Lightspeed #40 - September 2013
Edited by John Joseph Adams
Cover Artist: Sutthiwat Dechakamphu
Review by Sam Tomaino
Lightspeed Online Magazine
Date: 27 September 2013
Links: Lightspeed Magazine / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
Here's the Fortieth issue of Lightspeed the online magazine. You can find the issue and how to pay (or not) for it at their website (see the link section at the top of this article). Here are my reviews of the original stories, two science fiction and two fantasy.
The first original science fiction story is "The Schrődinger War" by D. Thomas Minton –+- I’d say this is a future war but it's actually taking place four and a half billion years in the past as aliens called Eatees are trying to alter the primordial soup that would eventually result in an Earth in which human life is possible. Samuel Hohlman is one of a group of soldiers sent back in time to fight them. Actually, it's not the soldiers that get sent back but "a soldier's genetic algorithm, a multidimensional information array that captures a person's genetic code and a neural map of the brain". This is done multiple times and the memories are mostly recovered. Having different incars adds to the confusion. Not a lot seems to happen here but I got to thinking, "How did the humans know the Eatees were messing around with Earth's past?"
The second original second science fiction story is "Dry Bite" by Will McIntosh –+- Even the author admits that this is, essentially, a zombie story. Aliens have invaded Earth through wormholes, infecting people so that they mutate, some with flaps, some with wings, all with stingers. Hence, they are called Stingers. They seem to be your typical brain-dead zombies. Now, they have suddenly stopped stinging and infecting people. Josephine has seen her husband and son, both stingerized. There is some speculation as to why they have stopped stinging. Okay, but I am not really interested in another zombie story, disguised or not.
The first original fantasy story is "Homecoming" by Seanan McGuire –+- Heroes, male and female, who die (as soldiers/police/firefighters/etc) saving others come back to life as players in an eternal October football game: the Ravens vs the Falcons. Yes, this is a different take on the warriors in Valhalla and a truly different take on the whole thing. Very good.
The second original fantasy story is "Bellweather" by Marc Laidlaw –+- Here is another tale of the bard Gorlen Vizenfirthe and his gargoyle companion, Spar. They are on their journey when they become lost in a snowstorm. Spar, with the aid of a man named Chamsin, rescues Gorlen, who recuperates in Chamsin's house with his family. However, to rescue Gorlen, Chamsin had to enter the property of a nearby temple. This breaks a pact and the abbot in command of the monks there, an evil man named Lek, takes his infant son. It is Spar who volunteers the both of them to help Chamsin recover his son and, thus, we get another grand, imaginative adventure like the kind I expect from Laidlaw. In the Author Spotlight, he promises to do more stories that will appear in F&SF. I can't wait!
The story "And Then Some" by Matthew Hughes is reprinted from the February issue of Asimov's Science Fiction. Here is what I said of it at the time -+- This is another story set in Hughes' Archonate universe. Erm Kaslo has a job to do, arrest a con man named Binnie Varshun on the planet Cheddle and bring him back to Novo Bantry. This is not as easy as it sounds because Varshun has allies in the local police department and Kaslo winds up at a prison farm. Needless to say, he finds his way out but that's only half the story. Varshun is in possession of a secret that might sound familiar to readers of the series. All in all, another good entry in one of the best new universes (reasonably new) of the genre. So, enjoy it!
This was issue 40 of Lightspeed. You can access the stories for free. Check out their web site and support them, if you want to, in some way.