Science Fiction & Fantasy

PERSONA by Genevieve Valentine


In This Issue: July 2011 (Issue 14)


Editorial, July 2011

Welcome to issue fourteen of Lightspeed! Here’s what we’ve got on tap this month … Fiction: “The Cold Equations” by Tom Godwin, “The Old Equations” by Jake Kerr, “Sweet Sixteen” by Kat Howard, “Face Value” by Karen Joy Fowler. Nonfiction: “The Cold Legacies” by Mike Brotherton, “The First Step to Enlightenment is Abject Failure” by Jeff Hecht, “The Superpowered Potential of Epigenetics” by Ekaterina Sedia, “Feature Interview: Mary Doria Russell” by Kat Howard.

Artist Showcase

Artist Spotlight: Maurizio Manzieri

The world turned digital some years ago, but I like to be in touch with pencils and paper during the preparatory phase. A few strolls in the lush woods surrounding my studio help definitely!

Science Fiction

The Cold Equations

There could be no alternative—but it required a few moments of conditioning for even an EDS pilot to prepare himself to walk across the room and coldly, deliberately, take the life of a man he had yet to meet.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Tom Godwin

The Cold Equations” was originally published in Astounding Magazine in 1954, and was Godwin’s fourth published story.


The Cold Legacies

Just as a single important equation in physics can hold a myriad of solutions and describe a dazzling array of behavior, so too a sufficiently rich story.

Science Fiction

The Old Equations

I miss you already. But you know that. What you don’t know is just how proud I am of you. You were born for this, and no one could possibly be able to handle such a demanding job as well as you.

The Old Equations by Jake Kerr

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Jake Kerr

We all face loss, and we all face how cold and harsh reality can be at times. To see or feel that this is shared by all of us is powerful, even through as simple a vehicle as a science fiction story.


The First Step to Enlightenment is Abject Failure

Philosophers like to think science works in an orderly way, in which scientists propose hypotheses, conduct experiments to validate their ideas, then emerge triumphantly from the laboratory to publish their results. Sometimes that happens.

Science Fiction

Sweet Sixteen

When it came time for her restructuring on her sixteenth birthday, she was going to walk into the room, and ask to be made a Tiffany.

Sweet Sixteen by Kat Howard

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Kat Howard

One of my colleagues wrote about was the idea of “requickening,” which, to vastly oversimplify, was the thought that by taking on a saint’s name, a convert also took on a part of that saint’s identity.


The Superpowered Potential of Epigenetics

In the past few years, something very exciting happened in the field of human genetics: After decoding the human genome, scientists began to realize that the old paradigm of genes as the sole player of inheritance had to be modified.

Science Fiction

Face Value

When they had their backs to him he could see the symmetrical arrangement of dark spots which marked their wings in a pattern resembling a human face. A very sad face, very distinct.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Karen Joy Fowler

I usually start a story believing I’m writing about one thing. But as the story unwinds, I usually find, a couple pages in, that I’m actually writing about something else entirely.


Interview: Mary Doria Russell

What does it mean to be human in a large and frightening and beautiful universe? That’s an immense question, and there are many kinds of answers.