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Lightspeed Magazine, June 2014: Women Destroy Science Fiction! Special Issue

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  668 ratings  ·  130 reviews
It could be said that women invented science fiction; after all, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is considered by many to be the first science fiction novel. Yet some readers seem to have this funny idea that women don’t, or can’t, write science fiction. Some have even gone so far as to accuse women of destroying science fiction with their girl cooties. So to help prove how si ...more
ebook, 556 pages
Published June 1st 2014 by Lightspeed Magazine (first published May 31st 2014)
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Jun 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, 2014
The Women Destroy Science Fiction! special issue of Lightspeed is so huge and so momentous it deserves to be reviewed as an anthology of sorts. A reaction to the notion that women are "destroying" SF merely by writing it and/or asking to be included in it, it was put together entirely by 109 women, who wrote, edited, proofed, drew, podcast, and whatever else you do to make something like this happen.

The goodness starts with the editorials, as the editor of each section gives her reasons for want
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Military mermaids.

Who else but Seanan McGuire could make that even remotely believable...and actually pull it off?
MrsJoseph *grouchy*
PLEASE NOTE: This review is much too long for the minscule space provided. Please see all reviews here:

Rating for the entire Anthology: 3.8 stars Rounded up to 4 Stars!

16-Nov-2017: Added the rest

Each to Each by Seanan McGuire – narrated by Cassandra Campbell 5 Stars!

Each to Each was such a wonderful experience. I have to say that I'm an audiobook novice but I'm starting to really understand how the narrator can m
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Some beautiful imagery of these modified Navy women doing their jobs underwater. At the same time, I felt anger in the narrator's voice, anger at the architects, so to speak, of the mods, and at the restrictions of the women's lives. Some intriguing ideas in this short about a possible future.
Lis Carey
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: f-sf, fiction
Steampunk Holmes!

Gearlock Holmes is an "amalgamated person," what we in less enlightened times than Holmes' might call a robot, or a droid. He's been retired to the countryside for some time now, raising bees, but when a crisis arises, he sends for his old friend, Dr. Watson.

The crisis is that his housekeeper, Mrs. Hudson--also an amalgamated person--has been taken into custody for the murder of one of Holmes' guests.

It's a neat little mystery, and both the characteristics and the legal standing
I loved it. The writing was lyrical and wry simultaneously. There is a quiet dawning horror to the whole situation. I almost gave it 5 stars but I needed just a little more emotional payoff from the ending.

The Goodreads' blurb says "flash fiction" but it's a good 10 pages and located in the "short story" section of Lightspeed June 2014. This story has both feet solidly in science fiction, but if you like fantasy, too, I'd recommend another of her short works, The Isthmus Variation, available to
mad mags
If the apocalypse comes, beep me.

This special double issue of Lightspeed magazine is easily one of my all-time favorite science fiction collections – and not just because it was written, edited, and illustrated (etc.) entirely by women (109 women, to be precise, not counting the one thousand ladies+ who submitted stories!). The writing isn’t merely solid, but oftentimes downright spectacular – and at just $3.99, it’s practically a steal.

Many of the short stories are worth the purchase price by t
Dec 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: mostly-read
The rationale behind compiling this special issue of Lightspeed receives a telling summary in Pat Murphy's essay "Illusion, Expectation and World Domination through Bake Sales":

When I wrote about Bob and his mom, I based the story on a classic puzzle: A boy and his father are in a car crash and the father is killed instantly. The boy is airlifted to the best hospital in the area and prepared for emergency surgery. The surgeon rushes into the operating room, sees the boy, and says, “I can’t opera
I really, really wanted to love this, but overall this special edition of Lightspeed is just OK.

The best stories here are reprints: Tiptree's haunting "Love is the Plan, the Plan is Death", Eleanor Arnason's charming take on Bashō, "Knapsack Poems" (although this strikes me more as fantasy than science fiction), and Maureen McHugh's novella "The Cost to Be Wise", which would eventually be expanded into her fine novel, 'Mission Child'.

None of the new work is anywhere near as strong but the openi
I only read the "fresh" stories or rather listened to them, maybe I'll get back to the older ones at some other time. Overall I enjoyed the stories.

While I enjoyed a lot of these stories - some more than others - I find a distinct difference from the type of Science Fiction I most enjoy. I think I missed the original controversy that led to this special issue being published. I thought it was to showcase women that write SF. But to me this feels as if all these SF stories were written by someon
Kara Babcock
I actually don’t read Lightspeed all that much, so it’s hard for me to evaluate this special edition in that context. All I can say is that this is packed full of good content. In addition to original stories there are reprints, some good flash fiction (one of which is my all-time favourite of the volume), non-fiction discussions and essays, and a novel excerpt. It’s good times.

I didn’t like every, or maybe even most, of the original short stories. I’m starting to think that’s probably a good th
Stephen Richter
This was hit and miss, but it might also mean some stories needed to be read in a different mood than the one I am currently in. So the ones that were " are we not evil to each other ?" I was not in the mood for. Still a worthy set of authors giving their unique view on the future.
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A little while back I was thinking that most of the scifi I've read recently is written by men, and a lot of it contains strains of mysogyny, often so subtle that it seems like the author may not have even realized it was there. This was triggered in particular on a review I saw on here of one of the things on my to read shelf saying it could have been a really interesting exploration of gender in an alien society but the author was unable to get past his own cultural stereotypes to truly imagin ...more
A.K. Lindsay
Jun 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Instead of reviewing the issue as a whole, I would like to talk about the story which I consider the star of the issue: Vanessa Torline's #TrainFightTuesday. Please note that my five-star rating reflects her story, not the issue as a whole, as it contained others I enjoyed less.

#TrainFightTuesday is a wonderful experiment in format. It is a series of tweet-length messages on a made-up social platform, interspersed with private messages. As a Twitter addict, I loved the format because it made the
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sheila by: MrsJoseph *grouchy*
Thank you MrsJoseph for your short yet concise review of this short story that encouraged me to read it myself.

Strong woman, strong woman who are made "something else" in their service to the government, strong woman who become "something else" beyond what I feel their government ever planned. It is a short story, so if you are intrigued it can be read for free online.

I have to admit I was also intrigued after reading it to learn that the author, Seanan McGuire also writes as well known horror
I don't know if I'll ever read enough of this 500+pp 'magazine' to call it 'read.' There are a lot of non-fiction items, author interviews, etc., that I may never even try.

However, the original short fiction is mostly wonderful. I especially keep coming back to Seanan McGuire's short "Each to Each", which is about a US Navy program to genetically and surgically modify women to serve on deep-water submarines.

The ebook is only $3.99 at AmazonUS.
MrsJoseph *grouchy*
As I mentioned in my audio book review, this special edition begs you to get the DTB edition. WHY? There are TONS of [non-fiction] essays and interviews in the paper edition. This is something I am excited to read.
'Nathan Burgoine
Reviews of individual stories will pop up on my blog under this tag. ...more
Jun 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What about this issue isn't awesome? Lots of original fiction (short stories and flash), author spotlights, non-fiction, and essays, written and put together by women. We destroy science fiction very well, thank you! Favorites among the short stories: Seanan McGuire's story, "Each to Each", about genetically engineered "mermaids" on navy subs; N.K Jemisin's "Walking Awake," a kind of response to Heinlein's Puppetmasters; Charlie Jane Anders' "The Unfathomable Sisterhood of Ick," kind of like the ...more
It took me three months to read this. I have notes on most of the stories and many of the essays, but my body never cooperated enough to be allow me to b strong enough write the very long review. But the heart of it was that it's a super collection of stories and essays. It was surprised at how much I enjoyed the non-fiction, it wasn't dry, it wasn't boring, it was easy to read, interesting, stirring or moving. And most of the stories were really quite good and a few were great. And it's HUGE! H ...more
Dorothee Lang
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-books
Published by Lightspeed Magazine, this is an all-women-author scifi and fantasy collection, inspired by a troubling aspect of the scifi writing / reader scene: that there are readers, fellow authors and editors who think women don’t belong to the sci-fi scene, that women and the “softer” themes they write about “destroy” sci-fiction. No matter that the classic first sci-fi novel was Frankenstein, which happened to be written by a woman: Mary Shelley. But maybe it would be too idealistic to expec ...more
John Carney
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
It's been quite a while since I've read any science fiction short story, and it looks like a couldn't have picked a better compendium with which to revisit the form. This is an excellent collection of speculative fiction - stories that aren't so much about distant or future worlds as they are about the people that inhabit them. In addition to the stories themselves there are interesting interviews with the authors.

Reading "Women Destroy Science Fiction" gave me the same heady rush as I would get
G.G. Silverman
HOLY SH*T. This anthology is utterly amazeballs. Literally the best collection of short fiction I have ever read. All the stories were written by women, in an effort to level the science fiction playing field and give more female authors a voice. And these ladies did not disappoint. They brought it.

I borrowed this from a friend, but I will buy my own copy because I don't think I can live without it. Especially the interviews and feminist resources at the back.

Mind blown.

Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Over the past few years, there has been a series of ‘XXXXX Destroy Science Fiction’ anthologies, but this is the first one I have read. While the title may smack of too much ‘I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar’, the anthology was quite balanced with characters of all genders, action and contemplation, mystery and exploration, happy endings and not-so happy endings. Most of the stories had some real meat on them, including several of the flash fiction tales, giving me something to chat about over tea. Some ...more
Anita Fajita Pita
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
What a heavyweight compilation of amazing sci-fi authors. While some people may be looking for 'proof' that women can write sci-fi (who are you people?) I will be enjoying this decadent feast of sci-fi minis gathered together for me. I thank you, editors and contributors.

Each to Each, Seanan McGuire. Women in the military and deep sea exploration make for another horror sci-fi a la military genetic modifications by Seanan McGuire. And yes, here, there be mermaids. McGuire mermaids, not the Disn
Julie  Capell
Great collection! I love that it includes not only short stories but also bios of many female scifi authors and a few photos of works by artists. I had never read any of the short stories before, although a few are reprints. There was not a bad story among them; here are my faves:

- Each to each by Seanan McGuire (A different take on mermaids)
- A word shaped like bones by Kris Millering (great twist at end)
- Walking awake by N.K. Jemisin (considers a genre trope--the problem of living forever--an
Jun 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'Women don't write real science fiction.' 'That isn't what a story written by a woman should be like.' 'If women try to write science fiction they will just destroy it.'

Many things out there seem to be an all-male's club (or predominantly so). It kinda boggles my mind that statements like those above were ever tossed around in the field - or that they even are still today. Compared to the past there are a lot of women science fiction writers out there, as this collection testifies. Part of any i
Philip Shade
Jan 19, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Anthologies are always a bit hit and miss for me. There were some really good ones, some mediocre ones, and one long one I skipped most of. As an audiobook it's good for commuting.
Jan 05, 2016 rated it liked it
ORIGINAL SHORT STORIES — edited by Christie Yant

Each to Each by Seanan McGuire *** - Military mermaids. I'm not a fan of anything military, but this was interesting.

A Word Shaped Like Bones by Kris Millering***-Interesting look at the future of art and how selling or not selling is seen as a sign of accomplishment at different times.

Cuts Both Ways by Heather Clitheroe****-Great concept and well told. Modified humans work to predict future outcomes, in particular in relation to security issues.

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