The Best of Lightspeed Magazine Podcast 2018

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 49stories in 2017.

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

The List

1.“Under the Sea of Stars” by Seanan McGuire*
The tale of an expedition to find the truth about a family legacy.

2.“The Quiltbag” by Ashok K. Banker*
The sort of story where you’re trying to figure out what’s going on until the end.

3.“The Streets of Babel” by Adam-Troy Castro*
Cities roam the wilderness scooping up outcasts and incorporating them into themselves.

4.“Hapthorn’s Last Case” by Matthew Hughes**
Another in the Kaslo Chronicles series, this one a mystery story.

5.“A Love Story Written on Water” by Ashok K. Banker**
A tale of immortal beings sent to be born into humans bodies in the mortal world.

Honorable Mentions

“From the Root” by Emma Törzs*

“The Last To Matter” by Adam-Troy Castro**

“What is Eve?” by Will McIntosh

The Best of StarShipSofa 2011

written by David Steffen

Well, StarShipSofa is still StarShipSofa. I said what I thought last year, and nothing much has changed, so I’ll just say “ditto”.Â

Forty-nine episodes this year, with (by my count) 58 stories.ÂÂ On to the list!

1. That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made by Eric James Stone
This story is great, starring a Mormon missionary in space, interacting with aliens who live in the heart of suns. So many great ideas, very well written, great stuff.

2. The Gurnard by Neal Asher
A very strange world with strange, altered evolution. Lots of good SF ideas and philosophy on a very bizarre alien world.

3. A Clown Escapes From Circus Town by Will McIntosh
Will has a knack for coming up with strange and compelling worlds. This one starts off with the event mentioned in the title, a clown escaping from Circus Town, but this is no ordinary circus, no ordinary world, and he soons discovers this as he explores and finds the other super-specialized villages through the land, and finds the nature of their shared existence.

4. Her Acres of Pastoral Playground? by Mike Allen
A very enjoyable cosmic horror story. Everything seems normal at first, but it soon becomes clear that there’s something wrong with this reality.

5. Frankenstein, Frankenstein by Will McIntosh
Hey, look, Will McIntosh again! Apparently I like Mr. McIntosh’s writing. this is very enjoyable, taking place around the turn of the 20th century including the World Fair where Nicola Tesla put on his great electric light display. An ordinary man with a bolt through his head has been passing himself off as Frankenstein’s monster in a roadside freak show. On his way to the World’s Fair, he runs into another freak show also claiming to have Frankenstein’s monster.

6. Raft of the Titanic by James Morrow
The first part of this story is really great. It starts off true to history, with the Titanic clashing with the iceberg and beginning the tragic sinking of the great cruise ship. From that point, it diverges greatly from history, and actually proposes a way in which most of the passengers could have survived. The plan actually seems plausible, though I don’t know the science well enough to confirm it. What starts out as a amazing alt-history beginning gradually stretches out and out and out and gets less and less plausible until it has morphed from a serious and compelling alt-hist to something more like a farce. If it had started as a farce, that would have been one thing, but the shift from one style of story to another made the whole thing much weaker than either part would’ve been. Still, this story is worth listening to even just for the first part.