Science Fiction & Fantasy

PERSONA by Genevieve Valentine


In This Issue: Feb. 2011 (Issue 9)


Editorial, February 2011

Welcome to issue nine of Lightspeed! On tap this month… Fiction: “Long Enough and Just So Long” by Cat Rambo, “The Passenger” by Julie E. Czerneda, “Simulacrum” by Ken Liu, “Breakaway, Backdown” by James Patrick Kelly. Nonfiction: “When the Chatbots Come to Greet Us” by Genevieve Valentine, “Feature Interview: “Digital Lifeforms” by Andrew Penn Romine, “Where’s My Holovision” by Jeff Hecht, and “Colonizing the Solar System in Four Easy Steps” by Nicholos Wethington.

Science Fiction

Long Enough and Just So Long

He talked about rain, about slow gray clouds and tearing nor’easters. Rain drumming on a tin roof versus its sound on slate. Fine spring mist and the hot rain that fell during drought, coin-sized and evaporating too quickly.

Long Enough and Just So Long by Cat Rambo

Artist Showcase

Artist Spotlight: Rowena Wang

The original character is a ghost who is specialized in examining and identifying antiques; she has the red and golden dress code, and she rides a purple, magically enchanted sword with symbols on it.


Best Lightspeed Magazine Story of 2010 Poll and Contest

Now that we’ve bid 2010 goodbye, it’s time to take a fond look back. We had an excellent year for fiction and many of our stories have been picked up for Best Of volumes. We’d like to give our readers the chance to tell us what their favorite stories are, though. You’re the reason we can keep publishing amazing stories, so you should get a say. Thus, our first annual Lightspeed Magazine Story Poll!

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Cat Rambo

This story is intended as a tribute to and retelling of Robert A. Heinlein’s YA short story, “The Menace From Earth,” in which a teen girl, Holly Jones of Luna City, loses and then regains her boyfriend.


When the Chatbots Come to Greet Us: Adventures in Algorithmic Intelligence (and Taunting)

We all know that eventually, inevitably, humanity is going to develop an AI smart enough to turn into an awkward child actor with feelings all his own.

Science Fiction

The Passenger

At last, one gave him a purpose to match the unknown one sending the aliens sliding past his prison day in, day out. It was a child’s box of markers.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Julie E. Czerneda

Can we trust what we see? If we do, and what we see is a lie, what terrible mistakes might we make? And what astonishing heights might we reach, even so?


Interview: Digital Lifeforms: Creating the Characters of Avatar & Tron: Legacy

Every year there are some films that push the boundaries of art and technology so far that they redefine our understanding of what “real” is.

Science Fiction


[A] photograph is not only an image (as a painting is an image), an interpretation of the real; it is also a trace, something directly stenciled off the real, like a footprint or a death mask. —Susan Sontag

Simulacrum by Ken Liu

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Ken Liu

I do think that children are especially hard on their parents. My theory is that because we are so similar to our parents, we see their weaknesses as magnified versions of our own failings (and hints that we may turn into versions of our parents some day).


Where’s My Holovision?

We’re not talking the fake 3D you saw in your ViewMaster toy, in comic books you read with red and green glasses, or at late-night horror movies. Leith and Upatnieks made holograms that projected light into space so you could look around it.

Science Fiction

Breakaway, Backdown

I had…have this friend, Elena, who could make a krill and tomato sandwich with her feet, but she had that operation that changes your big toe into a thumb. I used to kid her that maybe breakaways were climbing down the evolutionary ladder, not jumping off it.

Breakaway, Backdown by James Patrick Kelly

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: James Patrick Kelly

I decided to make it clear that one of the reasons why anyone would go to space, given that living there would lop years off one’s life span, is that life on Earth is much less attractive in the world of the story than it is in our world.


Colonizing the Solar System in Four Easy Steps

With that spark of manifest destiny helping to illuminate your path, there is no stopping you from pulling up stakes and heading out to any of the nearby worlds that are so seemingly destitute of life as we know it that they are practically begging to be colonized.