Science Fiction & Fantasy



Editorial, July 2014

Welcome to issue fifty of Lightspeed!

Fifty issues! It seems like just yesterday we were just starting up the magazine and getting it up and running for the first time. A whole lot has happened since then: I moved to California, got married, acquired a stepfamily, got nominated for (and lost) a bunch of awards, published more than a dozen anthologies, became publisher of Lightspeed, launched a second magazine (and then became publisher of that, too) . . . It’s hard to believe all that happened since Lightspeed was born.

But I guess that’s what happens when you travel at Lightspeed: There’s all kinds of time-dilation-whoziwatsis. It’s really a thrill to realize that the magazine has been going on this long. Issue fifty kind of feels like the publishing equivalent of—to quote the late, great television show Community—“six seasons and a movie.” Naturally we couldn’t publish the magazine without the support of readers like you, so THANK YOU SO MUCH for all your support. We hope that you’ll all still be readers once we’ve published another fifty issues.

Speaking of milestones, it’s kind of milestone city around here lately. As I just mentioned, this month is issue number fifty, but last month was our fourth anniversary issue—the super-sized, guest-edited, crowdfunded phenomenon: Women Destroy Science Fiction! If you somehow missed out on that, never fear: It’s still available in all our usual formats, plus it’s also available in a rather handsome trade paperback edition. If you’re an online-edition reader of Lightspeed, please note: There’s a ton of stuff in that issue exclusive to the book/ebook edition; namely, seventeen additional stories, twenty-eight personal essays, plus a plethora of author spotlights and other nonfiction. If you want to check it out, just pop on over to and search for DESTROY.

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The Nebula Awards were presented in mid-May by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Lightspeed had four nominees this year: two finalists in the short story category and two in novelette. That, of course, meant that everyone knew going into it that—barring any ties—Lightspeed was going to lose at least twice. Overachievers that we are, we managed to lose all four! That makes Lightspeed 0-for-11 in the Nebulas all-time. But truly, it is an honor to be nominated, and hey—eleven Nebula nominations in just four years is not too shabby!

Some additional good news to report this month on the awards front: “The Traditional” by Maria Dahvana Headley has been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award! The winners will be announced at Readercon in Burlington, MA on July 13, 2014. You can learn more about the award and see the full list of nominees (which includes a story from our sister-magazine, Nightmare), at Congratulations to Maria and to all of the other finalists!

Oh, and speaking of awards: July 31 is your last chance to vote for the Hugo Awards. Lightspeed is up for best semiprozine and your humble editor is up for Best Editor, Short Form. So be sure to cast your ballot if you’re an eligible voter! To vote, visit

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In other news, it seems like it’s been ages since I told you about a new anthology I had out. Er . . . well, I guess it was actually only about two months ago. But nevertheless! July marks the publication of our other crowdfunded phenomenon—HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!! & Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects! As you may recall, we Kickstarted this anthology in late 2013, inspired by the eponymous story by Keffy R.M. Kehrli, which we published in the October 2013 issue of Lightspeed.

In case you missed it, HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!! is an anthology of science fiction/fantasy stories told in the form of fictional crowdfunding project pitches, using the components (and restrictions) of the format to tell the story. This includes but is not limited to: Project Goals, Rewards, User Comments, Project Updates, FAQs, and more. The idea is to replicate the feel of reading a crowdfunding pitch, so that even though the projects may be preposterous in the real world, they will feel like authentic crowdfunding projects as much as possible. The anthology is on sale now. To learn more, visit

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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 Adam-Troy Castro (“The New Provisions”) and Carrie Vaughn (“Harry and Marlowe Versus the Haunted Locomotive of the Rockies”), along with SF reprints by Jo Walton (“The Panda Coin”) and Howard Waldrop (“All About Strange Monsters of the Recent Past”). Plus, we’ll have original fantasy by Theodora Goss (“Cimmeria: From the Journal of Imaginary Anthropology”) and Matthew Hughes (“A Hole in the World”), and fantasy reprints by Emma Bull (“De La Tierra”) and Carmen Maria Machado (from my aforementioned HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!! anthology, “Help Me Follow My Sister into the Land of the Dead”).

As always, we’ll have an assortment of author and artist spotlights. We’ve also got feature interviews with award-winning author and futurist Karl Schroeder and legendary video game designer Richard Garriott.

For our ebook readers, our ebook-exclusive novella reprint will be “Forlesen” by Gene Wolfe, and novel excerpts from Adrian Cole (The Shadow Academy), Hannu Rajaniemi (The Causal Angel), and Jason Gurley (Eleanor).

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

Our issue this month is sponsored by our friends at EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing. This month, look for the aforementioned The Shadow Academy by Adrian Cole. Learn more from EDGE at

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 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.