becomes entranced by the sand and will not move. Shapiro gets more and more panicked. A rescue ship arrives and the horror of the sand becomes more apparent. This was a nice little chiller from a master.

The fifth 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.

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