Lightspeed: Edited by John Joseph Adams



Women Destroy Science Fiction! — A Message from the Guest Editor

Women aren’t writing “real” science fiction, the fallacy goes. “Real” science fiction is…whatever science fiction certain men like. Some days this makes me sad. Some days it makes me angry. Some days it makes me want to quit. And then I get angry again, because no, after all of these years of hard work, they do not get to make me quit.

And some days I find it hilarious and make a quip on Twitter that turns into a special issue of Lightspeed in the space of roughly half an hour.

When we announced the Women Destroy Science Fiction! special issue in September, the response was immediate and overwhelming. All you had was a title and an email address, but your enthusiasm was boundless. My inbox filled with subject lines like:

Helping my sisters destroy science fiction since 1983
If anyone’s going to destroy SFF—
Please sir, may I destroy science fiction?

Why, yes. Yes, you may.

John Joseph Adams founded Lightspeed based on the core idea that all science fiction is real science fiction. The whole point of this magazine, of which I am proud to have been a part since its very first issue, is that science fiction is vast. It is inclusive. Science fiction is about people (roughly 50% of whom are women), just as much as it’s about ideas. Science fiction is about us, our perils and our promise; it’s about our collective future. Lightspeed has been committed to gender parity from the beginning, and we have achieved it consistently for three straight years. But looking around at media at large, it’s clearly just not enough.

So for our June 2014 issueour fourth anniversary issueJohn has handed control over to us, the women of Lightspeed. In fact, we’re giving the guys the month off, and we’ve brought in some extra talent:

An author who has appeared on every major ballot our field has to offer, founding editor of PodCastle, and winner of the 2011 Nebula Award, Rachel Swirsky joins us as Guest Reprint Editor for the issue to showcase the ground-breaking work done by women in the past.

Producing our podcast for the month is Grammy nominee and Audie Award winner Gabrielle de Cuir of Skyboat Media, with guest host Mur Lafferty, former editor of SF audio magazine Escape Pod, and winner of the 2013 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

This issue is about the voices and art of women, and as such my goal is to find ways to include as many women in SF as possible. So for the first time, in addition to our usual original fiction, we will also be accepting up to ten pieces of flash fiction. Lightspeed Assistant Editor Robyn Lupo will be Flash Fiction Editor for the issue.

Let’s answer some questions.

  • Who can submit stories for consideration for the special issue? Women.
  • And what is a woman? A woman is any human being who identifies as one, to whatever degree that they do so.
  • What can women submit? Science fiction short stories, up to 7500 words. No fantasy this time around.
  • What is science fiction? At Lightspeed, we think of science fiction as fiction that speculates on our future, where the basis of that speculation is science, not magic. This includes the social sciences, so dystopias are welcome, as are stories set in post-apocalyptic worlds. Steampunk is also welcome, as long as whatever is powering your cool stuff isn’t magic.
  • When will you open to submissions? Submissions open December 16, 2013, and will close at 11:59:59 p.m. Pacific on February 14, 2014.

Also, we totally dig Regency gowns and chandeliers. In space. Just saying. (I should probably just go ahead and apologize to Robyn for that now. Sorry, Robyn. They’ll be fun stories! You like slush, remember?)

So, Women of Science Fiction, don your space suit; set up your lab equipment; fire up your boiler; perform your pre-flight inspection. Spread your girl cooties all over that rocketship, Mars colony, or deadly bacterial slime. Your sisters are beside you.

Now let’s go wreck some shit.


Christie Yant
Guest Editor
Lightspeed Magazine
Women Destroy Science Fiction!
Special Issue

P.S. Want to learn more? :

Submission Guidelines

We are pleased to be using the Moksha Submission Portal. Please submit your stories at the link below:


Please see our standard contract templates (originals | reprints) for details.

Short Stories (Originals):

  • 1500-7500 words
  • Science Fiction only
  • 8 cents/word
  • Response time: up to 45 days*
  • Stories submitted to the Women Destroy Science Fiction! special issue will be considered for Lightspeed prime as well.

Short Stories (Reprints):

  • 1500-7500 words
  • Science Fiction only
  • 2 cents/word
  • Response time: up to 45 days*
  • Stories submitted to the Women Destroy Science Fiction! special issue will be considered for Lightspeed prime as well.

Flash Fiction (Original):

  • 1499 words or less (Come on, you can edit it down! 10% Solution all the way!)
  • Science Fiction only
  • 8 cents/word
  • Response time: up to 45 days*

*Sorry about this. Producing this issue is more like producing an anthology than anything, and some decisions are going to take longer than we’re used to around here.