The world works in downright strange ways.
Magazines are put together months in advance. It was in, oh, December of last year, I think, that Cameron and Elise and I determined that the April issue of Apex would be about repair. About fixing the world, about how that goes right or goes wrong, about how pieces interconnect and fit together. Or don’t. About how the past can be repaired, or replaced, about the friability of a body, a plan, a history, or a life.
For a week in February of 2014, I was told I almost certainly had throat cancer.
And then a damn miracle occurred, and I do not.
I spent a great deal of February of this year thinking about the plan I hoped for my life, and how that was about to change. How my body was failing and faltering, and whether or not it could be repaired. As I write this essay, I find myself still emotionally returning from the land of “I have cancer” back to the mundane trials and triumphs of my everyday world. It’s a weird rebuilding. With all the setbacks and frustrations I experience, I find myself thinking that at least I am not spending this month undergoing radiation therapy. I am arguing with my kids about their chores instead of coughing up my insides.
I don’t have to rebuild my world. I am desperately grateful for that.
The characters and beings inhabiting Apex Magazine this month are… variably fortunate, on that front. The protagonist of Ferrett Steinmetz’s “The Cultist’s Son” has found himself inexplicably alive, yet uncertain what that life is worth. In “Perfect,” by Haddayr Copley–Woods, we are given a slightly disturbing take on what a rebuilt world should be. John Chu’s “Repairing the World” blends literal world–repair with the building and re–building of individual life.
“Steel Snowflakes,” by Tom Piccirilli, focuses on body repair gone strange and difficult. So does the poem “Cogs,” by Beth Cato. “Aristeia,” by Sonya Taaffe, and “Tell Me the World is a Forest,” by Chris Lynch, both give intimate portraits of world–shaping. Michele Bannister speaks of pressures and changes in a geologic framework, in “Unlabelled Core, c. Zanclean (5.33 M.A.)”. Abra Staffin–Wiebe’s essay, “After Our Bodies Fail,” looks at the history and future of human physical medicine. And our cover art, “Time to Be Zebra,” by Mehrdad Isvandi, depicts yet another form of physical reshaping in masks and deception.
For our subscribers we have a reprint of Pamela Dean’s “Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary.” We also are pleased to give you an excerpt from The Violent Century, by Lavie Tidhar.
We have two interviews this month. Maggie Slater interviews Ferrett Steinmetz, and Loraine Sammy interviews cover artist Mehrdad Isvandi. Our podcast for April is John Chu’s “Repairing the World,” read by Windy Bowlsby and produced by Erika Ensign.
It’s an often–broken world we inhabit. Things falter, plans and bodies and hopes go awry. But we, and the world, keep going. Rebuilt, repaired, and reformed. The future will not look like the past. It’s out there, waiting for us, anyway.