Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Lights Go Out in Lychford, by Paul Cornell


(Modern Fantasy; Lychford) Autumn desperately tries to repair the barriers she accidentally dropped, but with Judith in the throes of dementia, she’s got no one to help her. And as Liz has discovered, something has already come through. (33,219 words; Time: 1h:50m)

This is the fourth novella in the Lychford Series, and you must read the earlier ones to make much sense out of this one. See related articles on

"The Lights Go Out in Lychford," by (edited by Lee Harris), published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Review: 2019.674 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Dialogue and narration are perfect, as in the other novellas in the series. Autumn, Liz, and Judith all behave in character. There are no technical issues with the story.

There’s a good bit of tension in the story, since, absent divine intervention, it looks like Judith is the only one with a hope of fixing this problem, and her dementia looks hopeless.

The way the various wishes are subverted is clever, although that’s just a very small part of the story.

In the end, Judith’s sacrifice is a worthy one, although it’s clear there are plenty of problems left to deal with.

Con: The story feels like an episode in a TV series. We knew nothing about these “devils” before this episode; they just popped out of thin air. Judith is the only one of our protagonists to accomplish anything this time; the other two just flail around, although Autumn does rescue them. Liz accomplishes nothing at all.

I never liked Judith very much—she’s not a likable character—so her sacrifice at the end wasn’t terribly moving for me.

Arguably, the story is incomplete; Picton mentioned her people were doing something in Faery, and Finn’s explosion at the end tells us they’ve been pretty effective there. But whatever it is, it’ll have to wait for the next installment.

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