Welcome to issue 109!
Even hardened editors (like me) can have moments of embarrassing fanboy meltdown. Perhaps the worst of my life came in front of one of this month’s authors—Jacqueline Carey.
Jacqueline is one of the most important fantasists to emerge out of the new millennia. Her debut novel, Kushiel’s Dart, won her great acclaim and the Locus Awards for Best First Novel. It also turned me into a lifelong fan. A lengthy essay about the importance of Kushiel’s Dart in terms of its acceptance of love of any form would make for an interesting piece. And perhaps, one day, I will run one in the zine. For now, let me just say this:
Her lush world of Terre d’Ange, the appeal of the series’ protagonist Phèdre, and it’s open acceptance of sexuality made a mark on a young 20-something guy who was just out of college and living in a world outside the insular nature of southeast Kentucky. When I met Jacqueline for the first time at Worldcon 2012, all these feelings I had about her writing, its importance to me, and details of the books that I love all poured out of me.
All. Of. Them.
After an understandably confused and weirded out Jacqueline escaped my bubble of excitement, I knew immediately I had made a fool of myself. And worse, I probably had made Jacqueline uncomfortable. I waited a couple of weeks after the conference ended to email and apologize. She graciously accepted, and we’ve had a nice professional and email friendship. I’ve also learned to tamp down my enthusiasm when I meet people who have been influential in my life.
This issue marks the second time I’ve had the honor of publishing Jacqueline’s work. In 2005 when I started editing and publishing, I never dreamed I would be in a position to publish writers like Jacqueline Carey, Walter Mosley, Ursula Vernon, and Cherie Priest. But it’s happened and the dream is real.
I hope you enjoy Jacqueline’s story “Suzie Q,” a moving, unflinching story about sexual awakening, abuse, and the demons associated with it all.
Our other piece of original fiction is by James Beamon and is titled “Three Meetings of the Pregnant Man Support Group.” The central plot will come as no surprise—it’s right in the title. In spite of being a well-travelled trope, James twists male pregnancy into something fresh and interesting with his uncomfortable exploration of xenobiology, pregnancy, and a person’s right to choose.
Tobias S. Buckell is one of the best short fiction writers in the business, and we’re always delighted to have him in our pages. He’s our reprint selection this month with “A Different Kind of Place” that first showed up on his Patreon and is now presented here, publicly, for the first time.
Mur Lafferty makes her Apex Magazine debut with a nonfiction piece titled “Mindy St. Claire and the Male Gaze (Or Lack Thereof).” It examines how the television show The Good Place deals with sexuality in a positive manner.
Paul Jessup’s weird space opera Close Your Eyes comes to Apex Book Company soon, and Paul has written an appropriately weird and entertaining essay about his path to writing the story and its subsequent publications.
And the capper to all this wonderful content: An interview with cover artists May & Sin by Russell Dickerson, an interview with author James Beamon by Andrea Johnson, a new Between the Lines column from Laura Zats and Erik Hane, and a new Page Advice column by Brea Grant and Mallory O’Meara.
Finally, don’t forget our podcast! This month we present “Suzie Q” by Jacqueline Carey.
Until next time!