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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 original short stories and flash fiction featuring a variety of authors, f ...
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The towering granite shoulders of the mountain god braced against the blue heavens above. Eero’s eyes remained closed beneath his glacial mask, his body swathed in a cloak of green trees. | © 2024 by Deborah L. Davitt. Narrated by Janina Edwards. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices…
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This is our story, simplified: Life. Loss. Transformation. Love. Death. Iteration. The first time you get our message, you only find one thread. It mimics your language in its simplest form, a single strand of words laid end to end. You will have to work hard if you want to understand us properly. You must learn to hold more than one thread of lang…
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Lester swung his chainsaw, mowing a path through the mob of needle-toothed quantum parasites, while Kit batted clean-up with her Louisville Slugger. Across the plain of dark rock, their destination: a whirling, gnashing portal that could doom all humanity. It wasn’t ideal timing for an awkward conversation, but it never was. | © 2024 by Rich Larson…
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Welcome, Stranger! This is a story for you, you who wait for my words to fall into your ear, so that we can share being and become more than we are alone. | © 2024 by Vandana Singh. Narrated by Annette Oliveira, with Stefan Rudnicki. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesDi Adamant Press
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All of us remember what Mother’s Day was like before we became sterile: flowers and candy for living mothers and tears for dead ones and anger at bad ones, and women who couldn’t be mothers or who’d lost children marinating in grief, and nobody really profiting from any of it except Hallmark and the restaurants and florists. | © 2024 by Susan Palwi…
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Jo drives urgently as they race toward the star, not sure how far to go, racing because the baby is coming tonight, now, and He (a He, of course) is supposed to be born under the star, that’s how the story goes. | © 2024 by David Anaxagoras. Narrated by Judy Young. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices…
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So, this is awkward. We aren’t at the stage in our relationship where I’d feel comfortable revising your life-poem on the fly. Even as a backup plan . . . yet here we are. | © 2024 by Mitchell Shanklin. Narrated by Judy Young. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesDi Adamant Press
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Jeanne Calment said she was 122, but there were questions. The records from 1875 were shaky, some of them deliberately burned. Tanaka Kane, 119, was on firmer ground, and then there were loads of others in the hundred-teens. | © 2024 by Marissa Lingen. Narrated by Janina Edwards. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices…
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To be fair, the first one is work, so he doesn’t even get to pick his outfit. But an olive-scented breeze squirrels joyfully through his hair; waiters bring out little triangles of flatbread smeared with soft, spicy cheese; and the wine has a buttery quality he hasn’t encountered in decades. It’s marvelous. It’s been such a long time since he atten…
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If a robot stands alone in a field, staring into the forlorn distance as it obeys the last order it was given by a human, that order being, “Don’t move until we come back for you,” which it can remember uttered with a cruel sneer by a man who has taken a cruel dislike for it, the kind of man who will not be coming back.... | © 2024 by Adam-Troy Cas…
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True love’s kiss works miracles. Everyone knows the story: The sculptor who carved a perfect woman, his own creation, and when he fell in love with her (and how could he have failed to fall in love with her, his own creation?) and kissed her (for how could he fail to kiss her, loving her as truly as he did?) then the gods in their mercies and compa…
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You don’t know why you ask because you already know he can’t answer. A body is only a body when it has all its parts. And he—that beloved man you once hiked through Angkor Wat’s abandoned halls and root-choked courtyards with, who once pulled you from the dizzying edge of the Queens-Manhattan skywalk—is now just an unsightly array of incomplete par…
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The story as it is told in the dry valleys north of Averon, where the only roads run down to the Cricket River and the only power is the freehold of Skadar, begins with a merchant envoy from the southern coast who traveled from Averon. | © 2024 by Alex Irvine. Narrated by Paul Boehmer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices…
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I was born normal enough, except that I was four days late, which isn’t so much, and slightly jaundiced, which isn’t unusual, and had a raccoon for an arm, which is admittedly strange. It wasn’t my whole arm---I was human to the elbow. And it wasn’t a whole raccoon. | © 2024 by Will McMahon. Narrated by Paul Boehmer. Learn more about your ad choice…
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The last picture that Karu has of her father alive is on the day of her graduation. She has this big smile that by the placing of her dimples makes it obvious that she is his daughter. He stands next to her holding her waist in the space between his biceps and his lower arm. And her mother who is half an inch shorter than her stands on her left sid…
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It was a long fall in-system from the warp point, so Va Sojourner had plenty of time to observe. She found a peace in her observations that was expensive or painful to scratch out anywhere else, when she had to organize herself around the demands and expectations of everyone around her. | © 2024 by Phoebe Barton. Narrated by Roxanne Hernandez. Lear…
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You’ve been driving for hours and I wish you would stop. You clutch the steering wheel so hard, your knuckles pop white, your palms slick with sweat and desperation. Sunken, glassy, your eyes flick between the fuel gauge, the endless road, and the trembling land through which we pass. | © 2024 by KT Bryski. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki. Learn more a…
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On the third evening of every week, dozens come to Stalactite Keep to hear the storyteller teach about the place beyond Wonderland. Tonight, with only dewdrops of honeycomb light seeping through the cells of the sky, Creed told them of toys. | © 2024 by Wen-yi Lee. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/ad…
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Josea Dream was the pearl captain at the heart of the bivalve ship Blue Spring, which had swum the black for a thousand years. It was a mystery to Josea---it was a mystery to anyone who’d ever thought about it---why the bivalves suffered their captains’ proddings. | © 2024 by Christopher Rowe. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki. Learn more about yo…
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Scarlett’s eyes had to be perfect. Jon was the artist who’d made her, so it bothered him to think that so much of Scarlett would be crafted by other people. Scarlett’s limbs were carved from silicon polymer and coated in a soft synthetic skin from the best prosthetics companies in the world. | © 2024 by Everdeen Mason. Narrated by Susan Hanfield. L…
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Recent scholarship has shed considerable light on many previously puzzling or mysterious aspects of the life of the Baba Yaga---or, as some would still have it, the Baba Yagas. But one element has remained largely unstudied, and indeed, almost completely ignored. | © 2024 by Mari Ness. Narrated by Susan Hanfield. Learn more about your ad choices. V…
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Mahō Shōjo Kira Kira Sunlight is an American web series created by an unknown animator or animators. The show combines magical girl anime tropes with cosmic horror, following high schooler Sally Hoshino (Kira Kira Sunlight) and her friends. | © 2024 by Stewart C Baker. Narrated by Susan Hanfield. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm…
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The coffin she carried had felt like an imposition at first—a holy imposition! a welcome imposition! but an imposition nonetheless. But by now she had carried it on her shoulders out from the tenth school, carried it across plains, up and down canyons. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices…
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My son tells me that there’s a man in the house, someone he hears well after the lights are out, in the narrower halls or maybe at the far side of the den---a gait and creak he’s certain isn’t me or his mom, since he can hear us both breathing heavily and tossing in our sleep. | © 2024 by Thomas Ha. Narrated by Mirron Willis. Learn more about your …
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It’s my twelfth birthday and we’re all waiting for Wormwood and everyone is here and I mean everyone. Me and Mom and Dad and Big Pa which is my grandpa who was the strong man at one of the last traveling carnivals in America, and Bigfoot of course, and a swarm of killer bees collectively named Kyle who aren’t really so mean. | © 2024 by David Anaxa…
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“Good evening, sir,” Dave says pleasantly, hiding his crossword puzzle under his computer keyboard, as the front door chimes. “Do you have a reservation?” “Afraid not.” The guest fiddles with his suitcase. “I saw the No Vacancy sign, but I gotta ask---” “No problem at all.” Dave’s keyboard clatters busily, a series of well-practiced keystrokes. | ©…
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Posit a man. He could be any man. She could be a woman. They could be any human being anywhere on the spectrum. The story would play out the same. This is, however, entirely the creation of a writer who has written plenty of formidable women, and so he exerts authority for this one time and says that this is a man, | © 2024 by Adam-Troy Castro. Nar…
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Finneus Lark finds the man nestled inside of the abdominal cavity of a doe, his skin so pale that his veins are like spiderwebs. Slick with visceral fluid, leaves and petals cling to the man’s bird-boned wrists. His face, haloed by damp curls and crowned by the doe’s diaphragm, is so peaceful he might as well have been asleep. | © 2024 by Lowry Pol…
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Alvin’s scripts arrived in yellow envelopes. They were hand delivered, placed inside his letter box as if part of the regular mail, but with no address or stamps on it. The scripts were typed on unlined paper. They were short, never longer than a page, never more than a scene. The scene would be set inside a shop, or a bar. | © 2024 by Ben Peek. Na…
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Once a decade, a titanium-nosed shuttle plows through the rings of the planet Tartarus with a new batch of prisoners destined for the Orpheus Factory. The debris that makes up the rings is so thick that it thunders like a hailstorm, deafening the passengers. As the orbiting debris bounces and scrapes against the hull, the prisoners squeeze their ey…
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Kharatet moistens his sightless eyes with his tongue as he draws his finger across the limestone tablet glyphs. His audience today is a clutch of toddling nymphs, motionless save for their short tails rippling the shallow water impatiently. It’s a good age to read to, while the little ulmuns are still young enough. | © 2024 by Sloane Leong Learn mo…
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The first time you can’t answer the question, you are already within the Great Dragon. Any bad decisions today? Mindy’s text reads. Around you, the Great Dragon’s pistons squeal, stutter, while the crew’s stressed voices echo above and below you. | © 2023 by A.T. Greenblatt. Narrated by Judy Young. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit meg…
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The two of us, myself and this man I did not know, sat at a table in a windowless white cell with an indefinite light source. I was afraid, as afraid as a human being can be. I remembered every step that had brought me here and I did not consider this a place of safety. | © 2023 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki. Learn more about you…
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The unkind witch in Hook Tree Woods has little use for people. Mothers and sisters, obviously, will only disappoint you, and friends—well. She never had many of those. Her only friends now are snakes and toads, who are far preferable to humans. | ©2023 by Carlie St. George. Narrated by Susan Hanfield. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megapho…
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“Is there a problem, officer?” “We’re not the police.” My partner, Enrico, places his palm against the door, ready to test the old man’s resolve. I tap my finger against my thumb and SNAPbeam the warrant to the old man’s synaptic cache. “We’re EPF.” | © 2023 by D. Thomas Minton. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit m…
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Azahn had been the ninety-third Imperial Foresight to the Dynasty of Silken Flame for only three weeks when he was forcibly retired. His body had been blessed by the holy waters of the Sky-Vein River, and he had earned the named-blade Stalwart Thy Mind, Strong Thy Arm, even now strapped to his back. He had trained his entire life. © 2023 by Martin …
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