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Editorial

Editorial: September 2017

Welcome to issue eighty-eight of Lightspeed!

We have original science fiction by Timothy Mudie (“An Ever-Expanding Flash of Light”) and Giovanni De Feo (“Ugo”), along with SF reprints by Marissa Lingen (“Blue Ribbon”) and Genevieve Valentine (“Carthago Delenda Est”).

Plus, we have original fantasy by Jaymee Goh (“The Last Cheng Beng Gift”) and Tony Ballantyne (“A Pound of Darkness, a Quarter of Dreams”), and fantasy reprints by Tamsyn Muir (“The Magician’s Apprentice”) and Tobias Buckell (“Shoggoths in Traffic”).

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

For our ebook readers, we have a reprint of the novella “Near Zennor,” by Elizabeth Hand, and an excerpt from the novel Autonomous, by Annalee Newitz.

Awards News

The Hugo Award winners have been announced. The only horse we had in the race this year was yours truly—in the Best Editor, Short Form category—and I lost out once again to the legendary Ellen Datlow. One of our cover artists—Elizabeth Leggett—did win in the Fan Artist category, so big congrats to her, and to all of the other winners. You can see a full list of the finalists and winners in each category at thehugoawards.org.

Meanwhile, the World Fantasy Award finalists have been announced, and I’m pleased to note that Karen Joy Fowler and I are finalists in the Best Anthology category for Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016. Additionally, Maria Dahvana Headley is a finalist in the Best Short Fiction category for “Little Widow,” first published in our sister-magazine Nightmare (September 2016) and then subsequently in my anthology (co-edited with Douglas Cohen) What the #@&% is That?. So congrats all around! You can see a full list of the finalists at worldfantasy.org.

John Joseph Adams Books Update

Two new acquisitions to announce!

  • Dale Bailey’s IN THE NIGHT WOOD, a contemporary fantasy in which the grieving biographer of a Victorian fantasist finds himself slipping inexorably into the supernatural world that consumed his subject, to John Joseph Adams Books, for publication in Fall 2018.
  • 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 and 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, to John Joseph Adams Books, for publication in Spring 2018.

Aside from new acquisitions, here’s a quick rundown what to expect from John Joseph Adams Books in 2017:

In July, we published Carrie Vaughn’s novel, Bannerless—a post-apocalyptic mystery in which an investigator must discover the truth behind a mysterious death in a world where small communities struggle to maintain a ravaged civilization decades after environmental and economic collapse.

  • “Skillfully portrays a vastly altered future America. [The] focus on sustainability and responsibility is unusual, thought-provoking, and very welcome.” —Publishers Weekly
  • “An intimate post-apocalyptic mystery […] well-crafted and heartfelt.” —Kirkus
  • “A compelling, deft post-apocalyptic tale.” ­—Library Journal
  • “Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower mixed with a modern procedural mystery […] Wonderfully intriguing.” —Thomas Wilkerson, BookPeople
  • “Totally fascinating as a thought experiment and compulsively readable.” —Jenny Craig, Seattle Public Library

Also in July, we published Sand by Hugh Howey, a reissue of his acclaimed indie-published novel (which was just announced to be in development as a television show for Syfy, with Gary Whitta and Marc Forster attached):

  • “Magnificent […] After reading Wool, his other post-apocalyptic series, I didn’t think he could repeat the creation of a great world setting filled with characters you instantly care about. But he did.” —SFF World
  • “Sand immerses you in its grubby post-apocalyptic world. […] Howey conjures a credible, brutal future.” —Financial Times

In September, we’re publishing Retrograde by Peter Cawdron, a hard SF novel about an international colony of astronauts on Mars, who have been prepared for every eventuality of living on another planet except one: What happens when disaster strikes Earth?

  • “For lovers of Andy Weir’s The Martian, here’s a true hard science-fiction tale set on the red planet—a terrific blend of high tech and high tension, of science and suspense, of character and crisis.” —Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of Red Planet Blues and Quantum Night
  • “Science fiction as it should be. Retrograde combines realistic characters with depictions of Mars as our explorers will one day find it in a powerful story. A must read!” —Ben Bova, six-time Hugo Award-winner and author of The Grand Tour series

In October, we’ll be publishing Machine Learning: New and Collected Stories by Hugh Howey, a short story collection including three stories set in the world of Hugh’s mega-hit Wool and two never-before-published tales, plus fifteen additional stories collected together for the first time.

  • “I devoured this book! The wildly imaginative tales in Machine Learning tackle everything from AI and aliens to video games and VR, and Howey infuses each one of them with the perfect mix brains, bravado, and heart. Reading the stories in this collection is like discovering an entire lost season of The Twilight Zone in which every episode was written by either Rod Serling or Richard Matheson. They’re that good.” —Ernest Cline, bestselling author of Ready Player One
  • “Like a knapsack of compact grenades, exploding insight, unexpected innovations, and sci-fi heat. Each one the core of something larger.” —Kevin Kelly, founding executive editor of Wired
  • “Hugh’s stories keep me turning pages not just to find out what happens, but because of the deep common threads of humanity within. I don’t just want to know the ending, I care about every moment.” —Annie Bellet, USA Today bestselling author of The Twenty-Sided Sorceress series

In November, we’ll be publishing Molly Tanzer’s Creatures of Will and Temper—a Victorian-era urban fantasy inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray, in which an épée-fencing enthusiast and her younger sister are drawn into a secret and dangerous London underworld of pleasure-seeking demons and bloodthirsty diabolists, with only her skill with a blade standing between them and certain death.

  • “Tanzer mixes Oscar Wilde’s The Portrait of Dorian Gray with queer romance and demonology in this subtle, beautiful Victorian-era fantasy novel. […] The perfectly depicted relationship between the sister [protagonists] takes center stage in a complex (though never overplayed) web of art, swordplay, romance, and, much to the sisters’ surprise, actual demons. Gorgeously portrayed three-dimensional characters and sensual prose propel this smoothly entertaining story to an emotionally affecting end.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • “An artful, witty, Oscar Wilde pastiche with the heart of a paranormal thriller.” —Diana Gabaldon, bestselling author of Outlander
  • “A delightful, dark, and entertaining romp with serious intent behind it. The writing is so smart and sharp—Molly Tanzer is at the top of her form in this beautifully constructed novel. Sure to be a favorite of readers and critics alike.” —Jeff VanderMeer, bestselling author of the Southern Reach trilogy
  • “There has never been a better time for a spirited, feminist reinvention of The Picture of Dorian Gray. Molly Tanzer has taken a wickedly sensuous classic and transformed it into a lively supernatural tale featuring lovestruck teenagers, diabolical botanicals, mysterious paintings, and—oh, yes—demons. Creatures of Will and Temper is a wild ride from start to finish, beautifully and boldly written, and a most worthy successor to Oscar Wilde’s scandalous novel.” —Amy Stewart, author of Girl Waits With Gun
  • “Decadent Victorians clash with dueling demon-hunters in this page-turning reinvention of Oscar Wilde’s classic tale. I loved it!” —Charles Stross, award-winning author of The Delirium Brief

A bit further out, in Spring 2018, we’ll have The City of Lost Fortunes by Bryan Camp, 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. And then in late 2018, we’ll have Upon a Burning Throne by Ashok K. Banker, an epic fantasy about a group of siblings battling for control of a vast empire while a powerful demonlord pits them against each other.

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

• • • •

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

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John Joseph Adams

John Joseph Adams (Photo courtesy of University of Central Florida/Jeffrey San Juan)

John Joseph Adams, in addition to serving as publisher and editor-in-chief of Lightspeed, is the editor of John Joseph Adams Books, a new SF/Fantasy imprint from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. He is also the series editor of Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy, as well as the USA Today bestselling editor of many other anthologies, including The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, Robot Uprisings, Dead Man’s Hand, Armored, Brave New Worlds, Wastelands, and The Living Dead. Recent projects include: Cosmic Powers, What the #@&% Is That?, Operation Arcana, Loosed Upon the World, Wastelands 2, Press Start to Play, and The Apocalypse Triptych: The End is Nigh, The End is Now, and The End Has Come. 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 eleven times) and is a seven-time World Fantasy Award finalist. John is also the editor and publisher of Nightmare Magazine and is a producer for Wired.com’s The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. Find him on Twitter @johnjosephadams.