Lightspeed: Edited by John Joseph Adams



July 2012 (Issue 26)

Novella: “Lune and the Red Empress” by Liz Williams and Alastair Reynolds

Novel Excerpts: Spin the Sky by Katy Stauber and vN by Madeline Ashby

Nonfiction: Artist Showcase: Chris Cold and Tobias Roetsch, Interview: Brian Greene, Interview: Garth Nix

Science Fiction: A. M. Dellamonica (“The Sweet Spot”), Jake Kerr (“Requiem in the Key of Prose”), Joe Haldeman (“Four Short Novels”), David Brin (“The Giving Plague”)

Fantasy: Maria Dahvana Headley (“Give Her Honey When You Hear Her Scream”), Aidan Doyle (“Ghost River Red”), Theodora Goss (“Singing of Mount Abora”), Peter S. Beagle (“Gordon, the Self-Made Cat”)

July 2012 (Issue 26)


Editorial, July 2012

Welcome to issue twenty-six of Lightspeed! We’ve got another great issue for you this month, so click-thru to see what we have in store.

Science Fiction

Requiem in the Key of Prose

There is such a thing as an antifuse. This device is used to maintain the ongoing flow of electricity when there is local failure. The antifuse works similarly to a fuse in that it is designed to be sacrificed for a specific goal. But while a fuse is sacrificed to stop electricity from flowing, an antifuse is sacrificed to guarantee that the electricity does not stop.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Jake Kerr

The idea originated from a number of elements that all came together into this singular idea. The first was a TED talk by Benjamin Zander where he discusses music and passion. At one point he plays two notes and says the job of the C note is to make the B note sound sad. I immediately was struck by a parallel to writing, where we use various prose elements for a specific effect.


Ghost River Red

Akamiko arrived three days before the anniversary of the Lady of All Colors’ death. The village held a small market filled with stalls selling fish and vegetables, and a bathhouse stood by the river. It was hard to imagine the Lady of All Colors growing up here.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Aidan Doyle

I had been reading about Japanese calligraphy and the emphasis placed on creating simple yet beautiful strokes. I wanted to apply that kind of philosophy to a dedicated warrior, mixed with the idea of having a palette of different colored swords.

Science Fiction

Four Short Novels

Eventually it came to pass that no one ever had to die, unless they ran out of money. When you started to feel the little aches and twinges that meant your body was running down, you just got in line at Immortality, Incorporated, and handed them your credit card. As long as you had at least a million bucks—and eventually everybody did—they would reset you to whatever age you liked.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Joe Haldeman

It’s easy to come up with science-fictional cultures that put no great value on long life, for whom immortality would be unpleasant or even obscene. […] A large number of Americans believe they’re going to be immortal up in the sky after they die on Earth. That’s one of the solutions to the problem, and it takes care of certain aspects like expense, real estate, post-mortem effect, and so on.


Singing of Mount Abora

A hundred years ago, the blind instrument-maker known as Alem Das, or Alem the Master, made a dulcimer whose sound was sweeter, more passionate, and more filled with longing than any instrument that had ever been made.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Theodora Goss

I’ve always been fascinated by the secondary or even tertiary characters in stories, the characters who don’t get written about. Who may not even get to speak. I have a tendency to write their stories. […] In this case, I was fascinated by a character in a poem: the Abyssinian maid in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan.”

Artist Showcase

Artist Showcase: Chris Cold and Tobias Roetsch

Go behind the scenes with this month’s cover artists Chris Cold and Tobias Roetsch in the July artist showcase.

Science Fiction

The Sweet Spot

“I’m gonna visit Dad.” Matt is curled in the passenger seat of their antique minivan, scowling as offworlders tromp and slither past their front bumper. Shooting a glance at Ruthie through long, pretty eyelashes, he flips down the visor to check the mirror.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: A.M. Dellamonica

Songs are something that humans have always taken with us to war: you can’t go on the march with a painting from home in your pack, or bring your entire library of books with you. […] But you can always sing a song.


Gordon, the Self-made Cat

Once upon a time, to a family of house mice there was born a son named Gordon. He looked very much like his father and mother and all his brothers and sisters, who were gray and had bright, twitchy, black eyes, but what went on inside Gordon was very different from what went on inside the rest of his family.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Peter Beagle

Back in the late sixties or early seventies, a small—and now long defunct—animation company asked me to submit some story ideas. The first version of “Gordon” was one of two notions that I wrote up and handed in. They weren’t impressed with either, but my kids had liked “Gordon,” so I tucked it away in my filing cabinet, thinking that someday I might do something more with it. I had no idea it would take more than 30 years.


Interview: Brian Greene

Because there isn’t just one flavor of parallel universe—there’s a version that comes out of quantum mechanics, there’s a version that comes out of cosmology, a version that comes out of string theory, and so forth. But one thing that they do share is it’s pretty tough, if not impossible, to go from one universe to another in any of these versions—in any conventional notion of what it would mean to travel from one universe to another.

Science Fiction

The Giving Plague

You think you’re going to get me, don’t you? Well, you’ve got another think coming, ‘cause I’m ready for you.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: David Brin

Back in the 1980s, biological science was abuzz with a new idea—that the boundaries between species aren’t anywhere near as firm and permanent as we (and Darwin) once thought. Bacteria exchange DNA with each other. Many of our own genes entered our chromosomes, originally, from viruses.


Give Her Honey When You Hear Her Scream

In the middle of the maze, there’s always a monster. If there were no monster, people would happily set up house where it’s warm and windowless and comfortable. The monster is required. The monster is a real estate disclosure.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Maria Dahvana Headley

In this story, the lovers aren’t magic. The only magic they really have is that they’re in love. But oh, my, god, love is major magic. There’s a reason we talk about being bewitched.


Interview: Garth Nix

The idea of Mister Fitz, who’s a puppet who is also a sorcerer, I’m sure comes from the fact that my mother made papier-mâché puppets when I was a child, and in particular one year she made puppets of all the Moomintroll characters, and put on a show of Moominland Midwinter for me for my birthday party.