LIGHTSPEED MAGAZINE - Science Fiction and Fantasy

LIGHTSPEED MAGAZINE - Science Fiction and Fantasy

Canada

Edited by bestselling anthologist John Joseph Adams, LIGHTSPEED is a Hugo Award-winning, critically-acclaimed digital magazine. In its pages, you'll find science fiction from near-future stories and sociological SF to far-future, star-spanning SF. Plus there's fantasy from epic sword-and-sorcery and contemporary urban tales to magical realism, science-fantasy, and folk tales. Each month, LIGHTSPEED brings you a mix of originals and reprints featuring a variety of authors, from the bestsellers and award-winners you already know to the best now voices you haven't heard yet. When you read LIGHTSPEED, you'll see where science fiction and fantasy have come from, where they are now, and where they're going. The LIGHTSPEED podcast, produced by Grammy Award-winning narrator and producer Stefan Rudnicki of Skyboat Media, is presented four times a month, featuring original audio fiction and classic reprints.

Episodes

E. Catherine Tobler | Mix Tapes From Dead Boys  

The derelict hangs in Neptune’s blue orbit, a chip of shadowy flint from a distance. Up close, it’s old and rusting, myriad old systems cobbled together, and Hadley swallows her nervous and exhilarated heart a dozen times as she latches the pod to its belly, makes a hard seal at the airlock, and geckos her team inside. The exterior of their spatulae suits—hands and knees and hips—permits them freedom of movement even in zero gee. Especially in zero gee. She glances back at their pod once. | Copyright 2017 by E. Catherine Tobler. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.

Alvaro Zinos-Amaro | A Touch of Heart  

Many years ago, in Shangdong Province, there lived an unfortunate farmer by the name of Dou Zhuo. Like most of us who walk this teeming Earth, he was trapped in the circumstances that fortune had provided him. He owned a patch of land that supported crops only after backbreaking effort, and then with results that betrayed its resentment of the demands he put on it. His cucumbers were bitter, his cowpeas difficult to boil, his leeks over-pungent, his pak choi stiff, and his edible amaranth hardly deserving of its name. | Copyright 2017 by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro and Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.

John Grant | The Law of Conservation of Data  

“Slots Palace,” says Suze. You all stare at her. Staring at her is worth doing. She’s moved into a new bod since coming here, and the change has been a big improvement. There wasn’t exactly anything wrong with the one she initially adopted for the pentagon’s pre-consensuality union, but she became dissatisfied with it and the dissatisfaction affected the rest of you---especially Kagura, who said it reminded him in all the wrong ways of a past consensual of his who turned out badly. | Copyright 2017 by John Grant. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.

Matthew Kressel | Love Engine Optimization  

I rooted her system on the first day. It was the only way to be sure. Sure that she’d love me. Step by matching step, I walk her under the boughs of great elms in Prospect Park, while the slanting sun passes through the tangled mesh of leaves to dapple her smiling face. When her heart rate spikes, I know she’s excited. When it slows, she’s bored. | Copyright 2017 by Matthew Kressel. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.

Elizabeth Bear | The Heart’s Filthy Lesson  

The sun burned through the clouds around noon on the long Cytherean day, and Dharthi happened to be awake and in a position to see it. She was alone in the highlands of Ishtar Terra on a research trip, five sleeps out from Butler base camp, and---despite the nagging desire to keep traveling---had decided to take a rest break for an hour or two. Noon at this latitude was close enough to the one hundredth solar dieiversary of her birth that she’d broken out her little hoard of shelf-stable cake to celebrate. | Copyright 2015 by Elizabeth Bear. Originally published in OLD VENUS, edited by Gardner Dozois and George R. R. Martin. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.

Scott Dalrymple | Marcel Proust, Incorporated  

It’s 12:15, and Monica West is late for our lunch. We’re meeting at a trendy Greenwich Village bistro, one of the few to survive the depression that bankrupted the City, and so many of its residents, nearly two decades ago. There are few reminders of those trying times here now. The place is packed with the young power elite, the air thick with talk of mergers and screenplays and spring designer collections. I order a glass of Cabernet and wait. | Copyright 2017 by Scott Dalrymple. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.

Shweta Narayan | World of the Three  

Then the Bird of A Hundred and Eight Names gathered together her three new children, and she said, “You have passed our people’s tests and joined our ranks, and may leave if you wish. But leaving will take you among the Alabar, who collect salt in their bare hands and have no fear of rust, and call themselves merely people. Some among us speak slightingly of them, for their lives are short and easily ended, and they don’t protect one another as we do. You should be more wary." | Copyright 2017 by Shweta Narayan. Narrated by Twinkle Khanna.

Susan Jane Bigelow | The Heart’s Cartography  

Jade was the sort of backwoods girl who had a map of the countryside tattooed on her heart, and she could feel it in her bones when the pieces of her world shifted. So when the new family moved into the house across the road that late summer, she felt ripples of wrongness radiating out from them and their too-bright clothes, their bizarrely old-fashioned wood-paneled station wagon, and their rolling words. | Copyright 2017 by Susan Jane Bigelow. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.

Kendra Fortmeyer | Octopus vs. Bear  

You woke up female this morning, so now you have a choice: do what other people want, or be a bitch. It is a thing you know without precisely knowing it. The knowledge is built into the muscle memory of this miraculous new body; it is draped across the bones like a weight. You shudder, stretching your delicate female limbs beneath the unfamiliar, sun-drenched sheets. Female for a day, you think. | Copyright 2017 by Kendra Fortmeyer. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.

Bruce McAllister | This Is for You  

There was one girl I really liked in school when I returned to Earth, but it took me three months to say hello. I wasn’t good with human beings. We’d just gotten back from Pitipek (a red-dwarf star system “just left” of Tau Ceti, as the joke goes). My father had been stationed there for two years with the TU’s Planetary Safety Agency, and living with the slow, enigmatic, bipedal Pitipeki---especially in one of their villages, and under those endless clouds---tends to make you lose your people skills. | Copyright 2017 by Bruce McAllister. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.

Adam-Troy Castro | James, In the Golden Sunlight of the Hereafter  

It took James Washington forever, almost literally forever, to remember that his wife and children were as dead as he was. For a while, he barely even realized that he was dead himself. Heaven, for lack of a better word, is bliss, and as anybody who has known euphoria can tell you, bliss doesn’t always allow room for rational thought. | Copyright 2017 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.

Jess Barber | Maybe Look Up  

You’re just stepping into the crosswalk when the SUV screeches to a stop with its bumper six inches from your hip. It’s sleeting. It wasn’t sleeting when you left your apartment, so you’re wearing canvas sneakers with holes beside the little toes, where all of your sneakers always get holes, and you haven’t been able to feel your feet for six blocks. It’s been weeks since you got more than four hours of sleep. | Copyright 2017 by Jess Barber. Narrated by Bonnie MacBird.

Lina Rather | Seven Permutations of My Daughter  

I’ve sought a world with a higher-than-average ratio of sunny days and a pharmaceutical industry that developed a decade before my own. Sun, of course, improves mental health. And a more developed pharmaceutical industry implies a more liberal outlook towards chemical intervention, a more specific range of treatment plans. It isn’t easy to write equations for these variables. | Copyright 2017 by Lina Rather. Narrated by Claire Benedek.

Susan Palwick | Remote Presence  

As usual, Win was late to work. Since he hadn’t had time to eat breakfast at home, he arrived at his office—tucked into the old wing of the hospital, now a maze of ancient files and obscure personnel—clutching a styrofoam vat of cafeteria coffee, a donut balanced atop it. He wore jeans and hiking boots and a wrinkled pinstripe dress shirt, from which his ID badge hung crookedly. “Winston Z, MDiv, LCSW, BCC,” it read. | Copyright 2017 by Susan Palwick. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.

Joseph Allen Hill | Infinite Love Engine  

Beeblax beats its wings against a superlumic slurry of time and space, and the universe turns to liquid starlight in its periphery; inside rides Aria Astra---Stellar Champion of the Star Supremacy, Wielder of the Sister Ray, Spacetrotting Coolgal, and Humanity’s Last Hope---nestled within a blob of translucent pink jellymeat, and it is totally cool and only a little disgusting. | Copyright 2017 by Joseph Allen Hill. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.

Greg Kurzawa | Soccer Fields and Frozen Lakes  

Dear Sara: The official verdict that I am no longer classified as human arrived in a windowed envelope bearing the return address of the Bureau of Lineage Affairs. There is one envelope for me and one for you, although I haven’t opened yours. Except for the return address, these envelopes look like something from the bank, or perhaps an offer for home insurance, the kind we throw away. | Copyright 2017 by Greg Kurzawa. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.

Adam-Troy Castro | Death Every Seventy-Two Minutes  

Negelein is at his workstation working on the Lafferty file when the bone spear arcs over the sea of cubicles and strikes just above his right ear, penetrating his skull with a wet crunch. Oblivion is not quite instantaneous; his neurons all fire at the moment his brain goes soggy with blood, giving him, in his last instant, an overwhelming taste of peppermint. | Copyright 2017 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.

Marta Randall | The Stone Lover  

When word came that the king had died, Kyros began packing his tools. Agathon had been a fine patron, commissioning statues and friezes for his capital’s many temples and his own palace, but his wife had no reputation for piety or art. He was surprised, then, when one of her pages delivered a scroll requesting his services. | Copyright 2017 by Marta Randall. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.

Indrapramit Das | The Worldless  

Every day NuTay watched the starship from their shack, selling satshine and sweet chai to wayfarers on their way to the stars. NuTay and their kin Satlyt baked an endless supply of clay cups using dirt from the vast plain of the port. NuTay and Satlyt, like all the hawkers in the shanties that surrounded the dirt road, were dunyshar, worldless—cursed to a single brown horizon. | Copyright 2017 by Indrapramit Das. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.

Jack Skillingstead | The Last Garden  

The Surrogate walked past Casey’s window. She watched its shadow slip across the shade, then she stood and zipped up her flight suit. This was the day. No matter what. The doorbell rang. It was polite, the Surrogate. It had manners. It rang the doorbell. It said please and thank you. It had saved Casey’s life, twice, and the first time she had been grateful. | Copyright 2017 by Jack Skillingstead. Narrated by Susan Hanfield.

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