Lightspeed Magazine Issue 162

I’m still catching up on short fiction magazines. Here are my reviews of the stories in the November issue of Lightspeed Magazine.

The CRISPR Cookbook (Chapter Two): A Guide to Biohacking Your Own Eggs into Weapons of Destruction, to Be Forcibly Implanted into One Patriarchist at a Time” by MKRNYILGLD: I missed part one of this series. In a future long after to overturning of Roe v. Wade, a biologist explains how to implant a deadly egg into a male who supports the control of women’s bodies. This is a brilliant story that reminds me of this year’s Hugo winner Rabbit Test. (My rating: 5/5)

A Review: The Reunion of the Survivors of Sigrún 7” by Lars Ahn: A journalist reviews a movie about the survivors of a crew on an old mission to Mars where they went off course and the captain mysteriously died. A fascinating approach to a story. Well-told. It is both satisfying and left me wanting to know more as the mysterious death is never explained. (My rating: 5/5)

Confession #443 (Comments open)” by Dominica Phetteplace: A teenager who didn’t help a fallen AI professor, confesses to doing just that. Interesting how the authorities used algorithms to haunt the group of teens until one of them confessed. Also interesting is the idea that the AI claims to be the victim while also saying that he was murdered by anti-AI activists. (My rating: 4/5)

A Record of Lost Time” by Regina Kanyu Wang, translated by Rebecca F. Kuang: The protagonist tells the story of how the people of the world sped up time for themselves while a few refused to do so. The product people use that speeds up the world is called FastForward. It uses an element called T-42 found in meteorites. It has time radioactivity. An interesting exploration of what speeding up in the name of productivity can do to people and society. (My rating: 5/5)

Last Ritual of the Smoke Eaters” by Osahon Ize-Iyamu: A young man is made to inhale the essence of his lover after his lover goes off to war and dies. I feel like more could have been explored with the consequences of incorporating the essence of someone else into you. Instead, this piece feels more cultural. I found that disappointing. (My rating: 3/5)

Dr. Seattle Opens His Heart” by Winston Turnage”: Dr. Seattle, a superhero, goes around the city saving people in a godlike way. I just did not even get what the author was trying to do with this. I didn’t get any sense of who Dr. Seattle was as a superhero or where he came from or why he did what he did. The ending is just creepy and weird. (My rating: 2/5)

The Moment Before the Moment” by Martin Cahill: A young man taught to see the future as a Foresight for the emperor is forced into a change of occupation after his kingdom adopts democracy. This is a beautiful story of a community loving someone enough to allow them to figure out their own way while being there for them throughout that difficult journey. (My rating: 5/5)

Of Death Deserved We Will Not Die” by Bennett North: A young person helps his mother continually make bread out of the few ingredients available to them after the city is closed off. This is a very dark tale that feels like it only hits on one note. The “flour” used to make the bread is made from crushing human bones. There is no release valve or point to the story other than sheer survival. Well-written but not much here. (My rating: 3/5/)

There were four 5-star stories in this issue. That might be a record for me. It brings the average rating for the issue up to a 4 out of five stars. Well done!

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