Science Fiction & Fantasy



Editorial, November 2010

Welcome to issue six of Lightspeed! We’re six months in, and we’ve had a great run so far, and the enthusiastic feedback of readers like yourself goes a long way toward letting us know what’s working and what’s not.

With that in mind, before I get to this month’s teasers, I just wanted to remind our loyal readers: if you want to support the magazine, one of the best things you can do is spread the gospel of Lightspeed. We love it when you leave comments on, but I would also like to invite you to post a review of any of our issues on (where it is available on Kindle) or in the iBooks store (for iPhone and iPad), or wherever else you might find the ebook edition available. Also, you can go to iTunes, find the Lightspeed Magazine story podcast, and leave a review there. Or if you don’t want to spend time writing a review, just giving any of our issues a positive “star rating” might encourage other readers to try the magazine.

With that out of the way, on to this month’s teasers!

November 2

In our lead story this month, “Standard Loneliness Package,” Charles Yu—author of the debut novel How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe—takes us to a strange future in which those who don’t want to feel pain, don’t have to: You can hire someone else to do it…whether it’s suffering through a root canal, a migraine, or the loss of a loved one.

And in our feature interview this month, Matt London talks to Chris Avellone, the acclaimed video game designer of such games as Fallout: New Vegas, Planescape: Torment, and Alpha Protocol. In this in-depth interview, Chris explains the art of video game design, making players make moral choices, and how valuable tabletop dungeonmastering is to being a game designer.

November 9

“Faces in Revolving Souls” by Caitlin R. Kiernan depicts a future in which body modification has reached an extreme: not only can people modify their bodies, they can become a unique species entirely by incorporating attributes of other creatures into their own physiology. (Reprint)

In the related nonfiction, expert Lori St. Leone shares “The Art and History of Body Modification,” detailing the origins of tattoos and piercings to scarification and beyond.

November 16

In “Hwang’s Billion Brilliant Daughters” by Alice Sola Kim, poor eponymous Hwang is slipping through time, but that’s what you get when you try to use a time machine to solve your problems.

In the related article, Genevieve Valentine does some temporal research and presents “Five Freaky Futures Your Kids Might Face.” (Pro tip: Hold onto those IKEA Allen wrenches!)

November 23

For our final story this month, we present “Ej-Es” by Nancy Kress. In it, we follow a team of medicians who provide medical relief around the galaxy. But the people of Good Fortune prove challenging to communicate with… (Reprint)

And riffing off some of the science in “Ej-Es,” we have the return of Neurotopia’s Evil Monkey, who explains the science behind “God Spots”—the results we perceive when our brains misfire.

That’s it for our fiction and nonfiction selections, but be sure to also look for our author spotlights, and keep an ear out for our original podcasts of “Standard Loneliness Package” by Charles Yu and “Hwang’s Billion Brilliant Daughters” by Alice Sola Kim, along with a resyndication of Escape Pod’s performance of Nancy Kress’s “Ej-Es.”


So that’s our issue this month. I hope you enjoy it. And remember, if you don’t want to wait for the content to be released on the site throughout the month, or you’d just like a handy, downloadable version of the magazine on your favorite handheld electronic reading device, Lightspeed is available directly from our publisher, Prime Books, in DRM-free ePub format, and is also available in Kindle, iBooks, and Mobipocket format from external vendors, or from Fictionwise, which offers a variety of formats.

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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.