18 months ago I took over Apex as editor–I wanted to learn and I hoped to have an effect on the magazine and the field, highlighting new authors and printing stories that might not have found homes elsewhere. It’s not for me to judge whether I succeeded at that task, but a girl can hope. I am proud of the work I’ve done here, and I’m proud of the venue these dark, fascinating digs have become. Most particularly, I’m proud of our Arab/Muslim issue, which I believe stands as a positive and gorgeous statement against the myriad prejudices we’ve seen rear their heads in our genre.
Editors are often unsung heroes–they choose and curate, arranging stories thoughtfully and provokingly, like a practitioner of ikebana. If they do their work right, an issue seems natural, organic, the pieces play off each other, complementing or even confronting. It is a subtle art, to say the least. I have been fortunate enough to work with many wonderful editors in my career–and I appreciate them tremendously, having stood in their shoes for a little while. As we welcome a new editor to Apex, and unveil her first arrangement of strange orchids, it seemed an appropriate time for me to say good-bye in a more formal way–by at long last writing a story for Apex, and by thanking you all for reading, discussing, and supporting our authors and our magazine. I took Apex in a new direction, as every editor does simply by bringing all their experience, taste, and ambition with them. I am grateful that so many were willing to take a chance on an utterly green captain at the wheel, and that so many liked where we ended up.
It was a hard decision to leave. In the end, I am a writer more than I am an editor, and I had only so much heart to portion out in any given day. But I am simply going from Apex editor to avid Apex reader, and I cannot wait to see the next evolution.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my erstwhile and incredibly dedicated and thoughtful slush readers, who are even more unsung than editors, but without whom my job would have been impossible. And of course Jason Sizemore, who had a crazy idea to hire a girl who’d never done this before.
Good-bye, everyone. I’ll miss this.
The editor is dead. Long live the editor.
Catherynne M. Valente
Apex Magazine Editor-in-Chief (April 2010 – October 2011)