This month, our cover art comes from Marcel Mercado, illustrating the first story in a new series of fantasy shorts by Ashok K. Banker—“A Love Story Written on Water.” Plus, we have a mouth-watering new short fantasy piece by Shaenon K. Garrity (“Grandma Novak’s Famous Nut Roll”), and fantasy reprints by Adam-Troy Castro (“Of a Sweet Slow Dance in the Wake of Temporary Dogs”) and Karen Lord (“The Counsellor Crow”). For science fiction, we have original shorts by Lizz Huerta (“Mouths”) and Seanan McGuire (“Under the Sea of Stars”). We’re also featuring SF reprints by Kim Stanley Robinson (“Remaking History”) and Roger Zelazny (“The Engine at Heartspring’s Center”). All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author spotlights, along with our book and media review columns. For our ebook readers, we also have an ebook-exclusive novella reprint—“All the Flavors” by Ken Liu—and an excerpt from Mirah Bolender’s debut novel, City of Broken Magic.
In This Issue: Dec. 2018 (Issue 103)
Be sure to check out the Editorial for a run-down of this month’s terrific content. Plus, we have news and updates to share!
“The point is not to make an exact replica of the Teheran embassy compound.” Exasperated, Ivan Venutshenko grabbed his hair in one hand and pulled up. “It’s the spirit of the place that we want to invoke here.” “This has the spirit of our storage warehouse, if you ask me.” “This is our storage warehouse, John. We make all our movies here.”
Bhi’ash was a king of the Axe clan. Truthful and courageous, he was renowned for having performed one thousand Black Horse sacrifices and one hundred Fire sacrifices. For his devotion, upon his demise he attained entrance to the heavenly realms and was honored by the Stone Gods. One day, Bhi’ash—accompanied by many other king-mages and some of the Stone Gods themselves—went to pay homage to Agar, the highest of Stone Gods.
Times were strange, and those who survived the collapse had a jarring mixtape of skills. Plumbers were holy men, exorcising the encampments of the demons of human waste. They brought forth, stored and dispensed the holiest sacrament of all, clean water. Warriors emerged from the strangest of places, sex workers commanded respect and were offered it gladly.
Of a Sweet Slow Dance in the Wake of Temporary Dogs
On the last night before the end of everything, the stars shine like a fortune in jewels, enriching all who walk the quaint cobblestoned streets of Enysbourg. It is a celebration night, like most nights in the capital city. The courtyard below my balcony is alive with light and music. Young people drink and laugh and dance. Gypsies in silk finery play bouncy tunes on harmonicas and mandolins. Many wave at me, shouting invitations to join them.
Book Reviews: December 2018
This month reviewer Arley Sorg reviews the druid fantasy The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson, the time travel adventure Alice Payne Arrives by Kate Heartfield, and a new collection by long-time Lightspeed contributor Kat Howard: A Cathedral of Myth and Bone.
Vade Retro Satana
::SO-COMMAND\TEMPLAR-NAVCOM-INFO: All systems functioning within normal parameters:: Peacekeeping missions were always the most difficult assignment for Lieutenant Macia Branson. Not that she longed for the combat which had been much of her duty in the Service of the Order, but the reality was that it was still war conditions, only with the setting lowered to a slow broil.
Grandma Novak’s Famous Nut Roll
Hello, family! As everyone who follows my sister on Facebook knows (and who isn’t reading Kat’s posts? Twenty lashes with a wet noodle, and you bet it’ll be Grandma’s kluski!), last weekend she and I visited Grandma Novak for . . . baking lessons! Though Grandma’s strong as she ever was (just try to tell her otherwise) she IS getting on in years. Kat and I agreed we ought to get her recipes down in writing while we can.
Media Reviews: December 2018
This month Carrie Vaughn looks at two films that take their protagonists to amazing new worlds: dark fantasy adaptation The House with a Clock in Its Walls and science biopic First Man.
Under the Sea of Stars
We have traveled here, to this most innocuous of country landscapes, to make good on a promise made by my grandfather, Carlton Whitmore, to a girl he loved in his youth. How foolish that sounds, writ down so! But it is true. Grandfather met her on the banks of the Bolton Strid, where she stood naked and confused, water drying on her skin. His notes state that she knew no modesty, and that “she was pale as the belly of a deep-river fish.”
The Counsellor Crow
When Cole Franklin, Chief Counsellor of the Royal Court of Ildcrest, decided to resign, he did so by putting on his black boots, black trousers, black tunic, and black ceremonial robes, and walking out into the black night. He walked up to Ashbridge to wait on the tracks for the passing of the midnight freight train. The spot he chose was one hundred feet out from the western bank of the gorge and two hundred feet up from the River Ash.
Interview: S.A. Chakraborty
S. A. Chakraborty is a speculative fiction writer from New York City. Her debut, The City of Brass, was the first book in The Daevabad Trilogy and has been short-listed for the Locus, British Fantasy, and World Fantasy awards. When not buried in books about Mughal miniatures and Abbasid political intrigue, she enjoys hiking, knitting, and recreating unnecessarily complicated medieval meals for her family.