http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/itunes-rss/ Lightspeed Magazine » Lightspeed Magazine - Science Fiction & Fantasy http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com Science Fiction & Fantasy Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:52:21 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Science Fiction & Fantasy Lightspeed Magazine no Science Fiction & Fantasy Lightspeed Magazine » Lightspeed Magazine - Science Fiction & Fantasy http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com Interview: Ann Leckie http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/feature-interview-ann-leckie/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/feature-interview-ann-leckie/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 11:05:17 +0000 The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13881 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/feature-interview-ann-leckie/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Will Kaufman http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-will-kaufman/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-will-kaufman/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 11:04:56 +0000 Sandra Odell http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13872 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-will-kaufman/feed/ 0 Things You Can Buy for a Penny http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/things-can-buy-penny/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/things-can-buy-penny/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 11:03:26 +0000 Will Kaufman http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13907 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/things-can-buy-penny/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: David Barr Kirtley http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-david-barr-kirtley-5/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-david-barr-kirtley-5/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 11:02:08 +0000 Robyn Lupo http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13859 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-david-barr-kirtley-5/feed/ 0 Veil of Ignorance http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/veil-ignorance/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/veil-ignorance/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 11:01:05 +0000 David Barr Kirtley http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13897 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/veil-ignorance/feed/ 0 Something strange is happening to me. We’re at Conrad’s vacation house, a sprawling mansion that orbits the gas giant Hades-3. (His father owns both the house and the planet.) Conrad is in the living room watching sports. Something strange is happening to me. We’re at Conrad’s vacation house, a sprawling mansion that orbits the gas giant Hades-3. (His father owns both the house and the planet.) Conrad is in the living room watching sports. His girlfriend Alyssa is standing by the mirror in the bathroom, fixing her hair. Her friend Kat is sitting near the bay windows, watching the stars and the roiling vermeil clouds on the world below. Dillon is in the kitchen, mixing drinks. Brad is slouched on the sofa, watching everyone with a lazy smile. And I don’t know which of them I am. Perception shifts. A few moments of Alyssa, running my fingers through silky hair. A moment of Dillon, using my knife to slice limes for the drinks. A moment of Kat, feeling awe of those looming bands of color, of those constantly churning swirls that look so majestic, and make me feel so insignificant. Then Conrad — pride at my team’s success, at my father’s wealth. Then Brad. I feel quite smug. “It’s starting to work,” I tell them. “You can all feel it, can’t you?” Dillon comes in from the kitchen with the drinks. I hand one of them to Conrad, who thanks me, and one to Kat, who takes it silently. “Feel what?” I ask. Brad gestures to the smoldering bowl at the center of the coffee table, at the Callipsarian pipe, and whatever that shit was we’ve all been smoking. “Something very strange is happening to me,” Kat says. Brad ignores her. “You see, I had this idea. A few weeks ago, Dillon and I were talking politics, and he brings up this thing about Rawls.” Conrad sighs and orders the computer to take a break. I want to watch the end of the game, but this is starting to feel really weird. Alyssa comes out of the bathroom, looking gorgeous, as always. I sit down on the couch next to Conrad. “What’s going on, Brad?” I ask. “What was that stuff you gave us?” “Just sit and listen,” Brad says. “All will become clear.” Conrad turns to Dillon. “Who’s Rawls?” “John Rawls,” I explain, puzzled about where this is going. “Twentieth-century. He tried to revive the social contract theory, which states that the only fair laws are those that everyone can agree to.” “Whatever.” Alyssa tosses her hair. “Someone get me another drink.” Conrad holds up a hand to her. “Quiet,” I say. “I want to hear this.” Dillon shrugs and keeps going. “The problem with the social contract is that people don’t agree. Slave-owners think that slavery is fair, slaves don’t. So Rawls envisions a hypothetical situation in which the two of them don’t know who is who. Put behind this veil of ignorance, neither would support slavery, knowing that he himself might be the slave.” I start to see where this is going, and finish, “Once self-interest is cancelled out, it turns out that they agree on principle.” Kat interrupts. “Brad, will you cut the shit and tell us what’s going on?” I say. “Why can’t I tell who I am?” Then Dillon starts to answer my question, in that patronizing tone of his. “Don’t you see?” he says. “We’ve been put behind a veil of ignorance ourselves.” “Very good.” Brad nods at him. “A few weeks ago I was hanging out with this Callipsarian dealer on Far-Guardport — ” Alyssa frowns. “Which ones are they?” I ask softly. “Callipsarians?” “The purple ones,” Kat says. “From Auropelli. With the tentacles. Three yellow eyes.” “Oh yeah,” I say. Conrad elbows me. “Quiet.” “ — and we were totally trashed. Talking politics, philosophy, metaphysics, et cetera, et cetera, and I start telling it about this veil of ignorance idea, and it says it’s got some stuff that can do that. So it sells me — ” “Why?” Dillon asks. My word hangs there, alone in the silence for a few moments. “Well, look,” Brad says. “This group, this band of friends — if that’s what you want to call us — is broken. We all know it, but no one wants to say it. Well, I said it.” He levels his finger at Conrad. “Conrad treats his girlfriend like shit. Lightspeed Magazine no 30:30 Book Reviews: February 2015 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/book-reviews-february-2015/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/book-reviews-february-2015/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 11:05:15 +0000 Sunil Patel http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13880 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/book-reviews-february-2015/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Adam-Troy Castro http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-adam-troy-castro-7/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-adam-troy-castro-7/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 11:04:51 +0000 Laurel Amberdine http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13867 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-adam-troy-castro-7/feed/ 0 Cerile and the Journeyer http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/cerile-journeyer/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/cerile-journeyer/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 11:03:24 +0000 Adam-Troy Castro http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13906 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/cerile-journeyer/feed/ 0 The journeyer was still a young man when he embarked on his search for the all-powerful witch Cerile. He was bent and gray-haired a lifetime later when he found a map to her home in the tomb of the forgotten kings. The journeyer was still a young man when he embarked on his search for the all-powerful witch Cerile. He was bent and gray-haired a lifetime later when he found a map to her home in the tomb of the forgotten kings. The map directed him halfway across the world, over the Souleater mountains, through the Curtains of Night, past the scars of the Eternal War, and across a great grassy plain, to the outskirts of Cerile’s Desert. The desert was an ocean of luminescent white sand, which even in the dead of night still radiated the killing heat it swallowed during the day. He knew at once that it could broil the blood in his veins before he traveled even half the distance to the horizon. It even warned him: “Turn back, journeyer. I am as sharp as broken glass, and as hot as open flame. I am filled with soft shifting places that can open up and swallow you without warning. I can drive you mad and leave you to wander in circles until your strength sinks into the earth. And when you die of thirst, as you surely shall if you attempt to pass, I can ride the winds to flay the skin from your burnt and blistered bones.” He proceeded across the dunes, stumbling as his feet sank ankle-deep into the sand, gasping as the furnace heat turned his breath to a dry rasp, but hesitating not at all, merely continuing his march toward the destiny that could mean either death or Cerile. When the desert saw it couldn’t stop him, the ground burst open in a million places, pierced by a great forest that, with the speed known only by miracles, shot up to scrape the sky. The trees were all hundreds of arm-lengths across, the spaces between them so narrow that even an uncommonly thin man would have had to hold his breath to pass. It was a maze that could exhaust him utterly before he traveled even halfway to the horizon. It even warned him: “Turn back, journeyer. I am as dark as the night itself, and as threatening as your worst dreams. I am rich with thorns sharp enough to rip the skin from your arms. And if you die lost and alone, as you surely shall if you attempt to pass, I can dig roots into your flesh and grow more trees on your bones.” He entered the woods anyway, crying out as thorns drew blood from his arms and legs, gasping as the trees drew close and threatened to imprison him, but hesitating not at all: merely continuing to march west, toward the destiny that could mean either death or Cerile. When the forest saw that it couldn’t stop him, then the trees all around him merely withered away, and the ground ahead of him rose up, like a thing on hinges, to form a right angle with the ground at his feet. The resulting wall stretched from one horizon to the other, rising straight up into the sky to disappear ominously in the clouds. He knew at once that he did not have the skill or the strength to climb even halfway to the unseen summit. It even warned him: “Turn back, journeyer. I am as smooth as glass and as treacherous as an enemy. I am poor with handholds and impossible to climb. And if you fall, as you surely will if you attempt to pass, then the ground where I stand will be the resting place of your shattered corpse.” He proceeded to climb anyway; moaning as his arms and legs turned to lead from exhaustion, gasping as the temperature around him turned chilly and then frigid, but hesitating not at all: merely continuing to climb upward, toward the destiny that could mean either death or Cerile. When the cliff saw that it couldn’t stop him, then warm winds came and gently lifted him into the sky, over the top of the wall, and down into a lush green valley on the other side, where a frail, white-haired old woman sat beside a still and mirrored pond. The winds deposited him on his feet on the opposite side of the pond, allowing him to see himself in the water: how he was bent, and stooped, and white-haired, and old, with skin the texture of leather, and eyes that had suffered too much for too long. Lightspeed Magazine no 17:05 Author Spotlight: Caroline Yoachim http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-caroline-yoachim/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-caroline-yoachim/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 11:02:14 +0000 Lee Hallison http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13862 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-caroline-yoachim/feed/ 0 Red Planet http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/red-planet/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/red-planet/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 11:01:01 +0000 Caroline M. Yoachim http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13896 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/red-planet/feed/ 0 Artist Showcase: Julie Dillon http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/artist-showcase-julie-dillon/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/artist-showcase-julie-dillon/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 11:05:42 +0000 Henry Lien http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13876 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/artist-showcase-julie-dillon/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Maria Davana Headley http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-maria-davana-headley/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-maria-davana-headley/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 11:04:47 +0000 Sandra Odell http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13866 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-maria-davana-headley/feed/ 0 And the Winners Will Be Swept Out to Sea http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/winners-will-swept-sea/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/winners-will-swept-sea/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 11:03:23 +0000 Maria Dahvana Headley http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13905 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/winners-will-swept-sea/feed/ 0 I’m in your house, wearing one of your shirts. I’m sitting on your floor, with all the drawers of every desk and dresser open. I have them poured out and I’m looking at what you’ve kept. Your old laptops and love letters, I’m in your house, wearing one of your shirts. I’m sitting on your floor, with all the drawers of every desk and dresser open. I have them poured out and I’m looking at what you’ve kept. Your old laptops and love letters, your hard drives full of photos and emails, your string and wire tangled into little knots, hard and tiny, twisted so tightly that I can’t crush them more than they’ve already been crushed. I’ve let a fox move into your upstairs. She walked into your flat one day, and I waved her past. Now she has kits in the bedroom closet, nested with your sweaters. There are bats in the basement, but they’re from before you left. My heart is full of hammers. I don’t understand how you could’ve left me here, with your keys, and your bed, with your bookshelves. I have my own place too, but you left me in yours when you went. I have a little pile of metal animals. I have a bunch of things you gave me, things I hung around my neck. I have bracelets that hook to chains, and out in the back there’s a rock with a view of the water. Sometimes, when I sit out there, I see the monster under the surface, the tension scraping over its scales. It’s big. What I can see of it is only a spine, or a tail, sometimes, and then it’s gone. I sit on that rock, looking over the edge, and think about how I used to love swimming. When I was a girl, I could hold my breath for a month. I’d sit on the bottom of a river in the mud, or on the pebbles, and wait for the season to change. Once I tried to come up but the river had frozen, and I ended up swimming just under the surface for a while, waiting, waiting, until I found a fisherman by seeing his shadow. The fisherman had made a hole in the ice. He was crouched beside it, with a thermos and a fishing pole, and I rose up naked from beneath him. I took him in my arms, and he screamed with such terror that ice cracked elsewhere, a spiderweb of fractures, trees black and leaning, wolves howling, and his blood in my mouth. I was not sorry. There used to be laws about this, but there aren’t any longer. No one could bring me to court to tell me I can’t have you. No one could force me onto a stand and question me. I look down, off the cliff behind your house, and I see that dark shape waiting, but it never rises up. Your neighbor came over for tea and you fucked her once a long time ago, if I have any skill at reading these things. “Are you okay?” she asked me, and I said I was not. “You don’t imagine everything,” I said. “You think you might have imagined everything that could happen to love, but you can’t. There are more things that can happen than I thought,” I told her, and she nodded. We sat together at the table in your kitchen, next to the dishwasher, and it hummed and rattled. I looked at the teapot between us and thought about fucking her too, to see what it would be like, to see what you saw in her, but the tea was too strong, and she looked at me with too much kindness. “He’s not everything,” she said. “I should know.” I don’t think I’d ever weave with thread. I think I’d only weave with metal. I think I’m the kind of woman who makes chains, not cloth. I am no abandoned wife, and you are no husband lost at sea. You’re not at sea. The bottom of the sea is full of broken chains that used to hold anchors to ships and trenches where they tried to lay cable. The bottom of the sea is full of bones and garbage. A long time ago, I used to know an old man who’d built a boat. He’d made it out of plastic bottles, and he decided to sail around the world. He came from a family of circus performers, and all of them went with him. The whole family took to the sea, in their boats made of bottles. Out in the middle of the Atlantic, I saw one of his sons juggling fire, and a daughter, doing back flips from raft to raft, flying through the air like a fish. They’d lost their sense of direction and had no way home. All they had were sails made of shirts and skin, Lightspeed Magazine no 45:56 Author Spotlight: John Kessel http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-john-kessel/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-john-kessel/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 11:02:05 +0000 Lee Hallison http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13858 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-john-kessel/feed/ 0 Buffalo http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/buffalo/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/buffalo/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 11:01:30 +0000 John Kessel http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13895 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/buffalo/feed/ 0 Editorial, February 2015 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/editorial-february-2015/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/editorial-february-2015/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 11:05:12 +0000 John Joseph Adams http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13879 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/editorial-february-2015/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Mary Rickert http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-mary-rickert/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-mary-rickert/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 11:04:45 +0000 Lee Hallison http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13865 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-mary-rickert/feed/ 0 The Girl Who Ate Butterflies http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/girl-ate-butterflies/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/girl-ate-butterflies/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 11:03:03 +0000 Mary Rickert http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13908 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/girl-ate-butterflies/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Brooke Bolander http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-brooke-bolander-3/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-brooke-bolander-3/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 11:02:02 +0000 Robyn Lupo http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13857 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-brooke-bolander-3/feed/ 0 And You Shall Know Her By The Trail Of Dead http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/shall-know-trail-dead/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/shall-know-trail-dead/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 11:01:57 +0000 Brooke Bolander http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13894 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/shall-know-trail-dead/feed/ 0 The mobster has a gun pressed to Rack’s forehead. The mobster has a god-shitting GUN pressed to her partner’s fucking forehead, and the only thing Rhye can do is watch and scream as the man smiles at her and pulls the trigger and blows Rack’s perfect b... (http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Brooke-Bolander_final-575x442.jpg) The mobster has a gun pressed to Rack’s forehead. The mobster has a god-shitting gun pressed to her partner’s fucking forehead, and the only thing Rhye can do is watch and scream as the man smiles at her and pulls the trigger and blows Rack’s perfect brains out from between his ears. Rhye has her guns drawn before the other Ganymede fuckers can twitch, but it’s way too late — the damage is done and smeared across the walls and floor and ceiling. Synthetic blood and bone look exactly the same as the real deal. She puts three shots into the flesh slab that did it (he’s dead he’s dead gods fuck it no nononono) and then the rest of his pals are on her like the three-times-fucked human jackals they are, pulling her down. The room stinks of blood and gunsmoke and fear-sweat. For the first time in her life, those smells make Rhye want to gag. Her ears are ringing — whether from the gunshots or god knows what else — and it feels like the floor is falling away beneath her motorcycle boots. She’s still struggling against their meaty fingers to reach Rack when the head goon breaks her nose with a squared-off fist the size of the moon he’s from. She barely feels the bone snap. He’s dead. He’s dead and the world is grayscale, all the color leaching from it to pool around her feet in a red puddle. “He was trying to crack it, you fucks. The fuck is wrong with you? He was coming out, he was going to try again, it was just a fucking hiccup! Jesus fuck, do you think you’re going to get your cunting kid back now?” Her throat hurts from screaming. Blood from her nose is backing up into her sinuses, half-choking her. She doesn’t care. “I’ll kill you, I’ll fucking kill all of you. You’re fucking dead, do you hear me? Let me go, let me fucking go — ” “We hired you and your partner to finish job. Nothing was ever said about quitting,” the man says. His voice is heavily accented, breath reeking of onions and vodka. “If pretty boy couldn’t bring what we need out, pretty boy is useless, like tits on bull or useless cyborg bitch. His consciousness can stay inside box and rot for all I care. But! — ” he pokes Rhye in the forehead with one of his blunt fingers — ”I think you care. I think you care very much, yes? Yesyes?” “I’m going to kill you, you fuck.” She says it slowly, pronouncing every word with deathly clarity. “I’m going to shove my gun up your ass and blow a hole so fucking wide a whale’s prick wouldn’t fill the gap.” “Not if you want partner back,” he says, throwing an uplink cable at her. “Plug in, get data out. Get pretty boy, too, if you like. Fail, and you die together. Is very simple.” And because she does care, cares too fucking much, cares, and the sight of Rack slumped over in the chair with a neat round hole scorched into his forehead is squeezing at the heart she’s always claimed not to have, Rhye spits blood and hate in their employer’s face and jams the jack into the port at the base of her skull. • • • • The first time she meets Rack, Rhye’s fresh out of the army and fresh back from one of the meat-grinders the humans pay her kind to fight in. The children of wires and circuits aren’t worth a tinker’s fuck compared to the children of real flesh and bone, so far as the world’s concerned. The recruitment agents pluck her off the streets when she’s twelve and send her to a training camp and she’s good with linguistics and better at killing, so they keep her hands busy until she’s twenty-five and then they spit her back out again like a mouthful of cum. She has gray curly hair cropped short and gray dead eyes and calluses on the inside of her palms worn hard and horny from years of holding pistol grips. She’s small and lean, which makes people underestimate her, but she’s cool enough and don’t-fuck-with-me enough that most know to jump the fuck out of the way when they see her coming. Lightspeed Magazine no 1:23:37 Interview: David X. Cohen http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-david-x-cohen/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-david-x-cohen/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 11:05:17 +0000 The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13686 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-david-x-cohen/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Ann Leckie and Rachel Swirsky http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-ann-leckie-rachel-swirsky/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-ann-leckie-rachel-swirsky/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 11:04:06 +0000 Robyn Lupo http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13752 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-ann-leckie-rachel-swirsky/feed/ 0 Maiden, Mother, Crone http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/maiden-mother-crone/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/maiden-mother-crone/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 11:03:43 +0000 Ann Leckie and Rachel Swirsky http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13778 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/maiden-mother-crone/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Jeremiah Tolbert http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-jeremiah-tolbert-3/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-jeremiah-tolbert-3/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 11:02:47 +0000 Kevin McNeil http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13743 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-jeremiah-tolbert-3/feed/ 0 Men of Unborrowed Vision http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/men-unborrowed-vision/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/men-unborrowed-vision/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 11:01:22 +0000 Jeremiah Tolbert http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13771 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/men-unborrowed-vision/feed/ 0 We are not terrorists. We have not done this because we wish to terrify or instill fear. We do what we have done in order to bring the truth to everyone, a truth that burns away the lies and leaves only itself. We are not terrorists. We have not done this because we wish to terrify or instill fear. We do what we have done in order to bring the truth to everyone, a truth that burns away the lies and leaves only itself. We are no more terrorists than the invisible hand of the market is a terrorist. • • • • The drone cameras came online earlier than the controls — the two fish-eye camera lenses giving Mara 270 degrees of vision stitched together in one widescreen video feed. The sync icon turned from orange to green, and she pressed the right joystick on her scavenged Xbox controller to throttle up the props on the quadcopter. Flying felt like waking up on a Saturday morning and realizing you had two whole days without work or school. This part always made her smile. It even felt real, although the drone she was flying was three hundred miles away in Kansas City. The drone gently took to the air; Mara piloted it away from the parking garage where the Occupy Heartland street-level team had hidden the solar charging station and network relay unit. She’d flown this route over to the protest zone often enough this semester that she didn’t even have to refer to GPS anymore. She navigated out of the East Bottoms toward Main and the H&R Block building where the OHL protestors were scheduled to gather. A knock sounded at her door. Mara jumped, and the quadcopter’s auto-stabilizers kicked in and prevented her from crashing it to the pavement. “Hey, Mara.” She could guess who it was without taking her eyes off the drone’s feeds. “Hi, Adam.” “You had dinner yet? Some of us on the floor are headed down to the dining hall. I — we thought we’d check and see if you wanted to come with.” She looked up for a moment — the drone’s software would keep it on track, and she was still a minute away from the protest site. Adam Roth stood on the threshold of her dorm room, looking too tall, too thin, too pale-skinned, and sporting a wisp of a beard — God, she couldn’t wait for Movember to be over. What was it, the third time this week he’d asked her to socialize? And how many times had he offered to give her a ride to the local Walmart since the start of the year? He was pretty obviously into her, but she hadn’t decided how she felt about him just yet — anyway, she’d promised Dad she wouldn’t date anyone in her first semester, let alone spoiled, rich white boys from Chicago with guilt complexes about their money. Even if she hadn’t, she didn’t have time — between her volunteer work that had her remotely monitoring the Occupy protests for signs of law enforcement overreach and her eighteen-credit semester, she barely had time to sleep. “Sorry, I grabbed something earlier. I’ve got this monitoring shift,” she said. “Oh.” He didn’t do a very good job of hiding his disappointment. “Maybe tomorrow?” “Sure, maybe?” she said, but she was already turning back to her computer. Eventually, he would get the hint and stop asking. She hoped so — or at least she thought she hoped so. She frowned at the video feed. Ordinarily, her view would be of several thousand protestors waving signs and chanting slogans against the corporate kleptocracy; the march was scheduled to kick off any minute. Instead, she found a relatively empty street, just the usual foot and car traffic. Nothing like any of the dozens of protests she’d seen since joining the movement. She put the drone in standby mode and logged into the message boards via anonymous proxy. Had they canceled things and she’d missed it while she was in bio class? No . . . but there had been a lot of activity on the forum. Mara read the posts with mounting disbelief. Dozens of people saying the same things: “Not feeling well,” or “Coming down with a cold,” or “Can’t make it out tonight.” Youth4ClasslessSocieT even said, “I just ain’t feeling it, you guys. Sorry. Maybe next time.” Youth4ClasslessSocieT was Carlton Winstead, Mara’s high school classmate, sort-of ex-boyfriend, Lightspeed Magazine no 55:16 Book Reviews: January 2015 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/book-reviews-january-2015/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/book-reviews-january-2015/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 11:05:34 +0000 Andrew Liptak http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13689 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/book-reviews-january-2015/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Matthew Hughes http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-matthew-hughes-9/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-matthew-hughes-9/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 11:04:04 +0000 Sandra Odell http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13751 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-matthew-hughes-9/feed/ 0 The Archon http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/archon/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/archon/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 11:03:50 +0000 Matthew Hughes http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13777 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/archon/feed/ 0 “What do we call this thing?” Erm Kaslo said, gesturing to the smooth opaque walls. “It’s not a spaceship.” Diomedo Obron tapped the green leather-bound tome he was studying. “Testroni’s Impervious Conveyance, it says here. Previously on The Kaslo Chronicles: Magic now rules the universe instead of science. Some power has reached out from the Seventh Plane to attack the wizard Diomedo Obron’s demesne amid the ruins of the technological civilization on Novo Bantry. Obron and Erm Kaslo, the hardboiled confidential operative turned wizard’s henchman, must travel (by dragon!) far up The Spray to an obscure world named Old Earth to investigate an ancient evil. To read the other stories in the series, visit lightspeedmagazine.com/kaslo (http://lightspeedmagazine.com/kaslo). “What do we call this thing?” Erm Kaslo said, gesturing to the smooth opaque walls. “It’s not a spaceship.” Diomedo Obron tapped the green leather-bound tome he was studying. “Testroni’s Impervious Conveyance, it says here.” They were inside an object that had looked to Kaslo like nothing so much as an oversized version of the silver dome that a butler would whisk away from an aristocrat’s meal. It even had a large ring on top — a ring that was now grasped by the talons of an honest-to-goodness dragon, named Saunterance, that was flying them through interstellar space. “It’s not like a ship,” Kaslo said. “There’s not even the whisper of a deep-space drive.” “No,” said the wizard, his attention drawn back to the book, “the dragon provides the motive power.” “But how does that work? Does Saunterance flap his wings? If so, what do they push against?” Obron looked up again, wearing the expression of an uncle saddled with an over-inquisitive nephew. “If I tried to explain it to you, I would first have to explain the integuments that connect the universe under the regime of sympathetic association. I have tried that a number of times before, without success.” “I cannot grasp the concepts,” Kaslo agreed. “They do not make sense.” “Of course they don’t. ‘Making sense’ was an attribute of the regime of rationalism. Now it is more a matter of . . . ,” the wizard sought for the right words, then continued, “of creating harmonies, some of them plain, some of them intricately subtle.” “But none of them apparent to me.” “Because you are tone-deaf.” Kaslo sighed. Before the universe changed its mind about how it ought to function, he had spent a lifetime acquiring skills and abilities in several difficult disciplines. He had made himself one of the top-ranked confidential operatives on Novo Bantry, one of the grand old Foundational Domains settled thousands of years ago when humanity was building the interstellar civilization that became the Ten Thousand Worlds. As an op, Kaslo had solved mysteries that had baffled the best minds of the Provost Department; he had undone the intricate schemes of master criminals; he had faced down murderously capable opponents and always come out the victor. Now he was henchman to a wizard who was still learning his craft. But he was thinking: Obron will improve — has improved greatly in the time they had known each other — while Kaslo felt himself to be no better than he’d been the day the crystal towers of Indoberia fell into shards of ruin. He finally asked the wizard the question that had so often arisen in his mind. “Why do you keep me on? Wouldn’t you be better served by someone who understood what we are doing?” Obron raised his gaze from the book again. “Is that what’s troubling you?” He pinched the bridge of his long nose and rubbed the back of a thumb across his brow. “Eventually,” he said, “I will take on an apprentice — perhaps two, so that each can keep a jealous eye on the other. From then on, I will have to watch myself carefully. “Apprentices outgrow their masters,” he explained. “The better ones go off to make their own marks; the not-so-good outstay their welcomes while they try to steal their mentors’ apparatuses and libraries.” “There’s no fear of my doing that,” Kaslo said. “Exactly. You are the only person I can trust absolutely. In this new age of contending wills, Lightspeed Magazine no 45:43 Author Spotlight: Michael Cassutt http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-michael-cassutt/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-michael-cassutt/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 11:02:45 +0000 Jude Griffin http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13742 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-michael-cassutt/feed/ 0 More Adventures on Other Planets http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/adventures-planets/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/adventures-planets/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 11:01:35 +0000 Michael Cassutt http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13762 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/adventures-planets/feed/ 0 Artist Showcase: Zelda Devon http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/zelda-devon/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/zelda-devon/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 11:05:57 +0000 Henry Lien http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13680 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/zelda-devon/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Aliette de Bodard http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-aliette-de-bodard-2/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-aliette-de-bodard-2/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 11:04:01 +0000 Jude Griffin http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13750 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-aliette-de-bodard-2/feed/ 0 The Lonely Heart http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/lonely-heart/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/lonely-heart/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 11:03:50 +0000 Aliette de Bodard http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13776 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/lonely-heart/feed/ 0 It was towards mid-afternoon that Chen became aware of the girl. She stood before Chen’s stall, watching the fake-jade effigies of the Buddha and the coloured incense sticks, her eyes wide in the sunlight — she was no more than thirteen or fourteen, It was towards mid-afternoon that Chen became aware of the girl. She stood before Chen’s stall, watching the fake-jade effigies of the Buddha and the coloured incense sticks, her eyes wide in the sunlight — she was no more than thirteen or fourteen, with the gangly unease of that age. To her left, children shrieked as they passed the Bridge of Impossibility, holding each other’s hands, and went into the temple complex. The girl’s hand reached towards a small statue of a demon, touched it — setting off a coloured lightstrobe which illuminated the statue from within. Normally, Chen should have snatched the statue away, and pointed out to her, in a firm voice, that you didn’t touch the wares unless you paid. But the girl was so young: skeletally thin, her skin taut over high cheekbones, her eyes wide with fear. And she was so familiar, in a way that made Chen ill at ease — as young and as malnourished as Chen herself had been ten years ago, starving in the streets of Fengdu. “Can I help you?” Chen asked. The girl said nothing. She stroked the statue again, watching the tacky lights as if they were the most beautiful things in Sichuan. “Look,” Chen said. She glanced at the footpath: The flow of tourists going into the temple had diminished to a trickle with the sweltering heat of the afternoon. “If you want this, I can offer you a price — ” A shadow fell over the stall, cutting off the sun. “Ah, Xia,” a low, cultured voice said. “We were wondering where you’d got yourself off to.” The voice belonged to a man: tall and slightly obese, with prominent almond eyes denoting Mongol ancestry. He’d neatly inserted himself by the girl’s side, one podgy hand wrapped around her waist, the other resting coiled by his side. He wore expensive garb, and the digital camera strapped to his shoulder made it clear how wealthy he was. He was also smiling, in a cold, unhealthy way that made Chen’s skin crawl. Chen knew that kind of man. She’d seen enough of them on the streets, promising food and warmth to those girls foolish enough to follow them — foolish enough not to know about men who would peddle young flesh like a rare delicacy. Chen had always managed to run away from them; but clearly Xia hadn’t been nimble enough. It shouldn’t have mattered. Those who couldn’t run, who couldn’t scavenge, were best left behind. There was no room for pity or for charity in her life. But still . . . Her business instincts took over. “She was looking at one of the statues — ” she started. The girl — Xia — stood still, her eyes as glassy and as expressionless as dead fish in the marketplace. “They were pretty,” she said, in a small voice — a child, caught stealing. The man barely glanced at the statues. “Very pretty,” he said. His hand had come up, was stroking her breasts in a slow, regular motion — a seemingly unconscious gesture that made Chen ill at ease. “But we’d best be going, Xia. There’s work to be done.” “I don’t want to work.” Xia’s voice was sullen. His hand tightened over her breast, squeezed hard. Xia let out a small gasp of pain; and the man squeezed again. Chen’s stomach roiled. “You’ll do as you’re told,” the man said, pleasantly. Xia’s face was white. Chen’s policy had always been to leave the tourists to themselves, whatever they might be doing — but this was too much. “Look,” she started. The man’s gaze turned towards her, held her pinned against the wood of her stall. “Yes?” he said. His face was somehow sharper, more narrowly defined — and his gaze was contemptuous, as if Chen were nothing more than an insect to be dissected. Chen struggled to speak. “Look — ” she said, and stopped, again, because all her words had fled. “A warning.” The man’s voice was still low and unfailingly courteous — in a way which was worse than shouted threats. “Don’t meddle in my affairs.” His hand was still wrapped around Xia’s chest, but now he was stroking her again, like a favourite pet. Lightspeed Magazine no 1:13:19 Author Spotlight: Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/uthor-spotlight-bonnie-jo-stufflebeam/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/uthor-spotlight-bonnie-jo-stufflebeam/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 11:02:42 +0000 Liz Argall http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13741 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/uthor-spotlight-bonnie-jo-stufflebeam/feed/ 0 He Came From a Place of Openness and Truth http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/came-place-openness-truth/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/came-place-openness-truth/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 11:01:08 +0000 Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13761 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/came-place-openness-truth/feed/ 0 Editorial, January 2015 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/editorial-january-2015/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/editorial-january-2015/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 11:05:48 +0000 John Joseph Adams http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13677 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/editorial-january-2015/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Sequoia Nagamatsu http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-sequoia-nagamatsu/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-sequoia-nagamatsu/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 11:04:55 +0000 Liz Argall http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13749 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-sequoia-nagamatsu/feed/ 0 Headwater LLC http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/headwater-llc/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/headwater-llc/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 11:03:46 +0000 Sequoia Nagamatsu http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13775 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/headwater-llc/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Theodora Goss http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-theodora-goss-5/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-theodora-goss-5/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 11:02:40 +0000 Laurel Amberdine http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13740 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-theodora-goss-5/feed/ 0 Beautiful Boys http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/beautiful-boys/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/beautiful-boys/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 11:01:06 +0000 Theodora Goss http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13760 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/beautiful-boys/feed/ 0 You know who I’m talking about. You can see them on Sunday afternoons, in places like Knoxville, Tennessee or Flagstaff, Arizona, playing pool or with their elbows on the bar, drinking a beer before they head out into the dusty sunlight and get into th... You know who I’m talking about. You can see them on Sunday afternoons, in places like Knoxville, Tennessee or Flagstaff, Arizona, playing pool or with their elbows on the bar, drinking a beer before they head out into the dusty sunlight and get into their pickups, onto their motorcycles. Some of them have dogs. Some of their dogs wear bandanas around their necks. Some of them, before they leave, put a quarter into the jukebox and dance slowly with the waitresses, the pretty one and then the other one. Then they drive or ride down the road, heading over the mountains or through the desert, toward the next town. And one of the waitresses, the other one, the brunette who is a little chubby, feels a sharp ache in her chest. Like the constriction that begins a panic attack. • • • • “Beautiful Boys” is a technical as well as a descriptive term. Think of them as another species, Pueri Pulchri. Pueri Pulchri cor meum furati sunt. The Beautiful Boys have stolen my heart. • • • • They look like the models in cigarette ads. Lean, muscular, as though they can work with their hands. As though they had shaved yesterday. As though they had just ridden a horse in a cattle drive, or dug a trench with a backhoe. They smell of aftershave and cigarette smoke. • • • • That night, when she makes love to her boyfriend, who works at the gas station, the other waitress will think of him. She and her boyfriend have been together since high school. She will imagine making love to him instead of her boyfriend: the smell of aftershave and cigarettes, the feel of his skin under her hands, smooth and muscled. The rasp of his stubble as he kisses her. She will imagine him entering her and cry aloud, and her boyfriend will congratulate himself. Afterward, she will stare into the darkness and cry silently, until she falls asleep on the damp pillow. • • • • Would statistics help? They range from 5’11” to 6’2”, between 165 and 195 pounds. They can be any race, any color. They often finish high school, but seldom finish college. On a college campus, they have almost unlimited access to what they need: fertile women. But they seldom stay for more than a couple of semesters. They are more likely than human males to engage in criminal activities. They sell drugs, rob liquor stores and banks, but are seldom rapists. Sex, for them, is a matter of survival. They need to ensure that the seed has been implanted. They seldom hold jobs for more than six months at a time. You can see them on construction sites, working as ranch hands, in video stores. Anything temporary. They seldom marry, and those marriages inevitably end in desertion or divorce. They move on quickly. They always move on. I believe that on this planet, their lifespan is approximately seven years. I have never seen a Beautiful Boy older than twenty-nine. • • • • Oscar Guest is not his real name. He had all the characteristics. Tall, brown skin, high cheekbones: a mixture of Mexican and American Indian ancestry. Black hair pulled back into a ponytail, black eyes with the sort of lashes that sell romance novels or perfume. He was wearing a t-shirt printed with the logo of a rock band and faded jeans. “I hear you’re paying $300 to participate in a study,” he said. It’s a lot of money, particularly considering our grant. But we choose our test subjects carefully. They have to fit the physical and aesthetic criteria (male, 5’11”-6’2”, 165-195 pounds, unusually attractive). Even then, only about 2% of those we test are Beautiful Boys. I could tell he was one of them at once. I’ve developed a sort of sensitivity. But of course that identification would have to be verified by testing. • • • • Sometimes, the Beautiful Boy doesn’t move on immediately. Sometimes, he stays around after the dance. He gets a job in construction, starts dating the pretty waitress. If she insists, they might even get married. By the time he leaves, she’s pregnant. Lightspeed Magazine no 22:28 Author Spotlight: Rachael Acks http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-rachael-acks/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-rachael-acks/#comments Tue, 30 Dec 2014 11:02:48 +0000 Liz Argall http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13529 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-rachael-acks/feed/ 0 They Tell Me There Will Be No Pain http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/tell-will-no-pain/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/tell-will-no-pain/#comments Tue, 30 Dec 2014 11:01:15 +0000 Rachael Acks http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13563 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/tell-will-no-pain/feed/ 0 Feature Interview: Steven Gould http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/feature-interview-steven-gould/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/feature-interview-steven-gould/#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2014 11:05:34 +0000 Feature Interview: Steven Gould http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13556 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/feature-interview-steven-gould/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Damien Angelica Walters http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-damien-angelica-walters/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-damien-angelica-walters/#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2014 11:04:59 +0000 Liz Argall http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13532 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-damien-angelica-walters/feed/ 0 A Lie You Give, and Thus I Take http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/lie-give-thus-take/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/lie-give-thus-take/#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2014 11:03:46 +0000 Damien Angelica Walters http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13572 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/lie-give-thus-take/feed/ 0 Don’t be fooled by the breadcrumbs in the forest. This is not a fairy tale. The first lie is pretty and spirals from your mouth like candyfloss; sweet, so sweet, and I’m melting under your tongue. Baby, baby, baby, you say, and I gobble it up, Don’t be fooled by the breadcrumbs in the forest. This is not a fairy tale. • • • • The first lie is pretty and spirals from your mouth like candyfloss; sweet, so sweet, and I’m melting under your tongue. Baby, baby, baby, you say, and I gobble it up, unaware that every word you say comes with a candy thermometer and you’ve made me your latest caramel bonbon. (We’ll get to that later.) It isn’t your fault I’m starving. It is your fault your recipe is gourmet bullshit and you want to know what I look like with the apron strings tied around my neck and how best you can fit me into your oven. (This is where I admit I’m caught by the sugar rush, but you already know that, don’t you?) You’ll be safe here, you say. You’ll be safe with me. I know you’re not a witch, and there’s no reason for me to doubt your royal peerage; you have the epaulets and posture to prove it. Your house is small, but it’s bright and cheery and my feet sink into marshmallow fluff, the sort of floor on which a girl could dance a pirouette; a woman, a waltz. I do neither, afraid I might trip over my own aspirations. Do you invite all the lost girls here, I ask. You smile and say of course not. You’re special. The words are strawberry shortcake, a little cloying, the portion too large, but I swallow it all. Okay, I say, and I want to smack myself on the head because it’s late and I should be heading back, but the only thing waiting is a woodcutter’s axe with my name on it, so instead I say okay again. The light changes and for an instant, your teeth are canine sharp, your jaw a little too long, but that’s the wrong story, isn’t it? (Perhaps you think the axe is from the wrong story, too, but there’s always a woodcutter and always a blade waiting around the corner.) And anyway, your teeth are fine and if you bite a little when we’re in your king size bed, it’s okay. I may have a sweet tooth but I’m not delicate. • • • • In the morning, you’re already out of the bedroom when I wake and I hear you in the kitchen, wire whisk against glass bowl, wooden spoon stirring a sticky mess. I whisper good morning and look for the coffee, but you’ve got a piece of marzipan at the ready. I’ve been waiting for you my whole life, you say, and the sweet sticks to my teeth and there’s a cyanide burn when I swallow it down, but I don’t pay attention because you’re already pushing another piece between my lips. Then you hand me a bucket and a scrub brush and I’m confused; that’s definitely the wrong story, no tricks of light required, and you flick one hand. All the stories are the same story, you say. No, you’re wrong, I say. Your mask slips again and what big teeth and what the hell? A blink of an eye and you’re back. Good trick, isn’t it, you say, but there’s something hiding in your eyes and later, when I’m scrubbing meringue from the linoleum, I realize you quite neatly sidestepped the whole story explanation bit. Clever. When I finish the floor, you kiss my pruned fingers and I swear I see those teeth again, but maybe it’s the fumes from the cleaning solution. I’ll keep you forever, you say. You’re so sweet I can feel the cavities take root in my teeth, and what am I, a toy, I want to say, but I can’t talk around the chocolate-covered cherry and you’re laughing when you wipe the sticky syrup from my chin. You pat my hips, my thighs, my stomach, but I haven’t been here nearly long enough yet, have I? Later, I touch the oven to make sure, but the burners are off. • • • • You leave me alone most days and I pluck gingerbread from the roof to tide me over. At night, babylove tastes like peppermint and dark chocolate; always is orange marmalade; forever leaves a dusting of confectioners’ sugar on my lips. But I’m still hungry. I feel your eyes watching my ass; when you’re not looking, I check it in the mirror but it still looks the same to me. • • • • Lightspeed Magazine no 26:55 Author Spotlight: Paul Park http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-paul-park-2/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-paul-park-2/#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2014 11:02:20 +0000 Laurel Amberdine http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13523 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-paul-park-2/feed/ 0 The Lost Sepulcher of Huáscar Capac http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/lost-sepulcher-huascar-capac/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/lost-sepulcher-huascar-capac/#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2014 11:01:09 +0000 Paul Park http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13562 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/lost-sepulcher-huascar-capac/feed/ 0 Feature Interview: Kim Harrison http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/feature-interview-kim-harrison/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/feature-interview-kim-harrison/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 11:05:04 +0000 The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13546 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/feature-interview-kim-harrison/feed/ 0 Author Spotlight: Nalo Hopkinson http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-nalo-hopkinson/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-nalo-hopkinson/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 11:04:56 +0000 Kevin McNeil http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13531 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-nalo-hopkinson/feed/ 0 Soul Case http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/soul-case/ http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/soul-case/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 11:03:43 +0000 Nalo Hopkinson http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/?p=13571 http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/soul-case/feed/ 0