Science Fiction & Fantasy

Seasonal Fears

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Podcasts

Produced by Skyboat Media, and under the direction of Grammy and Audie award-winning narrator and producer Stefan Rudnicki, our podcast features audiobook-style recordings of four of the eight stories we publish each month in Lightspeed, released more or less on a weekly basis. To subscribe (free!) to the podcast, you'll either need our podcast RSS feed and put that into your favorite podcast client, or you can just subscribe via iTunes. All of our podcasts from Lightspeed: Year One are also available as an audiobook from Audible.com and Downpour.com.

 

 

Science Fiction

Nobody Ever Goes Home to Zhenzhu

I’d always known Calam would run. He had all the signs. A taut restlessness, body brittle as an overstretched lute string, when we stayed too long in one place. A gloom in his eyes, as we drifted through stretches of dead space. A sullen crease between the brows, whenever I tried to ask how he’d landed in that dead-end Martian workshop at seventeen. But after ten years, why now?

Fantasy

The Fairy Godmother Advice Column

Dear Fairy Godmother: I work as the housekeeper for a collective of seven men. It’s a non-normative living situation, but it works for me. (I am estranged from my family, due to my stepmother being crazy.) Lately, however, I’ve been harassed by a woman trying to sell me apples. She is constantly offering me free samples and acting hurt when I don’t buy. My employers have forbidden me from letting anyone into their home, and I value their trust. But I also know there are a lot of prejudices about old women who wander around forests selling apples, and I don’t want to play into that.

Science Fiction

Advice from the Civil Temporal Defense League

Do: Be Aware of Strangers Who Ask You What Day It It. Be Aware of Strangers Who Ask You What Year It Is. Be Aware of Stunned Looking Strangers Who Murmur “Mom?” in The Squeeze-In Diner When You Stop By After School For a Chocolate Malt, Though Clearly You Have Never Given Birth to Them or to Anyone At All, Thank You Very Much. Be Aware of Strangers Wearing Clothing, Footwear, or Accessories That Seem Just A Few Years Out of Fashion or Incongruent With the Season, Climate, or Weather Forecast, or Perhaps Not Gender Appropriate Because No Woman Needs to Wear Trousers Anyway.

Science Fiction

The Historiography of Loss

I didn’t expect the trailer to feel so small and that some of the blood would still be wet. But I must have expected some blood because I cuffed my jeans before going in. And I didn’t expect the cats would have come back—a window was open, its screen clawed loose. I didn’t expect how they pawed through the blood. Dotting the counters with their small footprints. I didn’t expect the trailer to feel so densely packed—a family had lived here, a mother, a father, a twelve-year-old son, and all of their stuff.

Fantasy

Bhatia, P.I.

It’s a few minutes before seven on a cold October evening and I’m just reaching into the bottom drawer of my desk for the Old Monk and my well-thumbed copy of The Big Sleep when I hear footsteps hurrying up the stairs. A new case, has to be. I sigh, give the drawer a regretful look and shut it again. I sit up, awaiting the knock. It never comes. Instead the door swings open, slamming into the wall, sending plaster chips flying everywhere. Then I see her standing in the doorway.

Fantasy

The Honest Fox, or, A Truth Shared is Not a Truth Lost

I have heard it on the rumors that when the tale-spinner’s guild gathers in its secret places, a full half of them are sworn to never tell the truth, and the other half to never tell a lie, even if it mean their life. Being one of that trade myself, I can tell you that that’s more or less the shape of it, and I tell you this so that you will know that the tale I tell you now is true, just as it happened and just as it was told to me, for I am one of the ones sworn to the truth.

Science Fiction

Plausible Realities, Improbable Dreams

The multiverse broke last week. Broke is perhaps the wrong word. More accurate would be performed a state-change or found new equilibrium, but tell that to Catalina Chang, who has been popping aspirin like M&Ms ever since last Thursday, 5:54 PM, when the Unspecified Incident in the Lab superimposed all versions of reality together like a flaky scallion pancake. Aspirin still exists. So do coffee and antidepressant commercials, except on alternate Tuesdays, except when they don’t exist at all.

Fantasy

An Address to the Newest Disciples of the Lost Words

You are here because you ignored the words of your parents and elders, your more sensible peers. You have thrown away promising careers in sheepherding or law, trade or civil administration. You bribed your way here; you stole money for your passage; you broke promises and made new ones that you never meant to keep. You’ve sailed rivers and oceans, crossed mountains and plains, and now here you are at the edge of the desert.

Fantasy

In the Beginning of Me, I Was a Bird

In the beginning of me, I was a bird. A magpie, although I’ve since been a jay and a red-tailed hawk and even a big, black crow, crying tok-tok-tok at every passerby. But the magpie was special: on my first day, I saw those flashing blue wingtips, and I was myself. And every day after, I woke up and flew to a shiny window, just to admire my plumage. Birds don’t last. Their hearts beat so fast, the seeds burn them out.

Science Fiction

Red is Our Country

After the incident with Grey, you have three hours of air left and the only possibility of resupply is two hours in the wrong direction. Burke has found references to an old terraformers’ cache—emergency water and oxygen and who knows what else—and now she’s acting like it’s foresight rather than blind luck. Like she can even be sure the supplies are still there. “We’ll find it. We’ll resupply.”