Lightspeed: Edited by John Joseph Adams




Editorial, June 2010

Why a new science fiction magazine, and why now?

Short fiction has always been the heart of the science fiction field, where new writers are discovered and established pros can take risks and experiment with fiction that takes them outside their comfort zone. And while there is a lot of short genre fiction being published online, the number of fantasy and horror stories far surpass the number of science fiction stories.

We’ve set out to rectify that.

And so what is Lightspeed? Lightspeed is a new online magazine that will focus exclusively on science fiction. Here you can expect to see all types of science fiction, from near-future, sociological soft sf, to far-future, star-spanning hard sf, and anything and everything in between. No subject will be considered off-limits, and we encourage our writers to take chances with their fiction and push the envelope. We will bring you a mix of originals and reprints, and will be featuring a variety of authors—from the bestsellers and award-winners you already know to the best new voices you haven’t heard of yet. So when you read Lightspeed, my hope is that you’ll see where science fiction comes from, where it is now, and where it’s going.

But Lightspeed is also a nonfiction magazine. The fiction and nonfiction departments of Lightspeed will have a kind of symbiotic relationship. For example, this month we have a story about relativistic travel, so we asked sf author and expert astronomer Mike Brotherton to tell us about the science behind that familiar sf trope. We will also feature brief author spotlights in which the authors talk a bit about the stories behind their stories. For instance, in this issue we will have a spotlight on author Carrie Vaughn, in which she tells us a bit about building sustainable futures and population control.

There’s more to Lightspeed than that, too. Lightspeed is also a podcast, which will feature one or two free stories each month in audio format, produced by Grammy and Audie Award-winning narrator and producer Stefan Rudnicki. And Lightspeed is an annual anthology series; every year, we will gather up all of the fiction published in the magazine and publish it in a trade book edition you’ll be able to find in your favorite bookstore.

And it’s also a monthly ebook magazine, so if you’d rather read it every month on your Kindle or Nook or Sony Reader, that option is available, or if you’d rather just download it onto your iPhone or iPad, well, there’s an app for that. The best part about the ebook option is that even if you buy it at the beginning of the month, when there’s only one story posted on the website, the ebook version will have the full month’s worth of content.

Our debut issue features four all-new, never-before-published stories: from newcomer Vylar Kaftan, we have an interstellar love story dealing with the perils of communication and time-dilation; from veteran, award-winning author Jack McDevitt, we have a tale about Earth’s moon and the mysteries it might still possess; from David Barr Kirtley, an adventure of a young catman who must face the last of the dogmen and something else entirely unexpected; and from bestselling author Carrie Vaughn, a cautionary tale of the near future that shows some of the extremes we might be pushed to if we don’t start implementing now the seeds for a sustainable future. In future issues, we’ll be bringing you stories from the likes of Carol Emshwiller, Adam-Troy Castro, Alice Sola Kim, Genevieve Valentine, and many more.

Our regular publication schedule each month will include two pieces of original fiction and two fiction reprints, along with four nonfiction articles. Fiction (and podcasts, when applicable) will post on Tuesdays, nonfiction on Thursdays.

Thanks so much for taking the time to visit Lightspeed. I hope you’ll keep coming back to see what else we have in store in the future. If you want to make sure you don’t miss anything, be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed or follow us on Twitter.

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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.