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.
An Owomoyela | The Equations of the Dead
The boyo working the transmitter doesn’t look like much, except his face is radiant. Radiant, like one of those pooka upworld adverts for neural templates. Dopamine-druggy, but lucid. Like he’s in love. Boyo also looks like he hasn’t spoken to a human in days, and like aside from the food allotments he doesn’t have a lick of capital. His clothes have that washed-while-wearing look, and they’re homespun; no fancy imported fabrics or styles. You’d walk away from this jondo in the market. | Copyright 2021 by An Owomoyela. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Sarah Grey | Brightly, Undiminished
Witchcraft is a gift. Imelda would wave her steel spoon at Mercer and insist on this as he measured ingredients for her, whether she was boiling potions or a pot of farfalle pasta. Watch the salt, a teaspoon only, never pour too much. Don’t overheat the sauce. Bottle the hawks’ gizzards separate from the basilisks’. Never half-ass a gift, Mercy. Her perpetual imperative. Mercer is alone now. His hands are unsteady---they’ve shaken like a drunkard’s since they held Imelda as she passed---and he is no witch. | Copyright 2021 by Sarah Grey. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Claire Wrenwood | Homecoming
Only when Marlo and her mother have followed the attendants through the faux-marble foyer and into the room filled with diffusers and soft jazz and laid down on the massage tables covered in crisp, clean-smelling sheets; only when someone has placed a cool gel pack over Marlo’s eyes and set something against her skin that starts kneading, a familiar, needling motion that ignites a distant spark of recognition within her; only then does Marlo understand where her mother has taken her. She pushes back her eye mask and sits up. | Copyright 2021 by Claire Wrenwood. Narrated by Judy Young.
Alexander Weinstein | Destinations of Beauty
It has become increasingly clear to your guidebook writers that the beauty of any destination should be measured not simply by the magnificence of its architecture or the lushness of its landscape, but by the splendor that its citizens collectively produce. In cities where mayors make sure flowers are planted every spring and the baker sends us off with a free roll, the streetlamps are bound to burn brightly with the warmth of welcome. In fact, the wonderful time we’ve had in any destination was due almost entirely to the kindness of those we encountered along the way. | Copyright 2021 by Alexander Weinstein. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
Phoebe Barton | The Mathematics of Fairyland
If you had a warp drive, it would be easy. The mathematics are strange the way ley lines are strange, invisible yet divinable. You’ve pulled your way up sterner mountains, fingertip by fingertip. You’ve already compensated for stellar motion, spacetime curvature, hyperspatial congruences. You’ve scratched out hundreds of equations in cold blue hyacinth ink and piled them away in the knitted stocking under your bed, where only Berenice would think to look. Equations that would tell you exactly where to slice a hole between worlds, if only you had the right knife. | Copyright 2021 by Phoebe Barton. Narrated by Judy Young.
D. Thomas Minton | The Memory Plague
In the beginning, we are one, and we are ignorance. Our skin is chaffed tender from the womb-sac and the exit ring. Out, we writhe blindly in the grit that cuts our softness until the dryness of the air hardens us. Slowly, receptors awaken. Muted colors curve across the night, outlining the glistening ribs of the drop chamber arcing over us like planetary rings. Instinctually, we grope through the hard stillness. Our tac-pads draw against lines of unmoving flesh, cold like a memory of interstellar vacuum. A dome of skin radiates faint warmth. | 2021 by D. Thomas Minton. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.