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January 1, 2013

Lightspeed Magazine - For Those With Fantastical Tendencies

Yes, I realize this is the October issue.
I liked the art. So sue me.
E-books and e-magazines are becoming the wave of the future. While many outlets are available in multiple formats to please all reading types, magazines exclusively available online are becoming more and more popular. It saves on printing costs, among a host of other benefits.

Lightspeed is one of those exclusively online magazines. You can read many of the stories for free on their web site, but subscriptions are available through Amazon and many other means. This will get you all of the stories at once at the beginning of the month, rather than scattered throughout the month. It will also get you some exclusives that aren't available on the site. One of the first things I did when I first had my new Kindle Fire was to get a subscription.

It also is a mix of old and new, as they have managed to find some classic stories to publish in addition to highlighting new authors and stories. They've recently merged with Fantasy magazine to encompass both Fantasy and Science Fiction, which makes me happy (I'm a big fantasy fan).

I first became familiar with Lightspeed magazine after V-Con #36, the annual science fiction convention up here in Vancouver. I met author Sandra Wickham there, which led to me eventually following her Twitter feed, and then seeing that she was a slush reader for Lightspeed ("slush" basically just means unsolicited story manuscripts that a number of people involved with the magazine read to see if they would recommend publishing them).

I hadn't really hit the e-book phenomenon at that time yet, so didn't think much of it. It was interesting, and a potential new market to look at if I ever got up off my ass and wrote something, but that was about it.

Then Lightspeed: Year One hit, the first (I assume it will be annual) anthology of every story to have appeared in the magazine during their first year of publication. Watch for my review of the book to show up tomorrow, as I just realized I never posted it here.

Suffice to say, it gripped me enough that I didn't want to wait for each anthology.

Yet for some reason, I didn't bite the bullet and subscribe. Perhaps it was a misunderstanding on my part that the magazine would have a few more graphics than it actually does (namely, it has none that I can see), and thus I didn't want to get it when I had the old basic Kindle where pictures don't come across at all well.

Whatever the reason, while I wanted to do it, I just didn't.

I've now rectified that.

It's a steal at $2.99/issue ($3.99 if you buy issues separately, still not a bad price). Even better, you don't pay the subscription in one lump sum. You pay $2.99/month, not $36/year. Makes the hit seem better when it shows up on your credit card statement.

Not to mention that the first issue is a free trial, so you can cancel if you want.

What's not to like?

I've now finished my first issue (December 2012, Issue #31), and I have to say I loved it.

Stories by Marta Randall, Ken Liu, Yoon Ha Lee, and many others. A great interview with Tad Williams. The only story I didn't read was Kelly Link's "Catskin," and that's not because I didn't like it or don't like her writing. I've just read it so many times that I didn't want to read it again this time. (Yes, it's one of the reprints)

I'm looking forward to keeping up my subscription and receiving 80,000 to 85,000 words of wonderful fantasy and science fiction downloaded to my Kindle every month.

It will be like a birthday every month.

I highly recommend Lightspeed magazine. With one month free to try it, how can you go wrong?


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