Science Fiction & Fantasy


Sep. 2013 (Issue 40)

This month, we have original science fiction by D. Thomas Minton (“The Schrödinger War”) and Will McIntosh (“Dry Bite”), along with SF reprints by Lisa Tuttle (“Ragged Claws”) and Nina Allan (“Angelus”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Seanan McGuire (“Homecoming”) and a new Gorlen story by Marc Laidlaw (“Bellweather”) and fantasy reprints by Gene Wolfe (“Suzanne Delage”) and the first Erm Kaslo tale by Matthew Hughes (“And Then Some”). All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author and artist spotlights, along with feature interviews with io9’s Annalee Newitz and author of The Shining Girls, Lauren Beukes. For our ebook readers, we also have the novella “The Secret Sharer” by Robert Silverberg and excerpts of Shaman by Kim Stanley Robinson and The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes.

In This Issue: Sep. 2013 (Issue 40)


Editorial, September 2013

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

Science Fiction

The Schrödinger War

You’d think after seven tries, I could get the living part right, or at least be a pro at dying, but both are still messy and painful. At least dying doesn’t scare me anymore. I yank Olshevski back into our wrinkle of black basalt before the Eatees mist his head.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: D. Thomas Minton

Grief is a powerful emotion. It can drive people to do any number of things they might not ordinarily do. […] But our past is what makes us who we are; we are that collection of experiences and relationships, and by denying his past, Sam is left only with senseless fighting and dying around him to identify who he is. That’s not a great place to be.


Suzanne Delage

As I was reading last night—reading a book, I should explain, which was otherwise merely commonplace; one of those somewhat political, somewhat philosophical, somewhat historical books which can now be bought by the pound each month—I was struck by a certain remark of the author’s.

Science Fiction


He was in the bathroom cleaning the taps. I could only see the back of him—an overlong measure of spine, the lean, narrow shoulders hunched forward slightly as he polished the chrome with the yellow duster—but there was no doubt in my mind that it was him. I hadn’t seen him for fifteen years and had received no news of him in all that time. The first thing I thought of was Cambridge, the cleanliness and order he had brought to his shabby basement rooms. He must have sensed me standing there because almost at once he started to straighten up.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Nina Allen

I care passionately about language—but not altogether, I hope, at the expense of story. It’s absolutely true that I’m very particular about the stylistic aspects of a story, and while I find the wordsmith/storyteller comparison interesting and probably true, there’s another I’d like to cite alongside it. Unfortunately I forget who said it, but according to an article I once read, all writers are either “Dickensian” or “Nabokovian.” The Dickensian writer’s central concern is with life in the round, the vast panoply of existence, the “God’s eye view,” if you like, whereas the Nabokovian’s focus is narrower, more internal, obsessed with detail and with the subject of obsession itself.



The locker room is always tense before a game. Alisa is trying to get her uniform to stay in place, counting more on safety pins and prayer than she probably should, and Birdie—true to her name—keeps whistling, which is probably going to get her slapped if she doesn’t stop soon. Cram twenty girls from opposing squads into one small space and tensions are going to flare.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Seanan McGuire

I am an autumn girl, a Halloween girl, a bonfires and cornfields pumpkin patch trick-or-treat girl. Given the chance, I’ll open everything in October. More than that, I adore harvest stories. I think the harvest is one of the most powerful liminal ideas of the American psyche, and since I wanted this to be a very Americana story, I wanted that power.

Artist Showcase

Artist Showcase: Sutthiwat Dechakamphu

Sutthiwat Dechakamphu is a concept artist, graphic designer and illustrator in Thailand.

Science Fiction

Ragged Claws

Last night, after a short struggle, I went out. It’s like that most evenings, the slow, silent battle between my desire to stay in, with my thoughts and dreams and memories, and the need to go where other people gathered. Much as I preferred my own company, no one, these days, was paying me to keep it. I lived as frugally as I could on what I’d saved, but the price of electricity had soared recently, and I was in the red again. If I went out, there was at least the chance of making money.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Lisa Tuttle

The story grew out of reflections on how much of life for many people is spent in the fantasy worlds created by movies, books, games, or their own imagination—and also how many occupations now are carried out at a remove from the real world. Saying “the real world” seems wrong—what is reality if we’re not in it?



They had struggled for days through a wasteland of broken rock, high in the mountains, on their way through a pass that maps had indicated would take them to a country of promise. The first of the rocks were chipped and quarried, and showed signs of having been worked by artisans as much as by nature. But after a time, the unfashioned stone gave way to broken figures. The general impression was that a nation of statues, its entire populace, had been carried to the heavens and then dropped, so that all were shattered. Fractured heads and torsos, truncated limbs, toes and fingers of every size, from gnomic to gigantic, lay strewn from peak to peak, as if spread across the high mountain valleys by glacial action.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Marc Laidlaw

I had the idea for the sinister monk using bells to get around many years ago, when I was dreaming up the adventures of a character named China Scott, who was based on the amazing explorer Alexandra David-Neel. I never wrote a single China Scott story, but the images hung around.


Interview: Annalee Newitz

Annalee Newitz is the editor of io9, the internet’s most popular science fiction website. Her new book, Scatter, Adapt, and Remember, describes massive disasters throughout Earth’s history and explores how we might increase our chances of surviving the next one.

Science Fiction

Dry Bite

Josephine had been up all night, her heart pounding, thinking about this day, about whether she would survive it. Now, out on the road and exposed on all sides, she was so scared she could barely breathe.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Will McIntosh

The initial idea I had was to write a straightforward zombie story, where the zombies suddenly stop attacking the living, and the living have to learn to coexist with their dead brethren. As I started planning the story, I just wasn’t excited about writing it as a zombie story, so I figured readers wouldn’t be excited, either. That’s when I came up with the idea of making the dead humans hosts for aliens. So the stingers came before Josephine. Once I knew what I wanted the overall setup to be, I started thinking about what sort of character and situation might make for a compelling storyline.


And Then Some

Erm Kaslo came to Cheddle on the Adelaine, a tramp freighter that didn’t mind taking passengers who didn’t mind the quality of the accommodations. He could have come on a liner, but he preferred, when working, to make his entrances unnoticed.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Matthew Hughes

For quite a while now, I’ve been writing about a highly improbable far-future human civilization called The Ten Thousand Worlds that stretches along The Spray, our arm of the galaxy. There’s Old Earth, which has become as forgotten as the font of civilization as Uruk is to us today. Then there are the Grand Foundational Domains, the first planets settled aeons ago that are now vast, complex, wealthy societies. Then there are the secondary worlds, peopled by misfits and oddballs who felt hemmed-in on the Foundationals. And there are quite a few minor and disregarded planets where you take your chances, just like backpacking through some parts of Earth today.


Interview: Lauren Beukes

Lauren Beukes is a South African author and filmmaker. Her novels include Zoo City and Moxyland. She also wrote a story arc for the graphic novel series Fairest, a spinoff of Bill Willingham’s Fables. Her latest novel, The Shining Girls, is about a time-traveling serial killer and has been optioned for TV by Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way.