“Who are you?”

“What do you want?”

The television program Babylon 5 made these questions a central theme of the series. Elder races, nigh–unto–gods to the younger species that crowded the screen, would ask these questions of our protagonists. What do you want? Who are you?

Identity. Desire.

I remember when I first saw Bab 5. I remember the sense of gravity, of import, those questions held. How does what I want shape who I am? How are my desires created by my identity?

I could answer those questions when I was young. These days I am older and wiser and I have not a damn clue how to respond.

This issue of Apex has a lot of desire. A great deal of will. Characters want things. In Caroline M. Yoachim’s “Paperclips and Memories and Things That Won’t Be Missed,” we have pure wanting. “Falling Leaves” by Liz Argall is raw with the need for identity. And E. Saxey’s “Not Smart, Not Clever,” is an uncompromising portrayal of a teeth–baring anger, anger at being thwarted and being boxed, anger that decides that desire and identity are practically the same thing.

I urge you to read and then re–read Judith Chalmer’s “Likeness.” Just what is the identity of the object of the piece? And how does that identity shape the narrator? In Gwynne Garfinkle’s “she’s alive, alive,” we are monstrous. In Emma Osborne’s “Crashdown,” we are destroyed.

In addition, Apex is pleased to bring you a previously unpublished Seanan McGuire poem. In conjunction with the release of her new book, Sparrow Hill Road, Apex presents “Graveyard Rose.”

This month brings you an essay from writer and producer Javier Grillo–Marxuach, recounting the search for operational theme in episodic television. Maggie Slater interviews Caroline Yoachim, and Loraine Sammy interviews our cover artist Anneliese Juergensen. Anneliese’s piece, “Stars,” brings a sense of joy and wonder. I can’t help but look at it and smile.

For our subscribers we have an excerpt from Daryl Gregory’s just–released novel, Afterparty. Our reprint is “Microbe” by Joan Slonczewski, originally published by Analog in August, 1995.

Do you know who you are? Do you know what you want? Good for you. Be careful with it, is all I’m saying. Hold those things precious and close, and don’t accept any wishes from strangers.

Sigrid Ellis