Lightspeed #9 - February 2011
Edited by John Joseph Adams
Cover Artist: Rowena Wang
Review by Sam Tomaino
Date: 23 February 2011
Links: Lightspeed Magazine / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
Here is the ninth 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, "Long Enough and Just So Long" by Cat Rambo is a nice little story about Podkayne (a young disabled woman who owns a courier ship she pilots between Earth, Luna, Mars, space stations and something called the Inner Gate), her friend Pippi (who works as a sportscaster) and an AI they meet. The AI had been a sexbot and his name is Star. The story does an especially good job of portraying the women, while Star remains a bit remote, which works fine for the story.
Next, is a reprint, "The Passenger" by Julie Czerneda (first published in Treachery & Treason in 2000). The story starts from the viewpoint of a man held captive by beings he thinks are not human. After a while, when provided with markers, he starts drawing pictures of Earth, which his captors evidently like. Then, the story shifts to the captors. I won't go further to spoil things, but just say this was yet another story worth reprinting.
Then, it's back to an original, "Simulacrum" by Ken Liu. The story is told from two different viewpoints. One is Paul Larrimore, a man who loves his daughter and who has invented a way to produce simulacra of people that seem real. The other main viewpoint is his daughter, Anna, who witnesses her father doing something she thinks is disgusting, and cannot forgive him for that. Liu does a good job portraying both characters, and has a brief look at Erin Larrimore, Paul's wife and Anna's mother. It all comes together in a touching, poignant story.
The fiction concludes with another reprint, "Breakaway, Backdown" by James Patrick Kelly, reprinted from Asimov's Science Fiction in 1996. This is told as a long rant from a woman named Cleo, talking to another woman named Jane. Cleo has recently been in space and Jane says she is considering going. Cleo tells of her experiences and a close friend named Elena. The title comes from the decision to breakaway and really go out in space for a long time or backdown and return to Earth. Cleo gives Jane an interesting viewpoint on what to do.
I do recommend that you check out their web site at www.lightspeedmagazine.com and support them in some way.