I’ve recently subscribed to several great magazines (including Lightspeed, Clarkesworld, and Fireside). I’ve always bought individual issues when I could but I made the move to yearly subscriptions as soon as I could afford to. Well, not afford, not quite yet, but as soon as I could be sure I could no longer afford not to.
Why am I trading eating Ramen more than once in a while for a chance to read some short stories? Partly because I firmly believe that a writer needs to be, first, a reader. Partly because I want to make the transition from someone trying to break into this industry to someone who’s in this industry, and being well-informed as to current trends in genre fiction makes me a better publisher too.
Since I’m getting to read these magazines more regularly, I’m going to start reviewing them as I get to each one. First up: Lightspeed Magazine, Issue #27, which I read this week.
This month’s ebook-exclusive novella is “A Separate War” by Joe Haldeman, and I wish it wasn’t the first piece in the magazine. Because I loved Forever War, and read it more than once (including dissecting it for a class on Science Fiction in Literature), I was well aware of who the main character in this novella was, her connection to the novel, and what was going to end up happening to her. That was what pulled me out of an otherwise well-written novella in Haldeman’s classic military sf style: if you read the novel, and you remember who she is, you know where she’ll end up. This story, then, isn’t about sharing something new as much as it is about filling in a gap from a background character’s off-screen life. Probably fascinating to some people. I didn’t love it.
Next was an excerpt of Kitty Steals the Show, the “new Kitty Norville novel by bestselling author Carrie Vaughn”. It’s typical urban fantasy, starring a werewolf named Kitty (ha ha! get it?) and a horde of vampires and cute boys and leather pants. I tried to read it but ended up skipping over it.
Then came the feature interviews (which I’ll talk about at the end).
The first original short science fiction story of the month was “The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species” by Nebula and Hugo award-winning author Ken Liu.