Posts Tagged ‘Lightspeed’

Yes, we’re back with some of the best the web had to offer in May and June:

From Scigentasy: “Gravity Well” A.J. Fitzwater. Gravity says: you crazy broads. Gaia’s embrace is too strong. What of your wayward suns? And how many tampons do you need between here and the moon anyway? I love the frenetic everything about this very short story.

From Tor.com: “Waters of Versailles” by Kelly Robson. Annette giggled. “Your pipes are weeping, monsieur.” Viva la novella! Seriously, this utterly charming alt-historical fantasy is the perfect argument for why this form belongs in genre publications.

From Strange Horizons: “Post-Apocalyptic Toothbrush” by Betsy Ladyzhets. Egads! A poem?! Just enjoy it, friends.

From Lightspeed: “Emergency Repair” by Kate M. Galey. Queers Destroy Science Fiction! is here! And you should indeed read and/or listen to all of the stories, but this one by newcomer Galey is just all sorts of lovely and wonderful.

From Escape Pod“Beyond the Trenches We Lie” by A. T. Greenblatt. This morning, the Globs are waiting for us, just like always. Despite what the official propaganda shows, we, this little band of ragged soldiers, don’t even bother to line up anymore. My preferred flavor of military sci-fi.

From Daily Science Fiction: “The Pixie Game”  by Anna Zumbro. Jack puts his face close to the leaves and sticks out his tongue. Gage sees a rustle and a flash of green, then a tiny figure clinging to the tip of Jack’s tongue before it retracts. Gross but somehow also very poignant? Go figure.

From Glittership: “King Tide” by Alison Wilgus. Some particular trick of the moon, the weather, and the Earth’s closeness to the sun had pulled the tide all the way to 5th Avenue, a good half-block further uphill than usual. Wilgus also writes/draws comics and is generally awesome.

From Uncanny Magazine: “Young Woman in a Garden” by Delia Sherman. When Theresa finally found La Roseraie at the end of an unpaved, narrow road, she was tired and dusty and on the verge of being annoyed. For those of you who like a little art history with your speculative fiction.

Happy reading everyone! Tell me your recommendations in the comments!

Yes, we’re back with some of the best the web had to offer in March and April:

From Nightmare: “Ishq” by Usman T. Malik. The open sewerage ravine near Mochi Gate slowly began to fill up with wet leaves, bird nests, shopping bags, old shoes, and Hashim sat by the dead girl, waiting, waiting. Beautifully eerie piece about grief, love, and illness.

From Pseudopod: Flash on the Borderlands XXIV: Femmes Fatales. There’s a little something for everyone in this trio of flashes. Nice change of pace, too.

From Podcastle: “The Specialist’s Hat” by Kelly Link. One of my absolutely favorite Link stories and read just perfectly.

From Apex: “Silver Buttons All Down His Back” by A.C. Wise. It’s just past dawn; the sleek lines of the rocket stand against a sky silvering from deep blue to almost-white where it touches the horizon. The moon is a slim crescent, grinning. I adored this story set in the not-too-distant future which explores the ways it which we hurt each other–especially when we’re expecting to be hurt ourselves.

From Daily Science Fiction: “Robo-rotica” by Sarina Dorie.  The title probably says it all. Laughed so hard I cried.

From Lightspeed: “The New Atlantis” by Ursula K. LeGuin. Delicately and easily, the long curving tentacle followed the curves of the carved figure, the eight petal-limbs, the round eyes. Did it recognize its image?  Does LeGuin still have it, you might be wondering? Damn right she does.

From Strange Horizons: “City of Salt” by Arkady Martine. I am the jackal gnawing on the bones of the city; I am the city, being devoured. I stayed. I earned it. Truly unusual, as well as richly imagined and vividly told.

From Lackington’s: “Ambergris, or The Sea-Sacrifice” by Rhonda Eikamp. The sound was the world, the world’s horn, commanding, the conch-shell that held them all in its whorls and would never let them go until they had drowned in life. Gorgeous and original fairy tale about a father and his powerful daughter.

From The Golden Key: “Water Lily Monster” by Anne Lacy. Often the first story in an issue is quite good, but this one just hits it out of the park. Had me at the first line: When night comes, the crocodil mamma rises to the surface and wakes her goblin babes.

From Shimmer: “You Can Do It Again” by Michael Ian Bell. Beautifully told tale with a striking, almost frenetic pace that provides a unique look at grief, regret, and the inability to let go.

From Clarkesworld: “Postcards from Monster Island” by Emily Devenport. If you love GodzillaKing KongPacific Rim, etc., you’ll dig this story.

From GlitterShip: “How to Become A Robot in 12 Easy Steps” by A. Merc Rustad. A thoughtful meditation on the nature of identity, sexuality, and depression. With robots.

Happy reading everyone! Tell me your recommendations in the comments!

That’s right–in addition to periodic “Watch it Now” posts, at the end of every month, I’ll also collate some of the best online speculative fiction reads for your enjoyment. These will include flash fiction, short fiction, novellas, and novelettes from science fiction, horror, fantasy, and everything in between. They will always be free publications, although I encourage you to support them if you can.

Of course, I have my favorites when it comes to venues, so if you have a recommendation from another source, please don’t hesitate to share.

For February, I suggest the following 7 works for your enjoyment:

From Lightspeed“And the Winners Will Be Swept Out to Sea” by Maria Dahvana Headley. I am not afraid of monsters. I’ve never been afraid of monsters. I’m afraid of love. The prose here is frenetic and gorgeous. I also encourage you to listen to the audio version!

From Escape Pod: “The Evening, The Morning and the Night” by Octavia Butler. Technically the story is a much older one (from 1987) but is it ever a bad idea to revisit Butler, especially when she’s read so brilliantly?

From Strange Horizons: “Limestone, Lye, and the Buzzing of Flies” by Kate Heartfield. No—that is the wrong memory. That didn’t happen. Not to me. A truly unsettling and unique tale.

From Daily Science Fiction: “Marking Time” by Stephanie Burgis. Everyone’s lives are made of moments. Beautifully wrought magical realist meditation on regret.

From Jersey Devil Press: “The Nature of Johnny’s Medicine” by Sloan Thomas. I trust in my destiny as much as anyone around . . . maybe more. There’s a wonderful subtleness to this one.

From The Dark Magazine: “In the Dreams Full of Sleep, Beakless Birds Can Fly” by Patricia Russo. Better a child with wings and a beak, better a child that flew away, than one who never grew, who wasted away and died. Heartbreaking and lovely. Amazing what you could with dialogue and silences.

From Apex Magazine: “The Best Little Cleaning Robot in All of Faerie” by Susan Jane Bigelow. When everybody on the bridge of the interstellar mercenary cruiser Zinnia fell into a magic sleep… Hilarious and different and obviously it gets you at the first line.

Happy reading everyone! Tell me your recommendations in the comments!

We’re back with the gift guides! Get your ideas for fantasy and science fiction in today’s The Girl Who Loved Zombies doubleheader.

santa-time-lord

What’s the best present for your favorite Trekkie? What do you buy the aspiring Viper pilot who has everything? How many lightsabers can one person possibly own? My suggestions:

  1. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy coaster set.
  2. The Battlestar Galatica mug we all need for Monday mornings.
  3. This “Don’t Forget to Be Awesome” shirt in Gallifreyan.
  4. Star Trek Catan.
  5. Their very own (tiny) Delorean.
  6. Lock In  by John Scalzi.
  7. Season One and Two of Orphan Black.
  8. A subscription to Lightspeed.
  9. Starfleet cufflinks.
  10. This Wheatley Laboratories messenger bag.
  11. The Dancing Groot bobblehead. (I’ll take two, thanks.)
  12. Chicks Dig Time Lords Queers Dig Time Lords.
  13. Robot and Frank / Moon Safety Not Guaranteed.
  14. This official NASA shuttle tie.

Yesterday, I finally sat down and watched Contagion. The movie was so-so and not something I’d discuss here anyway, but it did contain that zinger of a line above. Possibly, the only moment of really decent writing in the whole film and it felt totally discordant, probably because it is so sharp.

And then, Lightspeed posted this brilliantly thorough interview with Mira Grant–aka Seanan McGuire–the lady responsible for the Newsflesh trilogy. (If you like zombies and political thrillers, you really, really ought to read them.) Of course, Grant deals with the development of blogging heavily in her novels. Bloggers are the new journalists, which isn’t quite true in Contagion yet, but it gets there. What’s interesting in both cases is that catastrophic events (basically, two epidemics) catapult blogging into the realm of “serious journalism.”

Now, you’ll probably argue, isn’t that already true? Huffington Post is basically one giant blog, and then there are the Gawker websites (Jezebel, io9, Lifehacker, etc). Don’t half of us already get most of our news from Twitter and Youtube?

Grant admits that when she wrote Feed, blogging hadn’t reached the level of ubiquity it has today. Regardless, I think her novels (and Contagion in its own ham-handed way) raise some interesting questions about the blogosphere and journalistic integrity.

After all, anyone with an internet connection (fast or slow) can be a blogger. Obviously, all you need is a wordpress account and enough time. Most blogs don’t have the mainstream appeal we see in these fictional accounts, but there are some people (including Grant/McGuire) who have quite an impressive following.

Now I’m not a huge fan of mainstream media, especially the 24-hour news cycle, but you can make the argument that among journalists there’s professional accountability for bad reporting. The different networks are constantly ragging on each other for misrepresentation, etc. You can usually say the same of news websites (although I’ve seen some unabashedly poorly reported stuff on Huffpost). But where does accountability in blogging come from?

It’s kind of exciting and terrifying, because accountability comes from the readership. If I find faulty information on a blog, information without sources, or just grossly biased material, I’m probably not going to go back to that blog. The internet is huge–there’s plenty else for me to read. So, you can make an argument for a truly democratic process. More successful blogs get more readers, more readers make the blogs more successful, ad infinitum.

But this doesn’t account for the kind of internet frenzy that happens around mimetic material. Kony 2012 is probably one of the most famous recent examples. Yes, the group’s misleading claims were eventually brought to light by several interested individuals, but a fair bit of damage had already been done. Thousands of young people had given money to support a group they didn’t actually know very much about.

And if the situation were even more serious, as it is in Contagion for example, how do we create accountability then? And how do we protect the online community from people who would mislead us for their own gain?

Just one of the many ways we’re living science fiction, folks.

What are your thoughts on the ethics of blogging? How do you verify what you read online?