Science Fiction & Fantasy

PERSONA by Genevieve Valentine


In This Issue: May 2011 (Issue 12)


Editorial, May 2011

Welcome to issue twelve of Lightspeed! On tap this month… Fiction: “The Harrowers” by Eric Gregory, “Bibi From Jupiter” by Tessa Mellas, “Eliot Wrote” by Nancy Kress, “Scales” by Alastair Reynolds. Nonfiction: “Feature Interview: Jill Tarter” by Genevieve Valentine, “The Icy Ecosystem of Europa” by Dr. Pamela Gay, “When the Brain Sees God on a Toaster Pastry” by The Evil Monkey, “Whose Thoughts Are You Thinking?” by Laura Waterstripe.

Artist Showcase

Artist Spotlight: Julie Dillon

I knew I wanted a glowing figure surrounded by floating creatures, and the idea to include mechanical fish developed as I was working on the piece.

Science Fiction

The Harrowers

Christ, I thought. And then: Of course—P.K.: Preacher’s Kid. Should’ve caught that earlier. I finished off the Yanjing, then opened the cooler and unscrewed a jar of whiskey. I’d heard of harrowers before, but never met one alive.

The Harrowers by Eric Gregory

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Eric Gregory

The action of the latter half of the story is set around a particular stretch of road in Cherokee National Forest. That road is the exact last place I’d ever want to run into hungry dead things, so of course I had to stick my characters there.


Interview: Jill Tarter, Director of SETI

As the Director of the Center for SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Research, Dr. Tarter has devoted her career to the search for extraterrestrial life.

Science Fiction

Bibi from Jupiter

She’s sitting at her desk already, reading the student handbook. I double-check the room number. 317. I’ve got the right place. This is my roommate.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Tessa Mellas

Angela also feels generic. She can’t compete with Bibi’s exoticism in a culture that pits girls against one another.


The Icy Ecosystem of Europa

This icy world, at first glance, is just another moon. It is about 90% the size of our Earth’s moon and shines a nondescript grey white against the background stars.

Science Fiction

Eliot Wrote

Eliot’s father had been entered into Ononeida Psychiatric Hospital ten days ago, for a religious conversion in which he saw the clear image of Zeus on a strawberry toaster pastry.

Eliot Wrote by Nancy Kress

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Nancy Kress

He “saw” what he said he saw: Zeus in a toaster pastry. Rather, that’s what he perceived, since sight is a combination of what photons strike our retinas and how we interpret the resulting signals to the brain.


When the Brain Sees God on a Toaster Pastry

What actually happens when a person sees a deity in an inanimate object, specifically not associated with a concomitant religious experience?

Science Fiction


The reptile is splayed in a harness, stretched like a frog on the dissection table. A steady stream of soldiers-in-waiting leaves the line, jabbing an electro-prod through the bars of the cage to a chorus of jeers.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Alastair Reynolds

At the back of my mind I’d had an idea about how contact with the alien would lead to us becoming progressively more alien ourselves. All I did was bolt that notion onto a simple war story and “Scales” was born.


Whose Thoughts Are You Thinking?

Although it’s sensationalized, brainwashing has backing in fact. Over the years, plenty of techniques have been tried.