Lightspeed: Edited by John Joseph Adams



Author Spotlights

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Ken Liu

This story began with my interest in narratives that don’t follow the supposed “rules” of storytelling. There’s a lot of advice out there for genre writers, often phrased as universal laws. For example: The hero of the story must actively work at solving a problem.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Megan Arkenberg

As the title suggests, “The Huntsman” began as a retelling of Snow White; I was playing with the idea that the huntsman had a more permanent role in the Queen’s life than the original tale suggests. I kept returning to the image that now forms the opening of the story, the huntsman tracking a woman in a rather gritty, unromanticized urban setting. What was this man’s job—and why was he so good at it?

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Sarah Grey

The first inspiration was early Hollywood studio contracts. In short, during Hollywood’s Golden Age in the first half of the 20th century, studios contracted with actors. The actor was all but owned by her studio—she took the parts assigned her, whether she liked them or not. I found myself wondering how cinema history might have played out if studios had contracted the right to clone their actors. Jean Harlow, always alive, always twenty-six, the leading lady in every film?

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Theodora Goss

I think the basic idea of the story, with the hound asking for the princess, came to me first. I often think first in plot. Then the characters seemed to follow naturally, then the settings. Sylvania was a lot of fun to create. But it’s actually larger than this story: I’ve set several other stories there, and I’d like to write more about that country. It’s my way of exploring the history of Eastern Europe, a kind of fantastical thought experiment.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Dennis Danvers

The story arose out of the knowledge that we’re all dying all the time, though we like to remain scrupulously unaware of it. To know it, like Darwin, ironically is to be more alive, not less. That idea met up with zombies, a trope I’ve never liked. In my experience, the dead remain dead. It’s the single most distinctive feature of death—its permanence. I think of “Leaving the Dead” as an anti-zombie story. One thing you can count on in this tale is that no one is the living dead. Dead is dead.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Maureen McHugh

It was fun writing a story in interview format. I love NPR and I love This American Life and Radio Lab and Off-Ramp. I would very much love to produce a story for This American Life except a) I’m not a journalist and don’t really like the work of going out and getting a story because it involves aggressively talking to people I don’t know and b) have absolutely no producing skills and don’t really want to learn them. So being a writer I could do the next best thing, which is fake one. I wouldn’t do it twice, because it’s a kind of gimmick. It has an energy when done once that it doesn’t have when repeated.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Holly Black

I started telling the story in present tense almost from the beginning because present tense can be really distancing in interesting ways for me. It allows a character to exist in a perpetual now, looking neither backwards nor forwards. And for a character like Nadia, who is trying incredibly hard to not think backwards or forwards, it really fits.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: M. Bennardo

If I can pinpoint any “beginning” for this story, it would be the disembodied voices. It was an idea that came to me years ago, when I was first living alone in an apartment and would sometimes hear my neighbors through the walls. I think at one point I actually heard something that sounded like a dropped casserole dish. But at the time, I figured it would be a ghost story, so clearly there was a dramatic mutation that took place that turned it into a romance instead.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Damien Walters Grintalis

I was reading yet another article about sexual assault and the comments were dreadful. There is so much stigma, so much blame, and it all gets shifted onto the victim’s shoulders. They become scapegoats and villains, bearing all the culpability so the real villain can retain an air of false respectability. She shouldn’t have teased him, she shouldn’t have done this or worn that. Ugh. It’s an ugly truth that’s everywhere. Always. In turn, that external blame becomes internal. Why did we go out? Why did we wear that? My fault, my fault, my fault—an ever-present litany of wrongly-placed blame.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Sean Williams

I decided to explore the idea by means of a detective story rather than a horror story for several reasons: one, because that seemed both to fit the idea and to offer a means of unpacking the larger story in a surprising way; two, because I’ve never written one of those in the short form before, and I do like a challenge (see below); and three, the notion of a recurring duo investigating crimes involving matter transmitters was very appealing.