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Lightspeed #69 - February 2016
Edited by John Joseph Adams
Cover Artist: Elizabeth Leggett
Review by Sam Tomaino
Date: 27 February 2016

Links: Lightspeed Magazine / How to Subscribe / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

Here's the 69th issue of Lightspeed with stories by Rachael K. Jones, Samuel Peralta, Sarah Pinsker, Paul McAuley, Rachel Swirsky, Jeremiah Tolbert, Christopher Barzak, and Karin Tidbeck, with Author Spotlights on all of them along with other features.

Here's the 69th issue of Lightspeed, the online magazine. You can find the issue and how to pay (or not) for it at its website (see link at top of this review). Here are my reviews of the original stories.

The first original science fiction story is "Charlotte Incorporated" by Rachael K. Jones. -+- Charlotte is just a brain in a jar, made ambulatory in a small biochamber. She dreams of the day she can afford her own custom-made corpus. She works as a receptionist where her brain is placed into a plastic male head and torso called Hank. Things become intolerable and she has learned there is a way to get a body at a discount. Good story, sad and poignant.

The second original science fiction story is "Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea" by Sarah Pinsker. -+- After some sort of apocalypse, the rich have taken to the seas, endlessly traveling in cruise ships. Bay lives near the sea, mourns the loss of her wife, Deb, and is constantly salvaging things that wash up on shore having fallen off the ships. Sometimes these are dead bodies. This time it's a woman in a small boat and she is alive. Her name is Gabby and she is a "rock star" who has eked out an existence as an entertainer on one of the ships. They do not hit it off at first, but eventually this changes. Good character study.

The first original fantasy story is "Not by Wardrobe, Tornado, or Looking Glass" by Jeremiah Tolbert. -+- Louisa lives in world where "rabbit holes" have been opening up on a regular basis, whisking people away to fantastic lands. Each rabbit hole is personalized. You can't stay in someone else's world. Louisa has read fantasy novels all her life and had dreamed of escaping the mundane. But she has had to stay in a "real world" that is becoming swiftly depopulated of regular humans and populated by fantasy creatures. What can she do? The solution is absolutely perfect in this delightful tale!

The second original fantasy story is "Starfish" by Karin Tidbeck. -+- Kim is recovering from some disease she said has changed her. She is not happy with her life. She is on a cruise to the Arctic. The captain is called the Skipper and he tells strange stories. One of them is about an area of the ocean called the Iron Coffin. It looks like just open water but it's supposedly over a seabed rich in minerals. If a ship gets close to it during a full moon, it becomes impossible to navigate. A compass will point in the wrong condition. The stars will shift. Most ships that encounter it disappear. Those that get out use a map that helps them navigate by the full moon. The Skipper tells a sad story of his own about an estranged daughter. Can both of them find something better? A very good sea fantasy.

This was issue 69 of Lightspeed. You can access the stories for free. Check out their website and support them, if you want to, in some way.

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