Archive for the ‘Jason Sizemore’ Category
As many of you know, I’m a non-fiction contributor at Apex Magazine. I interview authors, and occasionally do some other fun stuff. If you’re a spec fic reader who is always looking for something a little weird, a little different, something unexpected, Apex Magazine is for you! Jason and Lesley get this incredible magazine out the (digital) door every month, jam packed with surreal and atmospheric fiction, speculative poetry, author and artist interviews, and essays. But that’s not enough for Jason and Lesley. No, they want to bring you more fiction! more poetry! more non-fiction! For the next 2 weeks, the Apex Subscription drive aims to do just that: gaining more subscribers means more people will enjoy this magazine every month, which means funding for more Apex awesomeness. But why don’t I let Jason and Lesley tell you more? And why don’t we do that while surrounded by gorgeous Apex cover art?
oh, and by the way, there is something really awesome (and a little crazy) coming later this week. It involves you putting your thinking caps on, and me giving away a subscription to Apex.
Andrea: First things first. How did you each get involved with Apex Magazine? What are your responsibilities at the magazine?
Jason Sizemore: I’m the creator, owner, editor-in-chief, and He Who Writes the Checks. I started Apex in response to an early midlife crisis. Here I am, truly in midlife, and I’m still doing it.
Lesley Conner: I’d been working on the book side of Apex Publications for a few years when Cameron Salisbury decided to step down as the managing editor of Apex Magazine. Jason had recently stepped back into the editor-in-chief role and we already knew that we work really well together. He asked me if I’d be interested in filling the vacancy, and I immediately said yes.
As for what I do … a little of everything. Except write checks! That is all Jason!
Andrea: What goals are you hoping to reach with this subscription drive?
published June 20, 2015
where I got it: received review copy from the publisher (thanks Apex!)
Almost exactly a year ago, in an interview with Jason Sizemore, I politely asked him how Apex Magazine was born. He must have realized what I was really asking was “were you absolutely crazy?”, because he answered tersely and politely. We both knew there was a lot more to that story. For Exposure is the rest of the story.
We all know I don’t read much non-fiction, which is it’s own tragedy. So, a chance to read non-fiction, and learn about the dark underbelly and weird secrets behind the birth of Apex Publications? Sign me up!
Full Disclosure: I am a contributor at Apex Magazine, and Jason is a personal friend of mine. What does that mean for you? Not much, except that I’ve met most of people mentioned in For Exposure, yet I still missed half the jokes.
For Exposure starts with Jason’s childhood – his religious upbringing, watching horror movies with his mom, and falling in love with reading science fiction, horror, and fantasy. That little boy grew up, got a job in IT, had the worst 30th birthday ever, and decided there had to be something better than this. He dreamed big, and Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest was born. Shortly after that, Jason attended his first fandom convention with the goal of putting a promotional copy of Apex Digest into the hands of anyone at the con who would stand still long enough to talk to him. Didn’t he realize that con-goers love a)free stuff and b)con virgins? Also? Strange glitter covered ladies found in elevators should always be trusted and mysterious alcoholic drinks shouldn’t ever be trusted. If you’re a con-goer yourself, you’ll get a chuckle out of these chapters. If you’re not a con-goer your mileage may vary.
For Exposure is full of the ups and downs of Apex, how it phoenixed through awful contracts, doomed distribution models, badly timed illnesses, the joy of socializing with amazing people at conventions, finding the right people for your team, and watching your risky decisions pay off. Apex Magazine has been nominated for a Best Semi-Prozine Hugo three times, and novels, short stories, poetry and artwork published through Apex have won the Nebula, Aurealis, Rhysling, Stoker, and Chelsea. So you tell me if you think the risks Jason took have paid off.
published April 2014
where I got in: purchased the e-book
Advertised as a horror anthology, Irredeemable has plenty of awful people who get exactly what they deserve in horrific ways with no hope of escape. But it’s also peppered with Urban fantasy stories, straight up science fiction tales, and the most horrific stories in which yes, someone did something bad, but surely not so bad to deserve what they get. And this deep in the Appalachian hills, where fear, religion, suspicion, and xenophobia run rampant, there’s always someone available to get what they deserve.
If straight up, nail biting, edge of your seat horror is your thing, be sure to read “City Hall”, in which a human resources department employes a very unique method of saving taxpayer dollars; “Ice Cream At the Falls”, an open ended story in which you’ll probably be cheering when this particular asshole gets exactly what he deserves after learning the truth about a false conviction; “Sleeping Quartet”, in which “what could possibly go wrong?” is taken further than you’d expect, and “The Dead & Metty Crawford”, which is the absolute creepiest most disturbing zombie story possibly ever written, among many others.
Quite a few of the stories have an urban fantasy and science fictional twist, and it didn’t surprise me in the least that those were the ones I was most drawn to. Throw in aliens, or zombies, or voodoo, or robots, or space stations, and I am all over that. And Science Fiction horror? Now we are talking! If this paragraph is sounding like more your cuppa tea, “Plug and Play”, a darkly humorous story about a drug mule; “Mr. Templar”, in which robots are all that’s left on Earth after an apocalypse; and “Sonic Scarring”, in which what’s left of humanity hides in the hills after an alien invasion were written just for you.
With everything from gothic horror to post apocalyptic science fiction, the connecting thread is that of characters trying to escape the consequences of their decisions, and nearly begging the reader to forgive them.
After reading Jason’s short story collection Irredeemable (watch for the review later today!), I was brimming with questions for him. The interview below just scratches the surface of everything I wanted to know about the collection, where his ideas come from, all the other projects he’s involved in. Luckily I’ll have plenty of time to question and pester him later this year when I see him at ConText! And if you’ve got questions yourself, be sure to pester Jason on twitter, @apexjason. We should probably ask him when he finds time to sleep. 😉
Let’s get to the interview!
LRR: You know those “book blind dates” at bookstores, where they cover a book in brown paper, and write things on the paper like “historical fiction!”, “dinosaurs!” and “ray guns!”? What should go on the outside of Irredeemable when it’s covered up to be a book blind date?
J.S.: “Just deserts!”
LRR: What are some of your favorite stories in the collection? Which ones were the most challenging to write?
J.S.: As a huge geek and software developer, I find myself interested in issues involving artificial intelligence and evolving consciousness. “Mr. Templar” is my post-apocalyptic take on that concept where humans destroy the world and only a small handful of androids and robots still exist. Mr. Templar is searching for his creator. It is a bittersweet, touching, and charming story, and by far my favorite.
The most challenging to write was “For the Sake of Pleasing.” I wanted to write something longer than 10,000 words outside a sub-genre I usually write in. At the time, I was reading the Night Watch series by Sergei Lukyanenko, and wanted to try my hand at a dark fantasy similar to his. It took me months to get “For the Sake of Pleasing” to a point that made me happy.
Something especially interesting was kicking around the twittersphere last week. Something about a new military science fiction anthology edited by the very talented Jaym Gates and Andrew Liptak, and published by Apex Publishing. you know how sometimes you catch something out of the corner of your eye, and you just have to see what it is, you just have to learn more? The War Stories Anthology is that thing. And what better way to learn about it than by chatting up the editors and the publisher?
Not sure if a military scifi anthology is for you? Chances are you’re already reading Military Science Fiction, you just don’t know it. Enjoy Ender’s Game? How about Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga? How about Max Brooks’ World War Z? Dune by Frank Herbert? John Scalzi? Ever play Mass Effect? or Halo? see? you’re already a fan!
Jaym and Andrew have already talked extensively about this project, over at Reddit, over at Fantasy Book Critic, at Toonari Post, at Book Life Now, at Dribble of Ink, and elsewhere. If the Kickstarter succeeds, an especially unique anthology will see the light of day. Military science fiction is so much more than any hokey Baen Books cover art would have you believe.
My guests today:
Jaym Gates is the editor of the zombie anthology Rigor Amortis, which was a Barnes and Noble Top 10 pick in 2011, and short fiction author (published in The Aether Age: Helios). She is the publicist for the Science Fiction Writers of America, Candlemark & Gleam and Pathfinder Books. She helped launch several Kickstarter projects, including Geek Love, the highest-funded anthology in Kickstarter’s history.
Andrew Liptak received his Master of Arts in Military History from Norwich University (the nation’s first private military academy), and has written extensively about military science fiction for io9 and SF Signal, and has written for such websites as Kirkus Reviews, Geek Exchange, Tor.com, Strange Horizons, and magazines such as Armchair General and the Norwich Record. He is currently an editorial assistant for Lightspeed Magazine.
Jason Sizemore is the owner and operator of Apex Publications, a small press publisher dedicated to producing exemplary works of science fiction, horror, fantasy and non-fiction.
The Links you need:
Let’s get to the interview!