Lightspeed: Edited by John Joseph Adams




Editorial: December 2021

Welcome to Lightspeed’s 139th issue!

Good news first: At the World Fantasy Convention last month, we were delighted to hear that Celeste Rita Baker’s story “Glass Bottle Dancer” won the World Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction! If you missed that one–or just want to re-read this charming tale–you can find it in our April 2020 issue (

We’re wrapping up the year with even more terrific speculative fiction. Our first fantasy story this month is a tale of gods, bravery, and new beginnings from Donyae Coles: “When Sri Left the Ruined City”—perfect for all of us thinking about the new goals and challenges in our future. If you’re a crafter, then this time of year can be exhausting. You’ll really appreciate how one gift goes awry in Carrie Vaughn’s newest story, “Entanglement, or How I Failed to Knit a Sweater for My Boyfriend.” We also have a beautiful and romantic piece of flash fiction (“Writing You”) from Sharang Biswas. Our fantasy reprint this month is by E. Lily Yu (“Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire”).

Our first full-length SF story, Filip Hajdar Drnovšek Zorko’s “Red Is Our Country” follows the footsteps of intrepid Martian explorers—from a unique point of view. Aimee Ogden gives us an elegiac tale of far-future tourism in “Ten Things to See Before the World Burns.” And just for fun, we have two SF stories about fairy tales! That’s right—fairy tales aren’t just for fantasy these days. We think you’ll enjoy “Fairy Tale,” a new flash piecefrom Adam-Troy Castro, as  well as “Fairy Tales for Robots” by Sofia Samatar (our SF reprint).

In this issue, we welcome Aigner Loren Wilson to our team of book reviewers! Be sure to check out her work, plus of course reviews from Arley and Chris, who have been reading up a storm. We also have spotlight interviews with our authors, and of course, for our e-readers, an excerpt from the new novel The Undertakers, by Nicole Glover.

Here’s wishing you a wonderful last few weeks of 2021, and looking forward to a new year that’s packed with great reads.

John Joseph Adams


John Joseph Adams is the series editor of Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy and is the bestselling editor of more than thirty anthologies, including Wastelands and The Living Dead. Recent books include A People’s Future of the United States, Wastelands: The New Apocalypse, and the three volumes of The Dystopia Triptych. Called “the reigning king of the anthology world” by Barnes & Noble, John is a two-time winner of the Hugo Award (for which he has been a finalist twelve times) and an eight-time World Fantasy Award finalist. John is also the editor and publisher of Lightspeed and is the publisher of its sister-magazines, Fantasy and Nightmare. For five years, he ran the John Joseph Adams Books novel imprint for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Find him online at and @johnjosephadams.