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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Lightspeed #107, April 2019

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Lightspeed #107, April 2019

The Archronology of Love” by Caroline M. Yoachim

The Seeds of War” by Ashok K. Banker
Gundark Island, or, Tars Tarkas Needs Your Help” by Mathew Corradi
A Conch-Shell’s Notes” by Shweta Adhyam

Reviewed by Kevin P Hallett

There are four original stories in the 107th issue of Lightspeed, one of which is a novelette.

The Archronology of Love” by Caroline M. Yoachim

Saki has come to New Mars to connect with her life’s love, MJ, in this SF novelette. MJ was part of a New Mars colony to explore an extinct ancient civilization that left behind a wonderous artifact, called the Chronicle, which constantly records history. Now she hopes to find images of MJ in the Chronicle and some clues as to what killed the entire colony.

Saki leads the investigation that explores the Chronicle, peeling back the layers of history. She sees ghostly images that remind her of MJ and she wonders if he has found a way to guide her from the grave.

This was a nicely structured, character-driven story, with enough mystery and intrigue to keep the reader fully engaged.

The Seeds of War” by Ashok K. Banker

King Virya has died childless, in this short fantasy, leaving the Krushan empire without a successor. Vrash, Virya’s half-brother, has sworn celibacy and will not be foresworn, leaving Jilana, Virya’s mother, seeking other ways to extend the Krushan lineage.

When Jilana decides to use a famous and pious priest, to sire an heir through Virya’s two wives, Vrash warns her that she must be careful, lest the priest become angered. Though Jilana does her best, the two wives are not as thoughtful, leading to bad outcomes.

This story continued the tale from ‘A Hundred Thousand Arrows’ and gave another look at a story in the style of Indian folklore. The prose was well structured, but the characters were one-dimensional.

Gundark Island, or, Tars Tarkas Needs Your Help” by Mathew Corradi

In Corradi’s short SF, a young boy is introduced to a rock his friend claims is the tip of a hibernating alien. Of course, the boy is a non-believer, at least until he watches Star Wars for the first time. Then the alien comes alive and the boy passes many summers fighting battles and learning the alien’s secrets.

But when boys grow up to be men, they discover that the weight of life crushes their imaginations. And it takes many years before a strange happenstance re-inflates the boy’s dreams and changes the direction of his life.

This was a nicely written story that held the readers attention. More of a coming of age plus rediscovery, than a hard SF story.

A Conch-Shell’s Notes” by Shweta Adhyam

A town has a sacred Conch-Shell that foretells the future in this unusual short fantasy. Always, the townsfolk must choose between two alternatives given by the Conch-Shell.

When the Conch-Shell determines the town will face a threat from a dragon in seven-years, it engages three romantically linked people with differing warnings. Each person must then decide between two paths. But does the foreteller treat each member of the love triangle equally?

The story was impossible to predict making for an intriguing and unusual tale.