Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Sep. 2018 (Issue 100)

LIGHTSPEED #1 was launched in June 2010, and now eight years later, we’ve reached a milestone: Issue 100. To celebrate, we’re publishing a super-sized issue, with ten original stories–more than twice the amount of original fiction than usual–plus ten reprints and some special nonfiction to boot. And to make things even more commemorative, the vast majority of our fiction in this issue, both original and reprint, comes from our most frequently published fiction contributors: the LIGHTSPEEDiest writers to ever LIGHTSPEED. It’s a distillation of what we’re made of, and we’re beyond excited to share it with all of you. 

Our cover art this month comes from Hugo award-winning artist (and fifty-three-time LIGHTSPEED illustrator) Galen Dara, illustrating new science fiction from Vylar Kaftan: “Her Monster, Whom She Loved.” We also have new SF from Carrie Vaughn (“Harry and Marlowe and the Secret of Ahomana”), Adam-Troy Castro (“The Last to Matter”), Ken Liu (“The Explainer”), and Sofia Samatar (“Hard Mary”), plus reprints from A. Merc Rustad (“How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps”), Charles Yu (“NPC”), Caroline M. Yoachim (“Stone Wall Truth”), An Owomoyela (“Travelling Into Nothing”), Seanan McGuire (“Frontier ABCs: The Life and Times of Charity Smith, Schoolteacher”), and David Barr Kirtley (“They Go Bump”). 

On the fantasy side of the ledger, we’re featuring new work from Maria Dahvana Headley (“You Pretend Like You Never Met Me, and I’ll Pretend Like I Never Met You”), Cadwell Turnbull (“Jump”), Genevieve Valentine (“Abandonware”), Sam J. Miller (“Conspicuous Plumage”), and Kat Howard (“A Brief Guide to the Seeking of Ghosts”), plus we have reprints from Yoon Ha Lee (“The Coin of Heart’s Desire”), Theodora Goss (“Elena’s Egg”), Charlie Jane Anders (“The Super Ultra Duchess of Fedora Forest”), and Jeremiah Tolbert (“The Girl with Sun in Her Head”). 

We’ve also got an array of nonfiction features, including a special celebration of our contributors’ and staff members’ favorite LIGHTSPEED stories of all-time, and then our novel excerpt this month is from Gene Doucette’s THE SPACESHIP NEXT DOOR.

In This Issue: Sep. 2018 (Issue 100)

Editorial

Editorial: September 2018

Be sure to check out the Editorial for a run-down of this month’s content (there’s a lot of it!) and to catch up with all our news and updates.

Nonfiction

A Few of Our Favorite Things

To celebrate our 100th issue we’ve asked members of the Lightspeed community—contributors and staff—to name their favorite stories or experiences working with the magazine. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of wonder!

Science Fiction

Her Monster, Whom She Loved

Ammuya birthed five hundred gods, followed by a monster. That was her first mistake. The gods tormented the monster because they feared it. They bound it inside a black hole, and the monster’s hatred seethed. Eventually the monster raged so fiercely he escaped the event horizon. Then he hunted down his siblings, one by one. On a silent desert planet, Ammuya cried for her children.

Fantasy

Abandonware

Some kids do that—they imprint on empty objects, they give them stories and opinions and a will, until they feel half-inhabited even to grownups, who have to pretend that they care how Chrissy’s blanket feels about things for so long that one day when Chrissy’s at school they step on the blanket and apologize. I did it with anything, when I was young; my toys were always in the middle of some intense plot that nobody outside could understand.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight

Science Fiction

Harry and Marlowe and the Secret of Ahomana

Wine-dark sea? No, the water was black as tar when the Kestrel crashed into it. The storm came up so suddenly, they might have hit a wall. It proved too massive for the airship to try to fly around, or over—it could only ascend so high, and the storm reached higher. They stayed aloft as long they could with a torn bladder and damaged engine, searching for some spit of sand to alight on. The lightning seemed to flash green around them.

Fantasy

Jump

Mike and Jessie were walking in the park. The trees high above their heads stretched to touch each other, their leaves letting only the tiniest slivers of light through. Mike watched the freckles of light spot Jessie’s brown face, her shirt, her arms. He tried to snub them out with his fingers. It was a long day for them. They’d spent a few hours walking around the park, just talking. About old dreams and new ones, black riots and urban decay, the secrets of their hearts and the mysteries of the universe.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Reviews: September 2018

This month, reviewer Arley Sorg turns his attention to new novels by S.L. Huang (Zero Sum Game), P. Djèlí Clark (The Black God’s Drums), and Rebecca Roanhorse (Trail of Lightning).

Science Fiction

The Last to Matter

Kayn knew he was being rejected by the orgynism for almost a full year before it fully expelled him. He could easily live a million years past this humiliation and never understand what he had done to deserve such a rejection from the collective that had loved him so well, for so long. He had been one of the orgynism’s founders, the man who had provided its organizing principles and solicited the first participants.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

The Coin of Heart’s Desire

In an empire at the wide sea’s boundaries, where the clouds were the color of alabaster and mother-of-pearl, and the winds bore the smells of salt and faraway fruits, the young and old of every caste gathered for their empress’s funeral. In life she had gone by the name Beryl-Beneath-the-Storm. Now that she was dead, the court historians were already calling her Weave-the-Storm, for she had been a fearsome naval commander.

Nonfiction

Media Reviews: September 2018

This month, we fired up our consoles and computers to find exciting new speculative video games. Reviewer Jenn Reese shares some of her favorites.

Science Fiction

How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps

How to tell your boyfriend you are in love with a robot: 1) Tell him, “I may possibly be in love with a robot,” because absolutes are difficult for biological brains to process. He won’t be jealous. 2) Ask him what he thinks of a hypothetical situation in which you found someone who might not be human but is still valuable and right for you. (Your so-called romantic relationship is as fake as you are.) 3) Don’t tell him anything.

Fantasy

You Pretend Like You Never Met Me, and I’ll Pretend Like I Never Met You

The worst day of Wells the Magician’s life begins pleasantly enough, with a shot of whiskey at the Lost Kingdom bar. It’s a birthday party day, and as all low-rent magic men know, birthday party days begin with booze and move laterally through coffee, cake, and whichever divorcee can be convinced to unhook her bra, whether offsite or in a back bedroom. Onward from there into (dire case) helium, (better case) weed, or (best case) coke.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Interview: John Joseph Adams

John Joseph Adams might be Lightspeed’s editor and publisher, but for many of our readers—and heck, even the staff—he’s a bit of an enigma. How can he run two magazines, his own novel imprint, oversee the Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy series, and create more amazing short fiction anthologies? Does he ever sleep? Mystified, we asked our staff interviewer to find out a bit more about JJA.