Lightspeed: Edited by John Joseph Adams




Editorial, September 2010

Welcome to issue four of Lightspeed! Here’s the schedule and teasers for this month:

September 7

In our lead story this month, “Flower, Mercy, Needle, Chain,” author Yoon Ha Lee explores the notions of evitability and inevitability in a story about ancestry, multiple universes, an extraordinary gun…and the extraordinary woman who wields it.

To accompany Miss Lee’s story, we present author Jeff Hecht’s “Future Weapons”; it doesn’t cover anything as extraordinary as the weapons depicted in “Flower, Mercy, Needle, Chain,” but instead focuses (like a LASER, you might say) in on the most iconic weapon in all of science fiction the laser (and some laser alternatives that might work a whole lot better as weapons).

September 14

In “The Long Chase,” author (and NASA scientist) Geoffrey A. Landis tells the story of a survivor of a brutal, ideological war who escapes to the stars the only way she can. But she quickly finds that her enemies do not give up easily and are extremely patient when pursuing their prey…. (Reprint)

Speaking of patience, since warp drive and instantaneous jaunting seem to be impossible, we’re going to have to learn patience in a major way if we’re ever going to travel amongst the stars. Author and physicist Gerald D. Nordley’s “Engines for the High Frontier” explores the science of spaceship travel, explaining the different methods we might (realistically) use to travel the stars, and what sort of energy sources we can use to do so.

September 21

“Amid the Words of War” by Cat Rambo also tells the story of the survivor of an interstellar war. This tale takes place on the space station TwiceFar, where you can find a house of leisure called The Little Teacup of the Soul, whose patrons promise to fulfill any need…or die trying.

Seeking some insight into the motivations of some of the characters in “Amid the Words of War,” our columnist Carol Pinchefsky did an extensive amount of research and came up with “Five Reasons Why Aliens Make Better Lovers.” (And you probably thought joining the Zero G club would be exciting.)

September 28

Legendary author Robert Silverberg’s far-future “Travelers” take us on a journey throughout the galaxy, hopping from solar system to solar system as they explore everything from the living seas of Megalo Kastro to the monsters of Sidri Akrak. But what is it they’re really looking for? (Reprint)

Our final nonfiction piece of the month is a feature interview with popular author John Scalzi, in which he discusses Little Fuzzy, Stargate Universe, and how to make a Schadenfreude Pie.

Be sure to also look for the author spotlights on all four of our fiction authors, and keep an ear out for the podcasts of “Flower, Mercy, Needle, Chain” by Yoon Ha Lee and “Amid the Words of War” by Cat Rambo.


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.


Fiction editor John Joseph Adams is the bestselling editor of many anthologies, such as Wastelands, The Living Dead (a World Fantasy Award finalist), By Blood We Live, Federations, and The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Barnes & named him “the reigning king of the anthology world,” and his books have been named to numerous best of the year lists. Prior to taking on the role of fiction editor of Lightspeed, John worked for nearly nine years in the editorial department of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. In addition to his editorial work, John is also the co-host of’s Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast.

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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.