Lightspeed: Edited by John Joseph Adams



July 2010 (Issue 2)

Fiction: “No Time Like the Present” by Carol Emshwiller, “Manumission” by Tobias S. Buckell, “The Zeppelin Conductors’ Society Annual Gentlemen’s Ball” by Genevieve Valentine, and “…for a single yesterday” by George R. R. Martin.

Nonfiction: “Top Five Time Travel Nightmares” by Carol Pinchefsky, “You Are the Person You Are Now” by The Evil Monkey, “A Very Brief History of Airships” by Gregory K.H. Bryant, “Music Is Science Fiction: An Interview With The Lisps” by Desirina Boskovich.

July 2010 (Issue 2)


Editorial, July 2010

New stories on tap this month: “No Time Like the Present” by Carol Emshwiller, “Manumission” by Tobias S. Buckell, “The Zeppelin Conductors’ Society Annual Gentlemen’s Ball” by Genevieve Valentine, and “…for a single yesterday” by George R. R. Martin.


Top Five Time Travel Nightmares

Time travel is currently only a thought experiment, but if you have to dream, dream big. Who hasn’t fantasized about going back in time to choose the winning lottery numbers, or to kill Hitler, or to say no to the prom date who drenched you in pig’s blood?

Science Fiction

No Time Like the Present

A lot of new rich people have moved into the best houses in town—those big ones up on the hill that overlook the lake. What with the depression, some of those houses have been on the market for a long time. They’d gotten pretty run down, but the new people all seem to have plenty of money and fixed them up right away. Added docks and decks and tall fences. It was our fathers, mine included, who did all the work for them. I asked my dad what their houses were like and he said, “Just like ours only richer.”

Science Fiction


This morning, when you wake up and look at your rippled reflection in the basin of water near the concrete wall of your cell, you only have one true personal memory left. It can’t be that your entire life is based off this one event, so you suspect they’ve left it with you to piss you off. To “motivate” you. To make you one raging motherfucker. It’s a riff on the Countee Cullen poem. You’re six, standing on the street holding the anonymous arm of your mom, and the other kid staring back at you flips you off and calls you nigger. That’s all they really left you with.


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?

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Tobias S. Buckell

Mostly I became interested in memory loss when I started reading about the fact that people are starting to figure out how to erase, block, and alter memories in labs. And I began thinking, since corporations are always viewing everything as a potential acquirable resource, why wouldn’t they own someone else’s memories? As a down payment on services? You can walk away from a house that’s been pledged as collateral, or savings. But your identity? They’d really own you.

Science Fiction

The Zeppelin Conductors’ Society Annual Gentlemen’s Ball

The balloon of a Phoenix-class airship is better than any view from its cabin windows; half a mile of silk pulled taut across three hundred metal ribs and a hundred gleaming spines is a beautiful thing. If your mask filter is dirty you get lightheaded and your sight goes reddish, so it looks as though the balloon is falling in love with you.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Genevieve Valentine

Steampunk tends to live in the space between science fiction and fantasy, depending on how it’s utilized in each particular piece. I think that both the science fiction canon and the science fiction community have accepted steampunk elements for a long time; I think that as steampunk earns its permanent place in the canon, it will do so via the examination of some of the tropes on which previous steampunk has been built, which will both broaden and strengthen the collective canon.


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?

Science Fiction

“. . . for a single yesterday”

Keith was our culture, what little we had left. He was our poet and our troubadour, and his voice and his guitar were our bridges to the past. He was a time-tripper too, but no one minded that much until Winters came along. Keith was our memory. But he was also my friend.


Interview: The Lisps

FUTURITY follows the wartime experience of aspiring science fiction writer and lowly Confederate solider Julian Munro. While surrounded by destruction, Julian strikes up a correspondence with real-life metaphysician Ada Lovelace, history’s first female computer programmer. Together, the idealistic pair imagine a utopian future defined by an omnipotent machine that will end war once and for all.