Lightspeed 61: Queers Destroy Science Fiction! Special Issue

Lightspeed 61: Queers Destroy Science Fiction! Special Issue

Lightspeed 61-smallJohn Joseph Adams shook this town to its roots with his groundbreaking Women Destroy Science Fiction! issue of Lightspeed, released last June. Funded by an enormously successful Kickstarter campaign, WDSF! spawned a two successful sequels, Women Destroy Fantasy! and Women Destroy Horror!

In January of this year, John invited his readers to take a sledgehammer to the tight strictures of the genre once again, by funding a special Queers Destroy Science Fiction! of Lightspeed. The Kickstarter campaign closed on February 16; with an initial goal of $5,000, the campaign successfully raised $54,523 from 2,250 backers, surpassing even the lofty success of WDSF!

John and his team delivered the issue right on time this month. Lightspeed 61: Queers Destroy Science Fiction! is guest-edited by Seanan McGuire, and the magazine contains the following stories:

Emergency Repair” by Kate M. Galey
勢孤取和 (Influence Isolated, Make Peace)” by John Chu
Bucket List Found in the Locker of Maddie Price, Age 14, Written Two Weeks Before the Great Uplifting of All Mankind” by Erica L. Satifka
Melioration” by E. Saxey
Rubbing is Racing” by Charles Payseur
Helping Hand” by Claudine Griggs
The Lamb Chops” by Stephen Cox

Queers Destroy Flash Fiction!” by Sigrid Ellis
Black Holes” by RJ Edwards (originally published in The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard October 2012),
Nothing is Pixels Here” by K.M. Szpara
The Astrakhan, the Homburg, and the Red Red Coal” by Chaz Brenchley
“Madeleine by Amal El-Mohtar (available on 6/23)
“Red Run by A.M.J. Hudson (reprint, available on 6/23)

The nonfiction section is pretty impressive as well:

Backer Acknowledgments by Lightspeed Staff
About the Special Issue Staff by Lightspeed Staff
The Queers Destroy Science Fiction! Manifesto by Queers Destroy Science Fiction! Editors
Artists Showcase: Spotlight on the QDSF Illustrators by Elizabeth Leggett
Book Reviews, June 2015: Friendship, Chosen Family, and Queer Communities by Amal El-Mohtar
Interview: David Gerrold by Mark Oshiro (available on 6/23)

Here’s the description:

Even in science fiction, supposedly the genre of limitless possibility, where everyone is invited to the adventure, heterosexual, heteroromantic, and cisgendered are considered the default, to the extent that everything else is “deviation,” and must be eyed with suspicion. This issue contains 10 original science fiction short stories (selected by guest editor Seanan McGuire), including new stories by award-winning queer authors Amal El-Mohtar, and John Chu; 4 classic short story reprints and a novella reprint (selected by guest reprint editor Steve Berman); approx. 10,000 words of original flash fiction (selected by guest flash fiction editor Sigrid Ellis); 7 nonfiction articles (selected by guest nonfiction editor Mark Oshiro); approx. 30 personal essays about the experience reading and writing science fiction as a queer person (selected by managing editor Wendy N. Wagner); original artwork (selected by and featuring a cover by guest art director Elizabeth Leggett); and more!

Like WDSF!, the Queers Destroy Science Fiction! special issue of Lightspeed is also available in print — as a whopping 432 page trade paperback. The print edition also contains the following bonus content:


“O Happy Day!” by Geoff Ryman (originally published in Interzone: The 1st Anthology, March 1985)

Short Stories

“Trickier with Each Translation” by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam
“The Tip of the Tongue” by Felicia Davin
“How to Remember to Forget to Remember the Old War” by Rose Lemberg
“Plant Children” by Jessica Yang
“Two By Two” by Tim Susman
“Die, Sophie, Die” by Susan Jane Bigelow
“Cyberfruit Swamp” by Raven Kaldera (originally published in Genderflex: Sexy Stories on the Edge and In-Between, September 1996)
“The Sound of His Wings” by Rand B. Lee (originally published in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, August 1982)


We’ve Made It To . . . Magrathea? by Jennifer Cross
Not Android, Not Alien, Not Accident by Cedar Rae Duke
Diversity in a Ghetto by Pablo Miguel Alberto Vazquez
Queers in a Strange Land by Amber Neko Meador

Flash Fiction

“Mama” by Eliza Gauger
“Deep/Dark Space” by Gabrielle Friesen
“A Brief History of Whaling with Remarks Upon Ancient Practices” by Gabby Reed
“Nothing Goes to Waste” by Shannon Peavey
“In the Dawns Between Hours” by Sarah Pinsker
“Increasing Police Visibility” by Bogi Takács
“Letter From an Artist to a Thousand Future Versions of Her Wife” by JY Yang

Novel Excerpt

Skin Folk by Nalo Hopkinson

PLUS: 27 personal essays by Queer Creators on Their Experiences With Science Fiction

The print issue of Lightspeed 61: Queers Destroy Science Fiction! is edited by Seanan McGuire and published by Lightspeed Magazine. It is 432 pages, priced at $17.99 in trade paperback, and $3.99 for the digital version.

Read the complete online version of the issue here.

Lightspeed is edited by John Joseph Adams. Most of the content is available free online; individual issues are available in multiple digital formats for $3.99. 6-month subscriptions are just $17.94 ($6 off the cover price), or $35.88 for 12 months ($12 off the cover price). Purchase copies and sample free content at the website.

The cover art for June is by Elizabeth Leggett.

We last covered Lightspeed with Issue 60, May 2015.

See our mid-June Fantasy Magazine Rack here, and all of our recent Magazine coverage here.

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Wild Ape

Those guys at Lightspeed rock. Very clever and timely with all the Bruce Jenner/Caitlyn gaining in the news.

My favorite character in Game of Thrones is Tyrion. I like how GRRM focuses on the prejudices against Tyrion and champions his humanity. Peter Dinklage fleshes him out perfectly. Dinklage is rapidly soaring to being my favorite actor. I realize that he isn’t “queer” but he and his character have done a lot to focus positive light on dwarfism.

Bruce Jenner is a tragic figure. I have looked up to him since I was a kid and consumed a lot of Wheaties with him on the box. It makes me furious that there are some who want him to turn over the medals that he earned. It is hard to see the bigotry associated with his change to Caitlyn and how the politicians use him to gin up hatred and division between left and right politics. I hope Lightspeed creates a Tyrion. I’m not a John Chu fan because the only work of his that I read was his Hugo winner. I hope he has more than a trope this time and actually writes a science fiction story.

Wild Ape

It is a shame that no one wants to comment about this. Personally I don’t plan to buy this issue. I didn’t buy Feminists Destroy Science Fiction either. I commend Lightspeed for doing this, but I simply cannot, with my pocket book, trust the material within.

In my thinking I am sometimes rash. I think liberals are all bananas, but on closer thought I think that there is a huge difference between them. After all, they are people and my mom is one and so are a lot of my friends. So I have to classify the difference between the real bananas and the fake plastic kind. You see the fake look just like the real kind but they are hard to spot and it makes all the difference. My mother is warm hearted and kind. She sees the best in people for instance. But a sociopath like George Soros is of the fake variety. He uses the camoflage of nice in order to manipulate and cause ruin. Take Caitlyn for instance. Bruce Jenner is a someone who is used as a sort of political suicide bomb by the fake bananas. They get the sympathy of the real bananas and the GLBT voting block. At the same time they remind everyone that Bruce Jenner is a Republican. It works towards their narrative that Republicans have a war on women and the GLBT community. You see, the fake bananas heartlessly use the Saul Alinski tactics to freeze the picture, and then tear and rend the target. In this case a mentally troubled soul who going through great trouble to attempt to make a mockery out of him and then use it to divide and destroy. The practice of these fake bananas is monstrous.

I listen to Rush Limbaugh and a fake banana caller wanted to talk about the election but then instead asked Rush what he thought about Bruce Jenner being a Republican and if he should have his medals taken away. The caller was hoping to set up a division in Rushes audience while posing as a loyal Rush listener. The left calls this freeping. Rush turned it on the fake banana and said that Bruce Jenner had nothing to be ashamed about Jenner being a Republican. He earned his medals on merit, not affirmative action. He said that the true intention of the Democrats was to separate Jenner from his humanity and degrade him because that is their game. They engage in victimhood and identity politics and they do so at the expense of the person. Rush was right. Rush spoke truth.

In my own life I was in boot camp and I shamefully was not as brave as Rush. We had a hermaphodite in our boot camp platoon. He had penis, part of a vagina, and boobs like a woman’s. You have to take showers in huge stalls with lots of shower heads and no privacy whatsoever. The unspoken rule was not to “meat gaze” as there was enough pressure on us and this was a time when homosexuals were shunned and not praised. I don’t remember the guys name anymore but he had to shower with all of us. Some of the guys in the platoon mocked and teased him. They’d snap their towels at him and bully. I felt bad for him and then one guy stood up for him and he too was bullied. You see bravery is an action, not an opinion. My moment to be brave passed because I was too afraid to jump in and help. Yeah, his gender condition was weird but he was a human being. The hermaphodite didn’t last long. He was gone from the platoon but the guy that stood up for him was bullied for about half of the training. He had resilience though. He endured.

So I don’t think Lightspeed is brave per se. It stands nothing to lose with its core audience because it is marketing towards the GLBT community and all the left leaning social justice types. The title itself is a little jab at humor and I think it is kinda funny. I’m just sorry that it seems to be tied with left wing fiction that doesn’t seem very friendly towards conservatives. They seem a tad hostile in their message. It light of the Hugo flare up between the left and the Sad Puppies I just am more guarded about my purchase. I have no doubts that they will have good stories. I truly hope that they find a Tyrion in their characters who can focus on a cool character and bitchin’ cool story. I don’t want a preachy and boring conservatives and white males suck fest. Sorry, on this I don’t trust them. John Chu, although a great writer, in my opinion wrote the thinnest sci-fi story imaginable. It won a Hugo. I suspect that it won a Hugo for who the writer is and not what the story was.

Editing and publishing are very important. For instance Tor is a very large publishing house. Where would Ace and Lancer be if Scalzi, Gallo, and Patrick Neilsen-Hayden were in the shoes of Lin Carter and Wolsheim? Would I have ever seen a Conan story? An HP Lovecraft, or a Robert E Howard, or a ton of other fiction in an editing staff that is invested in neo-feminist, identity politics, and such? My kind of fiction would be extinct. It damned near died out before when guys like the Tor staff came on the scene.

So, I love Lightspeed but I’m giving this one a pass on the first go. If I hear about a Tyrion like hero I’ll give it a look. I think if Lightspeed really wants to cater to my side of their audience they should write a Sad Puppies Destroy Science Fiction! That would bring us hounds running. I think instead that Lightspeed might be simply shifting its market further left and more towards left messaging.

What burns me is that all the shrieking and rage and twitter mob mud slinging is vented on the Sad Puppies—-for of a petty reason of an award of fiction.

Where are all you SJWs now? Don’t you have any real compassion to post in here? Are your words of support just words or do you have a pulse in your chest? Do you just do a drive by shooting of Sad Puppies and not have the guts to stand up for the people you claim to support? Are you worried that talking about this will somehow make you a queer? Bah!


Still reading Queers Destroy Science Fiction, perhaps? I plan to get around to it when I have the time. And if I can keep my promise to myself of not wading into this toxic recurring nightmare that engulfs science fiction and fantasy fandom every year.

Wild Ape

Was it you that said with regards to Iceman?:
“This is one of my problems with LGBT characters in comics. What happens after coming out? Do the characters continue to be interesting or do they fade to the background while other, straighter, characters get more attention?”

Is there nothing more to a coming out story? I’d say that the fake bananas don’t really want to explore the character. They just want to capture the icon of Iceman like the icon of the Hugo. To them it is the prize of the icon and the perception of their narrative that matters and not the character. How is it that GRRM can make a wildly popular character in Tyrion? He invests the creative effort. He actually cares about Tyrion whereas I doubt that the writers of Iceman truly care about Iceman. They are more concerned with their narrative.

and then did you say this?

“”I wish I could say that I have not near oobsessively followed the latest fight of the recurrent plague that afflicts science fiction and fantasy fandom. But I have managed to keep my fingers from writing anything about it. Too many pixels have already been wasted on this seemingly never ending fight.”

We are all embroiled in a culture war I’m afraid. I personally was deeply offended by comments directed towards Sad Puppies. There are several of us who have fought real wars against actual racists. Real shooting wars and not twitter mobs and yet they dismiss us as dishonorable hate filled people without substantiating their claim. Why—because they think we are taking over an award for fiction. That alone justifies their hatred.

Let me ask you this sftheory. If a true banana was heading the writing of Iceman? I’d say GRRM fits that description. Wouldn’t he find stories that would better support GLBT characters. I’ve never read Wildcards but it might be worth a try. See what I mean? GRRM cares more about the person than the cause. I wonder if the writers of Benjamin Deeds, Anole, and Striker find care less about the character and more about their perception of who sees them championing the narrative? I question their sincerity. Perhaps they don’t have the creative talent to write anything original. GRRM certainly can. Dan Abnett certainly can.


Wild Ape,
Tyrion is a great character, yes. But I’m not sure GRRM will do as great a job with a LGBT character. When asked the question, his answer left me doubting it. That said, I have one more issue to add to my upcoming post on LGBT characters.

I hate myself for all the time I’ve wasted reading about this cesspool. I should be reading. And writing.

I’ll cut this comment here because I have to go change my nephew.

Wild Ape

Are you kidding me? What about the Viper and the Mountain episode in Game of Thrones. The Viper was looking for revenge and joins in to defend Tyrion. That was an epic story.

“I hate myself for all the time I’ve wasted reading about this cesspool. I should be reading. And writing”

Perhaps, taking care of your nephew is important. I thought you made a good point about the gay characters fading. I think the writers of X-Men undervalue the maturity of their audience who are far more open minded than they are perceived to be. Ginning up character sympathy should be writing 101 in my view. If they were sincerely in touch with their characters then this would be easy for them to do. Honestly, there is too much mediocre writing in the comics these days. I think their Hollywood counterparts who write the movie scripts are far more in touch with the characters.

Brubaker for instance ruined Captain America. He needed to make the political narrative painting the Tea Party as a bunch of white supremacists and racists. Bad move. The movie plotline was far different than Brubaker’s comic story. In fact it was the reverse. Hollywood changed the theme of Winter Soldier and gave it a conservative message and it was a hit. Captain America was portrayed for more closely to the previous years of Captain America than Brubaker’s political hack job. It was a blockbuster hit and had wide appeal to audiences. Brubaker’s Captain America has tanked in readership. I think comics suffer from poor writing where message and identity politics trump story. Audiences are willing to have LGBT in their fiction but demand entertaining stories. Comics often suck because the writers can’t seem to grasp that.

Wild Ape

Also GRRM never abandons a character who is LGBT. He illustrates the story around all his characters and not discard them like comic writers. He doesn’t just throw them into his story for diversity’s sake either.


I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read so far in this issue. There are some really fascinating pieces that I’ve been mulling over especially “Cyberfruit Swamp”. I’m really interested in queer perspective in science fiction writing after watching the series “Knights of Sedonia” where transgender characters were an assumed and natural part of society. The series is a kick ass on many levels – I definitely recommend checking it out.

I love that science fiction plays by different rules, the socio/cultural of the human history of the world does not need to apply to new and imagined worlds and other species. I only know of a handful of queer writers such as Samuel L. Delaney (I’ve been working my way through Babel-17). It’s really nice to see this themed issue that really digs into an area of science fiction that I haven’t been too exposed to in the past.

Science Fiction is an art form. I love it because, even though it is fantastical, it explores the human condition without limits. It’s a very free genre. I think a larger variety of author perspectives only pushes forward the art form.

Wild Ape

@sd—-you touch on the very thing that is the best part about science fiction—-it plays by different rules as you say and lets us think about what ifs. That comment you made about the genre is free I think was brilliant.

When I watched “Enemy Mine” I saw a good story of science fiction. Plenty of action, plenty of character development and all around entertainment. Then when you think about the alien is a hermaphrodite it isn’t hard to think about that in human society. The story is subtle in its messaging—not preachy and it brings out the concept without all the baggage associated with the topic.

I’ll give “Cyberfruit Swamp” a try on your recommendation. I like what you said about a free genre.

Wild Ape

I’d like to see a Puppies Destroy Science Fiction magazine edition but with fictional stories and with characters with cool stories and not preachy ad hominem personal attack fantasies that are currently on the internet. That would be cool. They could follow it with an Puppykickers Destroy Science fiction edition too. I probably won’t buy it but it would be good to see at little balance.

Wild Ape

Here is a good example of the Sad Puppy fiction that is already out there:

“Ann Somerville:
I really fear for Irene Gallo and Moshe Feder. GGaters have no boundaries, and it’s beginning to look as if the Puppies of either kind don’t either.”

Unlike this non fiction perception which Ann probably denies like in the case of Lena Dunham:

With hysteria like this out there over what Sad Puppies might do this could be a sure fire winner and a distraction from the politically driven fantasies of Lena Dunham.

[…] This month is a massive special issue, Queers Destroy Horror, containing far more content than regular issues, but the digital edition is still available for the same low price ($2.99). The issue was funded as a stretch goal of the incredibly successful Queers Destroy Science Fiction! Kickstarter campaign for Lightspeed magazine, which was released in June. […]

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