Lightspeed #8 - January 2011
Edited by John Joseph Adams
Cover Artist: Marcin Jakubowzki
Review by Sam Tomaino
Lightspeed Online Magazine
Date: 25 January 2011
Links: Lightspeed Magazine / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
Here is the eighth 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, "Postings from an Amorous Tomorrow" by Corey Mariani. Our unnamed narrator tells us that at that second, "there are 3,236,728,909 people over the age of four living in the world, all of whom I am intimately familiar with. Of these, there are 876,852,003 that I love". This is the result of an operation that expanded his brain and made him capable of using it for really expansive social networking. He is quite idealistic and wants to love everyone. Things change when the adults become aware of someone named Nick who does not love himself and, is, therefore, a sociopath. This remarkable story is Corey Mariani's first published work of fiction and he shows some real talent.
Next, is a reprint, "Cucumber Gravy" by Susan Palwick, originally published on the old SCIFICTION website, in 2001. Whitwell "Welly" Smith lives out in the Nevada desert where he grows marijuana and does a thriving business, mostly for medical purposes. A man that he doesn’t know, named Jim Humphreys, comes to his door. He wants to buy pot for Sam Mortimer (one of Welly's regular customers) to help with his chemotherapy. Welly has another secret, aliens have been visiting him regularly for ten years. They stay for a while, then start singing and liquefy to a gravy. Since they are wrapped in plastic, they are in packets. Welly buries them. Humphreys witnesses a liquification and things develop from there. This was published before I started reading the SCIFICTION stories and I was glad to have the opportunity to read it as it was very good.
Then, it's back to an original, "Black Fire" by Tanith Lee. This is a series of reports of an alien landing on Earth. The women find him impossibly alluring. The men find him threatening. More, I can't say except that, once again, Tanith Lee shows her unique talent in this unforgettable tale.
The fiction concludes with another reprint, "Elephants of Poznan" by Orson Scott Card, originally published in Fantastyka. Set in the future in the city of Poznan, Poland, after a plague that has wiped out all but fifty or a hundred people out of every 100,000 and had made mankind sterile. With this cataclysm, elephants had come up from Africa and currently inhabit large parts of Eastern Europe. The male elephants have now invaded Poznan. Our narrator, Lucasz, was seven years old when the plague hit, is now past 30 and wants to know why the elephants are there, watching them. The story develops from there in usual Card style and it is quite worth the reprinting.
The eighth 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.