Lightspeed: Edited by John Joseph Adams



Flash Fiction

Science Fiction


Gramophone music crackles out over the quad. “Read that last part again, Jay,” Professor Norris says. I raise my voice. “‘They’ has been used as a singular pronoun since Chaucer: whoso fyndeth hym —” A champagne cork pops, the drinkers cheer. I can’t compete. “Oh, for goodness’ sake.” “You don’t approve?” asks the Prof. “This college isn’t a theme park.”

Science Fiction

Bucket List Found in the Locker of Maddie Price, Age 14, Written Two Weeks Before the Great Uplifting of All Mankind

Kiss a girl – X / Fall in love – X / Get a tattoo, because Dad says that after we all go into the Sing nobody on Earth is going to have a body anymore. I don’t care if it hurts. / Smoke a joint. / Egg Principal Novak’s house – X / See a solar eclipse. This one time, Sandra’s family was going to drive us down to California to see an eclipse, but then her mom called my dad at the last minute and said it was off. I wonder why?

Science Fiction

The Hymn of Ordeal, No. 23

Your brother’s bones, suspended in mineral fluids, turn as smoothly and shine as brightly as the oil-coated joints of the mechanism they guide. When you touch the heavy plastic that separates you from his body, it is cold. The iron plate that serves to cover what is left of his face turns towards the tapping, and nausea wells deep in your throat.

Science Fiction


BARISTAR – 5:09 – Polarity just magnetized my train. On a Tuesday night. LUNASAM – 5:10 – @BariStar: You’re lying, no one goes after the green line. BARISTAR – 5:11- No, I’m not lying!! I’d post a pic but she’s riding on the roof.

Science Fiction

The Sewell Home for the Temporally Displaced

Judy says, “It’s snowing.” I look out the window. The sky is the same dirty grey as the snow left from last week’s storm. I stand up to look closer, to find a backdrop against which I might see what she sees.

Science Fiction

A Debt Repaid

Some people will do almost anything to wipe out a debt. You, Jessica, are no exception. When the casino men came to your dingy apartment to collect, what did they threaten you with? A bat to break your legs?

Science Fiction


You are fifteen when you get the brochure. See DANGEROUS EARTH-POSSIBLES! Become a Hero! The ad blinked at you online, between the x-ray glasses and the grainy picture of how to lose fourteen pounds and get real wings

Science Fiction

A Guide to Grief

You love someone. A boyfriend, who hogs the covers and pisses with the bathroom door open. Your mother. Your little brother—he never calls, communicating instead via selfies verging on the ridiculous and too-brief texts.

Science Fiction


“You two ready?” I ask. “Yes, ma’am,” Gert says with forced brightness, and Rally nods quickly, a shake of motion behind her helmet’s faceplate. She’s nervous, but she always seems to be a little nervous, so I’m not too worried.

Science Fiction

Transcript of Interaction Between Astronaut Mike Scudderman and the OnStar Hands-Free A.I. Crash Advisor

The following transcript details the last known use of the OnStar Hands-Free A.I. Crash Advisor, once a mandatory install on all craft equipped for interstellar travel.