Lightspeed: Edited by John Joseph Adams





Black Holes: Starving and Misunderstood

The Earth’s pull—even a pea-sized Earth’s pull—on the moon only depends on mass. In making the Earth into a black hole, all we changed was the radius. The Moon never has, and never will, care about the Earth’s size.


God Spots

So, in other words, you’re curled up naked on the couch with your new Na’vi hottie which, alas, is really just a bowl of blue Jello. This phenomenon is a well-documented finding in the scientific literature. (Well, maybe not the part about the Jello.)


Five Freaky Futures Your Kids Might Face

Our actions now will profoundly change the literal and metaphorical landscape for the next generation. Unfortunately, we’re pretty sure that the future is the last place anybody wants to be.


The Art and History of Body Modification

In every group of humans in known and recorded history, there have been members who modified their bodies. The reasons behind their choices vary widely, even within a single society.


Five Planets that Will Kill You Dead

Aside from the many Class-Ms on which Captain Kirk had disastrous dates, let’s face it: there really is no good planet on which to crash. And if things have already gone so badly that your brave, space-faring expedition has to make an emergency landing on some mapped-but-untested interstellar hinterland, you’re already pretty much up a creek. However, since Murphy’s Law is the overriding constant of the universe, things can always be worse. And with these five planets (some of the galaxy’s wildest), we’ll show you just how bad a planetary crash-landing can get.


Considering Cryonics

From submarines to robots, much of the technology we take for granted today was originally conceived, not by scientists or inventors, but by that biggest of dreamers: the science fiction writer. Once thought wildly impossible, cryonics—the freezing of the recently dead, to be revived and repaired in the future when technology allows—seems to be following that same path.


When Universes Collide

Once upon a time, in an age before civilization, before humanity, before the dinosaurs, even before the Big Bang, our universe…wasn’t. Nothing, nada. Void. It’s scary but true. Once upon a time, our universe didn’t exist, not even as a twinkle in God’s eye.


Five Reasons Why Aliens Make Better Lovers

Humans are sexual beings, but though the human urge to merge is rooted in our biological imperative to procreate, nowadays we do it, well, mostly just for fun. And if the aliens we encounter aren’t made of gaseous clouds or bacterial sludge, and provided they have a reasonably similar physiology to ours, it seems pretty safe to assume that they’re probably just like us: total tramps.


Engines for the High Frontier

We want engines to get us into space and take us to the stars. Of course, as many note, we aren’t quite where we want to be yet. But there is hope. At the moment, spaceship engines can be classed into three categories: rockets, sails, and “other,” and each works in their own, individual way. Rockets work by pushing something out the rear; reaction equaling action, you go in the other direction. With sails, something external pushes. And in the “other” category are things like “space drives” and ramjets.


Future Weapons

Ray guns! Death rays! The terms conjure images of the golden era of space adventurers—Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon. But in truth, future weapons have been a crucial aspect of science fiction since H. G. Wells armed his Martian invaders in War of the Worlds with heat rays that ignited everything in their path.