Science Fiction & Fantasy

Lent-–728-x-90

Advertisement

May 2019 (Issue 108)

Our cover this month is from the multi-award-winning artist Julie Dillon, and it served as the inspiration for Kathleen Kayembe’s science fantasy novelette “The Ocean That Fades Into Sky.” We also have a new fantasy short from Adam-Troy Castro called “The Minor Superhero at Home, After His Series Ends,” and reprints by Debbie Urbanski (“The Portal”) and Kurt Fawver (“The Convexity of Our Youth”). Our original SF shorts are Rati Mehrotra (“This Way to Paradise”) and Matthew Kressel (“Truth Is Like the Sun”). Our SF reprints are from Max Gladstone (“The Iron Man”) and Nancy Kress (“Cocoons”). In the nonfiction department, we have our usual assortment of author spotlights. Our feature interview is with frequent Lightspeed contributor Ashok K. Banker. We also have the latest installments in our book and media review columns. And if you’re an ebook reader, you’ll get to enjoy an ebook-exclusive reprint of “Fallow” by Sofia Samatar, and an excerpt from An Illusion of Thieves by Cate Glass.

In This Issue: May 2019 (Issue 108)

Editorial

Editorial: May 2019

Be sure to check out the editorial for a rundown of this month’s terrific content, plus all our news and updates.

Science Fiction

Cocoons

A recon detail brought in another one just after dawn. The soldiers had donned full biohazard suits; nothing could convince them that this wasn’t contagious. They set the body on a gurney. I wheeled it into a quarantine room and inspected it. This time, for the first time, it was a child. A girl, about eleven years […]

Fantasy

The Ocean That Fades Into Sky

Although it takes constant effort for Coasts to mold herself into a human body when none live on her shores, and a far greater effort—even with her mother’s help—to sustain a flight of giant sea turtles across hundreds of miles, for once she is grateful; the focus required keeps her thoughts from the empty space beside her where Obsequies should be. There are three women Coasts loves more than anyone on the whole of Uloh-la, and Obsequies, her lover, is one of them. Her mother, in the guise of the turtle beneath her, is another. Both of them are mad at her. Dwellings, the third, would be angry too, if Coasts told her the truth.

Author Spotlight

Science Fiction

This Way to Paradise

The mountains were beautiful, even though the roads that took you there were broken. Even though the whole world was broken. Tara sat on the side of the pitted road, soaking in the autumnal sun, gazing at the distant snow-capped peaks in awe. Forgetting, for the moment, the ache in her feet and the emptiness in her stomach. “The Sivalik Range, children,” said Anju, pointing at the green hills that rose around them. “The word literally means the ‘tresses of Shiva.’ Cross the valley, and you stand at the feet of Pir Panjal, the inner Himalayas.”

Fantasy

The Portal

The second portal to Mere had been two feet high and three feet across. Amber knew this because later she returned to that exact spot beside the woods and measured where the portal had been using her wooden school ruler. She did not know the size of the first portal because she had been much younger that first time—just six; she was seventeen now—and so she had overlooked many important details. In the back of her notebook she recorded the second portal’s measurements, and beside those numbers she drew a crude sketch of the surrounding landscape, indicating the portal’s precise former location.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Reviews: May 2019

This month, LaShawn M. Wanak will be reviewing The GamesHouse by Claire North, Middlegame by Seanan McGuire, War by Michelle West, and Terminal Uprising by Jim C. Hines.

Science Fiction

Truth Is Like the Sun

Pop-star uber-sensation Jaim Janan rockets off to promote their third album atop a SpaceX Dragon VII capsule today, where they will stream a live musical performance from orbit, some 350 kilometers above the Earth. Before today’s launch, when asked if they were feeling nervous about the trip, the young pop star coolly responded, “Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.” It’s not clear how many of Jaim’s obsessive fans, or “Janatics” as they are sometimes known, recognized the star was quoting twentieth-century pop legend Elvis Presley [click for bio]. But by mid-afternoon #TruthIsLikeTheSun was the most popular hashtag on Twitter.

Fantasy

The Convexity of Our Youth

The children of Burke’s Point Elementary can’t be blamed. When the orange ball rolled onto their playground, they couldn’t have known what it was. We didn’t discuss the orange ball with them, didn’t explain to them its importance, its danger. We didn’t even tell them it existed, though some of them had undoubtedly heard vague rumors about it from sadistic older siblings and precocious cousins with little parental supervision. We wanted to turn a blind eye to the orange ball, hoping that what we didn’t acknowledge couldn’t touch our lives. If we didn’t speak of it then surely it would have no reason to seek us out.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Media Review: May 2019

This month, reviewer Christopher East compares the novel and the two animated adaptations of the fantasy classic, Watership Down.

Science Fiction

The Iron Man

The boy stopped playing after his Mom and Dad chained the iron man to the Kingdom’s heart. The boy used to run alone and brave through the welt within the walls, and even ranged as far as the borders of the wood. He tossed the ball his mother gave him into the sky, gold against blue with the sun behind, and laughing, caught it again. The ball purred in his grip. Sometimes he asked it questions—how to build a puppet, how to open the castle gates, how to change the color of the sky— and it answered. How questions were the ball’s job; why questions were Mom-and-Dad’s.

Fantasy

The Minor Superhero, at Home after His Series Ends

He has a superhero name. It’s as stupid as every other superhero name. It’s not something you can comfortably call another person in casual conversation. Just try to have a normal-sounding talk with some of the guys in the Liberty Force. “So, hello, uh, Pile-Driver Man. And, how are you doing, Dynamic Woman?” You can’t. You honestly can’t. You need to have a superhero name, and so he has one, bestowed upon him by others when he lagged too long in coming up with one for himself. It still seems vainglorious to him.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Interview: Ashok K. Banker

Ashok K. Banker is the author of more than sixty books, including the internationally acclaimed Ramayana Series. His works have all been bestsellers in India and have sold around the world. He is also the author of many short stories, including the Legends of the Burnt Empire series (published in Lightspeed), which takes place in the same world as Upon a Burning Throne. He lives in Los Angeles and Mumbai.