Science Fiction & Fantasy



Jan. 2015 (Issue 56)

We have original science fiction by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam (“He Came From a Place of Openness and Truth”) and Jeremiah Tolbert (“Men of Unborrowed Vision”), along with SF reprints by Theodora Goss (“Beautiful Boys”) and Michael Cassutt (“More Adventures on Other Planets”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Sequoia Nagamatsu (“Headwater LLC”) and Matthew Hughes (“The Archon,” a Kaslo Chronicles tale), and fantasy reprints by Aliette de Bodard (“The Lonely Heart”) and Rachel Swirsky and Ann Leckie (“Mother, Maiden, Crone”). We also have a feature interview with David X. Cohen, Executive Producer of the critically-acclaimed animated series FUTURAMA, along with our usual assortment of author and artist spotlights, and the launch our new book review column. For our ebook readers, we also have an ebook-exclusive novella reprint of “The Choice,” by Paul McAuley, and novel excerpts from THE GALAXY GAME by Karen Lord and A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab.

In This Issue: Jan. 2015 (Issue 56)


Editorial, January 2015

Read the Editorial for all the news, updates, and a rundown of this month’s great content. Plus, learn more about our next big special project.

Science Fiction

Beautiful Boys

You know who I’m talking about. You can see them on Sunday afternoons, in places like Knoxville, Tennessee or Flagstaff, Arizona, playing pool or with their elbows on the bar, drinking a beer before they head out into the dusty sunlight and get into their pickups, onto their motorcycles. Some of them have dogs. Some of their dogs wear bandanas around their necks.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Theodora Goss

I think we all know Beautiful Boys. We probably knew them in high school, the ones who were in a band, and smoked during lunch period, and mothers warned their daughters about. There were certainly boys like that in my high school, and I dated several of them despite my mother’s warnings. And then you never hear about them again, unless it’s years later and they’re doing carpentry in Montana.


Headwater LLC

Masa makes a deep bow as Yoko holds a plastic bottle beneath him, waiting for the water to drain like a tea garden waterfall from Masa’s bowl-shaped head. A trainee at Headwater Bottled Refreshments stands behind Masa with a hose, filling his head up to the brim after he finishes his bow. “We have to wait five minutes before filling more bottles,” Yoko says. “The water needs time to change.”

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Sequoia Nagamatsu

Once I decided that this story would involve a corporation, I felt like attaching a corporate structure to the arc of the story would not only provide an annual report-style history of Headwater, but also reinforce the fact that Yoko’s life (and the life of the other employees and the customers) are very much woven into the fabric of Headwater (through addiction, through totalitarian company policy).

Science Fiction

He Came From a Place of Openness and Truth

Mickey and I worked together at Hillman’s Horror House, and maybe the thrill of scaring people was what made me notice him. I’d never thought about another guy that way before, and so when I first got that electric jolt as his hand brushed mine in the changing room, I felt like I might puke. I went to the bathroom, where instead of throwing up I jacked off into the toilet.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam

I absolutely wanted to explore a less certain view of sexuality, one that was true to my own experience. When I was in high school, a lot of students did see sexuality as this fluid thing, even in the small Texas town where I grew up. But as someone who was attracted to both men and women, I struggled with feeling like I had to be either gay or straight; most of this pressure came from adults with a more closed-off view of sexuality.


The Lonely Heart

It was towards mid-afternoon that Chen became aware of the girl. She stood before Chen’s stall, watching the fake-jade effigies of the Buddha and the coloured incense sticks, her eyes wide in the sunlight — she was no more than thirteen or fourteen, with the gangly unease of that age. To her left, children shrieked as they passed the Bridge of Impossibility, holding each other’s hands, and went into the temple complex.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Aliette de Bodard

I was writing a story for an anthology edited by Nick Mamatas and Ellen Datlow, which was about retellings of classic horror tales. Basically, at the time I was reading Pu Songling’s STRANGE TALES FROM A CHINESE STUDIO, and this was the one tale that stuck with me — because the detail of the painted skin is so horrific, I guess?

Artist Showcase

Artist Showcase: Zelda Devon

Zelda Devon was born in 1978 in San Francisco. She was trained unsuccessfully at Savannah College of Art and Design and successfully at a small atelier in Brooklyn, NY. Zelda has done illustration, packaging, and event pre-visualization work for clients including Christian Dior, Shimmer, DC Comics/Vertigo, The Discovery Channel, The Weinstein Company, and Godiva Chocolates. Zelda currently lives and works in Los Angeles. Visit to learn more.

Science Fiction

More Adventures on Other Planets

This is what they used to call a meet cute, back when movies were made by people like Ernst Lubitsch or Billy Wilder, when movies had plots and dialogue, when life and love had rules, back in the last century. A handsome officer in the Soviet embassy (does that tell you how long ago?) picks up the phone one day and hears a lilting female voice asking him if he can tell her, please, what is Lenin’s middle name. “It’s for my crossword puzzle.”

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Michael Cassutt

I have been fascinated by human spaceflight since I was eleven years old and have done a lot of research into and writing on the subject — five books, in fact, with a new one on the way, in addition to a couple of dozen articles. I’ve met dozens of astronauts, flight directors, and space program types. And for years I have grown a bit impatient or even completely cranky with the way human spaceflight is portrayed.


The Archon

“What do we call this thing?” Erm Kaslo said, gesturing to the smooth opaque walls. “It’s not a spaceship.” Diomedo Obron tapped the green leather-bound tome he was studying. “Testroni’s Impervious Conveyance, it says here.” They were inside an object that had looked to Kaslo like nothing so much as an oversized version of the silver dome that a butler would whisk away from an aristocrat’s meal. It even had a large ring on top — a ring that was now grasped by the talons of an honest-to-goodness dragon.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Matthew Hughes

In this serialized novel, as in the rest of my Archonate stories, I’m looking at a civilization that is about to be profoundly changed, though almost all of its inhabitants have no idea what’s about to happen. The general inspiration came from thinking about the western world in the summer of 1914, when the civilization of Europe was about to be wracked and transformed beyond recognition, but only a few realized that “the lamps are going out and will not be lit again.”


Book Reviews: January 2015

Welcome to the inaugural Lightspeed Book Review column! I’m thrilled to be part of this new feature on Lightspeed, and I’m looking forward to reading the reviews from my fellow reviewers Amal El-Mohtar and Sunil Patel. This month, I’m looking at books from Ann Leckie, W.C. Bauers, and Katherine Howe. Ancillary Sword Ann Leckie Ann […]

Science Fiction

Men of Unborrowed Vision

We are not terrorists. We have not done this because we wish to terrify or instill fear. We do what we have done in order to bring the truth to everyone, a truth that burns away the lies and leaves only itself. We are no more terrorists than the invisible hand of the market is a terrorist.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Jeremiah Tolbert

I was first exposed to the idea of neophiles and neophobes by writer Robert Anton Wilson, and it’s a notion that has stuck with me ever since. I’m an unabashed neophile, but my personal belief is you’d have to be a little crazy to not be afraid of what the future could hold sometimes. On the net, I think I’m pro-new and pro-future. But there are some futures that I wouldn’t want to live in.


Maiden, Mother, Crone

The mule nipped at Marjan’s hand as she burdened it with her packs. She pushed its nose away, careful not to hurt it. She needed the mule to be well. Her life — and her unborn child’s — depended on it. She led the mule outside the stable and carefully latched the door behind them. She didn’t want the other animals to suffer from the cold. Bad enough she was stealing the mule.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Ann Leckie and Rachel Swirsky

The birth scene was the one that Ann and I had the most trouble with. I wanted to write something abstract and blurry in the way that writers often do when we want to dodge details, something like “Time started to fade as she became preoccupied by her senses, and sometime later . . . “ And Ann was like, “Yeah, no, that’s not what birth is like.” She’s done it twice, so she won the argument.


Interview: David X. Cohen

David X. Cohen is Executive Producer of the critically-acclaimed animated series FUTURAMA, and also spent five years as a writer for THE SIMPSONS. He has won four Emmy Awards and four Annie Awards. He also holds a Master’s degree in Theoretical Computer Science from UC Berkeley, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from Harvard University.