The Best of Lightspeed 2019

written by David Steffen

Lightspeed Magazine is the award-nominated science fiction magazine edited by John Joseph Adams, and their podcast is  produced by the excellent Skyboat Media.  They publish about half of the stories they publish in text.  They published about 48 stories in the podcast.

The stories eligible for the upcoming award season are marked with an asterisk (*), with novelettes eligible for the season marked with a double asterisk (**).

The List

1. “Hello, Hello” by Seanan McGuire, narrated by Justine Eyre
Great tech invention that revolves around a translation program that seamlessly translates a person’s language including body language into your native language so that you can’t even tell that they are not doing it (including, i.e., sign language)

2. “Her Appetite, His Heart” by Dominica Phetteplace, narrated by Paul Boehmer*
A man goes on a quest to find the woman he broke up with a year ago after having a revelation. But she is not as easy to find as he would hope.

3. “A Conch Shell’s Notes” by Shweta Adhyam, narrated by Stefan Rudnicki*
Everyone knows that everyone has a voice inside their head that lays out the great options of your life, but we never know what the voice is saying to other people.

4. “The Death of Fire Station 10” by Ray Nayler, narrated by Stefan Rudnicki*
Unlike most other buildings in the era of this story, Fire Station 10 was not born smart, it was only upgraded that way later. She has a special place in all of our hearts.

5. “Between the Dark and the Dark” by Deji Bryce Olukotun, narrated by Stefan Rudnicki**
We monitor our colonies out there for signs of degradation, including signs of cannibalistic tendencies, so that we can end a colony before it becomes a danger to them. Is it always as obvious a choice as it seems?

Honorable Mentions

“A Bad Day in Utopia” by Matthew Baker, narrated by Justine Eyre*

“A Hundred Thousand Arrows” by Ashok K. Banker, narrated by Stefan Rudnicki**

Award Recommendations 2018

written by David Steffen

Here are some recommendations for selected Hugo and Nebula categories. (Note that I’ve listed them in alphabetical order, rather than order of preference, and have listed more than the 5 ballot options when possible). I don’t think I’ve read any eligible novels this year, so that category is not represented.

Best Novella

“Umbernight” by Carolyn Ives Gillman, in Clarkesworld Magazine

Best Novelette

“A Love Story Written On Water” by Ashok K. Banker, in Lightspeed Magazine

“A World To Die For” by Tobias S. Buckell, in Clarkesworld Magazine

“The Last To Matter” by Adam-Troy Castro, in Lightspeed Magazine

“Dead Air” by Nino Cipri, in Nightmare Magazine

“Hapthorn’s Last Case” by Matthew Hughes, in Lightspeed Magazine

“The Fortunate Death of Jonathan Sandelson” by Margaret Killjoy, in Strange Horizons

“To Fly Like a Fallen Angel” by Qi Yue, translated by Elizabeth Hanlon, in Clarkesworld Magazine

“House of Small Spiders” by Weston Ochse, in Nightmare Magazine

“Thirty-Three Percent Joe” by Suzanne Palmer, in Clarkesworld Magazine

“Master Zhao: An Ordinary Time Traveler” by Zhang Ran, translated by Andy Dudak

Best Short Story

“After Midnight at the ZapStop” by Matthew Claxton, in Escape Pod

A Scrimshaw of Smeerps” by Shannon Fay, in Toasted Cake

“Variations on a Theme From Turandot by Ada Hoffman, in Strange Horizons

“Secrets and Things We Don’t Say Out Loud” by José Pablo Iriarte, in Cast of Wonders

“Octo-Heist in Progress” by Rich Larson, in Clarkesworld Magazine

“Hosting the Solstice” by Tim Pratt, in PodCastle

“Marshmallows” by D.A. Xiaolin Spires, in Clarkesworld Magazine

“The Death Knight, the Dragon, and the Damsel” by Melion Traverse, in Cast of Wonders

“Some Personal Arguments in Support of the BetterYou (Based on Early Interactions)” by Debbie Urbanski, in Strange Horizons

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form / Ray Bradbury Award

Ant-Man and the Wasp

The Incredibles 2

Kevin (Probably) Saves the World

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, for Nintendo Switch

A Wrinkle In Time