Welcome to issue nine of Lightspeed!
Before we get to this month’s teasers, I just wanted to remind you that you can now subscribe to the ebook edition of Lightspeed, via Weightless Books, a new ebookstore managed by Gavin Grant and the team at Small Beer Press. Subscriptions are just $19.95 a year, which is over $15 off the cover price, so subscribe early and subscribe often—and tell your friends!
With that out of the way, here’s what we’ve got on tap this month:
Our lead story for February is “Long Enough and Just So Long” by Cat Rambo, the tale of two teen, Heinleinesque Moon-residents who meet a liberated sexbot from Earth.
In the related nonfiction, columnist Genevieve Valentine finds out how sophisticated (or not) artificial intelligences currently are in “When the Chatbots Come to Greet Us.”
Next up is “The Passenger” by Julie E. Czerneda, the tale of a man and a committee aboard a generation ship, that examines justice, hypocrisy, art, and our ability to rationalize and explain away the most horrific things. (Reprint)
In the feature interview this month, Dreamworks animator Andrew Penn Romine talks to two of his colleagues—Lightstorm Entertainment’s Nolan Murtha, director of digital effects on James Cameron’s Avatar, and Digital Domain’s Steve Pregg animation director for Tron: Legacy—and finds out just what it takes to create “Digital Lifeforms.”
New author Ken Liu also explores the creation of digital lifeforms in his first story for Lightspeed, “Simulacrum,” in which the innovator of a vividly-realistic holographic technology finds that creating and interacting with fake people may be easier than maintaining relationships with real ones.
Jeff Hecht, author of our popular piece, “Future Weapons,” returns to our pages with “Where’s My Holovision,” an overview of holographic technology that ponders how far we still have to go before we’ll have anything like Star Trek’s Holodecks (or Ken Liu’s simulacra) in real life.
“Breakaway, Backdown” by Hugo, Nebula, and Locus award-winning author James Patrick Kelly gives the reader a chance to be a fly on the wall during a conversation about the allure and perils of space.
And last but not least, astronomer Nicholos Wethington takes us on a tour of our solar neighborhood and provides some tips for “Colonizing the Solar System in Four Easy Steps.”
That about does it for our fiction and nonfiction selections for February, but be sure to also look for our author and artist spotlights, and keep an ear out for our podcasts of “Long Enough and Just So Long” by Cat Rambo, “Simulacrum” by Ken Liu, and a special, bonus third podcast this month, “Breakaway, Backdown” by James Patrick Kelly.
So that’s our issue this month. I hope you enjoy it. And remember, if you don’t want to wait for the content to be released on the site throughout the month, or you’d just like a handy, downloadable version of the magazine on your favorite handheld electronic reading device, Lightspeed is available directly from our publisher, Prime Books, in DRM-free ePub format.
After some months of technical delays, we’re also happy to report that every issue of Lightspeed is now available in the following stores: Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Sony Reader, Fictionwise, Wizard’s Tower, and Weightless Books (of which the latter, as we mentioned earlier, also offers subscriptions).
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