Lightspeed November 2010
Edited by John Joseph Adams
Cover Artist: Kai Lim
Review by Sam Tomaino
Date: 26 November 2010
Links: Lightspeed #6 / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
Here is the sixth 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, "Standard Loneliness Package" by Charles Yu. Our narrator works for a company that will buy your pain, physical or emotional. You have an implant you can switch on and your pain leaves you and goes into a computer which then sends it to someone like our narrator. We see some of his own lonely life and a brief relationship with a co-worker named Kirthi. This was an interesting look at a future world and someone who might live in it.
Next, is a reprint, "Faces in Revolving Souls" by Caitlin R. Kiernan, taken from a 2005 anthology called Outsiders, edited by Nancy Holder and Nancy Lilpatrick. Sylvia, while wearing clothes looks like a typical human. In reality, she has been taking treatments to become parahuman, a human altered to be part animal. She's faced both the prejudices of her mother against the parahumans and parahumans that think she hasn't fully crossed over. There is a reason for what she is doing that makes for a good story.
Then, it's back to an original, "Hwang's Billion Brilliant Daughters" by Alicia Sola Kim. Hwang constantly is going to sleep and moving forward in time, at variable lengths. It could be days or many years. We get a series of these. This story did very little for me.
The fiction concludes with another reprint, "Ej-Es" by Nancy Kress. The story had first been published in and anthology called Stars edited by Janis Ian and Mike Resnick. The stories are all inspired by songs by Janis Ian. This one, based on a 1972 song called "Jesse" is told from the viewpoint of Mia, a veteran of the MedCorps, which travels the stars. On a planet called Good Fortune, they find that a plague had killed the colonists 250 years in the past. There are some survivors, but they are afflicted with a variation of the original disease that causes vivid hallucinations. Mia befriends a girl named Esefeb who has an imaginary companion named Ej-es. The disease also causes the people to care little about personal hygiene or anything else. What should Mia do for these people. We get an answer and a result in this fine story.
The sixth issue of Lightspeed was a pretty good issue. I do recommend that you check out their web site at www.lightspeedmagazine.com and support them in some way.