http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/itunes-rss/ Lightspeed MagazineLightspeed Magazine - Science Fiction & Fantasy http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com Science Fiction & Fantasy Tue, 26 Aug 2014 10:05:35 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Science Fiction & Fantasy Lightspeed Magazine no Science Fiction & Fantasy Lightspeed MagazineLightspeed Magazine - Science Fiction & Fantasy http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com Interview: Elizabeth Bear http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-elizabeth-bear/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-elizabeth-bear/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 10:05:35 +0000 The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12885 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-elizabeth-bear/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Kat Howard http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-kat-howard-4/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-kat-howard-4/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 10:04:57 +0000 Lee Hallison http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12829 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-kat-howard-4/feed/ 0 A Meaningful Exchange http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/meaningful-exchange/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/meaningful-exchange/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 10:03:19 +0000 Kat Howard http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12860 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/meaningful-exchange/feed/ 1 Quentin told lies to people for money. Or drugs. Or kittens. Or anything, really. The particular currency didn’t matter, so long as what was being offered had value to the person who needed the lie. Quentin told lies to people for money. Or drugs. Or kittens. Or anything, really. The particular currency didn’t matter, so long as what was being offered had value to the person who needed the lie. Lying was Quentin’s one great talent. He enjoye... Lightspeed Magazine no Author Spotlight: David I. Masson http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-david-masson/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-david-masson/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 10:02:52 +0000 Rich Horton http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12821 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-david-masson/feed/ 0 Traveller’s Rest http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/travellers-rest/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/travellers-rest/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 10:01:44 +0000 David I. Masson http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12836 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/travellers-rest/feed/ 0 Interview: Christopher Moore http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-christopher-moore/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-christopher-moore/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 10:05:38 +0000 The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12881 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-christopher-moore/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Gwyneth Jones http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-gwyneth-jones/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-gwyneth-jones/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 10:04:54 +0000 Laurel Amberdine http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12828 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-gwyneth-jones/feed/ 0 The Grass Princess http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/grass-princess/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/grass-princess/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 10:03:35 +0000 Gwyneth Jones http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12852 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/grass-princess/feed/ 2 Author Spotlight: E. Catherine Tobler http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-e-catherine-tobler/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-e-catherine-tobler/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 10:02:48 +0000 Jude Griffin http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12820 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-e-catherine-tobler/feed/ 0 A Box, a Pocket, a Spaceman http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/box-pocket-spaceman/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/box-pocket-spaceman/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 10:01:29 +0000 E. Catherine Tobler http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12835 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/box-pocket-spaceman/feed/ 0 The spaceman shows up on a hot summer afternoon, not in the dead of night when you’re crouched in the garden peering through a telescope that shows you the endless glories and wonders of the night sky. There’s no spaceship making a bright arc against a... The spaceman shows up on a hot summer afternoon, not in the dead of night when you’re crouched in the garden peering through a telescope that shows you the endless glories and wonders of the night sky. There’s no spaceship making a bright arc against a star-spangled sky. Just a man in a spacesuit, standing at the edge of your hammock. His presence reminds you school is over and relatives will be coming soon and you don’t want to see them. They will ask you who can’t see beyond the edge of your hammock about grades and ambitions and Plans For the Future. Aunt Fran is dead and there’s just no fixing it, but funerals help us move on, Mom says so, and Mom Knows Best. You don’t want to go, because going means it happened and going means something is over. You ask the spaceman where his blue box is and he stares at you like you’ve lost your entire mind, because boxes, he tells you in absolute certainty, are no good for space flight. Boxes are not geometrically synergistic, he tells you, whether cardboard or wood or blue. He doesn’t have any kind of an accent, no bow tie, no box, and he’s lost. He tells you he’s lost. This is just Earth, you tell him, and he says he knows that, how stupid do you think he is, he’s been here before, so many times before he knows Rubik’s Cubes and arcades and the way ugly yellow dish gloves will stick to your fingers and turn inside out if they’re too hot when you take them off. He remembers when an icy Big Gulp in a sweating plastic cup was the best part of summer—that’s why he’s here now, summer, and why it’s afternoon, and why— He looks over his shoulder and you, who had been plucking brows into perfect and silently sarcastic arcs in a handheld mirror while the hammock made its creak-creak-creak sound against the tree trunks, follow his gaze, because you expect robots or aliens or something to have followed him. Through a portal, from the oozing innards of a crashed spaceship, Beyond the Abyss of Time. You expect something hulking and green, or slimy and black. But there’s only the quiet fence-trimmed lane that runs alongside the bayou, bushes bending in a breeze. In the tall pecan tree, the swing moves of its own accord. This is Louisiana, you tell him, and smack the mosquito that alights on your leg. You brush away the bloody, black smear of the bug, then tuck your mirror and tweezers into the hammock pillows. And he knows it’s Louisiana, too, so you throw up your hands and tell him he’s not lost in the least bit, then, and to have a very good day indeed, don’t let the gate hit him on the way out. You don’t even think he’s a spaceman anymore, but then he’s closer than he was a blink ago. So close you can see the space dust on the shoulders of his strange suit. Space dust? Listen to me very carefully, he tells you—and this is rather something a spaceman should say, you’ve imagined it a hundred times, right before one arrives to carry you away (away, away, away, this is all you want). Listen to me very carefully, he says to you, because they will be here soon, and time is of the essence, you understand time, and of course you understand time. You roll your eyes and there’s something of a smile on his face, the same way there was when you asked where his box was. They will be here soon, you echo, and wriggle your fingers at him. Menacing. Can’t you do better than that, you ask. Is it hundred-foot tall robots? Is it slime-dripping, four hundred meter-tall monsters from an oceanic pit? Technically, he says, a crevasse—you can see the bayou, can you not, this is where the world is broken—and while they’ve been here all along, they’ve never come out, not until now, because of him. Right, you say, because of you. The Chosen One. Rather not, he says, and rolls his eyes just the way you did—is he learning things from you already? He’s not chosen, he tells you—no one is ever actually chosen, are they, he says, because that means someone else wanted them, and no, Lightspeed Magazine no Artist Showcase: Vitaly Timkin http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/artist-showcase-vitaly-timkin/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/artist-showcase-vitaly-timkin/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 10:05:10 +0000 Henry Lien http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12889 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/artist-showcase-vitaly-timkin/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Tahmeed Shafiq http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-tahmeed-shafiq/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-tahmeed-shafiq/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 10:04:51 +0000 Liz Argall http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12827 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-tahmeed-shafiq/feed/ 0 The Djinn Who Sought To Kill The Sun http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/djinn-sought-kill-sun/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/djinn-sought-kill-sun/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 10:03:47 +0000 Tahmeed Shafiq http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12851 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/djinn-sought-kill-sun/feed/ 1 They travelled all day, and at night came to rest by one of the large rocks that jut from the desert. The last caveat to voyagers before the plains of windswept sand. Here is what the boy heard: “Long ago, almost fifty years by official counting, They travelled all day, and at night came to rest by one of the large rocks that jut from the desert. The last caveat to voyagers before the plains of windswept sand. Here is what the boy heard: “Long ago, almost fifty years by official counting, there was a boy named Alladin living in the alleyways of the city, a scavenger, thief, and trickster. “When he had seen seventeen summers pass, he thought it high time he sought out his fortune. So, with all the arrogance and strength of youth at his side, he set out for the mountain caves where the sorcerers were said to live. “When he asked to join them he was turned away. He was too young, too inexperienced. Full of anger he left, swearing revenge.” The rest was . . . vague. The djinn seemed to have slipped into another language, one the boy didn’t know. The little he was able to make out made little sense. He caught the words “punishment” and “fools” and “beloved,” but aside from that . . . Eventually the djinn’s tirade subsided and he continued: “The guardians told him what the place was, who I was, but that only seemed to encourage him. He killed them, and entered the chamber. He freed me from my shackles . . . and bound me again. In a lamp. Cheap copper bought from a trader. To contain me. “For the next forty-eight years he kept me a slave. Had me kill the magicians and build him his kingdom and win your mother’s heart. Forced to do his bidding, for . . . forty-eight years . . .” Two hundred years in chains, overall. The djinn looked up at the night sky to clear his eyes from the smoke. Two tears slipped down his chin to lie in the sand. My love, he thought sadly. He glanced at the boy, asleep curled up like a cat. “Sleep well,” he said. “Tomorrow we go to kill the sun.” • • • • The desert stretched out before them. Waves of sand rolled across the vista under a blue, empty sky, boiling in the heat of the sun. Every breath the djinn took felt like fire in his lungs. He shifted in his saddle and glanced at the boy. He was slumped over the back of his camel as the beast plodded its way along. His lips were cracked and bleeding. If they didn’t find water quickly . . . He looked to the horizon, ignoring the shimmering mirages, and his heart lightened as he saw a dark blot perhaps two miles away. As they got closer it became clearer: a cluster of reddish rocks shaped like a pyramid, twice his height, one side open to reveal darkness and the sound of cool, flowing water. The boy wasn’t asleep, but he had been struck hard by the heat. The djinn made him lie down in the shade of the structure and ventured inside. It had been made by human hands a long time ago, for weathered steps cut into the rock descended into darkness. But those would have to wait. The dripping sound he had heard came from a tiny well set into the floor. A crudely excavated hollow flung the echoes of the flowing stream upwards, one of the many that crisscrossed the desert just like the caravans. There was no bucket, so the djinn called forth the water with magic, using only the barest amount of energy required. He would need it all later. He filled both waterskins and took them to the boy. The lad was so tired he couldn’t even sit up, so the djinn forced water in between his lips and washed his dusty face. Somewhat rejuvenated, the boy sat up and drank by himself. “Slowly now, not too much all at once.” He took the chance to water both himself and the camels and to chew a strip of dried meat, tough as leather between his jaws. The boy ate what little he could and promptly fell asleep with his head on his chest. Let him sleep. I’ll be long enough. He took off his cloak, covered the boy with it, and disappeared into the cave. The steps were steep and there was no light to see by, which didn’t really bother him. He’d spent half a century languishing in a prison far darker than this. He couldn’t tell how far down they went, or how long he descended, Lightspeed Magazine no Author Spotlight: Gardner Dozois http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-gardner-dozois/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-gardner-dozois/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 10:02:44 +0000 Jude Griffin http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12819 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-gardner-dozois/feed/ 0 Morning Child http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/morning-child/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/morning-child/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 10:01:40 +0000 Gardner Dozois http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12834 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/morning-child/feed/ 0 Editorial, August 2014 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/editorial-august-2014-2/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/editorial-august-2014-2/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 10:05:12 +0000 John Joseph Adams http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12880 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/editorial-august-2014-2/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Ken Liu http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-ken-liu-9/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-ken-liu-9/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 10:04:48 +0000 Christie Yant http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12826 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-ken-liu-9/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: An Owomoyela http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-owomoyela/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-owomoyela/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 10:02:41 +0000 Jude Griffin http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12818 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-owomoyela/feed/ 0 State Change http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/state-change/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/state-change/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 10:01:51 +0000 Ken Liu http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12850 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/state-change/feed/ 2 Undermarket Data http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/undermarket-data/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/undermarket-data/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 10:01:19 +0000 An Owomoyela http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12805 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/undermarket-data/feed/ 2 Illustrated by Galen Dara A drink arrived that Culin hadn’t ordered. No one sent drinks to the crowded annex where Culin sat, crammed in with seven other people, all with contagion bands on their sleeves and matching tattoos on their arms. (http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/illustration-for-undermarket-data-by-an-Owomoyela-575x442.jpg) A drink arrived that Culin hadn’t ordered. No one sent drinks to the crowded annex where Culin sat, crammed in with seven other people, all with contagion bands on their sleeves and matching tattoos on their arms. Sending drinks was an affectation Culin didn’t see much in the Dead Engine at all. The bartender who’d brought it over—Nis with the slit nostrils, the only one who’d serve the contages with anything approaching civility—shrugged, pointed to a woman at the counter, and said “Don’t ask me.” “I can’t accept this,” Culin said. The thumb glass was sweating in the muggy air, and Culin could smell it from where he sat. It smelled like spices, something organic, something expensive. Everyone in the annex was watching. “It’s paid and she won’t take it back,” Nis said, and pushed the glass at Culin. Culin took it. Then, as Nis walked away, and before any of the other contages could make an offer or express interest or make a grab for it, Culin tipped it back into his mouth. The drink was red and full-bodied and savory-sweet, with only the breath of the alcohol keeping it from feeling syrupy on his tongue. He wasn’t worried about being drugged. His armband marked him as too virulent to take advantage of, and there were cheaper ways to get at someone in his profession. When he lowered the glass he saw the woman who’d bought it already on her way out the door. He jumped up, abandoning his own cheap distillate, but by the time he limped out of the door she’d already vanished into the spider’s-maze of alleyways. It was shitting down rain, most of it hitting the walls and the wires and the dishes with their antennas nosing toward the shreds of sky; a few lucky droplets managed a direct path down onto Culin’s neck and shoulders, while the rest slid down the buildings and into the gutters. Not many people wanted to be out on nights like this. Not many got a choice. Culin sighed, and unclipped his gloves from his belt. There was no point in returning to the bar; Nis made it his business to know as little as possible, and no one else would touch the mystery. A red cordial for a red-banded contage, a disappearing woman—what good would come of wondering about it? He pulled the gloves on and fastened the buckles around his wrists, setting the rubber snug against his palms. Then he took hold of the data line running up the side of the bar and climbed into the disused vertical avenues of the city. • • • • The white flag, stained grey from rain and city grime, called him halfway up a block of flats to a job. People like him didn’t have territories, but this—inconvenient from the streets and rooftops both—was as close as it came to his: the space where it was easier for those who preferred to move in three dimensions than two. There was no ledge at the window, but good climbers never needed them. This window had a clothesline anchor, an outdated and rusting data satellite, a data network link, a lectric link, an illegal lectric link, and a canister full of mineral wool in which a few seeds were failing to germinate. He made the leap from the opposite building and caught the proper network’s lectric link—never could tell how the hack jobs would hold—and knocked on the window. No one answered for a minute or so, then a shadow came up to the window grime and slid the plastic away. With that gone, the shadow became a young woman, who blinked blearily at him and then settled her eyes, as though by natural magnetism, on his arm. “LEMR. What do you need?” Culin said, and shifted. If he hooked his foot against the bolts of the hydroponics pot he could lean away from the window. Give her some contage-free space to breathe. She blinked at the band, then swallowed and looked at his eyes. “Data’s out. I’m running security on Tii Market; I can’t go dry.” Culin grunted. Lightspeed Magazine no 2014 Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/honors/2014-hugo-award-best-semiprozine/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/honors/2014-hugo-award-best-semiprozine/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 19:08:29 +0000 Lightspeed Magazine http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12923 Lightspeed is the 2014 Hugo Award winner for Best Semiprozine.]]> http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/honors/2014-hugo-award-best-semiprozine/feed/ 0 Interview: Richard Garriott http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-richard-garriott/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-richard-garriott/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:05:41 +0000 The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12652 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-richard-garriott/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Emma Bull http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-emma-bull/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-emma-bull/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:04:34 +0000 Jude Griffin http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12638 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-emma-bull/feed/ 0 De La Tierra http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/de-la-tierra/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/de-la-tierra/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:03:11 +0000 Emma Bull http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12717 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/de-la-tierra/feed/ 0 The piano player drums away with her left hand, dropping all five fingers onto the keys as if they weigh too much to hold up. The rhythms bounce off the rhythms of what her right hand does, what she sings. It’s like there’s three different people in th... The piano player drums away with her left hand, dropping all five fingers onto the keys as if they weigh too much to hold up. The rhythms bounce off the rhythms of what her right hand does, what she sings. It’s like there’s three different people in that little skinny body, one running each hand, the third one singing. But they all know what they’re doing. He sucks a narrow stream of Patrón over his tongue and lets it heat up his mouth before he swallows. He wishes he knew how to play an instrument. He wouldn’t mind going up at the break, asking if he could sit in, holding up a saxophone case, maybe, or a clarinet. He’d still be here at 3 a.m., jamming, while the waiters mopped the floors. That would be a good place to be at 3 a.m. Much better than rolling up the rug, burning the gloves, dropping the knife over the bridge rail. Figuratively speaking. They aren’t that unalike, she and he. He has a few people in his body, too, and they also know what they’re doing. The difference is, his have names. “¿Algo más?” The wide-faced waitress sounds Salvadoran. She looks too young to be let into a bar, let alone make half a bill a night in tips. She probably sends it all home to mami. The idea annoys him. Being annoyed annoys him, too. No skin off his nose if she’s not blowing it at the mall. He actually is too young to legally swallow this liquor in a public place, but of course he’s never carded. A month and a half and he’ll be twenty-one. Somebody ought to throw a party. “Nada. Grácias.” She smiles at him. “Where you from? Chihuahua?” “Burbank.” Why does she care where he’s from? He shouldn’t have answered in Spanish. “No, your people—where they from? My best friend’s from Chihuahua. You look kinda like her brother.” “Then he looks like an American.” She actually seems hurt. “But everybody’s from someplace.” Does she mean “everybody,” or “everybody who’s brown like us?” “Yep. Welcome to Los Angeles.” He and the tequila bid each other goodbye, like a hug with a friend at the airport. Then he pushes the glass at the waitress. She smacks it down on her tray and heads for the bar. There, even the luggage disappears from sight. He rubs the bridge of his nose. Positive contact, Chisme answers from above his right ear. Chisme is female and throaty, for him, anyway. All numbers optimal to high optimal. Operation initialized. He lays a ten on the table and pins the corner down with the candle jar. He wishes it were a twenty, for the sake of the Salvadoran economy. But big tippers are memorable. He stands up and heads for the door. Behind him he hears the piano player sweep the keys, low to high, and it hits his nerves like a scream. He almost turns— Adrenal limiter enabled. Suppression under external control. Just like everything else about him. All’s right with the world. He breathes deep and steps out into the streetlights and the smell of burnt oil. The bar’s in Koreatown. The target is in downtown L.A. proper, in the jewelry district. Always start at least five miles from the target, in case someone remembers the unmemorable. Show respect for the locals, even if they’re not likely to believe you exist. He steps into the shadow that separates two neon window signs and slips between, fastlanes. He’s down at Hill and Broadway in five minutes. He rubs the bridge of his nose again. Three percent discharge, says Chisme. After three years he can tell by the way it feels, but it’s reflex to check. The downtown air is oven-hot, dry and still, even at this hour, and the storm drains smell. They’ll keep that up until the rains come and wash them clean months from now. He turns the corner and stops before the building he wants. There’s a jewelry store on the first floor. Security grills lattice the windows, and the light shines down on satin-upholstered stands with nothing on them. Painted on the inside of the glass is, “Gold Mart/Best prices on/Gold/Platinum/Chains & Rings. Lightspeed Magazine no 43:59 Author Spotlight: Carrie Vaughn http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-carrie-vaughn-7/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-carrie-vaughn-7/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:02:49 +0000 Andrew Liptak http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12626 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-carrie-vaughn-7/feed/ 0 Harry and Marlowe Versus the Haunted Locomotive of the Rockies http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/harry-marlowe-versus-haunted-locomotive-rockies/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/harry-marlowe-versus-haunted-locomotive-rockies/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:01:14 +0000 Carrie Vaughn http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12704 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/harry-marlowe-versus-haunted-locomotive-rockies/feed/ 2 Interview: Karl Schroeder http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-karl-schroeder/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-karl-schroeder/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 10:05:37 +0000 The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12651 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-karl-schroeder/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Matthew Hughes http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-matthew-hughes-6/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-matthew-hughes-6/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 10:04:28 +0000 Patrick J Stephens http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12637 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-matthew-hughes-6/feed/ 0 A Hole in the World http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/hole-world/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/hole-world/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 10:03:54 +0000 Matthew Hughes http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12716 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/hole-world/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Howard Waldrop http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-howard-waldrop/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-howard-waldrop/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 10:02:44 +0000 Kevin McNeil http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12625 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-howard-waldrop/feed/ 0 All About Strange Monsters of the Recent Past http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/strange-monsters-recent-past/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/strange-monsters-recent-past/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 10:01:35 +0000 Howard Waldrop http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12706 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/strange-monsters-recent-past/feed/ 4 It’s all over for humanity, and I’m heading east. On the seat beside me are an M1 carbine and a Thompson submachine gun. There’s a special reason for the Thompson. I traded an M16 and 200 rounds of ammo for it to a guy in Barstow. It’s all over for humanity, and I’m heading east. On the seat beside me are an M1 carbine and a Thompson submachine gun. There’s a special reason for the Thompson. I traded an M16 and 200 rounds of ammo for it to a guy in Barstow. He got the worst of the deal. When things get rough, carbine and .45 ammo are easier to find than the 5.56mm rounds the M16 uses. I’ve got more ammo for the carbine than I need, though I’ve had plenty of chances to use it. There are fifty gallons of gasoline in the car, in cans. I have food for six days (I don’t know if that many are left.) When things really fell apart, I deserted. Like anyone else with sense. When there were more of them than we could stop. I don’t know what they’ll do when they run out of people. Start killing each other, maybe. Meanwhile, I’m driving 160 km/h on Route 66. I have an appointment in the desert of New Mexico. God. Japan must have gone first. They deluged the world with them; now, it’s Japan’s turn. You sow what you reap. We were all a little in love with death and the atom bomb back in the 1950s. It won’t do us much good now. The road is flat ahead. I’ve promised myself I’ll see Meteor Crater before I die. So many of them opened at Meteor Crater, largest of the astroblemes. How fitting I should go there now. In the backseat with the ammo is a twenty-kilo bag of sugar. • • • • It started just like the movies did. Small strangenesses in small towns, disappearances in the backwoods and lonely places, tremors in the Arctic, stirrings in the jungles. We never thought when we saw them as kids what they would someday mean. The movies. The ones with the giant lizards, grasshoppers, molluscs. We yelled when the monsters started to get theirs. We cheered when the Army arrived to fight them. We yelled for all those movies. Now they’ve come to eat us up. And nobody’s cheered the Army since 1965. In 1978, the Army couldn’t stop the monsters. I was in that Army. I still am, if one’s left. I was one of the last draftees, with the last bunch inducted. At the Entrance Station, I copped and took three years for a guaranteed job. I would be getting out in three months if it weren’t for this. I left my uniform under a bush as soon as I decided to get away. I’d worn it for two and a half years. Most of the Army got torn away in the first days of the fight with the monsters. I decided to go. So I went. East. • • • • I saw one of the giant Gila monsters this morning. There had been a car ahead of me, keeping about three kilometers between us, not letting me catch up. Maybe a family, figuring I was going to rob them or rape the women. Maybe not. It was the first car I’d seen in eighteen hours of dodging along the back roads. The car went around a turn. It looked like it slowed. I eased down, too, thinking maybe it wasn’t a family but a bunch of dudes finally deciding to ambush me. Good thing I slowed. I came around the turn and all I could see was the side of an orange and black mountain. I slammed on the brakes and skidded sideways. The Gila monster had knocked the other car off the road and was coming for me. I was shaken, but I hadn’t come this far to be eaten by a lizard. Oh no. I threw the snout of the M1 carbine out the window and blasted away at the thing’s eyes. Scales flew like rain. It twitched away then started back for me. I shot it in the tongue. It went into convulsions and crawled over a small sandhill, hissing and honking like a freight train. It would come back later to eat whatever was in the other car. I trundled back on the road and drove past the wreck. Nothing moved. A pool of oil was forming on the concrete. I drove down the road with the smell of cordite in my nose and the wind whipping past. There was Gila monster blood on the hood of the car. • • • • I had been a clerk in an airborne unit deployed to get the giant locusts eating up the Midwest. It is the strangest time in the history of the United States. Lightspeed Magazine no 22:14 Artist Showcase: Udara Chinthaka http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/artist-showcase-udara-chinthaka/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/artist-showcase-udara-chinthaka/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 10:05:43 +0000 Henry Lien http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12647 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/artist-showcase-udara-chinthaka/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Theodora Goss http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-theodora-goss-4/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-theodora-goss-4/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 10:04:52 +0000 Lee Hallison http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12640 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-theodora-goss-4/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Jo Walton http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-jo-walton-2/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-jo-walton-2/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 10:02:39 +0000 Patrick J Stephens http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12624 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-jo-walton-2/feed/ 0 Cimmeria: From the Journal of Imaginary Anthropology http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/cimmeria-journal-imaginary-anthropology/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/cimmeria-journal-imaginary-anthropology/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 10:01:17 +0000 Theodora Goss http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12705 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/cimmeria-journal-imaginary-anthropology/feed/ 2 Remembering Cimmeria: I walk through the bazaar, between the stalls of the spice sellers, smelling turmeric and cloves, hearing the clash of bronze from the sellers of cooking pots, the bleat of goats from the butcher’s alley. Remembering Cimmeria: I walk through the bazaar, between the stalls of the spice sellers, smelling turmeric and cloves, hearing the clash of bronze from the sellers of cooking pots, the bleat of goats from the butcher’s alley. Rugs hang from wooden rac... Lightspeed Magazine no 47:01 The Panda Coin http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/panda-coin/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/panda-coin/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 10:01:11 +0000 Jo Walton http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12703 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/panda-coin/feed/ 0 Editorial, July 2014 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/editorial-july-2014/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/editorial-july-2014/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 10:05:29 +0000 John Joseph Adams http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12650 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/editorial-july-2014/feed/ 1 Author Spotlight: Carmen Maria Machado http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-carmen-maria-machado-2/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-carmen-maria-machado-2/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 10:04:46 +0000 John Joseph Adams http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12639 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-carmen-maria-machado-2/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Adam-Troy Castro http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-adam-troy-castro-6/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-adam-troy-castro-6/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 10:02:33 +0000 Jude Griffin http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12623 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-adam-troy-castro-6/feed/ 0 Help Me Follow My Sister into the Land of the Dead http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/help-follow-sister-land-dead/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/help-follow-sister-land-dead/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 10:01:29 +0000 Carmen Maria Machado http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12562 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/help-follow-sister-land-dead/feed/ 3 The New Provisions http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/new-provisions/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/new-provisions/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 10:01:10 +0000 Adam-Troy Castro http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12693 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/new-provisions/feed/ 5 Illustrated by Elizabeth Leggett Phil called the toll-free number he’d been given, and after the usual twenty-minute hold time, reached a human being who explained that the tow truck driver really did have the right to haul away his car. It didn’t matter that the car had been parked i... (http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/PROVISIONS-575x442.jpg) The First New Provision Phil called the toll-free number he’d been given, and after the usual twenty-minute hold time, reached a human being who explained that the tow truck driver really did have the right to haul away his car. It didn’t matter that the car had been parked in his driveway or that it had been completely paid for, and it certainly didn’t matter that it was the only form of transportation he and his wife had for getting back and forth from work. What mattered is that a new provision had been added to the wording of the contract Phil had signed for a home improvement loan seven years earlier. Phil had found the company a nightmare to deal with, and on paying off the last installment more than five years ago, had gone on the website and made his displeasure known. Phil no longer had an active contract with that company and had not thought of them since severing ties, but the company had gone back over its list of old customers and retroactively inserted a clause allowing them to seize the assets of any customer who publicly defamed their services in any manner. Phil was allowed to appeal, but only with the company’s in-house arbitrator, and it would likely be a waste of time, as the case was so open and shut. Outraged, Phil demanded to speak with somebody higher up. The representative assured him that this was his option but added that Phil would need to provide a credit card to qualify for this premium service at the rate of $3.75 per minute, thirty minutes minimum. • • • • The Second New Provision Phil’s friend the lawyer, who seemed to be packing up his office, advised him that there were no grounds for a suit. The nation’s corporations had spent hundreds of billions of dollars over the last ten years, fighting all the way to the Supreme Court for the right to alter contracts in any way that benefited them and had, in the end, gotten all the concessions they wanted. The chief limitation of this new power was of course that it could only be exercised against individual consumers of below a particular income, as the alternative would be an out-of-control orgy of giant corporations re-writing past agreements with other giant corporations in asset seizures, and that would lead to anarchy. Nobody would ever be able to get any business done. But Phil and his wife fell below the cut-off point and were therefore vulnerable to any punitive fee considered appropriate by anybody they’d ever done any business with, at any point in their lives. “I wouldn’t take this any further than you already have,” the lawyer said, re-checking his airline tickets for the third time in the course of the conversation. “You’ve already violated the new clause requiring you to use the company’s in-house arbitrator.” But my car, Phil said. How am I going to get to work without my car? “I sympathize,” the lawyer said. “But in the eyes of the law you really should have thought of this before. Now, please leave before I get penalized for talking to you.” • • • • The Third New Provision Phil’s new commute to work involved two buses and a seven-block walk. He missed a vital transfer and as a result walked in forty minutes late, his coat dripping from the torrential downpour that had decided to add to his troubles just before he reached the overhang of the firm’s front entrance. When he reached his desk, there was a yellow sticky note on his monitor advising him of a meeting in the Human Resources department. He trudged down the hall in a fog of increasing dread and found the HR director and his immediate supervisor waiting for him, with the news that the company had just added a new clause to his employment contract. His salary was being cut by one third, retroactive to his first day at work thirteen years ago, which meant that he would be responsible for paying back every additional cent he had earned in the interim. Lightspeed Magazine no 16:02 Illusion, Expectation, and World Domination through Bake Sales http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/illusion-expectation-and-world-domination-through-bake-sales/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/illusion-expectation-and-world-domination-through-bake-sales/#comments Sun, 29 Jun 2014 10:05:56 +0000 Pat Murphy http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12315 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/illusion-expectation-and-world-domination-through-bake-sales/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Tananarive Due http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-tananarive-due-2/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-tananarive-due-2/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 10:04:57 +0000 Jude Griffin http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12230 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-tananarive-due-2/feed/ 0 Like Daughter http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/like-daughter/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/like-daughter/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 10:03:00 +0000 Tananarive Due http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12269 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/like-daughter/feed/ 9 Illustrated by Elizabeth Leggett I got the call in the middle of the week, when I came wheezing home from my uphill late-afternoon run. I didn’t recognize the voice on my computer’s answer-phone at first, although I thought it sounded like my best friend, Denise. (http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/LIKE-DAUGHTER-2.jpg) I got the call in the middle of the week, when I came wheezing home from my uphill late-afternoon run. I didn’t recognize the voice on my computer’s answer-phone at first, although I thought it sounded like my best friend, Denise. There was no video feed, only the recording, and the words were so improbable they only confused me more: “Sean’s gone. Come up here and get Neecy. Take her. I can’t stand to look at her.” Her words rolled like scattered marbles in my head. I had just talked to Denise a week before, when she called from Chicago to tell me her family might be coming to San Francisco to visit me that winter, when Neecy was out of school for Christmas vacation. We giggled on the phone as if we were planning a sleepover, the way we used to when we were kids. Denise’s daughter, Neecy, is my godchild. I hadn’t seen her since she was two, which was a raging shame and hard for me to believe when I counted back the years in my mind, but it was true. I’d always made excuses, saying I had too much traveling and too many demands as a documentary film producer, where life is always projected two and three years into the future, leaving little space for here and now. But that wasn’t the reason I hadn’t seen my godchild in four years. We both knew why. I played the message again, listening for cadences and tones that would remind me of Denise, and it was like standing on the curb watching someone I knew get hit by a car. Something had stripped Denise’s voice bare. So that meant her husband, Sean, must really be gone, I realized. And Denise wanted to send her daughter away. “I can’t stand to look at her,” the voice on the message was saying again. I went to my kitchen sink, in the direct path of the biting breeze from my half-open window, and I was shaking. My mind had frozen shut, sealing my thoughts out of reach. I turned on the faucet and listened to the water pummel my aluminum basin, then I captured some of the lukewarm stream in my palms to splash my face. As the water dripped from my chin, I cupped my hands again and drank, and I could taste the traces of salty perspiration I’d rubbed from my skin, tasting myself. My anger and sadness were tugging on my stomach. I stood at that window and cursed as if what I was feeling had a shape and was standing in the room with me. I think I’d started to believe I might have been wrong about the whole thing. That was another reason I’d kept some distance from Denise; I hadn’t wanted to be there to poke holes in what she was trying to do, to cast doubts with the slightest glance. That’s something only a mother or a lifelong friend can do, and I might as well have been both to Denise despite our identical ages. I’d thought maybe if I only left her alone, she could build everything she wanted inside that Victorian brownstone in Lincoln Park. The husband, the child, all of it. Her life could trot on happily ever after, just the way she’d planned. But that’s a lie, too. I’d always known I was right. I had been dreading that call all along, since the beginning. And once it finally came, I wondered what the hell had taken so long. You know how Denise’s voice really sounded on my answering machine that day? As if she’d wrapped herself up in that recorder and died. “Paige, promise me you’ll look out for Neecy, hear?” Mama used to tell me. I couldn’t have known then what a burden that would be, having to watch over someone. But I took my role seriously. Mama said Neecy needed me, so I was going to be her guardian. Just a tiny little bit, I couldn’t completely be a kid after that. Mama never said exactly why my new best friend at Mae Jemison Elementary School needed guarding, but she didn’t have to. I had my own eyes. Even when Neecy didn’t say anything, I noticed the bruises on her forearms and calves, and even on Neecy’s mother’s neck once, which was the real shocker. Lightspeed Magazine no 40:30 Author Spotlight: Heather Clitheroe http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-heather-clitheroe/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-heather-clitheroe/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 10:02:52 +0000 Lee Hallison http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12229 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-heather-clitheroe/feed/ 0 Cuts Both Ways http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/cuts-both-ways/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/cuts-both-ways/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 10:01:53 +0000 Heather Clitheroe http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12268 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/cuts-both-ways/feed/ 1 Illustrated by Elizabeth Leggett The kids know he’s coming to visit. They’ve been texting him to tell him about the snow and how cold it is, and they helpfully send links to their Amazon wish lists with pages of moon-eyed dolls and odd sets of dueling robots and creatures sold accordi... (http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/LEGGETT_Cuts-Both-Ways_Clitheroe-575x442.jpg) The kids know he’s coming to visit. They’ve been texting him to tell him about the snow and how cold it is, and they helpfully send links to their Amazon wish lists with pages of moon-eyed dolls and odd sets of dueling robots and creatures sold according to series. The things they like are incomprehensible to him, but they know he’s good for it. Uncle Spencer always comes through. His sister emails to promise that it’ll be a quiet Christmas. Just family, Erin says. He can come home and relax, and she’ll take care of everything. She tells him she can’t wait to see him. It’s been too long. He stands in line at the airport, waiting to approach the security gates. The Distributed Arbitrage paperwork is in his hand. As soon as he hits the checkpoint, the alarms goes off. He holds the papers out as three security agents converge on him. “I’m a forecaster with DA?” he says. He doesn’t mean for it to sound like a question, but their mood is patently apparent to him. Heightened concern and a trickle of alarm. He follows them to the room with the metal door and submits to the search. “Take off your sunglasses, sir.” And he does, wincing at the bright lights. He lifts his shirt when they tell him to, and one of the agents raises his eyebrows at the tracework of scars across his torso. They run a metal detector wand up and down, it predictably emits a piercing tone from his belt to his head. The papers should be enough, but there’s always curiosity to satisfy; everybody wants to see it, to look at his scars and the ports that have to be flushed every three weeks with heparin and the smooth panels where cables can be connected. What they want to see most of all is the soft green glow from the strips of monitor LEDs along his ribs just under the skin that tell him, at a glance, that his system is functioning properly. Everybody wants a look. It’s so mysterious; it’s so enthralling. In this small, enclosed space, their interest is lurid. From the waist up, he’s not entirely human. DA calls it augmentation. Cyborg sounds too kitschy. They all want to see it. They always think it’s the equipment that makes him special. What they don’t understand—what they will never understand—is how it feels. No self. No other. Points of light brighter than a thousand suns, shining in the howling dark of the storm. The thrill of riding it sings through every nerve in his body. They are too normal, too human. They can’t feel it the way he does. They open his suitcase. An agent mutters about the syringes and meds he’s carrying. Spencer gives them copies of the prescriptions. Distributed Arbitrage keeps its own medical staff, and they provide documentation for travelling casters. That should be enough, too, but the agent lifts the vials and pill bottles to the light and Spencer has to explain. This one for inflammation. This one for blood pressure. That’s an anti-rejection. Those for pain. Yes, I have prescriptions for all of them. The man pulls it all out of his suitcase, lining everything up on a stainless steel table. Another agent stands just to one side, watching. The third, a woman, leafs through the paperwork, her eyes narrowed as she reads. It’s all in order. Satisfied—and a touch disappointed—the men saunter out. The woman watches him repack his bag. He scoops the medication together, the little glass vials clinking. “Forecaster, huh? Seems like a lot of trouble for a job,” the agent observes, and she writes something on his boarding pass and hands it back to him. “Maybe.” Spencer puts his sunglasses and baseball cap back on. His hands shake. “Can you really see the future?” “It doesn’t work that way,” Spencer says. “But you can tell what people are thinking?” “Not quite. More like what they’re feeling.” He zips up the suitcase and heaves it off the table. “Am I done?” “Sure.” She smiles briefly at him. Lightspeed Magazine no 54:44 Women Remember: A Roundtable Interview http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/women-remember-a-roundtable-interview/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/women-remember-a-roundtable-interview/#comments Tue, 17 Jun 2014 10:07:14 +0000 Mary Robinette Kowal http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12314 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/women-remember-a-roundtable-interview/feed/ 4 The Case of the Passionless Bees http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-case-of-the-passionless-bees/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-case-of-the-passionless-bees/#comments Tue, 17 Jun 2014 10:06:53 +0000 Rhonda Eikamp http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12259 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-case-of-the-passionless-bees/feed/ 1 Illustrated by Christine Mitzuk Of all the strange sights I had been privy to during my acquaintanceship with that illustrious detective, none was as disturbing as seeing my old friend covered in bees. Naturally I was not concerned; his manaccanite skin was impervious to harm and I m... (http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/mitzuk_passionless-bees_575x442_signed.jpg) Of all the strange sights I had been privy to during my acquaintanceship with that illustrious detective, none was as disturbing as seeing my old friend covered in bees. Naturally I was not concerned; his manaccanite skin was impervious to harm and I myself was at a safe distance, ensconced behind the clerestory window at Shading Coil Cottage, having been let in by a timid local girl whom I supposed to be the replacement for Mrs. Hudson. Perhaps sensing my arrival, Holmes turned and waved from the yard. Moments later he had shaken off his beloved bees and joined me in the drawing room. “This business,” he began, as always to the point. “A murder in my own home is one thing, Watson, but that my own housekeeper should be accused of the beastly act—I will not stand for it!” He chose an octave below his usual reedy voice for this utterance, I noted, and the gravity of the situation was not lost on me. “Glad you could make it, by the way. I will need someone on the side of the amalgamated in this case.” During his time in London, Dr. Bell’s invention had made a name for himself solving cases the Yard had given up as hopeless, his inscrutable silver visage still well-known not only in Baker Street but beyond, and yet since his retirement I had seen little of him. There was much I cherished about Gearlock Holmes: that rigor that kept him like a bloodhound on the trail of criminals, the astonishing array of facts that had been programmed into him and which he himself broadened with unceasing study (employing the night hours while we the fleshly slept), the cooling tick-tick that arose from him when he overheated. Even his violin playing I had missed, passionless as it was, yet the sight of those articulated fingers moving with such precision through a pizzicato had never failed to awe me. Observing him now closely, in an attempt to emulate his own methods, I felt that Gearlock Holmes had lost some of his polish. Perhaps retirement did not suit him. Perhaps it was only the circumstances. He lost no time in filling me in, as he led me with a gentle but firm grip on my arm to the conservatory. “Miss Katharina Segalen and her brother-in-law Friedl Klapisch-Zuber, of Düsseldorf, Germany, had been my guests for three days prior to the murder. They are scientists with the German government in some capacity and had come uninvited to interview me, or spy me out if you will. On the continent the amalgamated are not so common as servants, I am given to understand, and there was some hint from the two that the German government views the technology as a potential source of soldiery, so I’m afraid I was rather uncooperative. Here—” Holmes threw open the door to the conservatory. Sunlight washed in through the windows and I heard the whine of his optical apertures adjusting. The plants were all neatly maintained, more for study than for decoration, I surmised, and so the debris in one corner was immediately noticeable. A clay pot of bridal-veil creeper had been overturned, wrenched from its jardinière by some struggle, or so it appeared, shattering into myriad pieces and spilling soil. I approached the spot. Tiny smears of blood dotted the bench and floor. In the soil—in fact all about the floor—lay dead bees. I counted thirty before I stopped. “Your televoice mentioned bees,” I began. “Miss Segalen was highly sensitive apparently. She’d said nothing about it, and her death would have been written off as a terrible and tragic accident if there had been only a single errant bee involved, rather than what one must assume was a basketful introduced into the room deliberately. And if the door had not been locked from the outside.” The servos of his mouth ground through their tracks, clenching his jaw. A sigh of steam escaped his neck-joint. “The stings on the corpse were too many for Dr. Culpepper to count. Lightspeed Magazine no 40:07 Women Destroy Flash Fiction! http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/women-destroy-flash-fiction/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/women-destroy-flash-fiction/#comments Tue, 17 Jun 2014 10:05:23 +0000 Robyn Lupo http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12307 Lightspeed to flash fiction for the first time. The flash fiction section was guest-edited by our long-time assistant editor, Robyn Lupo. Half of the flash selections are available online, while the other half are exclusive to the print/ebook edition. ]]> http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/women-destroy-flash-fiction/feed/ 0 The Hymn of Ordeal, No. 23 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-hymn-of-ordeal-no-23/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-hymn-of-ordeal-no-23/#comments Tue, 17 Jun 2014 10:04:33 +0000 Rhiannon Rasmussen http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=12300 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-hymn-of-ordeal-no-23/feed/ 1