Lightspeed #95, April 2018

Friday, 27 April 2018 16:08 Kevin P Hallett
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Lightspeed #95, April 2018

What Is Eve?” by Will McIntosh

A Place Without Portals” by Adam-Troy Castro
The Elephants’ Crematorium” by Timothy Mudie
Nitrate Nocturnes” by Ruth Joffre

Reviewed by Kevin P Hallett

There are four original stories in the 95th issue of Lightspeed, two of which are novelettes.

What Is Eve?” by Will McIntosh

Twelve-year-old Ben is hand-picked to attend a special school in this SF novelette. At the school, he and several others discover they have a most unusual classmate named Eve.

Everything about Eve is alien. She is fast, strong, and extremely dangerous – not to mention hideous. But most importantly, she is young, angry, and misunderstood. Ben and his human classmates must draw Eve out, help her adjust in some way. Can they overcome their instinctive fear and revulsion to make a difference?

This story had a good pace to it, with a nice balance of mystery and danger throughout. An unusual and refreshing take on the first contact paradigm.

A Place Without Portals” by Adam-Troy Castro

This short fantasy takes place while a young woman sleeps. She wakes to discover it was all a dream. Her transportation through a mirror portal to another dimension, and her battle against the Dark Lord, it was all just a dream.

A slow story that had a single mystery and not enough tension to tease the reader’s interest.

The Elephants’ Crematorium” by Timothy Mudie

In Mudie’s SF short story, the end of the world has arrived thanks to the actions of some aliens. Earth’s survivors live in isolated pockets where things mysteriously no longer work. No human or beast has successfully borne a baby since the alien event seven years ago.

Liyana is trying yet again to have a baby. The father is a fellow researcher cutoff from his own wife and children for seven years. They are both in Kenya, studying the elephants that are self-immolating rather than having to face the end of their species. Can Liyana help human and beast alike find a new hope in the post-apocalypse world?

This was a nicely written story with just a touch of mystery to pull the reader through.

Nitrate Nocturnes” by Ruth Joffre

Fiona is waiting for her soulmate timer to reach zeros in this SF novelette. Everyone has a timer counting down the years, days and seconds until they meet their soulmate, the one they are destined to be with. Somewhere Fiona’s fantasy lover had her own timer spinning down to zero.

When Fiona’s timer began acting up, jumping forward and back no one knew why, it wasn’t something the doctors could explain. Suddenly Fiona’s timer showed just weeks to go. She prepared to meet her soulmate, but would the reality match the fantasy she built in her mind?

This was a well-crafted story that engaged the reader. At times the plot slowed, but the character development and intrigue kept it interesting.