Science Fiction & Fantasy

Lightspeed_TheOnlyHarmlessGreatThing_728x90

Advertisement

Science Fiction

Black Holes

“What do you think it would feel like to die in a black hole?” Joey asked, then immediately added, “Not being morbid.” Kant laughed. He had a loud belly laugh that made the bare bedroom feel full and bright. The mattress they were lying on had no bed frame, and, at the moment, no sheets. The only set not being used as makeshift curtains were drying in the basement.

Queers Destroy Flash Fiction!

As part of our Queers Destroy Science Fiction! special issue, we opened up Lightspeed to flash fiction for the first time. The flash fiction section was guest-edited by Hugo-nominated editor Sigrid Ellis. Half of the flash selections are available online, while the other half are exclusive to the print/ebook edition.

The Lamb Chops

Harry had never dated anyone quite like Aiden. The London flat changed when Harry moved in. The age-worn First Nation totem, the rampant wooden eagle, acquired a floppy silk bow. Harry changed it every so often: this one was the Maple Leaf; there was a rainbow one for Pride, and on special occasions it also wore a black silky top hat. Harry filled the place with potted plants, which flourished so long as Harry stopped Aiden trying to care for them.

Helping Hand

Alexandria Stephens knew she was going to die a slow, cold death in space. She floated fifteen meters from her capsule, a single-pilot maintenance shuttle that could operate in low- or high-Earth orbit.

Rubbing is Racing

bing bing bing / The lights speak to me as they flash red, red, red. They’re saying wait, wait, wait, then ready as yellow flashes, then get the fuck going as greens turns the sky into a maelstrom of steel and fire and I’m rising, pushed into the back of my navpod so hard I fear I’ll break through. The first three seconds are the most dangerous, the powers of heaven and earth look away as a hundred ships fight for the same small stretch of sky.

Melioration

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.”

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?

勢孤取和 (Influence Isolated, Make Peace)

Jake acquired his target as soon as he stepped into the cafeteria. For the good of the war, he had passed without a trace through forests and mountains to reconnoiter and assassinate. For the good of the subsequent peace, Jake now needed to have lunch with a random stranger and emulate a human being.

Emergency Repair

I work the tip of a flathead screwdriver into the barely visible notch along the sternum and pry up the aluminum polymer casing covering the android’s chest. My fingers burn when they make contact with the exposed skeletal components — no time to let it cool down.

Ghosts of the Fall

A warm current rolled in overnight, bringing with it the stench of death. When I awoke at dawn, my nose and mouth were thick with foul-tasting mucus. Gagging, I rolled over and reached for my stained filtermask. When it was in place, I struggled from my hammock and squinted from the arbour of my room. The sun, eclipsed by the shadowy bulk of a vine-tangled building, was feeble and brown, but enough of its light filtered between the towers to allow a rough study.