Science Fiction & Fantasy




Editorial, February 2016

Welcome to issue sixty-nine of Lightspeed!

We neglected to mention it in the magazine last month (whoops!), but we’re currently in the midst of crowdfunding our next Destroy project. In 2014, we asked women to destroy science fiction, and they did—spectacularly—in our first crowdfunded, all-women special issue, Women Destroy Science Fiction!. Then, in 2015, we asked queers to destroy science fiction, they did—again, spectacularly—in Queers Destroy Science Fiction!

This year, we’re turning the reins over to People of Colo(u)r, with People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction!, guest edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Kristine Ong Muslim. Joining Nalo and Kristine will be a team of wonderful POC creatives, including Nisi Shawl (reprint editor), Berit Ellingsen (flash fiction editor), Sunil Patel (personal essays editor), Grace Dillon (nonfiction editor), and more!

We launched our Kickstarter campaign on January 18 and surpassed our original goal in just a manner of hours. Our first day’s totals surpassed that of QDSF and WDSF, and as I write this (on the evening of January 31), we’re currently at nearly $26K (518% of our original goal). Thanks so much to all of you who have supported the project thus far!

Our two biggest stretch goals are the same as last year: If we receive enough pledges, we’ll not only publish POC Destroy Science Fiction!, we’ll also publish additional special issues POC Destroy Horror! (at $30K) and POC Destroy Fantasy! (at $40K). We’ve already unlocked our first four stretch goals, including a “POC sampler” anthology edited by yours truly, consisting of POC-authored stories previously selected for publication in my various projects.

If you’d like to buy or renew a subscription, doing so during the campaign is a great idea because one of our stretch goals unlocked a really great bonus: If you back the Kickstarter and select a subscription reward, you’ll not only get the subscription—you’ll also all 70+ back issues of the magazine!

The POC Destroy Science Fiction! Kickstarter campaign will run from January 18 – February 19. To learn more, visit

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In case you missed my big news recently: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, publishers of my Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy (and the rest of the Best American series), have offered me the opportunity to edit a science fiction/fantasy (and horror) novel line for them—and naturally I agreed!

The line is called John Joseph Adams Books (their idea, not mine!), and will be a tightly-curated list of 7-10 titles per year. We’ll be pre-launching the line in early 2016 with new editions of three Hugh Howey novels, starting with Beacon 23 (February 9) and then in March, we’ll publish volumes II and III of the Silo trilogy, Shift and Dust (March 22)—making them all available via traditional publishing for the first time. The line will then kick things off in earnest in early 2017 with our first batch of never-before-published works.

If you’re a regular reader of my magazines and/or anthologies, then you should already have a good idea of what to expect—and if you like my work as a short fiction editor, then I suspect you’ll like the novels I publish as well. The John Joseph Adams Books website is still under development, but if you bookmark, that’ll take you to it when it’s ready.

And never fear, dear readers—I’ll still be here, working to bring you your monthly dose of Lightspeed, and I’ll also still be editing Nightmare and anthologies as well. How (?!), you may ask. Good question—I’m not entirely sure! I will probably have to get much better at delegating! But the good news is, I got lots of practice last year serving as a judge for the National Book Award (Young People’s Literature category), where I had to consider about 300 novels while keeping up with my short fiction duties. So I think I’ll be able to fit everything into my schedule. If not, I’ll just give up some optional extracurricular activities, like sleep.

Also, speaking of HMH and Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy—ICYMI, it’s now available. In it, guest editor Joe Hill and I present the top twenty stories of 2014 (ten science fiction, ten fantasy), by the following: Nathan Ballingrud, T.C. Boyle, Adam-Troy Castro, Neil Gaiman, Theodora Goss, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Kelly Link, Carmen Maria Machado, Seanan McGuire, Sam J. Miller, Susan Palwick, Cat Rambo, Jess Row, Karen Russell, Merc Fenn Wolfmoor, Sofia Samatar (two stories!), Kelly Sandoval, Jo Walton, and Daniel H. Wilson. Learn more at

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With our announcements out of the way, here’s what we’ve got on tap this month:

We have original science fiction by Rachael K. Jones (“Charlotte Incorporated”) and Sarah Pinsker (“Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea”), along with SF reprints by Samuel Peralta (“Hereafter”) and Paul McAuley (“Transitional Forms”).

Plus, we have original fantasy by Jeremiah Tolbert (“Not by Wardrobe, Tornado, or Looking Glass”) and Karin Tidbeck (“Starfish”), and fantasy reprints by Rachel Swirsky (“Monstrous Embrace”) and Christopher Barzak (“Map of Seventeen”).

All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author spotlights, along with our book reviews and our new media review column.

For our ebook readers, we also have an ebook-exclusive reprint of the novella “May Be Some Time,” by Brenda W. Clough. We also have an excerpt from the novel A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab.

Well, that’s all there is to report this month. Thanks for reading!

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John Joseph Adams


John Joseph Adams is the editor of John Joseph Adams Books, a science fiction and fantasy imprint from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. He is also the series editor of Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy, as well as the bestselling editor of more than thirty anthologies, including Wastelands and The Living Dead. Recent books include Cosmic Powers, What the #@&% Is That?, Operation Arcana, Press Start to Play, Loosed Upon the World, and The Apocalypse 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 the digital magazines Lightspeed and Nightmare, and is a producer for WIRED’s The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. He also served as a judge for the 2015 National Book Award. Find him online at and @johnjosephadams.