Lightspeed: Edited by John Joseph Adams



Dec. 2012 (Issue 31)

Novella: “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang

Novel Excerpt: Cold Days by Jim Butcher

Nonfiction: Artist Showcase: Luis Lasahido, Interview: Junot Diaz, Interview: Alastair Reynolds.

Science Fiction: D. Thomas Minton (“Dreams in Dust”), Ken Liu (“The Perfect Match”), Yoon Ha Lee (“Swanwatch”), Marta Randall (“Lazaro y Antonio”).

Fantasy: J.T. Petty (“Family Teeth, Part 5: American Jackal”), Sarah Langan (“Family Teeth, Part 6: St. Polycarp’s Home for Happy Wanderers”), Brian Evenson (“An Accounting”), Kelly Link (“Catskin”).

Dec. 2012 (Issue 31)


Editorial, December 2012

Welcome to issue thirty-one of Lightspeed! We’ve got another great issue for you this month; read the editorial to see what we have on tap.


An Accounting

I have been ordered to write an honest accounting of how I became a Midwestern Jesus and the subsequent disastrous events thereby accruing, events for which I am, I am willing to admit, at least partly to blame. I know of no simpler way than to simply begin.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Brian Evenson

I grew up Mormon in Utah, so I was part of a fairly intensive religion in a state where it was the dominant cultural influence. It thought of itself as a day-to-day religion more than a Sunday religion, and so infected a good part of one’s other activities. Now I’m an excommunicated Mormon and am fairly far outside of it, but am still fascinated not only with religion but with the ways community forms around religious belief.

Science Fiction

The Perfect Match

Sai woke to the rousing first movement of Vivaldi’s violin concerto in C minor, “Il Sospetto.” He lay still for a minute, letting the music wash over him like a gentle Pacific breeze. The room brightened as the blinds gradually opened to the sunlight. Tilly had woken him right at the end of a light sleep cycle, the optimal time. He felt great: refreshed, optimistic, ready to jump out of bed.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Ken Liu

The Age of Big Data is upon us, and the externalization of our inner life and the outsourcing of our mental processes to technology are long-term trends. Do these trends free us to be more creative, more caring, more human? Or do they make us more dependent, more isolated, less human? Different temperaments and vantage points will lead us to give different answers.


Family Teeth (Part 5): American Jackal

He watched her legs approach in the mirror and smiled down at the butter melting on his pancakes when she sat on the stool beside him. “You’re free to sit anywhere you like, but I can’t much promise to be good company,” he said.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: J.T. Petty

The culture of the coyotes feels a lot more interesting to me than dog-level violence or the mechanics of transformation. Especially in the way romance in America can blur the borders that insulate a subculture. Like the first time Sarah came to one of my Protestant family’s witch burnings.

Science Fiction


Officially, the five exiles on the station were the Initiates of the Fermata. Unofficially, the Concert of Worlds called them the swanwatch.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Yoon Ha Lee

I remember reading SF back in middle and high school that speculated about the future of art. Nothing I read in those stories (I recall one had an olfactory symphony, for instance) would have prepared me for slash fanvids or World of Warcraft machinima sagas or custom My Little Ponies done up as everything from Marilyn Monroe to Johnny Depp.

Artist Showcase

Artist Showcase: Luis Lasahido

When working on a project, let’s say an illustration, in the beginning I always look for appropriate references. Then I pick and use the best of each reference I’ve found, selecting for mood, composition, and perspective, and I assemble them into my illustration. It’s part of my learning process. As time goes by, I’m getting used to it, and I work automatically based on what I learned from the references.



Cats went in and out of the witch’s house all day long. The windows stayed open, and the doors, and there were other doors, cat-sized and private, in the walls and up in the attic. The cats were large and sleek and silent. No one knew their names, or even if they had names, except for the witch.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Kelly Link

Family is great subject matter. So are, for that matter, adolescence and awkwardness. The working title for my next collection is Get in Trouble. Because that’s a type of story (and character) I’m eternally interested in.

Science Fiction

Dreams in Dust

The arrival of the dust-covered girl caught Keraf by surprise. The girl’s slender face, sun-beaten to a deep brown, blended seamlessly into the cloth wrapped around her head. She couldn’t have been more than seventeen, but she wielded her rifle with ease.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: D. Thomas Minton

As a marine ecologist, I see the impending impact of climate change every day. The places I love will be (and some would say already have been) irrevocably altered by our changing climate. It still amazes me that anyone can continue to deny something as obvious as the changes that are occurring.


Interview: Junot Diaz

When you look at a lot of science fiction novels they’re asking questions about power. There are questions about what it means to have power and what are the long-term consequences of power. When you think about the Dune novels—the original Dune novels start out as this Machiavellian fix-up—the battle between these houses—but they turn out to be a very troubling meditation on what it means to take over an entire civilization and set it on a certain path.


Family Teeth (Part 6): St. Polycarp’s Home For Happy Wanderers

Sheila Halpern got her looks from her Momma, who died pushing her out. Died before, even, but still kept pushing. “You’re the prettiest thing in the whole darn world,” her daddy told her the day he put her on the train for the St. Polycarp’s Home for Happy Wanderers, his age-soft teeth all chipped so everything sounded muffled. She was eight years old, lice riddled, and 90% liar like her daddy.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Sarah Langan

Coyotes are cool. They’re smarter than wolves, better at observational learning than dogs, and tend to survive even in places that are populated by humans. They’re also mean—their packs are small because they fight amongst each other. Finally, they can mate with wolves and dogs . . . maybe humans?

Science Fiction

Lázaro y Antonio

Sure Lázaro was broke, but he still wasn’t interested in rolling drunks, not even rich belligerent Academy chilito drunks. This one had shown up last night with some pendejo brotherhood, too many to take on, but tonight he was alone and still a dick so Lázaro had no qualms about holding Antonio’s new foxleather jacket while Antonio whacked the guy’s fright-coifed blond head, just precisely so.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Marta Randall

Power tends to corrupt, said Lord Acton. There are always people who will get ahead by stomping their way up the ladder of life, and the devil take the hindmost. I suppose we could think about colonizing a planet and refusing to let any of the Bad Guys in, but even so, who’s going to do the choosing? Absolute power, Acton went on, tends to corrupt absolutely.


Interview: Tad Williams

For me, any book I’m writing is also a chance to get in and research and read and learn things that I maybe only knew a little bit about before. So one of the fascinating things about researching heaven and hell is, of course, the fact that there are so few descriptions of heaven, because most people can’t really explain what it would be like beyond a couple of sentences, whereas hell is quite often personal.