Lightspeed Magazine Issue 159

I continue to catch up on my reviews from my vacation reading. Here is my review of the fiction in the August issue of Lightspeed Magazine.

The unusual “The Things You Can Maintain Yourself” by Benjamin C. Kinney kicks things off. A woman is forced to recycle the plant-based car she has owned and maintained for decades. It evokes a strong feeling and shows the support of communities that will be needed in such a future. (My rating: 4/5)

My favorite story is “The Letters They Left Behind” by Scott Edelman. A mother going off on a deep-space mission with aliens lasting many years, leaves behind letters for her daughter, marking milestones. But when she gets back, she finds that things turned out differently than she expected. The struggle of how to best be a parent centers this story as does the relationship. (My rating: 5/5)

In our current world of surveillance capitalism, “Monopticon” by Dani Atkinson is a wonderful story of subverting such a panopticon. Someone who has planted a file in the surveillance software system explains how the system itself came about. It is a very clever thought experiment and great exploration of individuality and privacy in a surveillance society.

In the Nest Beneath the Mountain-Tree, Your Sisters Dance” by Lowry Poletti tells of a scientist studying alien wasp symbiotes. This scientist will die when his symbiote dies. His is dying, and he is desperately searching for a way to live. It is a fascinating premise and world. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite come together for me as much as I would have liked. (My rating: 3/5)

I really appreciated the perspective and what Sloane Leong was attempting in “The Blade and the Bloodwright“. But, I didn’t care for it. In it a violent army uses the uncontrollable magic of a witch as a weapon to punish their island chief enemies. It was too bloody and dark and abstract. (My rating: 2/5)

I’m not sure what Russell Hemmell was doing with “All the Colours of the Death Knell“. It is a straightforward tale of a witch waiting to be burned at the stake as she ponders her thoughts and feelings. Good as far as it goes, but I felt something was missing. (My rating: 3/5)

Isabel J. Kim is one of my favorite short story writers. Everything she writes is good. “You Will Not Live to See M/M Horrors Beyond Your Comprehension” is a play in which Achilles seeks his future from the Oracle while a chorus of phone obsessed future people look on and interfere. It is an amazing piece of connecting a classic tale with contemporary experiences. (My rating: 4/5)

My overall rating for the fiction in this issue comes out to 3.63 out of five stars. I hope you are enjoying whatever you are reading!

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