Musings from Maryland3 min read


Lesley Conner
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Welcome to Apex Magazine issue 136! While issue 135 delved into stories outside of the here and now with delightful dark fairy and folk tales, this issue focuses on the horrors brought about by modern technology and situations. I love a story that takes something we all use in our day-to-day lives and twists it so it becomes something threatening.

We’re opening the issue with “Over Moonlit Clouds” by Coda Audeguy-Pegon. This is a stunning story about societal bias, media spin, and how one person’s hostile reaction can turn a tense situation into a tragedy. It highlights how compassion can go so much further than force, and how that compassion can be shoved aside by someone misunderstanding and escalating the situation. This is also Coda’s first published story and I am blown away by the rich, textured world e was able to create.

Beth Dawkins returns to Apex Magazine with “Beautiful Poison in Pastel.” This is a story that explores what terrifies the nightmares and what happens if, rather than being afraid, one nightmare becomes enamored by the very thing that could unravel their entire existence.

“Unboxing” by Lavie Tidhar packs a powerful wallop in just over 2,000 words. This story takes the children’s unboxing viral video fad and twists it in a truly sinister way. Go ahead and give it a try. I bet that like the little girl in the story, you won’t be able to look away.

Claire Humphrey first appeared in Apex Magazine way back in 2014 in issue 58 with “The End of the World in Five Dates.” This issue she returns with a story about running a small business, quality products, and mass production undercutting sales. “The State Street Robot Factory” is steeped in the realities small business owners face every day as they strive to stay afloat among larger companies undercutting costs with subpar products, but rather than being melancholy and morose, the story finds a sliver of hope. It is delightful and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Sara Tantlinger brings us the second of the six promised stories from the Apex Magazine 2023 Kickstarter. In “After the Twilight Fades,” Emilia finds herself stuck in a life where her thoughts and opinions are constantly overshadowed by her husband and sister’s. An experience with a meteorite and a strange hypnotist unlocks truths she had kept hidden inside herself for years.

“The Words That Make Us Fly” by S.L. Harris delves into a world of magic and friendships that were. It is hard to be the friend that is left behind—people move away, move on, and sometimes die. If you’re left wanting what used to be, there’s a deep sadness that can feel overwhelming as you try to recapture what was. S.L. Harris has written a heartbreaking story of trying to reclaim the magic between a group of friends who are no longer all together. It’s a story that easily could have gotten bogged down in the sadness of what once was, but instead becomes a celebration of finding that magic within oneself. It is beautifully done and not a story you won’t want to miss.

Our flash fiction comes from Taryn Frazier and Rich Larson. Taryn’s piece came from our inked themed submissions and Rich’s is from the candy floss pink submissions.

Marissa van Uden interviews Code Audeguy-Pegon and S.L. Harris in our author interviews. Bradley Powers chats with cover artist Lenka Šimečková about the pressures of having a large social media presence and the importance of symbolism.

Our classic fiction is by Joy Baglio and Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki. Our essays come from Emmy Jackson and Paul Weimer.

As always, I hope you enjoy this issue as much as I have enjoyed putting it together. I love when stories can pluck things from modern life—social media, YouTube, air travel—and turn them in a way that we’re forced, as readers, to view them differently. If you enjoy this issue and the ones that have come before it, I hope you’ll consider picking up a subscription to help us fund future issues of Apex Magazine. You can buy a subscription directly from us here:

Also, when this issue comes out, we will be in the midst of a Kickstarter to fund a new anthology co-edited by Jason Sizemore and myself. Robotic Ambitions is an anthology of genre short fiction exploring what it means to be mechanical and sentient. We have a stellar lineup of anchor authors contributing stories to this project and look forward to diving into the submissions once the anthology has been funded. Find out more about Robotic Ambitions on Kickstarter here:

Until the next issue, I wish you fantastic stories and happy reading.

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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