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

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.

Ashok Banker | Six-Gun Vixen and the Dead Coon Trashgang  

Dead Gulch lived up to its name. A two-bit hick town that was little more than a dirt track flanked by a couple dozen wood shacks. My beast growled low and mean as I started through and then reared up in yet another fool attempt to unseat me. I had to dig those rusty spurs in long and hard, twisting the boot heel like I was squishing a scorpion. My Halfie let out that familiar nerve-gnashing howl and settled down real quick. | Copyright 2017 by Ashok Banker. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.

A. Merc Rustad | Later, Let’s Tear Up The Inner Sanctum  

Still in the hospital. Radiation burns suck. Mom came to see me, though, which was nice. She probably had to argue with that dick of a boss she works for to let her off early. You’d think since I nearly died because superheroes were fighting above my school that I’d get some sort of benefits or medical insurance, but noooo, it’s all on me and Mom to foot the hospital bills because fights are not a novelty anymore. | Copyright 2017 by A. Merc Rustad. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.

Kelly Barnhill | Probably Still the Chosen One  

“You must wait here,” the Highest of the High Priests told her. “We will return and bring you back to the Land of Nibiru once we have found the circlet to place upon your head.” The very mention of the circlet made the High Priest tremble with joy. Though the journey through the portal had been brief, the Land of Nibiru was many universes away from where Corrina now stood—in her own small kitchen, in her own small house. | Copyright 2017 by Kelly Barnhill. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.

Molly Tanzer | Nine-Tenths of the Law  

Donna had picked up Jared’s favorite--Romano’s to go, he liked the rosemary bread and the penne rustica---and was just putting it in the oven to keep warm when they brought him in. _They_ being EMTs, after pounding urgently on the door, and _brought him in_ meaning he was on a stretcher. He had an IV in his arm and his eyes were bandaged with thick layers of gauze. | Copyright 2017 by Molly Tanzer. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.

Jeremiah Tolbert | The West Topeka Triangle  

As much as the other kids in my neighborhood like to tell me I’m a know-it-all, I realize just how short the list of things I actually know is one cold winter morning in 1987. I know my vocabulary words, everything that can be known about the Bermuda Triangle, and how well-liked a kid is by who they walk to school with. | Copyright 2017 by Jeremiah Tolbert. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.

Adam-Troy Castro | The Whole Crew Hates Me  

They hate me. They have told me this, again and again, starting from almost the first day of the mission, and continuing every day since then, carrying their hostility well outside the confines of the solar system and into the realm of bentspace. Their hatred does not quite extend to the realm of murder, at least not yet; but it does include telling me every day, in every possible way, that they find my presence intolerable. | Copyright 2017 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.

Kat Howard | Seven Salt Tears  

When I was a child, my mother would tell me stories of the sea. When I couldn’t sleep, when I was restless, when I burned with some childhood fever, she would sit by my side, and conjure something wonderful and strange, something half-magic, from the ocean for me. “Mara,” she would say, smoothing the hair from my forehead as she tucked the covers around me, “did you know that to summon a selkie, you must shed seven tears into the ocean?” | Copyright 2017 by Kat Howard. Narrated by Bonnie Burgess.

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