Science Fiction & Fantasy



Editorial: June 2018

Welcome to issue ninety-seven of Lightspeed!

This month’s cover art is by Reiko Murakami, illustrating an original science fiction story by Merc Fenn Wolfmoor and Ada Hoffman (“I Sing Against the Silent Sun”). We also have an original SF piece by Lina Rather (“A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Lighthouse of Quvenle the Seer”), along with SF reprints by Russell Nichols (“Tie Goes to the Runner”) and James Cambias (“Contractual Obligation”).

Plus, we have original fantasy by Ashok K. Banker (“The Quiltbag”) and Emma Törzs (“From the Root”), and fantasy reprints by Micah Dean Hicks (“The Carpenter and the Beast of Teeth”) and Courtney Bird (“The Diamond Girl”).

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

For our ebook readers, we also have an ebook-exclusive reprint of the fantasy novella “There’s a Hole in October” by Todd McAulty. We also have excerpts from Meet Me in the Strange, a new novel by Leander Watts, and the novel The Robots of Gotham by Todd McAulty.

Awards News

The Shirley Jackson Awards finalists have been announced, and we’re pleased to see that “The West Topeka Triangle” by Jeremiah Tolbert (from Lightspeed, January 2017) is among the finalists; we’re likewise pleased to see that “You Will Always Have Family: A Triptych” by Kathleen Kayembe (from Nightmare, March 2017) is also a finalist. Huge congrats to Jeremiah and Kathleen, and to all of the other finalists. The winners will be announced on July 15 at Readercon 29, in Quincy, Massachusettes. To learn more, and to see the complete list of finalists, visit

The Locus Award finalists have also been announced, and we’re very pleased to see that Lightspeed is among the finalists for Best Magazine, and yours truly is a finalist for Best Editor! In related news, my anthology Cosmic Powers is a finalist for Best Anthology, and Tobias S. Buckell’s story from Cosmic Powers, “Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance” (also reprinted in Lightspeed, February 2018), is a finalist for Best Short Story. Thanks so much to all who voted for the above—it’s an honor to be nominated. The winners will be announced during the Locus Awards Weekend, June 22-24, in Seattle, Washington. To learn more, and to see the full list of finalists, visit

Finalists for the Eugie Foster Memorial Award have been announced, and Tobias S. Buckell’s aforementioned “Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance” is also a finalist for this award, as is Violet Allen’s “Infinite Love Engine” (Lightspeed + Cosmic Powers, April 2017). Congrats to Toby and Violet for this honor, and to all of the other finalists as well. To see a complete list of the finalists, visit

The Caine Prize for African Writing announced its finalists for the 2018 award, and we’re pleased to see that Wole Talabi’s “Wednesday’s Story,” from the May 2016 issue of Lightspeed is among the contenders for this year’s prize. To see the full lists of finalists, or learn more about the award, visit Congrats to Wole and all of the other nominees!

John Joseph Adams Books News for June 2018

Here’s a quick rundown what to expect from John Joseph Adams Books in 2018:

On April 17, we published Bryan Camp’s The City of Lost Fortunes, about a magician with a talent for finding lost things who is forced into playing a high stakes game with the gods of New Orleans for the heart and soul of the city. Here’s what people have been saying about the book:

  • “A deft and expansive fantasy imbued with real magic and wild plot turns.” —Kelly Link, author of Pulitzer Prize finalist Get in Trouble
  • “A phantasmagoric murder mystery that wails, chants, laments, and changes shape as audaciously as the mythical beings populating its narrative. […] The engaging style, facility with folklore, and, above all, impassioned love for the city its characters call home keeps you enraptured by the book’s most chilling and outrageous plot twists.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
  • “There isn’t a dull page as Jude determines who his real friends are. Anne Rice fans will enjoy this fresh view of supernatural life in New Orleans, while fans of Kim Harrison’s urban fantasy will have a new author to watch.” —Booklist (starred review)
  • “Camp’s fantasy reads like jazz, with multiple chaotic-seeming threads of deities, mortals, and destiny playing in harmony. This game of souls and fate is full of snarky dialogue, taut suspense, and characters whose glitter hides sharp fangs. […] Any reader who likes fantasy with a dash of the bizarre will enjoy this trip to the Crescent City.” —Publishers Weekly
  • “Take a walk down wild card shark streets into a world of gods, lost souls, murder, and deep, dark magic. You might not come back from The City of Lost Fortunes, but you’ll enjoy the trip.” —Richard Kadrey, bestselling author of the Sandman Slim series
  • “In The City of Lost Fortunes, Bryan Camp delivers a high-octane tale of myth and magic, serving up the best of Neil Gaiman and Richard Kadrey. Here is New Orleans in all its gritty, grudging glory, the haunt of sinners and saints, gods and mischief-makers. Once you pay a visit, you won’t want to leave!” —Helen Marshall, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Gifts for the One Who Comes After
  • “Bryan Camp’s debut novel The City of Lost Fortunes is like a blessed stay in a city both distinctly familiar and wonderfully strange, with an old friend who knows just the right spots to take you to–not too touristy, and imbued with the weight of history and myth, populated by local characters you’ll never forget. You’ll leave sated with the sights and sounds of a New Orleans that is not quite the real city, but breathes like the real thing, a beautiful mimicry in prose that becomes its own version of reality in a way only a good story—or magic—can. You won’t regret the visit.” —Indra Das, author of The Devourers

On June 19, we’ll publish Todd McAulty’s The Robots of Gotham, a debut novel about a future where the world is on the brink of total subjugation by machine intelligences when a man stumbles on a sinister conspiracy to exterminate humanity and a group of human and machine misfits who might just be able to prevent it.

You can read an excerpt in this month’s ebook edition of Lightspeed. Meanwhile, here’s what some early readers are saying about this one:

  • “Extrapolates a scary AI-overrun 2083 that’s only a few steps removed from today’s reality. This massive and impressive novel […] maintains breathless momentum throughout. Readers will hope for more tales of this sinister future and eagerly pick up on hints that Barry and his companions may continue their exploits.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • The Robots of Gotham is a thrilling ride through a nuanced, post-singularity world populated by a frightening and fascinating array of smart machines. Read this and you’ll come to the same conclusion I did: The world belongs to robots, we’re just living in it.” —Daniel H. Wilson, bestselling author of Robopocalypse and The Clockwork Dynasty
  • “An epic novel of man vs. machine, full of action, political intrigue, and unexpected twists. Todd McAulty has given us a fresh, compelling take on life during a robot apocalypse.” —Jeff Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of Blame
  • “Todd McAulty has done the incredible. Delivered a rich and credible near-future world, where Thought Machines control, well, almost everything (and are themselves astonishingly diverse and cool), and used all this to create the most human SF story I’ve read in a very long time. I love everything about Robots of Gotham. I want more, McAulty. MORE!” —Julie E. Czerneda, author of The Clan Chronicles
  • “When the robot apocalypse comes, I hope it’s this much fun. Like The Martian and Ready Player One, Robots of Gotham is set in a high-tech near-future where something has gone terribly wrong, and it’s navigated by a hero who’s quirky, resourceful, and as likable as they come. Read it for the rock’em-sock’em-robot action—read it for the deft world-building with its detailed taxonomy of intelligent machines—read it for the sobering parallels to modern-day issues and threats. Or just read it because it’s a helluva good ride.” —Sharon Shinn, author of the Elemental Blessings series
  • “The Robots of Gotham is a crackling good adventure, stuffed with cool action sequences. It also features serious and intriguing speculation about the potential of Artificial Intelligence, for good and bad. And it’s an engaging read, with absorbing characters, and, of course, lots and lots of nifty robots.” —Rich Horton, editor of The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy

Further out in 2018, we’ll have The Wild Dead—Carrie Vaughn’s sequel to Bannerless—in July; Gene Doucette’s The Spaceship Next Door in September, Dale Bailey’s In the Night Wood in October; and then Molly Tanzer’s Creatures of Want and Ruin in November. We’ll provide more details about those as the publication dates draw nearer, but as always if you want more information about these or any other John Joseph Adams Books titles, just visit

That’s all the JJA Books news for now. More soon!

• • • •

Well, that’s all there is to report this month. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the issue!

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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.