Musings from Maryland3 min read

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Happy New Year and welcome to Apex Magazine Issue 135!

            We’re kicking off 2023 with an issue jam packed with mythology, folklore, and fairy tales. I love tales that twist fate and shine a light on societal issues, entertaining the reader while possibly teaching them a lesson.

            Isabel J. Kim opens the issue with a story that takes the fae court tales of old and pushes it squarely into the modern day. What if higher beings ran law firms? What if you could intern there and have your greatest wish granted? Would you be able to resist the unlimited power of becoming a partner? Would you be able to hang on to your humanity? Isabel takes a story that is, at its heart, a tale about two imperfect people and blows it up to a cosmic scale full of board rooms, elevators through the cosmos, and ironclad deals that are always a trap. This story is beautiful, heartbreaking, but ultimately hopeful.

            Mari Ness returns to Apex Magazine with a twist on the fairy tale “Diamonds and Toads” by Charles Perrault. In “Carnival Ever After,” Mari takes us beyond the end of the fairy tale and reveals the lasting consequences. She does so in a story that is very careful about word choice. When every word you speak results in snakes and toads, you become very cautious indeed. This is a wonderful tale about consequences, found family, and acceptance.

            “The Immortal Game” by Lindz McLeod is one of those stories that got the entire Apex team buzzing. It’s told through chess moves, the story slowly revealing itself as the game plays out, and it instantly caught the attention of the slush team. This story unfolds in an unusual way and has a twist at the end that hits just right.

            “River Bargain Baby.” OMG! K.S. Walker, where have you been all my life?!? This story hits all of the right folklore horror notes for me. It has a strong, clear voice that sets the tone of the story right from the start, and is told through an unusual perspective. I don’t want to say too much because I want you to discover this fantastic story as you read it, but know that author K.S. Walker has won over a new fan in me. I can’t wait to read more from them.

            Akis Linardos brings us a modern fairy tale with “Daughter, Mother, Charcoal.” Exploring patriarchal systems used to keep women small and at home, this story does a wonderful job of showing how a girl can be trapped in the same way her mother was. In some ways this story is very bleak, but there is a tiny glimmer of hope, if not for the narrator, then maybe for the future.

            The final piece of original fiction in this issue is “The Wreck of the Medusa” by Jordan Kurella. This is a story about leaving home so you can become the person you are supposed to be. It’s also a pirate story with lots of high seas adventure, mutiny, and danger!

            Our classic fiction in this issue are by V.G. Harrison and LP Kindred. Our nonfiction is by Eugen Bacon and Monica Valentinelli. We have interviews with authors Isabel J. Kim and Akis Linardos and cover artist Asya Yordanova.

            Finally, this is the first issue with flash fiction! Flash fiction was unlocked during our latest Kickstarter and flash fiction editor Rebecca E. Treasure has been hard at work finding a flash slush team and organizing each month’s theme. The themes on display here are Dissected with “Experimental Protocol for the Coronal Sectioning and Assessment of a Human Soul” by Sagan Yee, and Footsteps in the Forest with “Walking the Deep Down” by Michelle Denham. We hope you all enjoy this bonus content as much as we do.

            Thank you for starting your new year with Apex Magazine. We are so excited to see what amazing things we can bring you this year.

Lesley Conner

Lesley Conner

Lesley Conner is a writer and managing editor for Apex Magazine. She spends her days pestering book reviewers, proofreading, wrangling slush, doling out contracts, and chatting about books, writing, and anything else that crosses her mind on the @ApexBookCompany Twitter account. Most of her nights are spent with a good book and a glass of wine. Her alternative history horror novel, The Weight of Chains, was published by Sinister Grin Press. To discover all her secrets follow her on Twitter at @LesleyConner.
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