Lightspeed #11 - April 2011
Edited by John Joseph Adams
Cover Artist: Chris Moore
Review by Sam Tomaino
Date: 27 April 2011
Links: Lightspeed Magazine / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
Here is the eleventh 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, "All That Touches the Air" by An Owomoyela. It takes place on a colony world which human colonists share with a parasitic intelligent species called the Vosth. A human who goes outside of their dome without an envirosuit is in danger of being taken over by the Vosth. Our narrator is so paranoid about this, he wears his envirosuit even when he is in the dome. An encounter with a young girl named Endria who is fascinated by the Vosth and a government official also concerned with them changes our narrator. An Owomoyela fashions an interesting world here, one that you'd like to hear more of.
Next, is a reprint, "Maneki Neko" by Bruce Sterling (originally published in Hayakawa's Science Fiction Magazine in Japanese and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in 1998). Our lead character is Tsuyoshi, a self-employed converter of old video tape stuff to more modern formats. He's also part of a network of people asked to do things by a small device called a pokkecon. We see him asked to do odd things and then we find out how they all relate. I probably read this the first time it was published and enjoyed reading it again.
Then, it's another original, "Mama, We Are Zhenya, Your Son" by Tom Crosshill. This is told in epistolary format by a series of letters from a Russian boy named Zhenya to his mother. He has been taken from her to be part of an experiment. For that, her medical expenses will be taken care of. It involves a study about how the brain might rely on quantum properties for computation. We see the changes in the boy through his letters. In the Author Spotlight, Crosshill dares to compare his story to Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. It's not near that good a story. I did not find it very involving or interesting.
The fiction concludes with another reprint, "Velvet Fields" by Anne McCaffrey, which first appeared in Worlds of If in 1973. People from some future Earth colonize a world that seems to have been abandoned by its native life forms. They start growing crops and breeding animals there. Then, they find they've committed horrible mistake. This was a great old story that deserved reprinting.
The eleventh issue of Lightspeed was another good one. I do recommend that you check out their web site at www.lightspeedmagazine.com and support them in some way.