Science Fiction & Fantasy



Editorial, July 2011

Welcome to issue fourteen of Lightspeed!

A quick announcement before we get to this month’s teasers: The Lightspeed: Year One anthology, collecting all of the fiction we published in our first year (from June 2010 – May 2011), will be published by Prime Books in November. You can pre-order it here! But never fear—all of our content will still be available on; this will just be yet another way for readers to find and discover Lightspeed.

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

Lightspeed, July 2011July 5


Leading off this month, we have a classic hard SF story—perhaps the classic hard SF story—“The Cold Equations” by Tom Godwin. In it, a deep space pilot discovers a stowaway on board while on a routine transport mission. But the fuel-to-mass ratio on deep space missions is calculated precisely, and what options are there when the cold equations allow for no variables?

SF author and astronomer Mike Brotherton takes a look at Godwin’s classic story and explores its lasting power and influence on the field in “The Cold Legacies.”

July 12

A space pilot on the first human flight to Gliese 581 d discovers that the journey he’s embarked upon is not the one that he or the wife he left behind expected, in Jake Kerr’s astonishing debut “The Old Equations.”

In “The First Step to Enlightenment is Abject Failure,” Jeff Hecht examines some famous examples of scientific theories that were once widely thought to be accurate only later to be proven false.

July 19


In “Sweet Sixteen” Kat Howard introduces us to a girl who, like every girl on her sixteenth birthday, gets to choose her own destiny (through gene therapy)—as long as it’s the destiny that’s needed most by everyone else.

Author and PhD scientist Ekaterina Sedia explains the real-life possibilities of genetic alterations in her article “The Superpowered Potential of Epigenetics.”

July 26


Karen Joy Fowler’s “Face Value” brings us the story of the xenologist Taki, and his struggle to understand the alien nature of the mene, and the equally alien nature of his partner, Hester.

And, in our feature interview this month, Kat Howard talks with award-winning author Mary Doria Russell, about her SF novels The Sparrow and Children of God, and her latest book, Doc, an historical novel about Doc Holliday.


So that’s our issue this month. Thanks for reading!

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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.