I just got back from a two-week vacation in Greece. While I was there I read in addition to doing touristy things. I’ll get to the review of all I read there later. First up is this review of the stories in the July issue of Lightspeed Magazine that I finished just before leaving on vacation.
The lead story is “Six Months After All Life on Titan Died” by J.B. Park. The format of this story is unique. It is written in the form of prompts for an artificial intelligence. While I appreciated the format, for me the story was just okay. (My rating: 3/5)
Next up was “Death Is Better” by Oluwatomiwa Ajeigbe where a young slave and his sister attempt to escape slavery but a giant robot stands in their way. This story is very emotional and pulled me in right away. (My rating: 5/5)
I always appreciate stories that show me a different way to look at things. “The Bodhi Tree Asks Only For the Safe Return of Her Lover” by Ashok K. Banker is written in first person from the perspective of a tree seeking to negotiate peace in a war between humans and the trees. The difference in length of life offers a truly unique take. And the format is almost epistolary. (My rating: 4/5)
If you are from my generation, then you surely remember Live Aid and We Are the World. “The United Systems of Goodwill Concert Series and the Greatest Performance of All Time” by James Van Pelt felt like a cosmic version of those musical charity events. After a disaster, a collection of the system’s best bands plays a series of mega rock concerts. (My rating: 5/5)
The first of the fantasy stories in this issue is “Monsters of the Drunken Shore” by Nic Anstett. Since it is in written in the second person, you see a monster come out of the sea as you contemplate your first wild weekend as an adult. It may bring back your first time drinking or having sex. (My rating: 3/5)
I grew up in New York State near Syracuse and the surrounding area. It is always fun to read a story like “Starpoop” by Sandra McDonald that takes place in a setting you are very familiar with. And this story is so good. A woman with memory issues tries to live her life with her grandson, Starpoop, a social media star who seems to be perpetually three years old. Highly recommended. (My rating: 5/5)
“The Real Worlds” by Lauren Bajek is a family camping trip that doesn’t go quite as planned. A girl with her family camps between worlds as her father tries to get tenure for altering realities. Somewhat trippy but engaging. (My rating: 4/5)
“Muna in Barish” by Isha Karki is a story about writing and books. A worker in a bookstore is almost an indentured servant who dreams of becoming a published writer. She starts a correspondence with a famous author. And when that author comes to her bookshop, it don’t go as she expects. A wonderful allegory of those in the under classes supporting one another. (My rating: 5/5)
With four five-star stories, I think this issue is my highest rated so far at 4.25. All the stories are available to read for free. What are you waiting for?