http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/itunes-rss/ Lightspeed Magazine » Lightspeed Magazine - Science Fiction & Fantasy http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com Science Fiction & Fantasy Thu, 23 Apr 2015 15:22:41 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.2 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.2 Science Fiction & Fantasy Lightspeed Magazine no Science Fiction & Fantasy Lightspeed Magazine » Lightspeed Magazine - Science Fiction & Fantasy http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com Book Reviews: April 2015 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/book-reviews-april-2015/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/book-reviews-april-2015/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 10:05:50 +0000 Andrew Liptak http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14299 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/book-reviews-april-2015/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Ken Liu http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-ken-liu-10/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-ken-liu-10/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 10:04:40 +0000 Christie Yant http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14287 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-ken-liu-10/feed/ 0 The Ussuri Bear http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-ussuri-bear/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-ussuri-bear/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 10:03:51 +0000 Ken Liu http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14324 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-ussuri-bear/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Jason Gurley http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-jason-gurley/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-jason-gurley/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 10:02:49 +0000 Jude Griffin http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14275 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-jason-gurley/feed/ 0 Quiet Town http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/quiet-town/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/quiet-town/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 10:01:06 +0000 Jason Gurley http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14311 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/quiet-town/feed/ 0 She was in the laundry room, bent over a basket of Benjamin’s muddy trousers and grass-stained T-shirts and particularly odorous socks, when a rap sounded on the screen door. She didn’t hear at first; she’d noticed, bent over there, a cluster of webbed, She was in the laundry room, bent over a basket of Benjamin’s muddy trousers and grass-stained T-shirts and particularly odorous socks, when a rap sounded on the screen door. She didn’t hear at first; she’d noticed, bent over there, a cluster of webbed, purplish veins just below her thigh, beside her knee. She didn’t like seeing them there. They were like a slow-moving car wreck, those veins, a little darker, a little more severe each time she looked. They bothered her. The front porch creaked, and the screen door rattled on its hinges as the knock came again. Bev eased up to standing, still clutching a mound of laundry against her middle. She pinned the clothes with one hand, and with the other, looped the hair out of her eyes. “Yeah?” she called over her shoulder. “Me,” the answer came. Bev took in a long breath, let it fill up her lungs and raise her voice to a tone one might reasonably mistake for pleasant. “Come on in, Ezze,” she hollered. “Coffee cake on the table, you want some.” The screen door complained a bit, and not for the first time Bev made a mental note to oil the damn thing. But she knew she’d forget between now and the next time Ezze hobbled over. The door banged shut, followed by the scuff of the dining chair being pulled out, the expulsion of breath as Ezze dropped, too heavily, onto it. The chair wouldn’t take such abuse forever. Bev sometimes wished it would give out, and then felt guilty for thinking such things. Beneath her gravel and bluster, Ezze was just lonely. Bev stuffed the clothes into the wash and spun the old machine up. It rocked agreeably, knocking with a small clatter into the dryer beside it. Bev leaned against the wall, just for a second, just to take a few breaths before going in to the kitchen. The back door was open, its own screen door shut. Gray light spilled through the window, leaked through the uneven gaps in the doorjamb. She could see the pale, lumbering clouds that scraped the tops of the houses around hers. Most of those houses were empty now. Just me and Benji, Bev thought. From the kitchen, a smacking sound, the clink of a serving knife against the platter. Just me and Benji and Ezze, Bev corrected. She didn’t like the wind out there today. The Aparicios had left laundry on the line when they moved out — in a hurry, like everybody these past few weeks — and almost all of it was scattered around the neighborhood now, T-shirts and pantyhose and thermal underwear caught up in bare tree branches, soaked and plastered in gutters. Almost all of it, except for the heavy quilt, heavier now from all the rain, that dragged the laundry line low. The wind caught even that, lifted it nearly horizontal, a cheerful, soggy flag. “A bit dry, dear,” came Ezze’s voice. Bev turned away from the screen door. Cold air breathed around it, pushing through the gaps, and Bev shivered. But she left the inner door open for Benjamin, and went into the kitchen. “How’s the hip?” Bev asked, ignoring Ezze’s comment. Ezze groaned theatrically. “I’d give anything for a new one,” she said. “But who’s got money for that?” Her gray cane rested against the table beside her, tipped up on two of its four stubby feet. The rubber nubs on the end of each were damp and clumped with gray earth and grit. Bev sighed and picked up the cane and carried it onto the porch. Ezze didn’t say anything. Bev cranked the spigot attached to the house. It choked and sputtered, coughing up a weak stream. Bev rinsed the cane, then propped it against the house, and went back inside. Ezze regarded her irritably as Bev spritzed a paper towel with Windex, then wiped up the mud the cane had left behind. “That’s for windows, dear,” Ezze said, watching Bev from beneath her glasses. Bev didn’t say anything, just balled up the towel and dropped it into the wastebasket. The plastic lid swung twice, stopped. “That’s why it’s called Windex,” Ezze went on. “Windows. Windex. Lightspeed Magazine no 23:18 Interview: Chris Williams http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-chris-williams/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-chris-williams/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 10:05:27 +0000 The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14298 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-chris-williams/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Joseph Allen Hill http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-joseph-allen-hill/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-joseph-allen-hill/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 10:04:37 +0000 Lee Hallison http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14286 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-joseph-allen-hill/feed/ 0 We’ll Be Together Forever http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/well-be-together-forever/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/well-be-together-forever/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 10:03:48 +0000 Joseph Allen Hill http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14323 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/well-be-together-forever/feed/ 0 Audrey took her dinner quietly, without words beyond the obligatories (please, thank you, no, work was fine), and I obliged her the silence. We just ate, together but not together, in that way that you do when there are too many things to say. Audrey took her dinner quietly, without words beyond the obligatories (please, thank you, no, work was fine), and I obliged her the silence. We just ate, together but not together, in that way that you do when there are too many things to say. The meal in question was on the bad side of decent, days-old stir-fried noodles from the Japanese place down the street from her apartment, reheated and reconstituted into a slimy Pan-Asian gruel with the addition of fish sauce, soy sauce, sriracha, curry powder, chili powder, and neglect. I thought it was on the bad side of decent, at least. She pushed the noodle slurry around her plate with her fork, picking out the vegetable bits for inspection and wrinkling her nose like the vegetable bits had farted and then piling a heap of noodle slurry onto the fork along with the vegetable bits and then shoving the loaded fork into her mouth and then making a show of chewing, chewing, chewing and then swallowing it all in a cowish gulp. They were her leftovers, but they seemed to be making her very unhappy. She was making an expression that I lacked the perspicacity to put name to, and it seemed to cover more and more of her face with each bite I took. “You can’t just expect me to make food for you whenever you want,” she said. “What’s that supposed to mean? I’ve never asked you to just make food for me,” I said. “When you come over here, it’s just expected that I’m the one who’s making the food. You invite yourself over whenever you want, and suddenly I’m the fucking Barefoot Contessa.” “I think you’ll need a lot more butter if you want to be the Barefoot Contessa. Like, gallons. Have you read one of those cookbooks? I experienced coronary distress just looking at the table of contents.” “That’s not funny. I’m trying to have a serious discussion about boundaries.” “Do you want me to make food for you? Whatever. Next time, I’ll come over and make you a chicken nissoi or some shit.” “That’s not what I’m asking, Anthony. You’re not listening.” She was articulating all her consonants very precisely, as if she were trying to teach me English as a second language. I hated when she did that. It was like she was summoning the spirit of her ancestors to put the negro in his place. I know she didn’t mean it that way, but it was difficult to ignore the subtext. I was always fond of close readings, perhaps overly so when it came to relationships. “Sometimes, I just want very badly for you to not be so . . . you.” I recognized the look on her face then: spoilt revenge. She wanted me to say the food was gross, so she could say I should’ve brought my own food. That I hadn’t was killing her. I tried not to smile. It was petty, I know, but seeing her impotent anger was far more delicious than the noodles with which she had meant to undo me. I didn’t say anything after that. There was no point. This was a proxy argument. The real argument was about us moving in together. I had been passive-aggressively suggesting it was time for the past two months, and she hadn’t reacted well. She had a lot of blah blah about independence and boundaries and whatever. I just thought it was time. Two years is a long time to be with someone without moving in. Friends of ours who hadn’t been together when we met were married now. People were starting to talk. We’d had dozens of proxy arguments since I started pulling on the thread, thunderous screaming matches and sighful pout-offs both. We’d made up every time, but the rancor was starting to wear on us. The things you say stick around even after the anger is gone, half-forgotten, half-obsessed over, condensed into hateful little mnemonics, know-you-thinks and remember-you-saids haunting every future argument and frosting every past remembrance, splinters in the mind’s eye. The petty revenge and the vengeful pettiness followed naturally from there. I finished first, as I had chosen to eat like a reasonable human adult. I was still hungry, Lightspeed Magazine no 36:46 Author Spotlight: Carolyn Ives Gilman http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-carolyn-ives-gilman/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-carolyn-ives-gilman/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 10:02:37 +0000 Patrick J Stephens http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14274 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-carolyn-ives-gilman/feed/ 0 The Invisible Hand Rolls the Dice http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-invisible-hand-rolls-the-dice/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-invisible-hand-rolls-the-dice/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 10:01:53 +0000 Carolyn Ives Gilman http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14335 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-invisible-hand-rolls-the-dice/feed/ 0 Editorial, April 2015 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/editorial-april-2015/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/editorial-april-2015/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 10:05:25 +0000 John Joseph Adams http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14297 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/editorial-april-2015/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Sonya Taaffe http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-sonya-taaffe/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-sonya-taaffe/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 10:04:36 +0000 Sandra Odell http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14285 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-sonya-taaffe/feed/ 0 A Wolf in Iceland Is the Child of a Lie http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/a-wolf-in-iceland-is-the-child-of-a-lie/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/a-wolf-in-iceland-is-the-child-of-a-lie/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 10:03:45 +0000 Sonya Taaffe http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14322 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/a-wolf-in-iceland-is-the-child-of-a-lie/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Kat Howard http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-kat-howard-6/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-kat-howard-6/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 10:02:10 +0000 Sandra Odell http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14277 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-kat-howard-6/feed/ 0 The Universe, Sung in Stars http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-universe-sung-in-stars/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-universe-sung-in-stars/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 10:01:03 +0000 Kat Howard http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14310 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-universe-sung-in-stars/feed/ 0 There is music in the stars. The stars, the planets, the asteroids, the galaxies. Everything that is flung, whirling in orbit through space and time. We dwell inside an enormous, ever-changing symphony, and each of the many universes sings a song of it... (http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Howard_575x442.jpg) There is music in the stars. The stars, the planets, the asteroids, the galaxies. Everything that is flung, whirling in orbit through space and time. We dwell inside an enormous, ever-changing symphony, and each of the many universes sings a song of its own. I replicate them. I make clockwork universes, astraria and orreries, planets and stars and galaxies made microcosm and set ticking in orbit. Gears of bronze and iron and titanium, planets of marble and stars of precious faceted stones, diamonds that twinkle in the light. Each orbit in perfect harmonic distance so that the piece performs the music of the spheres. It’s a different kind of beauty from that of the living universes, one artificial and made in miniature, but the songs are no less real for it, and the beauty no less true. There’s a joy, too, in making things precise. The music of a universe, like the music of a symphony, will never be perfect. There will be dropped notes, missed rests, accidental sharps or flats. They are living things, and so they are flawed. Orreries are mechanical. If I do my work properly, there is no unexpected variance in their song. I had just finished setting a rhodolite in the turning rose of a nebula when Carina walked into my workshop. She had a universe spinning around her as well — stars blinked in the darkness of her hair — but hers was living. “It’s beautiful,” I said, picking up my loupe so I could examine it more closely. Pocket universes weren’t as rare as they used to be, but I had never seen one in resonance with a guardian before. I walked an orbit around Carina. A comet flamed through the wildness of her curls, then flashed and died, bright echoes of its passing sparking like inverse shadows in the darkness. “You should talk to them, Vera,” she said. “They’re always looking for qualified guardians, and you’ve kept that star going longer than anyone expected.” My hand went to the nape of my neck, where a white dwarf cooled. I only wore it outside when I was working. Potential customers were fascinated by it. “I don’t think it will last much longer.” It was becoming more and more atonal, which was usually an indication of imminent death. “All the more reason to see if you can be approved for a universe.” A galaxy whirled like a halo at the back of Carina’s head, and I could hear its resonance. “I’ll put in a recommendation for you.” “Thank you,” I said. • • • • I unwound the star from my hair when I got home that night, rolling it from palm to palm, watching the pattern of shadows made as its light shone through my skin. The discovery of the pocket universes had proved the Titius-Bode law — all orbital systems of the pocket universes had stable and self-correcting orbital resonances with each other. In those resonances was the music of the spheres, and in those resonances, my calling. The discovery had been dismissed as ridiculous at first — singing universes were impossible to take seriously as proper science. But then the pocket universes started dying. In some cases, they would collapse in on themselves almost as soon as they were born. So the pocket universes, and the salvageable pieces of the dying ones, were assigned guardians. Someone to ground the resonance until they were stable, or to help ease the passing of the dying stars. Someone to play them music until their own songs were known. That last was the key. Without music, the pocket universes could not survive on their own. I had built a musical universe for my dying star. A rotating cylinder inside a clockwork box that plucked a series of steel teeth I had etched with constellations. I had, as much as I could, calculated backwards, based on the white dwarf. I had considered its probable orbit and origins, and designed the music box to play the song of the dying star’s universe. Hearing it, I hoped, Lightspeed Magazine no 19:47 Artist Showcase: Wylie Beckert http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/artist-showcase-wylie-beckert/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/artist-showcase-wylie-beckert/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 10:05:07 +0000 Henry Lien http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14090 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/artist-showcase-wylie-beckert/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Vajra Chandrasekera http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-vajra-chandrasekera/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-vajra-chandrasekera/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 10:04:47 +0000 Sandra Odell http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14085 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-vajra-chandrasekera/feed/ 0 Documentary http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/documentary/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/documentary/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 10:03:14 +0000 Vajra Chandrasekera http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14128 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/documentary/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Ursula K. LeGuin http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-ursula-k-leguin-2/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-ursula-k-leguin-2/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 10:02:05 +0000 Liz Argall http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14062 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-ursula-k-leguin-2/feed/ 0 The New Atlantis http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-new-atlantis/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-new-atlantis/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 10:01:16 +0000 Ursula K. Le Guin http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14114 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-new-atlantis/feed/ 0 Coming back from my Wilderness Week, I sat by an odd sort of man in the bus. For a long time we didn’t talk; I was mending stockings and he was reading. Then the bus broke down a few miles outside Gresham. Boiler trouble, Coming back from my Wilderness Week, I sat by an odd sort of man in the bus. For a long time we didn’t talk; I was mending stockings and he was reading. Then the bus broke down a few miles outside Gresham. Boiler trouble, the way it generally is when the driver insists on trying to go over thirty. It was a Supersonic Superscenic Deluxe Longdistance coal-burner, with Home Comfort, that means a toilet, and the seats were pretty comfortable, at least those that hadn’t yet worked loose from their bolts, so everybody waited inside the bus; besides, it was raining. We began talking, the way people do when there’s a breakdown and a wait. He held up his pamphlet and tapped it — he was a dry-looking man with a schoolteacherish way of using his hands — and said, “This is interesting. I’ve been reading that a new continent is rising from the depths of the sea.” The blue stockings were hopeless. You have to have something besides holes to darn onto. “Which sea?” “They’re not sure yet. Most specialists think the Atlantic. But there’s evidence it may be happening in the Pacific, too.” “Won’t the oceans get a little crowded?” I said, not taking it seriously. I was a bit snappish, because of the breakdown and because those blue stockings had been good warm ones. He tapped the pamphlet again and shook his head, quite serious. “No,” he said. “The old continents are sinking, to make room for the new. You can see that that is happening.” You certainly can. Manhattan Island is now under eleven feet of water at low tide, and there are oyster beds in Ghirardelli Square. “I thought that was because the oceans are rising from polar melt.” He shook his head again. “That is a factor. Due to the greenhouse effect of pollution, indeed Antarctica may become inhabitable. But climatic factors will not explain the emergence of the new — or, possibly, very old — continents in the Atlantic and Pacific.” He went on explaining about continental drift, but I liked the idea of inhabiting Antarctica and daydreamed about it for a while. I thought of it as very empty, very quiet, all white and blue, with a faint golden glow northward from the unrising sun behind the long peak of Mount Erebus. There were a few people there; they were very quiet, too, and wore white tie and tails. Some of them carried oboes and violas. Southward the white land went up in a long silence toward the Pole. Just the opposite, in fact, of the Mount Hood Wilderness Area. It had been a tiresome vacation: The other women in the dormitory were all right, but it was macaroni for breakfast, and there were so many organized sports. I had looked forward to the hike up to the National Forest Preserve, the largest forest left in the United States, but the trees didn’t look at all the way they do in the postcards and brochures and Federal Beautification Bureau advertisements. They were spindly, and they all had little signs on saying which union they had been planted by. There were actually a lot more green picnic tables and cement Men’s and Women’s than there were trees. There was an electrified fence all around the forest to keep out unauthorized persons. The forest ranger talked about mountain jays, “bold little robbers,” he said, “who will come and snatch the sandwich from your very hand,” but I didn’t see any. Perhaps because that was the weekly Watch Those Surplus Calories! Day for all the women, and so we didn’t have any sandwiches. If I’d seen a mountain jay, I might have snatched the sandwich from his very hand, who knows. Anyhow, it was an exhausting week, and I wished I’d stayed home and practiced, even though I’d have lost a week’s pay because staying home and practicing the viola doesn’t count as planned implementation of recreational leisure as defined by the Federal Union of Unions. When I came back from my Antarctican expedition, the man was reading again, and I got a look at his pamphlet; and that was the odd part of it. Lightspeed Magazine no 1:22:02 Book Reviews: March 2015 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/book-reviews-march-2015/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/book-reviews-march-2015/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 10:05:30 +0000 Amal El-Mohtar http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14094 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/book-reviews-march-2015/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Naomi Kritzer http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-naomi-kritzer/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-naomi-kritzer/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 10:04:46 +0000 Laurel Amberdine http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14084 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-naomi-kritzer/feed/ 0 The Good Son http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-good-son/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-good-son/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 10:03:13 +0000 Naomi Kritzer http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14127 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-good-son/feed/ 0 Hot Rods http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/hot-rods/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/hot-rods/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 10:01:13 +0000 Cat Sparks http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14113 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/hot-rods/feed/ 0 The winds blow pretty regular across the dried-up lake. Traction's good — when luck's on your side you can reach three hundred KPH or faster. Harper watches the hot rods race on thick white salt so pure and bright the satellites use it for colour calib... The winds blow pretty regular across the dried-up lake. Traction's good — when luck's on your side you can reach three hundred KPH or faster. Harper watches the hot rods race on thick white salt so pure and bright the satellites use it for colour calibration. Harper doesn't care about souped-up hot rods. Throwdowns, throwbacks, who can go the longest, fastest, hardest. But there's not much else to do in Terina Flat. She used to want to be a journalist, back when such professions still existed. Back when the paper that employed you didn't own you. Back when paper still meant paper. Back before the world clocked up past three degrees and warming. Back when everybody clamoured for Aussie coal and wheat and sheep. The sheep all died when the topsoil blew away in a dust cloud stretching almost five hundred ks. Ships still come for the uranium. Other countries bring their own land with them. Embassies, fenced off and private, no one in or out without a pass. Cross the wire and they get to shoot you dead. Harper thinks about her boyfriend Lachie Groom as the racers pick up speed. The future plans they've made between them. How they're gonna get the hell out of Terina, score work permits for Sydney or Melbourne. They say white maids and pool boys are in high demand in the walled suburban enclaves. Only Lachie couldn't wait. Said they needed the money now, not later. The racers purpose-build their dry lake cars from whatever they can scavenge. Racers used to care about the look, these days it's all about the speed. There's nothing new, no paint to tart things up. No juice to run on except for home-strained bio-D. You need the real stuff for start up and shut down. The racers pool their meagre cash, score black market diesel from a guy who hauls it in by camel train. She can hear them coming before she sees them, kicking up thick clouds of salty dust. The pitch drops dramatically as they pass; she takes a good long look as the cars smudge the horizon. Hot rods, classics and jalopies, streamliners and old belly tankers, all the side windows and gaps taped firm against the salt. It gets into everything: your clothes, your hair, your skin. Nothing lives or grows upon it. No plants, no insects, not a single blade of grass. The short racecourse is five k long, the long one near to twelve. King of the short run is Cracker Jack, Lachie's cousin — plain Cracker to his mates. Obsessed with Dodges. Today's pride and joy is a 1968 Dodge Charger, automatic, gauges still intact. Purpose built for the super speedway, veteran of Daytona and Darlington. He loves those cars like nothing else alive. Spends everything he has on keeping them moving. Harper has come to envy the racing regulars: Bing Reh, Lucas Clayton, Scarlett Ottico. Others. There's enough on the salt flats to keep them focused. Enough to get them out of bed in the morning. Cracker nods at Harper; she throws him half a smile. Checks out his sweat-slicked, salt-encrusted arms. "I'll take you out there," he says, wiping his forehead. No need to specify where out there. She knows he's talking about the American Base — and Lachie. She doesn't say no but he gauges her expression. "After sundown. The others don't have to know." Unfortunately, in towns like Terina Flat, everyone knows everybody else's business. "Was a stupid plan," she tells him. "We never should have . . ." Cracker dusts salt flecks off his arms. "It was a fucken' awesome plan. 'Bout time we got a look behind that wire. Found out what all the bullshit is about." She shrugs. Her and Lachie's "plan" had sounded simple. Just two people trying to keep in touch. Inching around a Base commandment that seems much harsher than it ought to be. Cracker tried to talk Lachie out of taking the job at all. Too late. By then, Base medics had tested his blood, piss, and spit. He'd signed away his rights on the dotted line. Lachie's been gone almost a week — the full week if you're counting Sunday, Lightspeed Magazine no 1:00:42 Author Spotlight: Cat Sparks http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-cat-sparks/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-cat-sparks/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 10:01:03 +0000 Lee Hallison http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14061 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-cat-sparks/feed/ 0 Interview: Patrick Rothfuss http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-patrick-rothfuss/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-patrick-rothfuss/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 10:05:25 +0000 The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14095 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-patrick-rothfuss/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Matthew Hughes http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-matthew-hughes-10/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-matthew-hughes-10/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 10:04:45 +0000 Sandra Odell http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14083 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-matthew-hughes-10/feed/ 0 A Face of Black Iron http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/a-face-of-black-iron/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/a-face-of-black-iron/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 10:03:11 +0000 Matthew Hughes http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14126 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/a-face-of-black-iron/feed/ 0 Diomedo Obron and the Archon Filidor passed the evening and much of the night in the latter’s study, discussing the next day’s journey into the wastes of Barran and the expected confrontation with whatever survivor of the Nineteenth Aeon wizards’ cabal... Previously on The Kaslo Chronicles: An ancient evil, lurking in another dimension through all the aeons since magic last ruled the universe, is striking out at Erm Kaslo, former hardboiled confidential operative (op) turned wizard’s henchman, and his employer, the proto-thaumaturge Diomedo Obron. Now the two, along with the mysterious Archon Filidor of Old Earth, must re-enter the Seventh Plane, discover what awaits them there, and try to destroy it before it destroys them. To read the other stories in the series, visit lightspeedmagazine.com/kaslo (http://lightspeedmagazine.com/kaslo). Diomedo Obron and the Archon Filidor passed the evening and much of the night in the latter’s study, discussing the next day’s journey into the wastes of Barran and the expected confrontation with whatever survivor of the Nineteenth Aeon wizards’ cabal still lurked in the Seventh Plane. Erm Kaslo struggled to try to understand the concepts the two thaumaturges threw onto the table — sometimes literally, as the Archon’s integrator, Old Confustible, rendered their ideas in diagrams, mathematical formulae, and even in three-dimensional models whose planes and curves mutated into shapes that caused the op’s brain to overheat. Eventually, he went back down the corridor to the landing outside the palace, where the dragon Saunterance — formerly Obron’s space yacht — squatted, wings folded, beside the shining dome of Testroni’s Impervious Conveyance that had brought them here from Novo Bantry. Kaslo had no experience of reading the body language of dragons, but he sensed that Saunterance was at ease with the circumstances in which it found itself — but peace of mind was so far from Kaslo’s grasp that he could not even see a path toward it. “What is it like for you?” he asked the dragon. “To be so changed?” The creature spoke as it would have when it was a ship’s integrator, so that its voice seemed to emanate from the air beside the man’s ear. “I am not so changed,” it said. “Before, I was a core connected to the systems of a spaceship. My function was to travel. Now I am a mind enclosed in a body that performs much the same function.” “Are you content?” The dragon’s features momentarily formed an almost human expression. “I suppose I am,” it said. “It is not a question I am disposed to ask myself.” “You are fortunate,” said Kaslo. “You retain your function as well as the ability to perform it. I, however . . .” He finished the thought in a sigh. “Obron values you,” Saunterance said. “You may have more worth than you allot yourself.” “I used to know my worth to an exact measure,” Kaslo said. “And it was considerable. Now — ” “Now you are in the business of rediscovering it, using a different set of calibrations,” said the dragon. “Why don’t you wait and see what turns up in you?” It wasn’t bad advice, Kaslo thought, especially from a dragon. He bid Saunterance a good night and found his bunk in the Conveyance. He expected to lie awake, but instead fell quickly into a dreamless sleep. He was awakened by the sounds of voices, footsteps, and the movement of bulky objects, and came out of his cabin into the vessel’s common area to find it being loaded with cabinets and chests by men and women in green and black livery. Filidor was supervising the business, with advice from Obron. Kaslo’s employer turned as the op entered. “I was telling the Archon,” he said, “about how your spring-gun shot a nouble into one of the preyns and destroyed it utterly.” “True,” said Kaslo. Filidor said, “How large a missile will it take?” When Kaslo made a circle with finger and thumb, the hole about the size of a child’s marble, the Archon said, “I was hoping for something larger.” He put two hands together, the space between them the dimension of a fist-sized ball. “No one ever had a need for a spring-gun of that caliber,” the op said. “Too bad,” said the Archon. “It might have been useful.” Lightspeed Magazine no 57:00 Author Spotlight: Michael Blumlein http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-michael-blumlein/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-michael-blumlein/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 10:02:00 +0000 Patrick J Stephens http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14060 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-michael-blumlein/feed/ 0 The Brains of Rats http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-brains-of-rats/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-brains-of-rats/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 10:01:11 +0000 Michael Blumlein http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14112 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-brains-of-rats/feed/ 0 Editorial, March 2015 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/editorial-march-2015/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/editorial-march-2015/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 11:05:21 +0000 John Joseph Adams http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14093 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/editorial-march-2015/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Linda Nagata http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-linda-nagata-4/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-linda-nagata-4/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 11:04:43 +0000 Robyn Lupo http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14082 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-linda-nagata-4/feed/ 0 The Way Home http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-way-home/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-way-home/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 11:03:08 +0000 Linda Nagata http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14125 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-way-home/feed/ 0 The demon, like all the others before it, appeared first in the form of a horizontal plume of rust-red grit and vapor. Almost a kilometer away, it moved low to the ground, camouflaged by the waves of hot, shimmering air that rose from the desert hardpan. The demon, like all the others before it, appeared first in the form of a horizontal plume of rust-red grit and vapor. Almost a kilometer away, it moved low to the ground, camouflaged by the waves of hot, shimmering air that rose from the desert hardpa... Lightspeed Magazine no 43:36 Author Spotlight: Marissa Lingen http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-marissa-lingen-2/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-marissa-lingen-2/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 11:02:58 +0000 Lee Hallison http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14059 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-marissa-lingen-2/feed/ 0 Surfacing http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/surfacing/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/surfacing/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 11:01:09 +0000 Marissa Lingen http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=14111 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/surfacing/feed/ 0 Interview: Ann Leckie http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/feature-interview-ann-leckie/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/feature-interview-ann-leckie/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 11:05:17 +0000 The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13881 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/feature-interview-ann-leckie/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Will Kaufman http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-will-kaufman/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-will-kaufman/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 11:04:56 +0000 Sandra Odell http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13872 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-will-kaufman/feed/ 0 Things You Can Buy for a Penny http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/things-can-buy-penny/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/things-can-buy-penny/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 11:03:26 +0000 Will Kaufman http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13907 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/things-can-buy-penny/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: David Barr Kirtley http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-david-barr-kirtley-5/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-david-barr-kirtley-5/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 11:02:08 +0000 Robyn Lupo http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13859 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-david-barr-kirtley-5/feed/ 0 Veil of Ignorance http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/veil-ignorance/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/veil-ignorance/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 11:01:05 +0000 David Barr Kirtley http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13897 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/veil-ignorance/feed/ 0 Something strange is happening to me. We’re at Conrad’s vacation house, a sprawling mansion that orbits the gas giant Hades-3. (His father owns both the house and the planet.) Conrad is in the living room watching sports. Something strange is happening to me. We’re at Conrad’s vacation house, a sprawling mansion that orbits the gas giant Hades-3. (His father owns both the house and the planet.) Conrad is in the living room watching sports. His girlfriend Alyssa is standing by the mirror in the bathroom, fixing her hair. Her friend Kat is sitting near the bay windows, watching the stars and the roiling vermeil clouds on the world below. Dillon is in the kitchen, mixing drinks. Brad is slouched on the sofa, watching everyone with a lazy smile. And I don’t know which of them I am. Perception shifts. A few moments of Alyssa, running my fingers through silky hair. A moment of Dillon, using my knife to slice limes for the drinks. A moment of Kat, feeling awe of those looming bands of color, of those constantly churning swirls that look so majestic, and make me feel so insignificant. Then Conrad — pride at my team’s success, at my father’s wealth. Then Brad. I feel quite smug. “It’s starting to work,” I tell them. “You can all feel it, can’t you?” Dillon comes in from the kitchen with the drinks. I hand one of them to Conrad, who thanks me, and one to Kat, who takes it silently. “Feel what?” I ask. Brad gestures to the smoldering bowl at the center of the coffee table, at the Callipsarian pipe, and whatever that shit was we’ve all been smoking. “Something very strange is happening to me,” Kat says. Brad ignores her. “You see, I had this idea. A few weeks ago, Dillon and I were talking politics, and he brings up this thing about Rawls.” Conrad sighs and orders the computer to take a break. I want to watch the end of the game, but this is starting to feel really weird. Alyssa comes out of the bathroom, looking gorgeous, as always. I sit down on the couch next to Conrad. “What’s going on, Brad?” I ask. “What was that stuff you gave us?” “Just sit and listen,” Brad says. “All will become clear.” Conrad turns to Dillon. “Who’s Rawls?” “John Rawls,” I explain, puzzled about where this is going. “Twentieth-century. He tried to revive the social contract theory, which states that the only fair laws are those that everyone can agree to.” “Whatever.” Alyssa tosses her hair. “Someone get me another drink.” Conrad holds up a hand to her. “Quiet,” I say. “I want to hear this.” Dillon shrugs and keeps going. “The problem with the social contract is that people don’t agree. Slave-owners think that slavery is fair, slaves don’t. So Rawls envisions a hypothetical situation in which the two of them don’t know who is who. Put behind this veil of ignorance, neither would support slavery, knowing that he himself might be the slave.” I start to see where this is going, and finish, “Once self-interest is cancelled out, it turns out that they agree on principle.” Kat interrupts. “Brad, will you cut the shit and tell us what’s going on?” I say. “Why can’t I tell who I am?” Then Dillon starts to answer my question, in that patronizing tone of his. “Don’t you see?” he says. “We’ve been put behind a veil of ignorance ourselves.” “Very good.” Brad nods at him. “A few weeks ago I was hanging out with this Callipsarian dealer on Far-Guardport — ” Alyssa frowns. “Which ones are they?” I ask softly. “Callipsarians?” “The purple ones,” Kat says. “From Auropelli. With the tentacles. Three yellow eyes.” “Oh yeah,” I say. Conrad elbows me. “Quiet.” “ — and we were totally trashed. Talking politics, philosophy, metaphysics, et cetera, et cetera, and I start telling it about this veil of ignorance idea, and it says it’s got some stuff that can do that. So it sells me — ” “Why?” Dillon asks. My word hangs there, alone in the silence for a few moments. “Well, look,” Brad says. “This group, this band of friends — if that’s what you want to call us — is broken. We all know it, but no one wants to say it. Well, I said it.” He levels his finger at Conrad. “Conrad treats his girlfriend like shit. Lightspeed Magazine no 30:30 Book Reviews: February 2015 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/book-reviews-february-2015/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/book-reviews-february-2015/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 11:05:15 +0000 Sunil Patel http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13880 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/book-reviews-february-2015/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Adam-Troy Castro http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-adam-troy-castro-7/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-adam-troy-castro-7/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 11:04:51 +0000 Laurel Amberdine http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13867 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-adam-troy-castro-7/feed/ 0 Cerile and the Journeyer http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/cerile-journeyer/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/cerile-journeyer/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 11:03:24 +0000 Adam-Troy Castro http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13906 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/cerile-journeyer/feed/ 0 The journeyer was still a young man when he embarked on his search for the all-powerful witch Cerile. He was bent and gray-haired a lifetime later when he found a map to her home in the tomb of the forgotten kings. The journeyer was still a young man when he embarked on his search for the all-powerful witch Cerile. He was bent and gray-haired a lifetime later when he found a map to her home in the tomb of the forgotten kings. The map directed him halfway across the world, over the Souleater mountains, through the Curtains of Night, past the scars of the Eternal War, and across a great grassy plain, to the outskirts of Cerile’s Desert. The desert was an ocean of luminescent white sand, which even in the dead of night still radiated the killing heat it swallowed during the day. He knew at once that it could broil the blood in his veins before he traveled even half the distance to the horizon. It even warned him: “Turn back, journeyer. I am as sharp as broken glass, and as hot as open flame. I am filled with soft shifting places that can open up and swallow you without warning. I can drive you mad and leave you to wander in circles until your strength sinks into the earth. And when you die of thirst, as you surely shall if you attempt to pass, I can ride the winds to flay the skin from your burnt and blistered bones.” He proceeded across the dunes, stumbling as his feet sank ankle-deep into the sand, gasping as the furnace heat turned his breath to a dry rasp, but hesitating not at all, merely continuing his march toward the destiny that could mean either death or Cerile. When the desert saw it couldn’t stop him, the ground burst open in a million places, pierced by a great forest that, with the speed known only by miracles, shot up to scrape the sky. The trees were all hundreds of arm-lengths across, the spaces between them so narrow that even an uncommonly thin man would have had to hold his breath to pass. It was a maze that could exhaust him utterly before he traveled even halfway to the horizon. It even warned him: “Turn back, journeyer. I am as dark as the night itself, and as threatening as your worst dreams. I am rich with thorns sharp enough to rip the skin from your arms. And if you die lost and alone, as you surely shall if you attempt to pass, I can dig roots into your flesh and grow more trees on your bones.” He entered the woods anyway, crying out as thorns drew blood from his arms and legs, gasping as the trees drew close and threatened to imprison him, but hesitating not at all: merely continuing to march west, toward the destiny that could mean either death or Cerile. When the forest saw that it couldn’t stop him, then the trees all around him merely withered away, and the ground ahead of him rose up, like a thing on hinges, to form a right angle with the ground at his feet. The resulting wall stretched from one horizon to the other, rising straight up into the sky to disappear ominously in the clouds. He knew at once that he did not have the skill or the strength to climb even halfway to the unseen summit. It even warned him: “Turn back, journeyer. I am as smooth as glass and as treacherous as an enemy. I am poor with handholds and impossible to climb. And if you fall, as you surely will if you attempt to pass, then the ground where I stand will be the resting place of your shattered corpse.” He proceeded to climb anyway; moaning as his arms and legs turned to lead from exhaustion, gasping as the temperature around him turned chilly and then frigid, but hesitating not at all: merely continuing to climb upward, toward the destiny that could mean either death or Cerile. When the cliff saw that it couldn’t stop him, then warm winds came and gently lifted him into the sky, over the top of the wall, and down into a lush green valley on the other side, where a frail, white-haired old woman sat beside a still and mirrored pond. The winds deposited him on his feet on the opposite side of the pond, allowing him to see himself in the water: how he was bent, and stooped, and white-haired, and old, with skin the texture of leather, and eyes that had suffered too much for too long. Lightspeed Magazine no 17:05 Author Spotlight: Caroline Yoachim http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-caroline-yoachim/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-caroline-yoachim/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 11:02:14 +0000 Lee Hallison http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13862 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-caroline-yoachim/feed/ 0 Red Planet http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/red-planet/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/red-planet/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 11:01:01 +0000 Caroline M. Yoachim http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13896 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/red-planet/feed/ 0 Artist Showcase: Julie Dillon http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/artist-showcase-julie-dillon/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/artist-showcase-julie-dillon/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 11:05:42 +0000 Henry Lien http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13876 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/artist-showcase-julie-dillon/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Maria Davana Headley http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-maria-davana-headley/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-maria-davana-headley/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 11:04:47 +0000 Sandra Odell http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13866 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-maria-davana-headley/feed/ 0 And the Winners Will Be Swept Out to Sea http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/winners-will-swept-sea/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/winners-will-swept-sea/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 11:03:23 +0000 Maria Dahvana Headley http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13905 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/winners-will-swept-sea/feed/ 0 I’m in your house, wearing one of your shirts. I’m sitting on your floor, with all the drawers of every desk and dresser open. I have them poured out and I’m looking at what you’ve kept. Your old laptops and love letters, I’m in your house, wearing one of your shirts. I’m sitting on your floor, with all the drawers of every desk and dresser open. I have them poured out and I’m looking at what you’ve kept. Your old laptops and love letters, your hard drives full of photos and emails, your string and wire tangled into little knots, hard and tiny, twisted so tightly that I can’t crush them more than they’ve already been crushed. I’ve let a fox move into your upstairs. She walked into your flat one day, and I waved her past. Now she has kits in the bedroom closet, nested with your sweaters. There are bats in the basement, but they’re from before you left. My heart is full of hammers. I don’t understand how you could’ve left me here, with your keys, and your bed, with your bookshelves. I have my own place too, but you left me in yours when you went. I have a little pile of metal animals. I have a bunch of things you gave me, things I hung around my neck. I have bracelets that hook to chains, and out in the back there’s a rock with a view of the water. Sometimes, when I sit out there, I see the monster under the surface, the tension scraping over its scales. It’s big. What I can see of it is only a spine, or a tail, sometimes, and then it’s gone. I sit on that rock, looking over the edge, and think about how I used to love swimming. When I was a girl, I could hold my breath for a month. I’d sit on the bottom of a river in the mud, or on the pebbles, and wait for the season to change. Once I tried to come up but the river had frozen, and I ended up swimming just under the surface for a while, waiting, waiting, until I found a fisherman by seeing his shadow. The fisherman had made a hole in the ice. He was crouched beside it, with a thermos and a fishing pole, and I rose up naked from beneath him. I took him in my arms, and he screamed with such terror that ice cracked elsewhere, a spiderweb of fractures, trees black and leaning, wolves howling, and his blood in my mouth. I was not sorry. There used to be laws about this, but there aren’t any longer. No one could bring me to court to tell me I can’t have you. No one could force me onto a stand and question me. I look down, off the cliff behind your house, and I see that dark shape waiting, but it never rises up. Your neighbor came over for tea and you fucked her once a long time ago, if I have any skill at reading these things. “Are you okay?” she asked me, and I said I was not. “You don’t imagine everything,” I said. “You think you might have imagined everything that could happen to love, but you can’t. There are more things that can happen than I thought,” I told her, and she nodded. We sat together at the table in your kitchen, next to the dishwasher, and it hummed and rattled. I looked at the teapot between us and thought about fucking her too, to see what it would be like, to see what you saw in her, but the tea was too strong, and she looked at me with too much kindness. “He’s not everything,” she said. “I should know.” I don’t think I’d ever weave with thread. I think I’d only weave with metal. I think I’m the kind of woman who makes chains, not cloth. I am no abandoned wife, and you are no husband lost at sea. You’re not at sea. The bottom of the sea is full of broken chains that used to hold anchors to ships and trenches where they tried to lay cable. The bottom of the sea is full of bones and garbage. A long time ago, I used to know an old man who’d built a boat. He’d made it out of plastic bottles, and he decided to sail around the world. He came from a family of circus performers, and all of them went with him. The whole family took to the sea, in their boats made of bottles. Out in the middle of the Atlantic, I saw one of his sons juggling fire, and a daughter, doing back flips from raft to raft, flying through the air like a fish. They’d lost their sense of direction and had no way home. All they had were sails made of shirts and skin, Lightspeed Magazine no 45:56 Author Spotlight: John Kessel http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-john-kessel/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-john-kessel/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 11:02:05 +0000 Lee Hallison http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13858 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-john-kessel/feed/ 0 Buffalo http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/buffalo/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/buffalo/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 11:01:30 +0000 John Kessel http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13895 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/buffalo/feed/ 0