Review: Lightspeed #104, January 2019

Lightspeed #104, January 2019


Original Fiction:

  • “With Teeth Unmake the Sun” by A. Merc Rustad (fantasy novelette)
  • “Midway” by Tony Ballantyne (science fiction short story)
  • “Son of Water and Fire” by Ashok K. Banker (fantasy novelette)
  • “Endor House” by Meg Elison (fantasy short story)

A man traveling the galaxy has reached the “Midway” point on his life’s journey and is having second thoughts about the wisdom of his path. Then he meets a human for the first time in a long time and she helps him come to a decision. Though I think it’s the right decision, this is talky, didactic, and the milieu is not believable. “Endor” is one of two “tabloid weird” stories and delivers a double shot as it’s actually told by a time-traveling tabloid-like reporter who’s interviewing a son taking over a conservative father’s business and boldly moving to market magic to scientific worlds. “Teeth” is the more severe case of conflation and is one of two “series” novelettes in this issue (“Sun Lords of the Principality”). In this tale of lupine bondage, a wolf plays the good soldier and eats worlds to screw with the Sun Lords at the behest of Thousand-Star-Eyed Wolf and texts with his/her human lover before coming to a belated understanding. “Water” is the other series tale (“Legends of the Burnt Empire”) in which Lightspeed gets rather Tor-like in using “short fiction” to advertise books. This picks up with the previous installment’s surviving son playing in the river until he’s taken to Coldheart Mountain to learn some things off-stage before being deposited near his father to be the next Super King though the long story, being just a middle, pauses before anything happens.