Lightspeed: Edited by John Joseph Adams






Long before the premiere of The Six Million Dollar Man in 1974, the idea of a bionic human has fascinated the scientific and science fiction communities. Just turn on the television or take a trip to the local movie theater to find some examples. But there’s a lot more to this burgeoning science than Darth Vader and the Borg. It’s not just science fiction; it’s not even science future. What most people might be surprised to discover is that the kinds of mechanized prosthetics writers used to dream about actually exist right now.


Bangs & Whimpers: A Look at the Top Five Doomsday Scenarios

According to people much smarter than you, large asteroids hit the earth every ten million years, which means, of course, that we’re probably due. So when that day does finally come (and you know it will), kiss it all goodbye, baby: your life, your family, your friends and that meticulously color-coded and cross-referenced porn collection we know you’ve got stashed in your basement.


Dead Mars

Once upon a time—four point six billion years ago—a thick atmosphere surrounded Mars, perhaps even coloring its sky blue. Once upon a time—three to four billion years ago—an ocean covered thirty percent of the Red Planet’s surface, and deltas formed as water rushed from the land to the sea. Once upon a time—as recently as 2 million years ago—Mars’ volcanoes, the largest in our Solar System, erupted, spilling lava down one hundred kilometer long slopes.


A Very Brief History of Airships

From the Hindenburg to the Goodyear Blimp, airships have for centuries captured our collective imagination and, in recent years, given lift to the popularity of the steampunk genre. But how much do we know, really, about their history and evolution? How did steerable, lighter-than-air craft progress from some crackpot inventor’s dream to the elegant, Victorian technology of literature?


You Are the Person You Are Now

Buddhist interpretations of personhood suggest that we have a misguided understanding of our own internal reality; we perceive ourselves as part of a continuous state of being, moving from day to day and year to year. You, my friend, are a constant. An individual. Self-awareness is self-evident, right?


Every Step We Take

Climate change. Over-fished oceans. Killer hurricanes. Species extinction. Polluted air and water. Not a pretty list, is it? And a hell of a legacy we’re leaving behind for the kids. But these are the harsh realities we’re facing now as the consequences of our decades of planetary abuse finally come a-callin’. So what, if anything, can we do to fix this fine mess we’ve gotten ourselves into?


Top Ten Reasons Why Uplifted Animals Don’t Make Good Pets

From Cordwainer Smith’s “The Ballad of Lost C’Mell” to the Pern series to Alan Dean Foster’s Taken trilogy, animals gifted with genetically-enhanced intelligence have been, and still are, a popular science fiction trope.


The High Untresspassed Sanctity of Space: Seven True Stories about Eugene Cernan

In 1941, John Gillespie Magee, Jr. is nineteen. He has joined the ranks of the Royal Canadian Air Force as a pilot, and during his training that June he passes the time by writing poetry.


Is There Anyone Out There Who Wants To Go Fast?

That’s the question posed in the movie Talladega Nights. Ricky Bobby wants to go fast and thinks that driving NASCAR fits the bill. Now that is a comedy for the general public, and to the general public, NASCAR is fast. For scientists, and science fiction fans, however, that’s a ridiculous position. So, what is fast, then? And how fast can we go?