Tag: lightspeed magazine

Short story: “Time Bomb Time”

“Time Bomb Time,” by C. C. Finlay

Appeared in Lightspeed Magazine, issue 60, May 2015 (read online or buy the issue)

3,135 words

Marvelously clever, perhaps even better than “Crab Canon” in Gödel, Escher, Bach, because it weaves in the theme of time shenanigans so well. And I knew what was coming!—I just somehow didn’t realize each paragraph led backwards as well as forwards so neatly. My only complaint is that it doesn’t have much plot movement or action; it’s more like a tense prolonged moment.


Short story: “A Coward’s Death”

“A Coward’s Death,” by Rahul Kanakia

Appeared in Lightspeed Magazine, issue 93, February 2018

2,140 words

A crushing story, tolerable only because it’s so short and parabolic. Who is the coward? Usurus acts to save a few lives in the short term, while Tiktus stands up to tyranny at great cost to everyone around him. It’s Usurus who is venerated, but it’s Tiktus who provokes that urgent question at the end, and the answer: “No. Never.” It’s the kind of question and answer that could inspire rebellion—revolution—if not for the story’s great, terrible last line.

Short story: “From the Root”

“From the Root,” by Emma Törzs

Appeared in Lightspeed Magazine, June 2018 (Issue 97), and in the podcast (read and listen)

6,670 words

(Heavy spoilers.) Fascinating, especially the scientific breakthrough the protagonist makes.

The doctor’s anger at being “tricked” struck me as an unforgivable betrayal, not to mention a ghoulish one, but the story surprisingly doesn’t dwell on it, and neither apparently does the protagonist.

The author’s work has also appeared in Ploughshares and won an O. Henry. She says in her interview, “I’m new to writing science fiction/fantasy, and as a grown-up writer I’d never written what you’d call a speculative story until this past summer, when I attended Clarion West.” Nice to see authors successfully moving across those genres.

Short story: “We Will Be All Right”

“We Will Be All Right,” by Carolyn Ives Gilman

Appeared in Lightspeed (read and listen), issue 96, May 2018

940 words

Another rather literary plot from Lightspeed. I like it. The whole thing takes place internally, with a lot of exposition, but never gets slow.

Short story: “Our Side of the Door”

“Our Side of the Door,” by Kodiak Julian

Appeared in Lightspeed MagazineMay 2018 (Issue 96)

3,240 words

Another story that could be classified as realistic fiction just as easily as fantasy (last one here). I admire the way the literary plot unfolds, the ambiguity of the boy’s supposed journey.


Novelette: “What Is Eve?”

“What Is Eve?”, by Will McIntosh

Appeared in Lightspeed Magazine, April 2018 (issue 95); read or listen to the podcast here

10,160 words

The mystery, the big reveal, and the ending were all delightfully satisfying. May Eve’s life only get better from here.

I feel like the title should have been just “Eve.”

Short story or perhaps fictional essay: “A Place Without Portals”

“A Place Without Portals,” by Adam-Troy Castro

Appeared in Lightspeed Magazine, April 2018 (issue 95); read or listen to the podcast here

2,160 words according to the magazine

I had no idea where this was going, but the ending was just right.

The essay/story could be taken as realistic fiction just as easily as fantasy.

Short story: “The Magician’s Apprentice”

“The Magician’s Apprentice,” by Tamsyn Muir

First appeared in Weird Tales, Issue #358 or #359 (Volume 66, No. 3, Winter 2012), edited by Ann VanderMeer; reprinted here in Weird Fiction Review, July 3rd, 2012; reprinted in The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2013, edited by Rich Horton; reprinted in The Best Horror of the Year: Volume Five, edited by Ellen Datlow; featured in PseudoPod 515, November 4th, 2016; reprinted in Lightspeed Magazine issue 88 (September 2017), online here

4,860 words, says Lightspeed

(Spoilers.) I love the reference to Lolita, and Mr. Hollis’s analysis of it, and this line: “You see, I’ve got nowhere else to go.” He evidently gave her the book as a hint about what he’s really up to. I’m not totally convinced that John/Mr. Hollis has eaten Cherry’s childhood, though, despite her food name, despite the ending. His relationship with her doesn’t strike me as all that sick up until the secret he reveals—the secret of what it really means to be a magician. It’s more as though he’s eaten her adulthood. She’ll never be the same after this.

Did he train her, selfishly, in order to soothe his loneliness? It must be lonely to be a magician, devouring without end.

Mr. Hollis’s comment about “dead joggers” is great. The last line is also great.

Short story: “There Will Come Soft Rains”

“There Will Come Soft Rains,” by Ray Bradbury

Appeared in Collier’s, May 6th, 1950; online here

2117 words

An ingenious story. No real characters, just implied ones.

Edited to add: Read on the recommendation of Sunny Moraine (here).

On second person

“I’ve made a lot of use of second person lately, and I think one of the reasons why it attracts me is that it’s direct communication with the reader in a way that no other POV is. I know a lot of people aren’t overly fond of it, and I think a lot of the time it’s not done particularly well, but as a stylistic tool I love it. This story felt very immediate, and of course it’s an old idea that one thing that happens in the moments before death is a turning-inward, a taking of inventory. You have your last moments of communication with yourself as well as others. So it felt natural to go that way. I didn’t really think about the specifics of why until now, honestly.”

—Sunny Moraine (x), about “What Glistens Back”