If you’re the type of reader who likes to read a zine’s content and then goes back to see what the editor has to say regarding the work (I do this), let me put this out there:
I wasn’t trying to ruin your holiday. I promise.
There’s a bit of an art form when it comes to selecting stories for an issue. You want work that is similar in theme and mood, but uniquely special. While not every issue can conform to these characteristics due to word counts and assorted production schedule items, this is the goal. And this month it came together beautifully.
We’ve had the incredible “Girls Who Do Not Drown” by A.C. Buchanan in our inventory for a long time. It’s a classic coming-of-age tale of finding your true self despite society’s expectations and certainly could have fit into a number of previous issues. But for reasons having to do with story length, mood, and not wanting to slap our readers over the head thematically, I held it until the right moment.
“Captain Midrise” by James Marino is about how we treat those in the sunset of their lives, creating a nice dichotomy with Buchanan’s piece. They fit together well thematically. Both are quiet, melancholy works that share the same emotional space.
And then there’s the gut punch of “On the Day You Spend Forever with Your Dog” by Adam R. Shannon. Shannon’s story faces head on the inevitability of loss and the march of time—both themes touched on by Buchanan and Marino.
As a whole, to me, these three stories work well together. Yet, they are all very different in style and memorable in their own ways.
See, there was no malicious attempt to depress you. Apex wants everyone to be happy and have a wonderful holiday month! Though you may need some Kleenex while reading the issue.
Our reprint this month is Dee Warrick’s “The Man Who Has Been Killing Kittens.” And before you cry out in despair and give up on this issue, please hear me out. Dee’s story does not contain kitten abuse. Dee is using it as a metaphorical construct to … well, I don’t want to give away too much. Read her story because Dee is always amazing.
We have an interesting pair of essays this month by newcomer Isabella Faidley and industry pro Alethea Kontis. Each share their unique and specific takes on Gen Con. Isabella is 14 years old and Gen Con was her first convention. Alethea exists outside of time and has attended dozens of conventions. Seeing the contrast in expectations and experiences between these two ladies is very neat.
Andrea Johnson held it together long enough to interview Adam R. Shannon about his heartbreaking story “On the Day You Spend Forever with Your Dog.” Finally, we round out the last issue of 2018 with Russell Dickerson’s interview with cover artist Ronnie Jensen.
2018 has been a … year. Onward to a better and brighter 2019!