Science Fiction & Fantasy

Beren & Luthien by J.R.R. Tolkien

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Jul. 2015 (Issue 62)

We have original science fiction by Carrie Vaughn (“Crazy Rhythm”) and Taiyo Fujii (“Violation of the TrueNet Security Act”), along with SF reprints by Tony Daniel (“Life on the Moon”) and Mary Robinette Kowal (“The Consciousness Problem”). Plus, we have something a little different this month. We’ll have fantasy reprints by Liz Williams (“Adventures in the Ghost Trade”) and William Alexander (“Ana’s Tag”), but instead of two original fantasy short stories, we have a single fantasy novelette by Andrea Hairston (“Saltwater Railroad”), which is about twice the length of a regular Lightspeed story. So, although you are getting three stories instead of four this month, the novelette is the length of two full-length short stories, so you’re still getting the same amount of fiction. We hope you enjoy this minor deviation from our usual offerings, and rest assured we will return to our regularly scheduled programming next month. All that plus spotlights on our authors and cover artist, as well as a feature interview with Kelly Link, and the latest installment of our book review column. For our ebook readers, we also have reprint of the novella “Dapple,” by Eleanor Arnason, and a pair of novel excerpts, including a selection from DARK ORBIT, by Carolyn Ives Gilman, and WYLDING HALL, by Elizabeth Hand.

In This Issue: Jul. 2015 (Issue 62)

Editorial

Editorial, July 2015

Check out the Editorial for all our news, updates, and a run-down of all this month’s content.

Science Fiction

Crazy Rhythm

George was about to declare his undying love for Annabell when the front of the train station fell over. Ross, the actor playing George, yelped and dashed away, his army cap flying off. Arlene — Annabell — merely put her hands on her hips and glared at the offending backdrop, a piece of dressed-up plywood that looked very much like the front of a train station, until it collapsed and revealed the braces behind it.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Carrie Vaughn

The introduction to “Crazy Rhythm” had me laughing out loud at both the antics on set and Margie’s casual efficiency. What is it about humor that invites readers into the story? You know, I’m not sure I know the answer to that. In this story, I’m relying quite a bit on well-established tropes of dictatorial […]

Fantasy

Adventures in the Ghost Trade

Detective Inspector Chen brushed aside the chaos on his desk and carefully lit a single stick of crimson incense. Smoke spiralled up into the air, contributing to the brown smear that marked the ceiling like a bloodstain immediately above Chen’s desk. Chen bent his head in a brief prayer, then picked up the photograph and held it over the stream of smoke. The girl’s face appeared by degrees, manifesting out of a dark background.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Liz Williams

I know so many women writers who are really struggling at the moment — who are excellent writers, but who never get the breaks or the recognition that men do. Once you’re over forty, it’s more or less as though you’re invisible, with a little blip when you die and everyone says ‘oh, wasn’t she wonderful!’ To redress this, I’m supporting women’s work where I can.

Science Fiction

Life on the Moon

Nell was skinny and wan. Her hair was brown, darkening to black, and her eyes were brown and sad. Henry did not understand why he loved her, for he had always considered himself a shallow man when it came down to it, with a head turned by shallow beauty and flashy teeth and eyes. Nell was a calm, dark pool. She was also probably the greatest artist of her generation.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Tony Daniel

It started off with the scene of a garden on the Moon popping into my mind. In my imagination, it was not a garden inside a habitat or on a terraformed lunar landscape, but a garden on the airless, lifeless surface. How could you do that? What would it look like? Why would you do that? And the story grew backward and forward from there.

Fantasy

Saltwater Railroad (Part 1)

Miz Delia’s Island was protected by deadly reefs on the Georgia/Florida side and nine hundred feet of jagged cliffs on the other. Indians called it Thunder Rock, a place where the wind and sea played rough and tumble. Spaniards named it Ghost Reef because of whirlpools, deadly fog, and wailing drowned folk who wouldn’t rest. English sailors claimed that Delia was a vengeful slave haint, howling demon talk and luring men to a bloody death.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Andrea Hairston

I wanted to do a story about pirates, Maroons, and Seminoles. I had an image of these folks getting on a boat and making their way to freedom. So after I started putting down notes for the story, I did research and found that what I imagined, Seminoles in the early 1800s did. I also had the pleasure of talking with historian Nicole Ivy, who pointed me toward the Ethiopian Leg Myth.

Nonfiction

Interview: Kelly Link

Kelly Link is the author of the story collections Stranger Things Happen, Magic for Beginners, and Pretty Monsters, as well as the founder, with her husband Gavin J. Grant, of Small Beer Press. A fourth collection of stories, GET IN TROUBLE, is out now from Random House.

Science Fiction

The Consciousness Problem

The afternoon sun angled across the scarred wood counter despite the bamboo shade Elise had lowered. She grimaced and picked up the steel chef’s knife, trying to keep the reflection in the blade angled away so it wouldn’t trigger a hallucination.
In one of the Better Homes and Gardens her mother had sent her from the States, Elise had seen an advertisement for carbon fiber knives. They were a beautiful matte black, without reflections.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Mary Robinette Kowal

I tend to sketch my stories out in a rough paragraph form before I start to write. This is something I call a thumbnail sketch, from back in my art school days. The specifics, those I tend to discover as I am writing. This story is a little unusual because it started from a very vivid dream in which my husband had a clone that killed himself. It was unsettling and, being a writer, I started to wonder why a clone would do that.

Fantasy

Saltwater Railroad (Part 2)

For the next few weeks Delia wrestled with hope. She walked the Island talking with Rainbow, who always lashed the tube to her back and stuffed cornbread in one pocket and a peach in another. Delia didn’t show Rainbow the hidden valley, just the inhospitable perimeter. An occasional ship passed in the distance. Nothing got close to the Island.

Nonfiction

Book Reviews: July 2015

Welcome back to the Lightspeed Review column! This month, I read THE THREE-BODY PROBLEM, by Cixin Liu; LAGOON, by Nnedi Okorafor; and AURORA, by Kim Stanley Robinson; and I was struck at how each novel used location and an awareness of ecological fragility in similar ways. Each book is set in a unique environment that’s outside of what I’m typically exposed to, and it’s interesting to see how each author teased out China, Nigeria, and the exoplanet Aurora (among other locations).

Science Fiction

Violation of the TrueNet Security Act

The bell for the last task of the night started chiming before I got to my station. I had the office to myself, and a mug of espresso. It was time to start tracking zombies. I took the mug of espresso from the beverage table, and zigzagged through the darkened cube farm toward the one strip of floor still lit for third shift staff, only me. Zombies are orphan Internet services. They wander aimlessly, trying to execute some programmed task.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Taiyo Fujii

Even with short stories, I design the plot as carefully as a standard-length novel. “Violation of the TrueNet Security Act” shares a background with my novel GENE MAPPER, so I only set up the drama for this short story. I enjoyed thinking the way Minami talks.

Fantasy

Ana’s Tag

Ana and Rico walked on the very edge of the road where the pavement slumped and crumbled. They were on their way to buy sodas, and there were no sidewalks. They made it as far as the spot where the old meat-packing factory had burned down when Deputy Chad drove up and coasted his car alongside at a walking pace. Ana was just tall enough to see the deputy through his car window and the empty space of the passenger seat.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: William Alexander

East Wells is a blend of several towns outside Philadelphia; FAR, far outside Philadelphia. These are tiny places with long traditions of hushed, whispered folklore about “gangs.”

Artist Showcase

Artist Showcase: Euclase

Euclase, also known by her real name Elicia Donze, was born in 1980 in Oil City, Pennsylvania. Euclase is a self-taught artist who has been drawing her favorite characters from films and television shows for over twenty-five years. As a child, she would drive her parents crazy by watching the same movies over and over again way too early on Saturday mornings, sometimes hitting pause on the VCR so she could sketch the characters right off the screen.