Editorial, Issue 121

January 5, 2021

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Jason Sizemore is the editor-in-chief of Apex Magazine and the publisher of Apex Book Company. You can follow him online via the Apex Magazine Twitter feed @apexmag.

Hello Apex Magazine readers. I’ve missed you.

Our last formal issue was released on May 7th, 2019. Due to major personal health issues, we placed the zine on indefinite hiatus. Many people didn’t expect to see us publish again. If I’m being honest, in those early months of recovery, neither did I.

I certainly intended to bring the zine back once I’d recovered from having my left fibula replace my entire mandible. As the post-surgical complications mounted, my mood dropped, and so did my hopes of pulling Apex Magazine from its lengthy nap.

As the winter of 2019 melted into the spring of 2020, I realized I needed the motivation that editing and publishing Apex Magazine provides. Plans were made. A Kickstarter was launched and funded in five hours. The cloud on my mood lifted. My health improved. Soon I was back to working full-time for the first time since January, 2019.

I’m due for the last surgical procedure on my jaw in mid-December. Releasing issue 121 feels like the right way to celebrate the challenges I’ve faced over the last 22 months. I hope reading this issue brings you as much enjoyment as I had publishing and editing it.

Before I introduce the issue’s contents, I want to discuss some of the changes the relaunched Apex Magazine has undergone.

1) We’re now bi-monthly instead of monthly. Six issues per year instead of twelve. 

2) The total content is almost the same. Every issue has six original stories, two reprints, two essays, two author interviews, one artist interview, and one short fiction review piece. Our podcast will feature two stories from each issue. Everything is doubled in count except the artist interview and short fiction review.

3) The price of single issues did not double and only increased to $4.99.

4) Same with subscriptions. A one-year subscription only costs $24.

5) Apex-Magazine.com now has its own online store.

6) I’m still editor-in-chief and Lesley Conner is the managing editor. Maurice Broaddus joins us as special fiction editor. Shana DuBois is our nonfiction editor.

Our content will still be made available free online and released in parcels in the duration between issues. Our podcast will remain a monthly feature. 

Most importantly, we still need our readers support via a subscription purchase or backing us on Patreon! While I’m a proponent of crowdfunding, I am in awe of those publishers who are able to run them annually as they are incredibly stressful and time-consuming. I’d rather focus on editing and publishing the zine, and that means making Apex Magazine self-funding via subs and Patreon. If you haven’t done so yet and are able, please consider supporting us through one of these two options.

For our big return, we recruited three of our most popular past contributors to be a part of the relaunch: Alix E. Harrow, Cassandra Khaw, and Merc Fenn Wolfmoor. They each delivered an original story that exemplifies their strengths as writers and defines the type of surreal, strange, shocking, and beautiful fiction we strive to publish.

“Mr. Death” by Alix E. Harrow is firmly in the sub-genre category of “reaper” fiction. As is typical with Alix’s fiction, she layers her plot with emotional depth and provides a payoff that isn’t entirely expected, but wholly earned. One of my favorite writers, Cassandra Khaw, gives us “Love, That Hungry Thing.” Every work of Cassandra’s fiction holds the promise of something unusual, something new. Khaw writes dreamscapes that are unique to her style and sensibilities. There’s a reason she keeps popping up in Apex (and nearly every other pro zine). Merc Fenn Wolfmoor writes the kind of dark fantasy that blends repressive dystopia with glimpses of optimism. Their “Gray Skies, Red Wings, Blue Lips, Black Hearts” pulls the reader on a heroic search for the soul of a lost girl. The city landscape Merc creates is memorable, cruel, and one I hope to visit again.

After our Kickstarter funded, we opened to submissions. One of the first stories we received was Fargo Tbakhi’s “Root Rot.” This one generated a lot of buzz with our slush readers. It’s an emotional, powerful post-colonial dystopian story of a Palestinian man struggling to find his place in a segregated Mars city. “The Niddah” by Elana Gomel is cautionary tale showing how easy the world slips into authoritarianism and misogynistic practices when under duress. In “Your Own Undoing” by P H Lee, a loyal wizard’s familiar asks you to write your own story to save his master.

Rounding out the original fiction is the winner of our annual Holiday Horrors flash fiction contest: “All I Want for Christmas” by Charles Payseur.

We’re delighted to bring two classic works to our pages this issue: “Roots on Ya” by LH Moore and “The Ace of Knives” by Tonya Liburd.

Author Usman T. Malik struggles with Covid-19, mortality, and writing in “Story-less: A Forethought.” Malka Older examines the dangerous powers of fiction in media in “Trapped in Stories.”

AC Wise returns with her short fiction review series “Words for Thought.” Russell Dickerson interviews our cover artist Vicki be Wicked. Finally, Andrea Johnson interviews authors Fargo Tbakhi and P H Lee.

Thank you for joining us for our relaunch. See you in March!

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© Jason Sizemore

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