IN MEMORIUM: Jay Lake 1964 – 2014. Jay will be missed. His willingness to share his experience of living with cancer was extraordinary and his presence enriched all of us. Amazing Stories’ condolences to his family and friends. (More)
PRESS RELEASES and NEWSLETTERS (Full Text At the End)
Astronomy Magazine News Prometheus Award Finalists Announced
The June 2014 Women Destroy Science Fiction Special Issue is Now on Sale!
Welcome to issue forty-nine of Lightspeed!
It could be said that women invented science fiction; after all, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is considered by many to be the first science fiction novel. Yet some readers seem to have this funny idea that women don’t, or can’t, write science fiction. Some have even gone so far as to accuse women of destroying science fiction with their girl cooties. So to help prove how silly that notion is, LIGHTSPEED’s June 2014 issue is a Women Destroy Science Fiction! special issue and has a guest editor at the helm.
The issue features original fiction by Seanan McGuire, Charlie Jane Anders, N.K. Jemisin, Carrie Vaughn, Maria Dahvana Headley, Amal El-Mohtar, and many more. All together there’s more than 180,000 words of material, including: 11 original short stories, 15 original flash fiction stories, 4 short story reprints and a novella reprint, 7 nonfiction articles, and 28 personal essays by women about their experiences reading and writing science fiction.
Can’t wait to get your hands on a copy? You can purchase the issue from the following ebookstores: Lightspeed (direct), Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, and Weightless Books. Visit our Ebooks page for links and more information.
SpaceX Completes Qualification Testing of SuperDraco Thruster
Thruster to Power Revolutionary Launch Escape System on Dragon Spacecraft
HAWTHORNE, Calif. – Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) announced today that it has completed qualification testing for the SuperDraco thruster, an engine that will power the Dragon spacecraft’s launch escape system and enable the vehicle to land propulsively on Earth or another planet with pinpoint accuracy.
The qualification testing program took place over the last month at SpaceX’s Rocket Development Facility in McGregor, Texas. The program included testing across a variety of conditions including multiple starts, extended firing durations and extreme off-nominal propellant flow and temperatures.
The SuperDraco is an advanced version of the Draco engines currently used by SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft to maneuver in orbit and during re-entry. SuperDracos will be used on the crew version of the Dragon spacecraft as part of the vehicle’s launch escape system; they will also enable propulsive landing on land. Each SuperDraco produces 16,000 pounds of thrust and can be restarted multiple times if necessary. In addition, the engines have the ability to deep throttle, providing astronauts with precise control and enormous power.
The SuperDraco engine chamber is manufactured using state-of-the-art direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), otherwise known as 3D printing. The chamber is regeneratively cooled and printed in Inconel, a high-performance superalloy that offers both high strength and toughness for increased reliability.
“Through 3D printing, robust and high-performing engine parts can be created at a fraction of the cost and time of traditional manufacturing methods,” said Elon Musk, Chief Designer and CEO. “SpaceX is pushing the boundaries of what additive manufacturing can do in the 21st century, ultimately making our vehicles more efficient, reliable and robust than ever before.”
Unlike previous launch escape systems that were jettisoned after the first few minutes of launch, SpaceX’s launch system is integrated into the Dragon spacecraft. Eight SuperDraco engines built into the side walls of the Dragon spacecraft will produce up to 120,000 pounds of axial thrust to carry astronauts to safety should an emergency occur during launch.
As a result, Dragon will be able to provide astronauts with the unprecedented ability to escape from danger at any point during the ascent trajectory, not just in the first few minutes. In addition, the eight SuperDracos provide redundancy, so that even if one engine fails an escape can still be carried out successfully.
The first flight demonstration of the SuperDraco will be part of the upcoming pad abort test under NASA’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capabilities (CCiCap) initiative. The pad abort will be the first test of SpaceX’s new launch escape system and is currently expected to take place later this year.
Join us for the unveiling of the new Dragon V2–SpaceX’s next generation spacecraft designed to carry astronauts into space. SpaceX will webcast the event directly from their state-of-the-art design and manufacturing facility in Hawthorne, California.
NASA’s WISE Findings Poke Hole in Black Hole “Doughnut” Theory
A survey of more than 170,000 supermassive black holes, using NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), has astronomers reexamining a decades-old theory about the varying appearances of these interstellar objects. The unified theory of active supermassive black holes, first developed in the late 1970s, was created to explain why black holes, though similar in nature, can look completely different. Some appear to be shrouded in dust, while others are exposed and easy to see.Read more.
W. Harris & J. Webb (McMaster); NASA/ESA/The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
The July issue of Astronomy magazine imagines how the ultra-starry night sky on a globular cluster planet would affect astronomy, explains the Chandra X-ray Observatory’s most important discoveries, dives into NuSTAR’s extreme X-ray investigations, highlight amazing photographers from astroimager Gerald Rhemann, reviews Celestron’s StarSense Accessory, and more.We’ve also updated the latest Web extras that complement July’s stories. Subscribers can:
Editor David J. Eicher shares highlights from the July issue.Watch now.
Astronomy magazine is currently seeking an associate editor to add to our staff. Write and edit stories about various cosmic phenomena, advance the brand’s line of digital products, represent the magazine at conferences and star parties, and more. For more details about this position and how to apply, check out the careers page of the Kalmbach Publishing Co. website at www.kalmbach.com.
The Libertarian Futurist Society has announced its Best Novel and Best Classic Fiction (Hall of Fame) finalists for its annual Prometheus Awards. The awards will be presented during Loncon 3, the 72nd annual World Science Fiction Convention August 14-18, 2014, in London. The Best Novel finalists (in alphabetical order by author) for this year’s Prometheus Award for best pro-freedom novel of 2013:
* Homeland, by Cory Doctorow (TOR Books) is a sequel to Doctorow’s Prometheus winner Little Brother and follows the continuing adventures of a government-brutalized but still-idealistic young leader of a movement of tech-savvy hackers who must decide whether to release an incendiary Wikileaks-style expose of massive government abuse and corruption as part of a struggle against the invasive national-security state.
* A Few Good Men, by Sarah Hoyt (Baen Books), set in the same future as Hoyt’s Prometheus-winning Darkship Thieves and the beginning of her Earth’s Revolution saga, blends drama, romance, intrigue into a suspenseful struggle against a vicious tyranny of an entrenched and cloned elite that offers lessons about the roots of dictatorship, the seeds of revolution and our American heritage of freedom.
* Crux, by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot Books), is the sequel to Nexus and further extends a fascinating exploration of possibilities for both freedom and vicious mind control with emerging medical/computer technologies.
* Nexus, by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot Books) offers a gripping exploration of politics and new extremes of both freedom and tyranny in a near future where emerging technology opens up unprecedented possibilities for mind control or personal liberation and interpersonal connection.
* Brilliance, by Marcus Sakey (Thomas & Mercer) is a futuristic suspense thriller and a parable of democracy’s downfall about an ambivalent federal agent pursuing a “brilliant,” one of a small emerging percentage of humans with unusual abilities that threaten the status quo and trigger efforts to suppress emerging differences.
The Prometheus Hall of Fame award for Best Classic Fiction honors novels, novellas, stories, graphic novels, anthologies, films, TV shows/series, plays, poems, music recordings and other works of fiction first published or broadcast more than five years ago. The 2014 finalists for the Prometheus Hall of Fame award for Best Classic Fiction are (in chronological order):
* “As Easy as A.B.C.,” a short story by Rudyard Kipling published in London Magazine in 1912, presents an ambiguously utopian future that has reacted against mass society (which was beginning to emerge during Kipling’s day) in favor of privacy and freedom of movement.
* “Sam Hall,” a short story by Poul Anderson published in Astounding Science Fiction in 1953, depicts a regimented future America obsessed with security and facing a libertarian revolution aided by cybernetic subversion.
* “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman,” a short story by Harlan Ellison published in Galaxy in 1965, is a dystopian satire set in an authoritarian society dedicated to punctuality, in which a lone absurdist rebel attempts to disrupt everyone else’s schedules.
* Falling Free, a novel by Lois McMaster Bujold published in 1988, explores free will and self-ownership by considering the legal and ethical implications of human genetic engineering.
Courtship Rite, a novel by Donald M. Kingsbury published in 1982, portrays a harsh desert planet’s exotic human culture founded on applying the mathematical concept of optimization in biology, political organization, and ethics.
Nine novels were nominated for this year’s Best Novel award. The other 2013 novels nominated for this award: Seven Against Mars by Martin Berman-Gorvine (Wildside), Armageddon’s Princess, by Anthony Pacheco (Amazon, Barnes Noble), The Long War, by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter (Harper Collins) and Shadow of Freedom, by David Weber (Baen Books).
The Prometheus Award, sponsored by the Libertarian Futurist Society (LFS), was established in 1979, making it one of the most enduring awards after the Nebula and Hugo awards, and one of the oldest fan-based awards currently in sf. Presented annually since 1982 at the World Science Fiction Convention, the Prometheus Awards include a gold coin and plaque for the winners. For more than three decades, the Prometheus Awards have recognized outstanding works of science fiction and fantasy that stress the importance of liberty as the foundation for civilization, peace, prosperity, progress and justice.
For a full list of past Prometheus Award winners in all categories, visit www.lfs.org. Membership in the Libertarian Futurist Society is open to any science fiction fan interested in how fiction can promote an appreciation of the value of liberty.
For more information, contact LFS Publicity Chair Chris Hibbert (). To submit 2014 novels for consideration and possible nomination by LFS members, contact Best Novel awards coordinator Michael Grossberg ( or 614-236-5040). To propose works published more than five years ago for the Hall of Fame, contact William H. Stoddard, Hall of Fame finalist judging committee chair ().