Lightspeed: Edited by John Joseph Adams




Editorial, September 2012

Welcome to issue twenty-eight of Lightspeed!

Sad tidings this month: Just as we were about to go to press with this issue, we lost two legends: science fiction author Harry Harrison and moonwalker Neil Armstrong.

Coincidentally, we had one of Harrison’s most famous stories slated for reprint in this issue: “The Streets of Ashkelon.” I consider it quite an honor to be able to publish the story in Lightspeed, as, in addition to being a bona fide classic, it is a story that was also very important to me personally. It is the story of a missionary who goes to spread his religion to an alien culture, and the irreparable harm that results. I first read the story when I was in college, and, though at that point in my life I was pretty much done with religion, reading it really helped cement in my mind the idea that being an atheist was not only morally acceptable but morally preferable. (Your mileage may vary, of course.) But what has made it stand the test of time, I think, is that it is no mere anti-religious tract; it is high-concept pure science fiction in the most classic sense. But what pleases me more than being able to publish the story is the fact that I was able to express my gratitude to Harry Harrison for writing it, and to let him know how important and influential the story was to me.

Ad Astra, gentlemen.


On a happier note, this issue is scheduled to be published on September 1, and according to the Worldcon website, this year’s Hugo Awards will be presented on September 2. So while we have no news to report right now, we’re hoping that some good news will be coming our way shortly after this issue drops. I’ve said this before, but when you’re up for an award and the voting closes, at that point they’re kind of like Schrödinger’s Awards—until the results are announced, the nominee is in a superposition: you’ve both won and lost the award until someone observes the results, thereby forcing the quantum waveform to collapse . . . and your cat to huff some poisonous gas. Or something like that.

In any case, here’s what we’ve got on tap this month:

We have original science fiction by Adam-Troy Castro (“My Wife Hates Time Travel”) and Brooke Bolander (“Sun Dogs”), along with SF reprints by Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette (“Boojum”) and Harry Harrison (“The Streets of Ashkelon”).

Plus, we have original fantasy by Nina Kiriki Hoffman (“Monsters, Finders, Shifters”) and Peter Sursi (“The Seven Samovars”), and fantasy reprints by Scott Edelman (“The Last Supper”) and Holly Black (“Heartless”).

On the nonfiction side of things this month, we’ve got something a little bit different for you. As usual, we’ve got an artist showcase on our cover artist (Frank Hong), along with a feature interview with bestselling author John Scalzi, and our usual assortment of author spotlights.

The difference this month is instead of a second feature interview, we’ve got a second artist showcase for you, to, well, showcase the talents of our house illustrator, Galen Dara. Over the last few months, Galen has been illustrating one or two stories for us every month (all of which you can find via the Illustrated by Galen Dara tag:, and we just wanted to change things up a bit so we could shine the spotlight on her because we think she’s been doing amazing work.

For our ebook readers, our ebook-exclusive novella is “The Green Leopard Plague” by Walter Jon Williams. And our excerpt this month is from The Eternal Flame by acclaimed author Greg Egan.

Our issue this month is again sponsored by our friends at Orbit Books. This month, look for Seeds of Earth, the first in an exciting new space opera series by Michael Cobley. You can find more from Orbit—including digital short fiction and monthly ebook deals—at

It’s another great issue, so be sure to check it out. And remember, there are several ways you can sign up to be notified of new Lightspeed content:

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

Enjoyed this article? Consider supporting us via one of the following methods:

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.