After falling seriously behind on my reading, I was able to finish the special issue of Lightspeed Magazine this week. In Part 1 of this review, I looked at the Women Destroy Science Fiction original stories, which for the most part, really blew me away.
This time, we’re taking a look at the reprints and flash fiction. Though the issue included a healthy amount of essays (as part of the Kickstarter campaign to fund this issue), I’m not going to review them here… otherwise we’d be here all day! I’m also only going to give star reviews of the flash, as I worry any real explanation on my part will give half of them away to spoilers.
My suggestion is to simply go out and read this issue, though I feel some of the essays at the end undermined the issue’s concept of equality in science fiction, one going so far as to suggest readers shun male authors for a year. I don’t really see how that does anything except reinforce the male vs. female rhetoric that got the genre into this rut in the first place.
In any case, on to the reviews!
The Reprints section of this issue was quite strong, with most of the stories still in my mind nearly two weeks after reading them. The quality of the writing is absolutely stellar here, and I enjoyed the different tones in each of the works, which kept the collection from being too bogged down by war-torn, dystopian futures.
Like Daughter by Tananarive Due
I really enjoyed this story for its interesting take on cloning ourselves, and the consequences of that. Definitely worth a read.
The Great Loneliness by Maria Romasco Moore
This was a beautiful and touching story that mirrors the themes of another story later in the collection, looking at a nearly surreal future in which a body is separated into various new entities. I enjoyed its freshness and characters very much.
Love is the Plan the Plan is Death by James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon)
This was an epically surreal story about wholly alien life forms and their life cycles. The first person perspective was very jarring at first, since Tiptree employed an excellent use of first person that really does feel alien. I can only imagine how hard it must have been to write, but Tiptree pulled it off marvelously.
Knapsack Poems: A Goxhat Travel Journal by Eleanor Arnason
I have read many, many travel journals from Asia, and Arnason’s sci-fi take on them was absolutely marvelous. This is a story that is a heavy sci-fi, but parades around as a romantic period piece, and it does so beautifully. The only reason I didn’t give the story the full five stars it would have gotten is it ended up being more of a vignette than an actual “story”, but even that doesn’t take anything away from the writing or the wonderfully original characters.
The Cost to be Wise by Maureen F. McHugh
I really wanted to like this story a lot more. The setting was intriguing, and the characters, as well as seamless integration of back story into the exposition were a delight to read and pick apart, but in the end, it felt a bit clunky and all over the place. Still, it is worth a read for the core of the story.
Salvage by Carrie Vaughn
A Guide to Grief by Emily Fox
See DANGEROUS EARTH POSSIBILITIES by Tina Connolly
A Debt Repaid by Marina J. Lostetter
The Sewell Home for the Temporally Displaced by Sarah Pinsker
#TrainFightTuesday by Vanessa Torline
The Hymn of the Ordeal, No. 23 by Rhiannon Rasmussen
Emoticon by Anaid Perez
The Mouths by Ellen Denham
M1A by Kim Winternheimer (SO SAD!)
Standard Deviant by Holly Schofield (Great!)
Getting on in Years by Cathy Humble
Ro-Sham-Bot by Effie Seiberg (Hands down the best flash in this collection.)
Everything Has Already Been Said by Samantha Murray (Another beautiful one.)
The Lies We Tell Our Children by Katherine Crighton
Artemis Awakening by Jane Lindskold
This was the only novel excerpt in the issue, and while it seemed interesting, and the writing was quite strong, it’s not likely a book I would pick up; mainly because the excerpt hinted more at a romancy-YA feel than I typically enjoy. However, if you like the idea of animal familiars and what happens when a culture’s age-old enemy crash lands in their territory without a backup plan, Artemis Awakening might be worth a look.
And so ends this massive issue! I am going to be taking a break from reading short stories for a while and get back on all of the novels I still need to read for this year. I’ve ended up dropping one of the indie titles I wanted to read due to a lack of interest, and I still have four more books of Amber from Roger Zelazny to get through (praying I end up liking the series in the end!), so I need to get busy!