written by David Steffen
My last list for this podcast was actually a combined list of The Best of Lightspeed and Fantasy podcasts, since both were under the editorship of John Joseph Adams and then the two magazines were consolidated into one. The consolidation is still called Lightspeed and publishes four stories on their podcast every month, two of them SF and two of them fantasy (there are more on the site in text, but those are not part of this list). Both Lightspeed and JJA continue to be popular as they have been for years, garnering award nominations. I expect it will only be a matter of time until Lightspeed wins some of those.
John Joseph Adams continues to edit the magazine, and the stories are good as ever. Cutting down the great stories to just a few was a brutal process.
1. The Battle of York by James Stoddard
How best to describe this. It is a myth written about the history of the USA based on half-heard fragments and scraps of memory by a person in the future after earthquakes have destroyed all the landmarks and EM has destroyed all the electronic records. It is over-the-top, bizarre, hilarious, yet tells a compelling story amongst it all. You’ve really got to read it just to see how it was done.
2. The Boy and the Box by Adam-Troy Castro
A boy has a box into which he has put the world. A good extension of the age-old “children would be scary if they had absolute power.”
3. Breathless in the Deep by Cory Skerry
Good action story about a pearl diver in a world where there is magic based around kraken ink.
4. A Fine Show on the Abyssal Plain by Karen Tidbeck
Another one that’s hard to explain. Very metafiction. Just read it.
5. Invisible Planets by Hao Jingfang
On the surface it’s a story describing fanciful and imaginative fantasy planets, but the format is used to work well into a broader story.
6. HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!! by Keffy R.M. Kehrli
Written as a Kickstarter campaign to fund a world takeover by a mad scientist, with everything you can imagine like stretch goals, donation levels with appropriate rewards, reasons why you should fund, interaction with the Kickstarter userbase. Very fun!
7. Alive, Alive Oh by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley
One of the more heartfelt stories I’ve read this year about a woman and her daughter on an off-Earth colony, and the reminiscences the woman has with her daughter about their old home.
Division of Labor by Benjamin Roy Lambert
Ragged Claws by Lisa Tuttle
Get a Grip by Paul Park