Let’s dive right in. Issue 153 of Lightspeed Magazine is for the month of February 2023. It is edited by John Joseph Adams, and all the stories are original.
First up is “Learning Letters” by Carrie Vaughn, a story of the far future after “the Fall”. An isolated and primitive but successful community is visited by a stranger in an airplane. Where did they get the fuel for it? Where have they come from? And what do they want? This world just drew me in and made me want more. (My rating: 5/5)
After a nuclear war forces people to live underground, people have the desperate choice between staying underground and slowly going crazy from the lack of sunlight or venturing to the surface and dying from radiation poisoning. “In(con)solation” by Octavia Cade is the story of a couple living together facing this impossible choice. The story is told in an interesting combination of first and second person voices. (My rating: 3/5)
In “The Day the Earthman Didn’t Show“, Adam-Troy Castro tells the tale of a collectivist alien society that knows the future and works together to plan for it. For millennia. Only what if something happens and the prophecy doesn’t come true? Read this delightful story and find out. (My rating: 4/5)
Have you ever written to your congressperson or senator? If so, I bet it was nothing like the letter in “Subject: More Monsters Will Not Make Us Safer” by Paul Crenshaw. The problem this author is concerned with is using monsters to make children safer in schools. An interesting look at a current hot button issue. (My rating: 4/5)
All houses change as you live in them, even if you never renovate them. But the changes in “The House of Linear Change” by Oluwatomiwa Ajeigbe are way beyond that! The son of the homeowner finds himself in a bit of spot. This one was a bit trippy for me, but may be just your thing. (My rating: 3/5)
The title “Real Magic” by Sharang Biswas at first doesn’t quite seem to fit. People nervously approach the local witch to seek her help with a problem. One by one she sets them each on a quest that gets them what they want but with no real magic. She saves the real magic for the really important things. (My rating: 4/5)
I was surprised to learn that the title library in “Guidelines for Using the Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library” by Marie Brennan actually exists. The author created a fantastic version of guidelines for using it based on her own time there. A fun read. (My rating: 4/5)
As a child did you ever need to stay with family or friends when something unexpected came up with your family? The boy in “His Guns Could Not Protect Him” by Sam J. Miller experiences this when something happens to his father. No one will tell him as he tries to protect his little brother from learning the danger their dad is in. This one really brings that childhood feeling to life. (My rating: 4/5)
That’s it for this month’s Lightspeed fiction! My ratings come out to 3.875 on average so another successful issue. Happy reading!