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Review: Lightspeed April 2016 Science Fiction Stories

Cause for a Haunting by Patricia Strand

This story will haunt me, not in a terrifying way (because I have had that). The mystery, the complex relationships the protagonist has with her husband and her child, and then the haunting nature. This story reminded me a lot of Beloved (because of the supernatural type of elements) and “The Yellow Wallpaper” (the protagonist’s struggle with society and her husband’s opinion of her), both excellent and hard hitting pieces of writing. The protagonist has such strength and ability to describe her complicated relationships to her partner and motherhood. What was interesting to me was how little typical science fiction elements this story had in it. It showed me how much I assume when I see the genre reading of science fiction and what types of characters and story elements I am expecting. These preconceptions made me look around the corners always expecting that element and so taught me a valuable lesson in the true fluidity of the genre.

The Birth Will Take Place on a Mutually Acceptable Research Vessel by Matthew Bailey

This story just hit me right between the eyes. There is so much worth talking about going on in the story: cultural (in)sensitivity (and the challenges stemming from this), an expectant mother’s acceptance of her motherhood, and a couple’s individual struggle. I absolutely loved this short story due to the depth of the main character, the world building, and the other characters (they were all so complex in the end). I would love to know the before and after for this story because, while the story line may be a common one (unprecedented and slightly taboo love story resulting in a child which could unite two different parties), the world and characters set this story apart. They are rich and intricate, living in such a different, but fascinating world. My favorite moment was when the mother needed to assert her right to her child and motherhood (I almost yelled a congratulatory woohoo out loud). Because of this moment, this story resonated with me in so many ways (a woman’s difficulty claiming her own body and child, and a couple’s challenges navigating different cultures, to name a few). That’s what I love about science fiction is that it really is about these beautiful stories that touch you…that just happen to occur in space with aliens.

This sure was a lot about mothers, huh?

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