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In 2005 when I had the idea to publish Apex Science Fiction & Horror Digest (a print ancestor of this zine), I wanted to publish sci-fi stories that served as cautionary tales regarding our future. Most of it was dark and foreboding because that’s the direction many people feared we were heading. As we turn the corner on 2022, many of those concerns have become reality. In particular, environmental concerns have moved from potentially alarming to actively dangerous.
In times of crisis, the imbalance of resources between the haves and the haves not increases. Since most of us fall solidly in the latter category, it is in our best interests to pull our heads from the sand and confront the current and looming issues now before we’re all too busy trying to survive to do anything at all. Before we’re all trying to exist in a rationed, closed environment.
Science fiction has shown us how difficult it is to maintain the precarious resource balance of a closed system. Think about the multitudes of generational ship stories where food and oxygen (and living space) become battlegrounds. The same applies to distant colonization tales. Life on the moon or Mars. The background tension of being confined is fertile ground for generating social anxiety.
“Have Mercy, My Love, While We Wait for the Thaw” by Iori Kusano from Issue 132 of Apex Magazine is a story that expertly uses this type of social anxiety to create a tense, heartbreaking tale of confinement, bitterness, and sacrifice. Iori is one of my favorite writers, and I’m glad to have them in the zine again.
Making her Apex Magazine debut is Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam with “Creatures of the Dark Oasis.” It’s not often we run straight-up horror (mostly because much of the horror we receive doesn’t contain speculative elements), so Bonnie’s story will be a treat for our readers who prefer darker material. “Creatures of the Dark Oasis” is a multi-layered story that rewards multiple readings.
Jennifer R. Donohue has earned a reputation for poetic, sad stories about loss. In “A Country of Eternal Light,” obsession with the death of a loved one transforms into a desperate act of horror.
Jumping out of the horror genre straight into sci-fi adventure, we have “Schlafstunde” by Lavie Tidhar. “Schlafstunde” contains the hallmarks of Tidhar fiction: clever dialog, a twisty plot, and drug-using robotniks!
Marie Croke is a writer who keeps impressing me with clever world-building and interesting plots. “Your Space Between” might be the best story about closet space I’ve ever read.
During my college years, I spent hundreds of hours studying while Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique played in the background. For Aimee Picchi’s “Notes to a Version of Myself, Hidden in Symphonie fantastique Scores Throughout the Multiverse,” the “March to the scaffold” played in my head on repeat and enhanced my enjoyment of the author’s story of a dimension-traveling orchestra conductor looking to find herself. I can heartily recommend you try the same trick.
This month we feature classic fiction by Kameron Hurley (“Sky Boys” from her new Apex Books collection Future Artifacts: Stories) and Sarah Hans (“Chorus of Whispers”). In the essay “Optics,” author Kwame Mbalia shows us how bias can be presented through the supposedly neutral eye of technology. Michelle P. Browne encourages writers to explore the use of non-traditional relationships in “Stabilized Love Triangles: Tips on Writing OT3s from a Real Polyamorist.”
Rounding out this issue’s content are interviews with Aimee Picchi, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, and artist Galactic Nikita, and a review of Premee Mohamed’s Nebula award-winning novella And What Can We Offer You Tonight.
On behalf of my co-editor, Lesley Conner, and I, I hope you enjoy issue 132.