Lightspeed: Edited by John Joseph Adams

Latest Science Fiction Story

Four Years Minus Twelve Days

You knew from the beginning. You knew because the world knew about the intricate and fascinating life-cycle of the Svarrs, and it had been documented and discussed everywhere throughout the media endlessly. And you knew because Vo made sure you understood, before you married them. Four years is the bonding-period you get with a Svarr. Not quite four years, to be exact. Four years minus twelve days.

Latest Fantasy Story

The Ministry of Saturn

The town was not called Byzantium. The Ministry named it during the first meeting. “It’s not a colony,” Thomas James would have said if he could, but the office was hot and bright, the sun in the windows, in his eyes. He felt like he was surrounded by faceless figures even though there were only two other people in the room. The town they were talking about was located between worlds. The entrance was in the remains of Ooldea, out on the edge of The Nullarbor Plain.



Latest Nonfiction

Book Review: The Daughters of Izdihar by Hadeer Elsbai

Chris Kluwe says The Daughters of Izdihar by Hadeer Elsbai is the perfect read for anyone who loves political history mashed up with fantastical magical struggles. Find out why!

More Science Fiction Stories


“Who loves you?” I ask. My daughter looks away. Doesn’t answer. I lean down and turn her to face me, resting my thumb in the dimple in her chin. It’s the same dimple her mother has. Or had. “You love me, Daddy.” “That’s right, so please listen closely,” I say. She’s only nine, but Anya’s eyes are flat and black and hard to read in the dim light of the cave. “Only you can make our family whole again.” “But. Last time. I saw . . .”

One Pinch, Two Pinch

The Countess pinches space-stuff between her fingers, touching the cold curve that dips luxuriously around Jupiter. She imagines two marbles rolling across the fabric of space, skirting the indentations that gravity produces. This visualization helps her to pinch space precisely. One pinch, two pinch. She counts, pummeled by space dust, wishing she had never fallen into that black hole.

Contracting Iris

Iris is deep in an empty ocean, gray-green twilight fading to black everywhere she looks—and she can breathe. She’s a thousand feet above the ground, climbing a fractal cliff suffused with flickering veins of electricity—and she cannot. Iris is flat on her back at home in bed, and her right hand is moving. She lies there, staring straight up, not looking. Dim lozenges of light reach in through the window and play across the ceiling.

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Every Little Change

On the morning of her thirty-fifth birthday, Francesca awakes to the sound of a blip in the apartment kitchen. It’s 9:30 on a Saturday; good thing she has no responsibilities to drag her out of bed any earlier. No kids, no pets; not even any creative writing essays to grade. She putters around finding her slippers and pulling her tangled hair into a ponytail so that Jason has time to make a pot of coffee. Not that he drinks—or eats—anymore. But he’ll pretend, for her sake.

The Chosen Six

Dear Maryam: I had a dream last night. I guess it was our ancestors talking to me. Getting a clear view of them was tough—the only thing I saw was an amorphous image. I heard their voices, though, telling me to come for breakfast. I envisaged roasted beef marinated in a sauce with green vegetables as toppings, just the way Mama prepares it. Soon there was an aroma levitating like a UFO, calling out to me, enchanting me to its stronghold. I woke up wishing you were here.

Our Exquisite Delights

Almost everyone has, at some point in their lives, encountered a door that was not there before. A little girl sits up in bed, staring at the two identical closets in her bedroom. She feels certain there had been only one when she fell asleep. A salaryman on the subway blinks through his pre-coffee daze. The train is still in motion, but the doors have opened to an empty subway station he’s never seen before. The other passengers, eyes glued to their phones, don’t seem to notice.