Words from the Editor-in-Chief

July 6, 2021

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Jason Sizemore is the owner and editor-in-chief of Apex Magazine and the Apex Book Company. You can follow him online via his Twitter feed @apexjason.


For many companies, the fiscal year closes at the end of June. It’s a time of financial reckoning. It’s a time of seeing red (losses) or black (profit)—a very stark snapshot of the past year.

Unfortunately, Apex Magazine ended the fiscal year running in the red. This means we are not able to go into 2022 funding the magazine through subscribers alone as we had hoped we’d be able to. We are launching a Kickstarter project on July 19th to secure funding for the first three issues of next year.

All along, we suspected a second Kickstarter would be required. We hoped it wouldn’t be and tried valiantly to generate enough subscribers to avoid another round of crowdfunding, but we knew reaching that level would be difficult. As of this writing, we’re approximately at one-half the number of subscribers we need to be fully self-sustaining through subscriptions alone.

The loss of our Kindle Periodicals income stream has been a challenge and is probably the biggest reason we missed our goal. Before we went on hiatus, we had over 1000 subscribers via KP. After the relaunch, we discovered that Amazon had closed our Kindle Periodicals account. They would not reopen it. Nor would they create a new account. Supposedly, they’re not letting anyone into the program until it’s been redesigned from top to bottom. Until that happens, that flow of income will have to be discovered elsewhere.

So, we turn to Kickstarter and crowdfunding.

There will be many great rewards, oh yes. We’re having wooden bookmarks made. New stickers. Critiques. Mystery boxes. Swag bundles. Mugs. Art prints. It’s going to be awesome. While running a Kickstarter is challenging and, at times exhausting, both Lesley and I are excited to jump back in and see what we can accomplish in 30 days.

You can sign up here to be notified when the project goes live. We’re setting our funding goal to $10,000. This covers the costs of three issues. Stretch goals will fund a whole year of fiction (six issues), along with a pair of exciting guest-edited bonus issues.

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Before we dive into the content of this issue, we have a couple of staffing announcements. Our nonfiction editor, Shana DuBois, is taking what we hope is a temporary leave of absence. Stepping in for her as interim nonfiction editor is ZZ Claybourne. As readers of the zine will know, he has a singular voice and point of view (check out “Jimi Hendrix Sang It” for an example), and we look forward to what he’ll bring to the publication.

Also joining the team as associate editors are Rebecca Schibler and Marissa Van Uden. Both made their marks as valuable members of our slush team. Welcome Becky and Marissa!

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This month we are delighted by the return of Beth Dawkins to our pages. Her story “Eilam Is Forever” centers on a generational ship whose line of succession is supervised by a ruthless AI.

R. Gatwood debuts in Apex Magazine with the harrowing “How to Be Good.” Renward, the ostensible protagonist, takes pride in his work. As the specifics of the job are fed to the reader, we learn the horrible truth about this man and the people he works for. This story hits hard and isn’t one you’ll quickly forget. Readers, please heed the content warnings for this one.

“Survival, After” by Nicole J. LeBoeuf is an unusual end-of-world story with an unusual point-of-view. Interestingly, I met Nicole due to the COVID-19 lockdown. She participated in a workshop that I led online that otherwise would have been in-person. A few months later, her story found its way to me via our submissions portal.

Kelly Sandoval’s “What Sisters Take” looks at the vanishing twin medical phenomenon and asks “What if we take that a step further?” It’s probably the most traditional story in this issue, but it also might deliver the most powerful punch.

Kingsley Okpii’s “Osu” is a reflective dark fantasy tale about the costs of sacrifice many are asked to make at a young age. The story follows an interesting structure similar to the five stages of grief.

Finally, our original fiction closes with a near indescribable dystopian fantasy by one of the most creative writers in the field, E. Catherine Tobler. “Without Wishes to Bind You” is set in a blurry post-industrial collapse. The protagonist and his traveling companion are bound by the memory of a lost loved one and together they seek her out. It’s a fascinating, challenging read.

Our reprints this month are “The Fine Print” by Chinelo Onwualu and “The Shadow We Cast Through Time” by Indrapramit Das. This is Chinelo’s first appearance and Indrapramit’s first since 2013.

Our nonfiction selections this month are by Tonya Liburd and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro. Tonya dissects why readers should be more accepting of dialect and Patois in “Dialect, Patois: If It’s Good Enough for Anthony Burgess, It’s Good Enough for You.” Alvaro examines the inclination and history science fiction has for making self-references in “A Special Kind of Eye: Meta-Representation in Science Fiction.”

This month Andrea Johnson interviews authors R. Gatwood and Kelly Sandoval. Russell Dickerson interviews cover artist Martina Boscolo.

A.C. Wise delivers another Words for Thoughts: Short Fiction Review. Finally, we launch our new book reviews feature. Each issue members of the Apex team will review two recently published books.

Enjoy the issue!

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© Jason Sizemore

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