http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/itunes-rss/ Lightspeed Magazine http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com Science Fiction & Fantasy Wed, 23 Apr 2014 05:31:24 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9 Science Fiction & Fantasy Lightspeed Magazine no Science Fiction & Fantasy Lightspeed Magazine http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com Interview: Scott Sigler http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-scott-sigler/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-scott-sigler/#comments Tue, 22 Apr 2014 10:05:48 +0000 The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11717 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-scott-sigler/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: C.J. Cherryh http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-c-j-cherryh/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-c-j-cherryh/#comments Tue, 22 Apr 2014 10:04:54 +0000 Andrew Liptak http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11695 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-c-j-cherryh/feed/ 0 The Only Death in the City http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-only-death-in-the-city/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-only-death-in-the-city/#comments Tue, 22 Apr 2014 10:03:26 +0000 C. J. Cherryh http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11738 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-only-death-in-the-city/feed/ 0 Author spotlight: Shaenon K. Garrity http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-shaenon-k-garrity/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-shaenon-k-garrity/#comments Tue, 22 Apr 2014 10:02:51 +0000 Bradley Englert http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11672 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-shaenon-k-garrity/feed/ 0 Francisca Montoya’s Almanac of Things That Can Kill You http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/francisca-montoyas-almanac-of-things-that-can-kill-you/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/francisca-montoyas-almanac-of-things-that-can-kill-you/#comments Tue, 22 Apr 2014 10:01:29 +0000 Shaenon K. Garrity http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11720 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/francisca-montoyas-almanac-of-things-that-can-kill-you/feed/ 0 If you get ill after eating or touching something that didn’t make anyone else sick, you may be allergic to it. Especially if there’s a rash. Allergies are caused by your body rejecting substances it doesn’t like. Allergic Reaction If you get ill after eating or touching something that didn’t make anyone else sick, you may be allergic to it. Especially if there’s a rash. Allergies are caused by your body rejecting substances it doesn’t like. There is no treatment but to avoid those substances. Fortunately, only a few types of allergies can kill you. Nut allergies, for instance. Bee stings. But I imagine most people with fatal allergies to common things have died by now. I am allergic to wool, soy, peanuts, and pollen. Only my peanut allergy can kill me. Appendicitis There is an organ in your body called the appendix, and sometimes it goes bad and kills you. The only treatment is to cut it out of your body. I don’t recommend trying this. You’ll bleed to death. On the other hand, death from appendicitis is long and excruciatingly painful. So maybe try surgery. There’s something to be said for the quicker death. Bears Bears aren’t so bad. They can kill you very easily, but mostly they leave people alone. Also, they keep wolves away. After Lauren died, I settled in Gualala because grizzly bears had been sighted in the area. Most people were afraid of the bears, but those people were idiots. Bears are so much better than wolves. If you encounter a bear, move away slowly. If that doesn’t work, drop to the ground and play dead. You want the bear to lose interest in you and go away. But if a bear wants to kill you, it’ll kill you. There isn’t much you can do about it. I suppose that’s what scares people about bears. But if you think about it, the same thing is true of everything that can kill you. Beriberi This has a lot of names in different places: the shakes, the bone dance, calf legs. It starts with feeling weak and fatigued, then progresses to numbness in the arms and legs, inability to walk, facial tics, and dementia. Sufferers may also have a rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath. As complex and frightening as these symptoms are—and I’ve seen them enough to know how scary they can be—the cause is a simple vitamin deficiency. Unless it’s progressed too far, a diet of fresh meat, green vegetables, and brown bread (not anything made from the white flour or white rice found in the cities) should take care of the problem. Also, drink fresh clean water instead of beer if possible. If none of this is possible, beriberi can easily kill you. As we traveled up the coast, back in my traveling days, Lauren and I started to see more and more stick-thin sufferers of beriberi, sometimes even in the larger settlements, and we were told more and more often that our diagnosis was useless. Where was anyone going to get fresh greens, when all the local farmland had turned poisonous and chalky, and even the trees in the woods were whitening? People got angry, they refused to pay. That was one of the things that made us think we ought to give up the traveling medicine work and settle somewhere, if we could find a healthy place that would take us. Blood Poisoning There are a lot of ways blood can get poisoned. Stepping on a rusty nail. Getting cut by a sharp piece of old metal. Always wear boots and gloves when foraging in the cities. If you get an infected cut and start having spasms, especially in the jaw, you have tetanus. Tetanus can easily kill you. The only treatment we have these days is bed rest. Some people try bloodletting to release the poison, but I’ve never seen that work. The sickness isn’t caused by poison, anyway. It’s caused by bacteria that live in dirt. You can also get blood poisoning through a tooth abscess or other dental problems. That’s what got Lauren. She had a toothache and she let it go, and let it go, and one morning her whole jaw swelled up and her body was on fire. She died a few days later. That was when I had to start looking seriously for a place to settle down, because I can’t travel alone, not with my allergies and my fibromyalgia. (Fibromyalgia is a painful disorder of the muscles. Lightspeed Magazine no Artist Showcase: Rémi Le Capon http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/artist-showcase-remi-le-capon/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/artist-showcase-remi-le-capon/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:05:10 +0000 Henry Lien http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11708 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/artist-showcase-remi-le-capon/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: K.J. Bishop http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-k-j-bishop/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-k-j-bishop/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:04:28 +0000 Jude Griffin http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11694 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-k-j-bishop/feed/ 0 Alsiso http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/alsiso/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/alsiso/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:03:23 +0000 K.J. Bishop http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11737 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/alsiso/feed/ 4 Author Spotlight: Linda Nagata http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-linda-nagata-3/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-linda-nagata-3/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:02:41 +0000 Andrew Liptak http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11671 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-linda-nagata-3/feed/ 0 Codename: Delphi http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/codename-delphi/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/codename-delphi/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:01:24 +0000 Linda Nagata http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11719 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/codename-delphi/feed/ 6 Illustrated by Galen Dara “Valdez, you need to slow down,” Karin Larsen warned, each syllable crisply pronounced into a mic. “Stay behind the seekers. If you overrun them, you’re going to walk into a booby trap.” (http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/codename-delphi-by-linda-nagata-575x442.jpg) “Valdez, you need to slow down,” Karin Larsen warned, each syllable crisply pronounced into a mic. “Stay behind the seekers. If you overrun them, you’re going to walk into a booby trap.” Five thousand miles away from Karin’s control station, Second Lieutenant Valdez was jacked up on adrenaline and in a defiant mood. “Negative!” she said, her voice arriving over Karin’s headphones. “Delphi, we’ve got personnel down and need to move fast. This route scans clear. I am not waiting for the seekers to clear it again.” The battleground was an ancient desert city. Beginning at sunset, firefights had flared up all across its tangled neighborhoods and Valdez was right that her squad needed to advance—but not so fast that they ran into a trap. “The route is not clear,” Karin insisted. “The last overflight to scan this alley was forty minutes ago. Anything could have happened since then.” Karin’s worksite was an elevated chair within a little room inside a secure building. She faced a curved monitor a meter-and-a-half high, set an easy reach away. Windows checkered its screen, grouped by color-codes representing different clients. The windows could slide, change sequence, and overlap, but they could never completely hide one another; the system wouldn’t allow it. This was Karin’s interface to the war. Presently centered onscreen were two gold-rimmed windows, each displaying a video feed captured by an aerial seeker: palm-sized drones equipped with camera eyes, audio pickups, and chemical sensors. The seekers flew ahead of Valdez and her urban infantry squad, one at eye level and the other at an elevation of six meters, scouting a route between brick-and-stucco tenements. They flew too slowly for Valdez. The lieutenant was out of sight of the seekers’ camera eyes, but Karin could hear the soft patter of her boot plates as she advanced at a hurried trot, and the tread of the rest of the squad trailing behind her. Echoing off the buildings, there came the pepper of distant rifle fire and a heavier caliber weapon answering. Onscreen, positioned above the two video feeds, was a third window that held the squad map—a display actively tracking the position and status of each soldier. Outfitted in bulletproof vests and rigged in the titanium struts of light-infantry exoskeletons—“armor and bones”—the squad advanced through the alley at a mandated ten-meter interval, a regulation that reduced the odds of multiple casualties if they encountered an IED or a grenade. Only Lieutenant Valdez failed to maintain the proper distance, crowding within two meters of the seekers in her rush to answer the call for backup. “Valdez, this is not a simple firefight. It’s a widespread, well-planned insurgent offensive. Every kid with a grudge—” “No lectures, Delphi. Just get these seekers moving faster.” Any faster, and the little drones could miss something critical. Local time was past midnight and no lights shone in the alley, but in nightvision the walls of the buildings and the trash-strewn brick pavement gleamed in crisp, green detail. Karin wasn’t the only one monitoring the seekers’ feeds; a battle AI watched them too. It generated an ongoing report, displayed alongside the windows. She glanced at it and saw an alert for trace scents of explosives—but with a battle in progress that didn’t mean anything. Otherwise the report was good: no suspicious heat signatures or whispering voices or inexplicable motion within the apartments. Her gaze shifted back to the video feed. A faint gleam caught her attention; a hair-thin line close to the ground that justified her caution. “Tripwire,” she announced. She reached out to the screen; dragged her finger across the line. The gesture created a fleeting highlight on the display screen of Valdez’s visor, clearly marking the tripwire’s position. “Six meters ahead.” “Shit. Lightspeed Magazine no Editorial, April 2014 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/editorial-april-2014/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/editorial-april-2014/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 10:05:05 +0000 John Joseph Adams http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11706 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/editorial-april-2014/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Carmen Maria Machado http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-carmen-maria-machado/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-carmen-maria-machado/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 10:04:17 +0000 Earnie Sotirokos http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11692 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-carmen-maria-machado/feed/ 0 Observations About Eggs from the Man Sitting Next to Me on a Flight from Chicago, Illinois to Cedar Rapids, Iowa http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/observations-about-eggs-from-the-man-sitting-next-to-me-on-a-flight-from-chicago-illinois-to-cedar-rapids-iowa/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/observations-about-eggs-from-the-man-sitting-next-to-me-on-a-flight-from-chicago-illinois-to-cedar-rapids-iowa/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 10:03:12 +0000 Carmen Maria Machado http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11735 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/observations-about-eggs-from-the-man-sitting-next-to-me-on-a-flight-from-chicago-illinois-to-cedar-rapids-iowa/feed/ 3 1. Lord, it’s hot in this cabin. I could hard-boil an egg inside my mouth. What’s your name? 2. Have you ever poached an egg? The trick is white vinegar. Everyone forgets the white vinegar, and the blasted thing falls apart, 1. Lord, it’s hot in this cabin. I could hard-boil an egg inside my mouth. What’s your name? 2. Have you ever poached an egg? The trick is white vinegar. Everyone forgets the white vinegar, and the blasted thing falls apart, and then they miss one of the greatest wonders of the world. Here’s what you do: Add it to the boiling water. The vinegar, I mean. Break the egg into a bowl, not directly into the pot. Next, spin a spoon in the vinegar water and make a vortex. Drop the egg inside of it. If you look down, you can see the dense heart of the yolk through the clear atmosphere of white, and it is not entirely unlike looking at the Earth from space. The heat will make the egg go opaque. If the water is the right temperature, you can see it happening in slow motion—the yolk developing a skin, then the white going, well, white. It’s like watching the egg being formed inside the looped guts of a warm and bleating hen. Bleating, not bleeding. Anyway, when you watch the egg like this, you are seeing what only a god might see. This might seem like just a quaint observation, but what if I told you that by imagining yourself a god while watching an egg being formed, you become that god, for just a second or two? Of course, now that I’ve said it, now that I’ve told you about this little quirk of the natural world, you’ll never be able to actually do it. That’s the rule, and I didn’t make it. But if, before I told you of these temporary god-powers, you had been watching that egg poaching, and at that precise moment wished to create an entirely new world, somewhere in all of existence, it would have popped into being, and though you wouldn’t have known it, it would have been there, and you would have been its deity. And periodically you would find scraps of paper in your pocket with words scrawled on them or you’d mishear a fragment of a sentence spoken by a coworker or you’d discover Word documents you didn’t remember creating, and the truth is those would have been the prayers of your created people, calling out to you because they feel lost and alone and afraid. It is a very terrible thing to be a god and I don’t really recommend it. 3. Have you ever seen a frozen egg? No? I’m sorry for you. You have not been so fortunately careless as to leave the carton too close to the top shelf of the fridge, as I have. The shell pops off like a bottle cap, and if you pull out the contents, the whole inside of the egg sits in your hand like a stone. If you pinch the white, it comes apart like snow. Beneath running water, the white falls away and the yolk is gold, hard. It sits in your hand like an oversized marble. It’s the most perfect shade of yellow. In some countries, none of them accessible by a plane like this one, four of these yolks can be exchanged for the basic necessities: seeds, a sack of potatoes, one shoe—though for the other, you’ll need four more yolks. If you plant them in the ground, there are rumors that better things than potatoes might grow. But these are just rumors, and you might end up hungrier than before. 4. Have you ever opened an egg and seen the inside of another egg? No? Are you sure? Here is how you can tell: Crack open an egg. Look inside. Sometimes, in another place entirely, another person has also cracked open an egg and is also looking inside, and you are both, in fact, looking at the innards of the exact same egg. If you examine the egg carefully enough, you will find that the scene being reflected back at you in the gelatinous curve of the yolk is not, in fact, your own kitchen, with its fluorescent light bulb, dirty counter, Matisse print, and collection of empty wine bottles, but rather a different kitchen, possibly in Brooklyn, possibly in Big Sur, possibly in an alternate universe to your own, with an entirely different face peering back at you. You cannot crawl through the common egg into that other place, though, so don’t try. Greater women than you have tried and failed. 5. Lightspeed Magazine no Author Spotlight: Scott Sigler http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-scott-sigler/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-scott-sigler/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 10:02:44 +0000 Stephanie Lorée http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11674 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-scott-sigler/feed/ 0 Complex God http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/complex-god/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/complex-god/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 10:01:34 +0000 Scott Sigler http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11721 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/complex-god/feed/ 8 Author Spotlight: RoboNinja http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-roboninja/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-roboninja/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 10:02:04 +0000 Lightspeed Staff. Translated by Brooke Bolander. http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11754 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-roboninja/feed/ 0 The Legend of RoboNinja http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-legend-of-roboninja/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-legend-of-roboninja/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 10:01:54 +0000 RoboNinja. Translated by Brooke Bolander. http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11600 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-legend-of-roboninja/feed/ 1 RoboNinja. A name for garbled tongues and garbled times. Interstate mudlarks peer at him from beneath grotty brows as he passes, eyes the size of headlamps reflecting the gelid glow of his visor. He once tried obscuring the light with handfuls of ash, (http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/roboninja-575px-close.jpg) He had a name once, doled out by a loving mother in some antecedent time and place so distant it seems impossible the stars moved in their current polity. Gone now. Fallen and trampled to an obscure macule in the roadside mud, like his vanished arms and legs and viscera. Nothing would be changed in the knowing. RoboNinja. A name for garbled tongues and garbled times. Interstate mudlarks peer at him from beneath grotty brows as he passes, eyes the size of headlamps reflecting the gelid glow of his visor. He once tried obscuring the light with handfuls of ash, smeared across LEDs and his shining silver carapace like the penitential marks of a sect long forgotten. It had worked for a time, until the monsoon came mocking once more. What alloy is he, that does not rust or falter? What spirit turns the clockwork heart, the hydraulics hissing at each joint like chained and malignant demons? Why do his knees have running lights? None step forward to ask. He walks the highways alone. The blasted countryside sighs with relief to see the back of him, an unlucky silver coin passed on to some other gambler's hand. • • • • The elasticity of muscle. Meat and bone sliding together in perfect alignment. Blood humming faintly in veins delicate as silkworm strand. Things he never knew he missed. Taken from him, piece by piece, until nothing was left but machinery. Two katanas and a sweet-ass rail gun. Metallic fingers to crush the windpipe of God, should he ever come across him on his meanderings. A story common in the days before the cataclysm. A rival clan. Cybernetic legs, replacing those lost in rooftop shadow-games. The moon never judged his lack of skill. First one arm and then the other, tumble-turning in the osseous light like shot-stricken passenger pigeons. Remove the limbs of a ninja. Take the head and lungs and ice-cold heart of him, the eyes to see and the ears to hear and the liver and lights and soul uncoiling beneath them like squid ink on the sea floor or a totally rad ninja smoke bomb. If one were to replace all the components and seal that third-rate warrior's spirit inside a suit of living robotic armor, would it remain the same shinobi? Or would something ineffable be lost in the changing? • • • • In his perambulations he comes across a city. Charred skyscrapers turned to skeletal slag, grasping for the sky like the clawed and blackened hands of sinners reaching from Hell toward some unobtainable beatitude. Leadbellied clouds visible through the rebar. Wasted shadows scuttling from the light he carries, dazzled by refulgence. Also there is a Waffle House. (http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/spark.jpg) Rough men live here. He passes a knot of them, making sport of a tiny orange kitten. RoboNinja stops for little on the road. The world is a horror forgotten by God, completing its circumvolution over and over heedless as any tormented eidolon ever haunted the halls past midnight. He has seen trees impaled with the skulls of infants and roadsides smeared with the gore of feasts unimaginable. But he likes cats. Moreover, he has a railgun and two katanas. It takes little effort to send the souls of the men back to the formless and unthinking void they issued out of. The kitten blinks up at him. Owlet in feline form. Fluffy fur matted by oil and who knows what else. A mew so quiet as to be almost imperceptible. The way will be hard, he says to the grimalkin. I can't promise you anything. Purring. The flick of one small ear, indifferent. All right then. Your choice. He reaches down, plucks the kitten from the ground by its scruff and opens the secret robot ninja compartment in his chest. He can still feel it rumbling inside as they travel on down the road. • • • • A family of ferals dwelt beneath the dojo when he was young. Lithe obscurations at the corners of his vision, Lightspeed Magazine no Panel: YouTube for Geeks http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/panel-youtube-for-geeks/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/panel-youtube-for-geeks/#comments Tue, 25 Mar 2014 10:05:43 +0000 The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11385 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/panel-youtube-for-geeks/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Matthew Hughes http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-matthew-hughes-4/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-matthew-hughes-4/#comments Tue, 25 Mar 2014 10:04:58 +0000 Patrick J Stephens http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11365 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-matthew-hughes-4/feed/ 0 Phalloon the Illimitable http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/phalloon-the-illimitable/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/phalloon-the-illimitable/#comments Tue, 25 Mar 2014 10:03:06 +0000 Matthew Hughes http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11418 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/phalloon-the-illimitable/feed/ 1 The estate of Phalloon the so-called Illimitable was in most respects much like that of the budding thaumaturge Diomedo Obron, Erm Kaslo’s new employer: It had a large, solid house, some remote outbuildings, lawns and a lake, clumps of mature trees, (http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Kaslo575-1.jpg) Previously on The Kaslo Chronicles: With galactic civilization about to collapse as the universe shifts from rationalism to magic, hardboiled confidential operative Erm Kasl... Lightspeed Magazine no Author Spotlight: Jo Walton http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-jo-walton/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-jo-walton/#comments Tue, 25 Mar 2014 10:02:29 +0000 Jude Griffin http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11359 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-jo-walton/feed/ 0 Turnover http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/turnover/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/turnover/#comments Tue, 25 Mar 2014 10:01:09 +0000 Jo Walton http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11406 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/turnover/feed/ 3 Interview: Joe Haldeman http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-joe-haldeman/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-joe-haldeman/#comments Tue, 18 Mar 2014 10:05:39 +0000 The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11384 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-joe-haldeman/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Eileen Gunn and Michael Swanwick http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-eileen-gunn-and-michael-swanwick/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-eileen-gunn-and-michael-swanwick/#comments Tue, 18 Mar 2014 10:04:59 +0000 Jude Griffin http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11368 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-eileen-gunn-and-michael-swanwick/feed/ 0 The Armies of Elfland http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-armies-of-elfland/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-armies-of-elfland/#comments Tue, 18 Mar 2014 10:03:09 +0000 Eileen Gunn and Michael Swanwick http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11419 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-armies-of-elfland/feed/ 2 Author Spotlight: Chen Qiufan http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-chen-qiufan/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-chen-qiufan/#comments Tue, 18 Mar 2014 10:02:32 +0000 Robyn Lupo. Translated by Ken Liu. http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11356 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-chen-qiufan/feed/ 0 The Mao Ghost http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-mao-ghost/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-mao-ghost/#comments Tue, 18 Mar 2014 10:01:02 +0000 Chen Qiufan. Translated by Ken Liu. http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11405 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-mao-ghost/feed/ 3 I still remember that evening: In the heavy air, the plastic dragonflies hovered just below the eaves like miniature helicopters, drifting about slightly even though there was no wind. I came home, and Dad was already in the house but kept the lights o... I still remember that evening: In the heavy air, the plastic dragonflies hovered just below the eaves like miniature helicopters, drifting about slightly even though there was no wind. I came home, and Dad was already in the house but kept the lights off. The setting sun came in through cracks in the window, and his face seemed indescribably thin in the dim, yellow light, like a stranger’s. He extended an arm toward me and the sleeve hung loose as though it contained only bones and no muscle. Without even realizing I was doing so, I tried to hang back, staying away from him. “Qianer, come here. Let Daddy get a look at you.” I struggled to understand the meaning behind his words. He tried to look at me every day, regardless of my wishes. It seemed that other than looking at me, he had nothing else to say or do. He was always getting my age wrong. Sometimes he would ask me if I was getting along with the other children, and I felt that he was only making conversation because whenever I brought up Xiao Qing or Nana, he always put on an expression that said I’m-interested-but-who-is-that? even though I’d already repeated those names for him at least eight million times. “Qianer,” he said, and seemed unsure if he should go on. “I want to tell you something.” “Are you about to go on another business trip?” I asked dutifully. “No, it’s not that. I’m never going on a trip again.” “Then you won’t be able to buy me the newest Little Pixies?” Little Pixies were colorful plastic dolls with fluorescent wings. Dad thought every girl in the world liked them, and so every time he went on a business trip he’d bring back the season’s models from the big cities. They formed a cheerleading squad at the foot of my bed. “Little Pixies? Oh, we can buy them through the mail, as long as you like them.” He seemed to think of something, and his eyes brightened. “Qianer, I want to tell you that I’ve been Chosen as a host.” I looked at him blankly, letting him know that I didn’t understand the term. “It means that the spirit of an animal has chosen to live in my body and make use of my strength until it can become a real animal.” “Wow, that sounds cool!” I had never heard of such a thing, and asked suspiciously, “But what kind of animal?” “Oh . . . A snake? A parrot? Definitely not a rhinoceros. To be honest, I don’t know. Before its form is fixed, a spirit can become any animal, and it’s up to me. What animal would you like?” “A mao,” I said. “A Bosi mao.” I’d always wanted a white-haired, blue-eyed Persian cat, but Mom had always mercilessly refused. It’s hard enough raising you, she always said. “Then it will be a mao spirit, the spirit of a cat. You have to work together with me, all right?” The light in his eyes dimmed. “Okay,” I said. But I didn’t really believe him. • • • Dad wasn’t always like that. Back when I was still in kindergarten, I remember him riding his bicycle to the school every afternoon to wait for me. When little me got to sit on the child’s seat on the rear carrier of the 28” bike, I was as excited as if I got to ride a dinosaur. I most looked forward to rainy days so that Dad would cover me with the wide, spacious tent of his rubbery-smelling raincoat. All I could see then were the tire spinning under me and the rapidly receding ground, and I had to guess where we were. - Are we at Zhongshan Road yet? - Not yet. - Are we at Red Pavilion yet? - We already passed it. - Are we home yet? - Guess. A crisp and joyful braking sound. Dad stayed home every evening. He would watch TV and then fall asleep on the couch. He was fat then, and again and again his belly would swell like an angry puffer fish and then deflate, jittering, accompanied by his snores. I liked to press my ear against it and listen to the thunderous rumbling from within, which had a hypnotic magic. Back then Mom and Dad often argued, as if playing some secret game. Whenever I caught them, Lightspeed Magazine no Artist Showcase: Mark Zug http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/artist-showcase-mark-zug/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/artist-showcase-mark-zug/#comments Tue, 11 Mar 2014 10:05:00 +0000 Henry Lien http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11373 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/artist-showcase-mark-zug/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Robert Jackson Bennett http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-robert-jackson-bennett/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-robert-jackson-bennett/#comments Tue, 11 Mar 2014 10:04:53 +0000 Patrick J Stephens http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11364 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-robert-jackson-bennett/feed/ 0 A Drink for Teddy Ford http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/a-drink-for-teddy-ford/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/a-drink-for-teddy-ford/#comments Tue, 11 Mar 2014 10:03:58 +0000 Robert Jackson Bennett http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11413 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/a-drink-for-teddy-ford/feed/ 2 Author Spotlight: Sofia Samatar http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-sofia-samatar/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-sofia-samatar/#comments Tue, 11 Mar 2014 10:02:25 +0000 Bradley Englert http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11355 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-sofia-samatar/feed/ 0 How to Get Back to the Forest http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/how-to-get-back-to-the-forest/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/how-to-get-back-to-the-forest/#comments Tue, 11 Mar 2014 10:01:49 +0000 Sofia Samatar http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11392 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/how-to-get-back-to-the-forest/feed/ 0 Illustrated by Galen Dara “You have to puke it up,” said Cee. “You have to get down there and puke it up. I mean down past where you can feel it, you know?” She gestured earnestly at her chest. She had this old-fashioned cotton nightgown on, (http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/how-to-get-back-to-the-forest-by-sofia-samatar-575x442.jpg) “You have to puke it up,” said Cee. “You have to get down there and puke it up. I mean down past where you can feel it, you know?... Lightspeed Magazine no Editorial, March 2014 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/editorial-march-2014/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/editorial-march-2014/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 11:05:31 +0000 John Joseph Adams http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11403 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/editorial-march-2014/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Kat Howard http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-kat-howard-3/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-kat-howard-3/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 11:04:30 +0000 Jude Griffin http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11360 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-kat-howard-3/feed/ 0 A Different Fate http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/a-different-fate/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/a-different-fate/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 11:03:54 +0000 Kat Howard http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11412 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/a-different-fate/feed/ 2 We are one. We are three. We are sisters, together and individual. Past, present, future. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. One of us must have been born first, but the stories say there were always three, and so there were. One. Two. Three. Triune. Trinity. Separate and inseparable. We are one. We are three. We are sisters, together and individual. Past, present, future. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. One of us must have been born first, but the stories say there were always three, and so there were. Fate is too weighty a thing to be dealt by only one. And certainly then we must also be eternal, always and neverending, untouched by time or death. Certainly. If you tell a story enough times, it will have weight of its own. It will reshape fate. We are governed by fate, as well. Spin, measure, cut. One. Two. Three. • • • As the story is told, Penelope’s husband was away for quite some time. Ten years of war, and then ten years more of wandering before he returned to her. An entire generation passed in his absence. A woman who had just become a mother when Odysseus had left might see her own daughter do the same before he returned. Through all those years, Penelope wove. There were men who thought it was wrong, to see the lands and wealth of Penelope’s husband with no man to manage them. There were men who looked upon Penelope with lust, and felt it was wrong that there was no man to manage her, as well. And as they looked, and as they lusted, Penelope wove. The men told Penelope that she must accept her fate. That Odysseus was not coming back, that her lands needed someone to plow them, and frankly, she needed the same. They told her this again and again, until her ears rang with the telling. And so Penelope agreed. She would choose a man from among her suitors, but not until she finished weaving a great tapestry. The men agreed to Penelope’s condition. A woman with skill was a prize. Every day she wove. Every night, she picked the threads apart, undoing the day’s work. She did this for years, before the men, blind with impatience, noticed. Some will not see their fate, even as it is woven in front of them. Odysseus returned, inside the time that Penelope had woven out of nothing. He slayed the suitors, his fate and theirs, intertwined. And Penelope smiled to have her husband home, and still she wove. • • • I don’t remember exactly when my sister started weaving. It didn’t seem important at the time. Kacey collected hobbies, the more unusual the better. Previous enthusiasms had included making her own candles, training homing pigeons, spending the better part of a year making stained glass images of saints, and keeping bees for three years. I liked the beekeeping. There was a fall where everything tasted golden and sweet. I still have some of the honey. But no matter how good or bad she was at any of these activities, Kacey eventually grew bored. She required novelty, and when that wore off, it was on to the next enthusiasm, the former discarded like dust. Weaving, however, stuck. • • • Here is an old story. Some might say it is ours, and it might well be. In it, there is a choice, which is the thread from which all fate is woven. The choice is this: beauty or virtue. A curse will be set upon the women, who for one half of the day will be ugly, and for the other will be beautiful. The implication is that virtue only goes with one, and you can guess which. Needless to say, it is not to the women who will be so cursed that the choice is offered. Days and nights do not divide evenly. There are the betweens of twilight and dawn, and who is to say that beauty and virtue cannot coexist, that women cannot be as complex as time? Still, the choice is presented as an absolute, either one thing or the other. The stories, the old ones, the ones that contains this cursed choice, they ask: What do women want? They pose this as the highest question, upon which the very fate of the world might hang. Then they send a knight on the quest to discover the answer, as if a woman’s desire were a dragon to be slain. Only one choice between two things for three sisters. Lightspeed Magazine no Author Spotlight: Charlie Jane Anders http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-charlie-jane-anders-3/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-charlie-jane-anders-3/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 11:02:47 +0000 Robyn Lupo http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11348 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-charlie-jane-anders-3/feed/ 0 Break! Break! Break! http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/break-break-break/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/break-break-break/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 11:01:46 +0000 Charlie Jane Anders http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11391 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/break-break-break/feed/ 3 Interview: Chris Hadfield http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-chris-hadfield/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-chris-hadfield/#comments Tue, 25 Feb 2014 11:05:03 +0000 The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11171 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-chris-hadfield/feed/ 1 Author Spotlight: Ken Liu http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-ken-liu-8/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-ken-liu-8/#comments Tue, 25 Feb 2014 11:04:13 +0000 Kevin McNeil http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11141 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-ken-liu-8/feed/ 0 None Owns the Air http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/none-owns-the-air/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/none-owns-the-air/#comments Tue, 25 Feb 2014 11:03:14 +0000 Ken Liu http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11202 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/none-owns-the-air/feed/ 0 “Push! Push! Damn it, put your backs into it!” Kino Ye’s voice rose to a panicked screech as the four sweat-drenched soldiers strained against the spokes of the giant winch. “Push!” But one of the spokes snapped as the man leaning against it fell face-... “Push! Push! Damn it, put your backs into it!” Kino Ye’s voice rose to a panicked screech as the four sweat-drenched soldiers strained against the spokes of the giant winch. “Push!” But one of the spokes snapped as the man leaning against it fell face-first into the sand, and the winch whipped around and tossed the other three men through the air to land sprawling on the beach a few paces away. The finger-thick cable began to unwind from the winch rapidly, the howling of the spinning drum rising in pitch. The cable reached its end and snapped with a loud crack. The soldiers at the winch for the other control cable, twenty paces away, stumbled as the counterbalancing force from the first cable disappeared. They looked up, jaws wide open. “Oh, by Kiji’s beard!” Kino covered his face. Having been freed from one of its two control cables, the giant kite—with a straw man hanging underneath as the test pilot—bobbed in the air a few times before spinning into a nose dive. It accelerated downward, spinning faster and faster, until it crashed into the sea with a noiseless splash in the distance. “I didn’t realize that the king’s officers are now paid to fly kites and to take the gods’ names in vain.” The speaker was a young woman at the top of the sand dunes. Instead of a dress, she wore a pilgrim’s white leggings and pale robes. Her hair was worn loose in the manner of unmarried maids, and her face was a feminine copy of Kino’s. She gave Kino an affectionate smile. “Lowi! What . . . are you doing here? You should have written first.” Flustered, Kino told the soldiers to take a break and came over, embracing the young woman awkwardly. “What kind of greeting is that to give your only sister? Your last letter home said that you had been selected for the Navy. The Navy! I thought, but my brother has always wanted to be an army engineer. . . I couldn’t wait to find out what you were up to. But then not a word in two months! Mother and Father are worried sick. So I offered to come out for a surprise visit.” “I’m sorry I haven’t written. I’ve been . . . occupied.” Lowi looked at the spools of cables and half-finished giant kites scattered around the beach and lifted an eyebrow. “It’s complicated. Why don’t we have lunch, and I’ll tell you all about it.” • • • • Kino watched the young boy capering and singing and giggling on the stone floor as though he were performing in some rustic inn full of drunken, indulgent patrons instead of the court of King Dézan, one of the seven most powerful men in the world. What gives man power? What adds to his fame? The gods move us, pieces in the Great Game. Kino squinted to discern the king’s reaction to this performance. As he listened to the boy’s eerie song from atop his high throne, the king’s face was hidden in the shadows cast by the flickering torches below. The boy’s head and arms convulsed as he twirled in place, the very image of someone in the throes of religious ecstasy. King Dézan’s palace in Kriphi, capital of Xana, was small by the standards of the Seven States of Dara. After all, Xana consisted of only the two smallest and most remote islands of the archipelago. The beams of the Great Hall were only as thick as a man’s waist; the walls were not covered in gold leafs or hung with rich tapestries; and the floor was tiled with rough-hewn, plain blocks of stone, without the intricate patterns one might see in the palaces of cosmopolitan Boama or magnificent Çaruza. Yet, as the boy’s reedy voice echoed off the bare walls and floor, the palace’s stark furnishings added to the sense of foreboding and awe. Two rows of ministers and generals lined the sides of the Great Hall, and every pair of eyes was focused on the dancing figure. The will of the gods is dark, murky, an ocean, Read the currents, oh king, and do not fear motion. “What do you think?” whispered Sora Ingda to Kino, the young aide standing behind him. Ingda, former Secretary of the Navy, Lightspeed Magazine no Author Spotlight: Robert Charles Wilson http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-robert-charles-wilson/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-robert-charles-wilson/#comments Tue, 25 Feb 2014 11:02:44 +0000 Patrick J Stephens http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11145 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-robert-charles-wilson/feed/ 0 Fireborn http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/fireborn/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/fireborn/#comments Tue, 25 Feb 2014 11:01:40 +0000 Robert Charles Wilson http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11190 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/fireborn/feed/ 0 Interview: Doug Dorst http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-doug-dorst/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-doug-dorst/#comments Tue, 18 Feb 2014 11:05:56 +0000 The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11170 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-doug-dorst/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Eugene Mirabelli http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-eugene-mirabelli/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-eugene-mirabelli/#comments Tue, 18 Feb 2014 11:04:57 +0000 Jude Griffin http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11148 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-eugene-mirabelli/feed/ 0 Love in Another Language http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/love-in-another-language/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/love-in-another-language/#comments Tue, 18 Feb 2014 11:03:19 +0000 Eugene Mirabelli http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11199 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/love-in-another-language/feed/ 1 Author Spotlight: Carrie Vaughn http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-carrie-vaughn-6/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-carrie-vaughn-6/#comments Tue, 18 Feb 2014 11:02:26 +0000 Andrew Liptak http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11144 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-carrie-vaughn-6/feed/ 0 Harry and Marlowe and the Intrigues at the Aetherian Exhibition http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/harry-and-marlowe-and-the-intrigues-at-the-aetherian-exhibition/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/harry-and-marlowe-and-the-intrigues-at-the-aetherian-exhibition/#comments Tue, 18 Feb 2014 11:01:35 +0000 Carrie Vaughn http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11188 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/harry-and-marlowe-and-the-intrigues-at-the-aetherian-exhibition/feed/ 5 Illustrated by Hillary Pearlman Finally, Harry arrived at the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington with her mother and her older sister Victoria. Once they entered through the great gilt doorway, a friendly attendant waited to show them to the royal salon. Harry glimpsed, (http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Harry-and-Marlowe-and-the-Intrigues-at-the-Aetherian-Exhibition_575px.jpg) Finally, Harry arrived at the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington with her mother and her older sister Victoria. Once they entered through the great gilt doorway, a friendly attendant waited to show them to the royal salon. Harry glimpsed, through another ornate archway, the main hall and the exhibition installed there. She stopped and stared, holding up the whole party. Harry had thoroughly studied the Aetherian craft from the Surrey crash—as much as she could, as a woman who wasn’t a scientist and whose position in the royal family curtailed her activities to a surprising degree. She knew the exhibition contained machines and devices, photographs and drawings, the evidence and discoveries brought about by the crash of the alien spacecraft twenty-five years before. Given that, she thought she was prepared, but to see it all in one place, on public display, was astonishing. Struts, pipes, twisted wires, and glass bulbs lit by a glow that cast Aetheric light over the gathering, turning the floors and walls green, the upturned faces sickly. Two dozen mechanisms—engines, pumps, generators, weapons—devices that would guide the Empire into a new, even greater technological age than the Age of Steam the Aetherian Revolution had supplanted. The reception had been organized by the Royal Society to display the latest developments in Aetherian technology made to assist in the war effort. A show to increase public morale, to prove British superiority over the German foe. We shouldn’t have to prove it; it ought to be assumed, Harry thought testily. But the war had been on for over a year now. A year longer than anyone had predicted. Harry had made her own contributions to said developments, but her involvement was kept very much secret. The scientists on hand would only speak of new discoveries gleaned from Doctor Carlisle’s files, or how long study finally resolved the purpose of mysterious artifacts retrieved from the Surrey crash. No one would say—and only a handful of people knew—that Harry had been instrumental in revealing Doctor Carlisle’s secret experiments in Aetherian biology, and that some of the mysterious artifacts hadn’t been retrieved from the crash at all. She’d been the one to prove that Aetherians had visited the planet previously and left artifacts all over the world. That information was being kept very secret indeed. She did not mind the subterfuge; not really. She didn’t work for fame, but for understanding of Aetherian technology and what it had wrought upon the Earth. Of course this was how it had to be. Harry had a mental exercise where she thought of all the things she could not speak about, folded them into a little box in her mind—and then forgot about them, at least until the moment she could safely draw the box out again. For now, her tightly laced corset and high-necked gown, her quiet expression and royal demeanor, were her armor. They reminded her that here, she was Maud, Princess of Wales. A swarm of uniformed guards made a good show of the realm’s military might, guarding the exhibit against any nefarious goings-on. She wondered if Marlowe was here . . . probably not. Last she heard, he was with the aerial fleet out of Portsmouth. “Monstrous! It’s all so monstrous!” Mother—the Dowager Princess Alexandra—quickly averted her gaze from the exhibits. “I’ll have nothing to do with those machines.” Harry did not mention the engine-driven carriage that had brought them here. Their conversation up to that point had been predictable and relentless, and it still hadn’t ended. “George will be here, yes?” Alexandra asked. “Yes, Mother,” Harry sighed. She’d answered the question five times already. “It is the only reason I’d dare go out, as weak as I’ve been, but I will not be calm until I see George. He hasn’t been the same since he married. Lightspeed Magazine no Artist Showcase: Scott Grimando http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/artist-showcase-scott-grimando/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/artist-showcase-scott-grimando/#comments Tue, 11 Feb 2014 11:05:33 +0000 Henry Lien http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11085 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/artist-showcase-scott-grimando/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Sunny Moraine http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-sunny-moraine/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-sunny-moraine/#comments Tue, 11 Feb 2014 11:04:54 +0000 Bradley Englert http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11147 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-sunny-moraine/feed/ 0 So Sharp That Blood Must Flow http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/so-sharp-that-blood-must-flow/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/so-sharp-that-blood-must-flow/#comments Tue, 11 Feb 2014 11:03:13 +0000 Sunny Moraine http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=11196 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/so-sharp-that-blood-must-flow/feed/ 4 In the end, the water goes black with the witch’s blood. Before this happens, the little mermaid understands that a deal is a deal, a bargain a bargain, and there can’t be reneging. But this isn’t reneging, she tells herself as she sinks down, down, In the end, the water goes black with the witch’s blood. Before this happens, the little mermaid understands that a deal is a deal, a bargain a bargain, and there can’t be reneging. But this isn’t reneging, she tells herself as she sinks down, down, down into water so black that in truth it would be difficult to discern witch’s blood within it even had a hundred witches been slaughtered in its depths. She is not sea foam. That was the first lie. She is also not alive. That was truth. Being not alive, she has no need to breathe. This is terribly convenient, given what she needs to do next. • • • • Surrounded by a hundred crystal lanterns, a prince dances with his princess. This is iconic, archetypal; many of the people in the assembly sense this on some level and take pleasure in its even perfection. This is the ending of all the stories they have ever been told as children, all the stories they have ever told their children, all the stories their children will tell. The prince marries his princess and they dance and are blissfully happy. She watches them from the parapet, her eyes burning and her feet cut to ribbons by invisible knives. This was not her ending. And she sees no reason why she should take it gracefully. The water is dark and deep below her, and she arcs down into it, her gown fluttering around her. She takes particular care to hit the water at such an angle as to break her neck, and so she sinks before she can dissolve on the little waves. She dies with purpose. This is a truth she makes. • • • • If she were sea foam, she thinks—and perhaps this is after and perhaps it is before or perhaps it is both things simultaneously—she could become the rain and patter down onto his windowpanes, trickle down the glass and watch him inside in his bright warmth. Or in a storm she could come to him riding, or walking, or anywhere unsheltered, and cut down through the air to strike his cheeks. She could fling herself at him and run down his body like sweat, down his face like tears. She aches with it. It’s worse than the knives ever were. The witch never told her that the knives on which she danced would be the lesser pain. Did she know? She must have. Witches know all the secrets of love; it’s what gives them the power to bargain with all its points and angles and gemstone facets. If she were sea foam. But she is not. Before, she wants it. After, she wonders at what possessed her, but even in the cold heart of the water she still knows. • • • • It takes her a long time to sink, a long time for the deep currents to carry her. Sometimes she thinks she can still hear the music. It works its way into her ears like droppers of poison, and though the cold water denies her rictus, she feels her teeth clench and grind. As tiny fish nibble on her legs and toes—she still has them, even now, and hates them more every passing second though the knives have at least allowed her a reprieve—she wonders about death, turns the fact of it over in her mind. She is dead, she’s sure of that much, but either the witch lied, and that is why she is not foam on the waves—or something else has happened. Her spirit is not free. And has not passed away. Perhaps this is what rage does. She has never felt rage like this, all-consuming, like the coals of deep-sea volcanoes in the core of her breast. She wanted. She reached for. She did everything she should have done. And him. Him. But if she’s still here, there are other options. • • • • She whispers to the current. It still knows her, and carries her corpse to where she wants to be. It sets her gently down at the mouth of the sea witch’s cavern and there she comes to rest against the rocks, the waving fronds of posidonia caressing her limbs. She waits. “Why have you come back to me?” All at once, without any stirring of the water at her coming, the witch is looming over her, the rags of her twelve tails like surf-beaten kelp, Lightspeed Magazine no