Science Fiction & Fantasy



Editorial, January 2016

Welcome to issue sixty-eight of Lightspeed!

In case you missed my big news last month: 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 will be called John Joseph Adams Books (their idea, not mine!), and will be a tightly curated list of seven to ten titles per year. We’ll be pre-launching the line in early 2016 with new editions of three Hugh Howey novels: Beacon 23, Shift, and Dust—making them available via traditional publishing for the first time—and then the line will 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 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 this 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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In other news: You might notice something a little different this month in the magazine. That’s because we’re changing the way we select our covers. Previously we sought out existing artwork and licensed it for use on our covers, but henceforth we’ll be commissioning original cover illustrations, based on one of the stories in the issue. First up is Galen Dara, with an illustration of Will McIntosh’s “The Savannah Liars Tour.”

Our current plan is to use a small team of artists we know and like, and rotate among them—and since that means we’ll be repeating the same artists fairly frequently, we’re doing away with the artist spotlight feature. So in lieu of that we’ll be presenting a new rotating nonfiction column, starting with a new movie review column by bestselling author Carrie Vaughn. Carrie’s column will appear a couple times a year (probably quarterly), and we’ll rotate in other nonfiction in the other months; as for what will be in that “slot” next—stay tuned! We’ll have more information about that next month.

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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 JY Yang (“Secondhand Bodies”) and the collaborative team of Keith Brooke and Eric Brown (“Beyond the Heliopause”), along with SF reprints by Jason Gurley (“The Dark Age”) and Kel Bachus (“Pinono Deep”).

Plus, we have original fantasy by Will McIntosh (“The Savannah Liars Tour”) and Kat Howard (“Maiden, Hunter, Beast”), and fantasy reprints by Peter S. Beagle (“La Lune T’Attend”) and Leena Krohn (“The Gorgonoids”).

All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author spotlights, along with a feature interview, the latest installment of our book review column, and the debut of the new movie review column by bestselling author Carrie Vaughn.

For our ebook readers, we also have an ebook-exclusive novella reprint of “Griffin’s Egg,” by Michael Swanwick, and a novel excerpt from Barsk by Lawrence M. Schoen.

It’s another great issue, so be sure to check it out.

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

Errata: In our December 2015 issue, we mistakenly included the Artist Gallery images for our November artist, John Brosio, instead of our December artist, James Ng. We’ve updated the Dec. 2015 ebooks and our website, so you may visit our website at to view the corrected gallery, or our ebook readers may re-download the issue to get the updated version. If you subscribe via Kindle Periodicals, unfortunately there’s no way for us to update that version of the ebook, so the only way for you to view the correct gallery is to visit the website. We apologize for the error!

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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.