the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘Apex Magazine

This month’s Apex Magazine has a bragworthy table of contents.  Fiction by Aimee Ogden, Tobias Buckell, Mary Turzillo, Maureen McHugh and more, and non-fiction essays and reviews from Karen Lord, Mary Turzillo, and A.C. Wise.

 

You’ll need to check back on their website later in the month to see everything that’s being released for free, but right now, you can read the fantastic short story “Elena’s Angel”, by Aimee Ogden, and you can also read the interview I did with her.

 

But I want to turn this into a discussion. Go read Ogden’s story.  Or if you don’t have time, just read the Interview. or if you have lots of time, read both. And come back here and chat with me in the comments.   What did you think of the Angelic people in the story? Are they helpful? a hindrance? abusive? are they a gift, or something to be freed from?

 

And speaking of short stories, I’ve been enjoying some fantastic short story podcasts from Clarkesworld recently,  and hope to post reviews of them soon.

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You’ve all read Robert Sawyer (right?).  The WWW series, the Hominids series, Flashforward,  Mindscan, Frameshift,  about a 20 other novels, and his newest novel is Quantum Night.

Sawyer won his first Prix Aurora award in 1991 and has been going strong ever since.  His books are accessible and easy on the eyes. He writes the kind of near future scifi thrillers that are perfect for your friends who don’t want something too weird.

Head over the Apex Magazine website to read my interview with Robert Sawyer, where we mostly talk about Quantum Night, but also talk about getting characters (and readers!) excited about science,  what baseball has to do with writing hard science fiction, what BattleStar Galactica has to do with psychology, and the reason why your surgeon might have pretty crappy bedside manner.

I am very proud of this interview. Mr. Sawyer and I spoke on the phone for about 40 minutes, and then I muppetflailed around the house for about a week. I took time out from the muppetflailing to transcribe the interview. If you enjoy reading the interview as much as I enjoyed conducting it, please leave a comment over at the Apex site, so they know you enjoyed it too.

 

Also? If you like Jeff Vandermeer, you should read “How Lovely Is The Silence of Growing Things”, also in this issue of Apex.

We’re getting close to the halfway point of the Apex Magazine Revive the Drive, (and holy cow have you seen the awesome stuff in the Drive Store?!?!?!) so let’s catch up with Editor in Chief Jason Sizemore and Managing Editor Lesley Conner!   Jason and Lesley let me pick their brains, and it is very important that the resulting document they sent me back was exactly 666 words!  Now that I’ve wrecked that  word count with an intro and outtro, let’s get to the interview!

 

Andrea:  I really loved the print edition of Apex Magazine:SFFH Volume 0. What needs to happen for there to be more of these?

Jason: Glad you liked it. I kind of did it in a nostalgic cloud for the old Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest of yore.

Like most things, it comes down to time and money. I don’t expect the print edition to make Apex the big bucks, but it has to at least pay for itself and make enough profit for me to buy a bag of Nate’s Coffee.

The ultimate answer: more copies need to be sold.

Andrea: How many short story submissions do you get in a month? Are there certain times of the year when you get way more submissions, or times of the year when the quantity of submissions dip?

Lesley:  We average between 800 and 1,200 submissions a month. We definitely get more submissions in January and right after we open after being closed for a while. Other than that, the rate at which we receive stories seems to be pretty constant. Apex Magazine is typically open 9 or more months out of the year, so yeah … we read a LOT of stories. Good thing I love it!

Andrea: When you’re reading a submission, what makes you say “I gotta buy this story!”

Jason: One of the things I’m proudest of is how well Apex Magazine has branded itself. So many of our fans and readers tell me that there is a certain…tone or theme that makes our original fiction standout as an ‘Apex story.’ Writers who read our zine have a huge advantage over those that don’t for that reason. Certain writers from the get-go tap into this with ease: Rich Larson, Lavie Tidhar, Mary Robinette Kowal, Ursula Vernon.

I’m big on ideas, characterization, and symbolism. I like stories that carry an edginess. Stories that can tap into my emotions are particularly great, as I’m a rather emotionless editor (okay…this is true of most editors).

Lesley: Stories that evoke a strong emotional reaction definitely grab my attention. Also, great characterization and a since of purpose. If I finish a story and immediately want to read it again, then I’m definitely sending it up to Jason.

Andrea: What are you hobbies when you’re not working on the magazine?

Jason: My favorite hobby is giving Lesley Conner a hard time. Other hobbies include chasing Pumpkin the Apex Cat around the house, playing video games (it’s my mindless escape), ranting about the inequities of life, and reading (of course).

Lesley: When I’m not wearing my Apex editor hat, you can often find me doing something cool with my Girl Scout troop. Whether we are camping, going on trips, making a horror movie, baking goodies for our local police officers, or volunteering at the food bank, the girls in my troop really know how to keep me running!

If I have a break from both Apex and Girl Scouts, then I’m doing something … calmer. Reading, hiking, yoga—things that are nice and relaxing amid my chaotic life.

Andrea: Who are some of your favorite authors?

Jason: Some favorite writers include Nick Cutter, Ben Winters, Nisi Shawl, Cat Valente, Cherie Priest, and Nick Mamatas (but please don’t tell him). My writer crush is Jacqueline Carey.

Lesley: How much room do I have to answer?

For short fiction, I adore Rich Larson, Damien Angelica Walters, E. Catherine Tobler, Douglas Warrick, Sarah Pinsker, A. Merc Rustad, Iori Kusano, James Beamon … There are so many fantastic authors writing really stellar short fiction right now; I could go on and on. For longer work, I will pick up anything and everything by J.F. Gonzalez, Sarah Pinborough, Cherie Priest, David Wellington, Shirley Jackson, and Katherine Dunn. I’ve recently read books by Consuelo Saah Baehr, Laura Hillenbrand, Fredrik Backman, and Paolo Bacigalupi and really enjoyed them so I’ll definitely be looking for more.

… I may have a slight reading habit.

 

Andrea: Thanks Jason, Thanks Lesley!  I really have no idea how those to do it. They must have some kind of time creation machine that lets them have 32 hours in each day.

 

Hey, did you know? The $3500 award in Revive the Drive is me getting to harass interview Jason over Skype!  Which means I need all sorts of fun questions. The above interview was informative and all, but those were some gentle questions, wouldn’t you say? Give me some suggestions of both heavy duty and crazy things to ask Jason!   If the video goesn’t go viral on YouTube, we’ve failed in our mission!

I’ve been involved with Apex Magazine since sometime in 2014. I met Jason Sizemore and Lesley Conner at a convention, we hit it off, I did some slush reading, and before I knew it I doing author interviews in the magazine every month.

Getting to read someone’s forthcoming story months ahead of time, researching the author, putting together engaging interview questions, writing an intro that hopefully gets your attention . . .  if you’re a nerd like me this is the best gig ever!  And it really is the best gig. I’ve gotten to interview authors such as Nisi Shawl, John Hornor Jacobs,  E. Catherine Tobler, A. Merc Rustad, Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Ursula Vernon, Chikodili Emelumadu, Brian Keene, Damien Angelica Walters, and Seth Dicksinson, just to name a few (and I realize I’ve just named a bunch of my favorite authors, as well. bonus!).

I know from the outside, it looks like Apex Magazine magically comes together every month, but it isn’t magic. It’s a lot of time, passion, and hard work from the people involved. And I’m just the smallest, tiniest part of how the sausage gets made.

Apex Magazine is currently in their 2017 subscription drive. What’s a subscription drive?  It’s where you can buy subscriptions (now only $17! Less than a $1.50 an issue! like, you can’t get a cup of decent coffee that cheap), you can buy stuff (artwork! signed books! handmade blankets and hats! critiques!), Lesley Conner will send you an awesome postcard! And there are stretch goals for more stuff.  Reaching $10K means the magazine can pay their authors more, buy more stories, hire another editor, and do all sorts of amazing things.

What’s in it for you, you ask?  When stretch goals are reached, EVERYONE gets to enjoy the rewards! including:

  • more awesome fiction from Tade Thompson! You know, that guy who wrote Rosewater, one of the most unique alien invasion stories I’ve ever read?
  • Jason and Lesley torturing and teasing each other about It Follows.
  • Me having the opportunity to ask Jason all sorts of goofy and embarrassing questions over Skype.
  • Apex donating convention memberships and badges to Con or Bust
  • more fiction from Delilah Dawson, Cherie Priest, and Jacqueline Carey!

There’s about a bazillion more stretch goals, but those are the ones that will benefit YOU, as a magazine reader, the most.  Oh wait, you’re not a reader, you’re an author or an artist? Stretch goals for you include paying you more money.

the first stretch goal, has already been unlocked, so you better go vote in who is more adorable – Oz the dog or Pumpkin the cat.  I think I’m gonna have to snuggle with both of them for at least 3 days before I can come to a decision.

 

Some of you already read Apex Magazine, or other online magazines such as Lightspeed, Uncanny, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, or others.

 

But some of you aren’t onboard with electronic magazines, and that’s totally OK. You’re more the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Asimov’s type.  Trust me, I get it. I’m all about teh dead trees.  And I have something just for you!

Apex SFFH: Issue Vol 0 – this is a gorgeous print issue, a sampler of 2016. It includes essays, short stories, novel excerpts and interviews, and can be yours for only $8! And oh yeah, I’m in it!   As a HUGE fan of dead tree magazines,  I am a cheerleader for the Print Issue. I don’t know how many Jason needs to sell for it to be worth it for him to print more volumes, but I want to get there. Getting Apex (hi Jason!) to do a dead-tree full length sampler once a year is a personal goal of mine.

Apex prints dead-tree versions of anthologies and novels too!   Imma make this super easy. Here are my top pics of Apex print copy goodies:    the just mentioned Apex SFFH: Issue Vol 0Rosewater by Tade Thompson,  Shine Your Light on Me by Lee Thompson, Stay Crazy by Erica Satifka, The Best of Apex Magazine, The Apex Book of World SF series, and For Exposure by Jason Sizemore.

tl;dr –

a year’s subscription for less than a cup of coffee per issue (and an interview by yours truly in every issue!)

kick-ass print full-length print sampler available for $8 (also, I’m in it)

there’s a stretch goal where I get to ask Jason a bunch of goofy and embarrassing questions

better pay for writers and artists in the magazine

if you don’t care about any of that stuff, go check out some sweet anthologies and novels printed by Apex.

 

ok, so what are you waiting for?  go forth and Apex!

 

Did you know the Apex Magazine Subscription drive is going on right now?  More subscribers means more fiction for you, and a higher pay rate for the authors who create all that amazing fiction.

To send some happy attention towards the Apex Mag subscription drive, here’s an Apex Magazine crossword.   85% of the answers to the crossword can be found at the Apex Magazine back issue site,  15% can be found on the Apex Publications site, and 15% are just random words I used to make the puzzle (mostly) work.  Put an answer or two in the comments and I’ll enter you in my international give away for a subscription to Apex Mag.  You can read the magazine on your kindle, nook, smartphone, tablet, and probably some other gizmos I’m not even aware of.

 

 

apex-crossword(click to embiggen)

 

Rules for the Apex Magazine 1 year subscription give away:

  1. you need to reside on planet earth
  2. you need to be interested in short fiction that is surreal, shocking, and unexpected
  3. you need to put an answer to one of the crossword clues in the comments. You need to comment that you’d like to be entered into the give away. Putting a puzzle clue answer in the comments is cool too, but not required to enter.

I’ll randomly choose a winner from the comments on November 7th.  When commenting, please leave your e-mail, twitter, or some method by which I can read you.

ready? GO!

Across
1. March Bear story
5. Author ____ Pletsch
8. Poem by John Yu Brascum

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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.

apexmag88

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!

apex-aug16

Andrea: What goals are you hoping to reach with this subscription drive?

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As many of you know, I’m an interviewer over at Apex Magazine. I get to read some stories way, way ahead of time, and then interview the author. As one of the magazine editors put it to me when I first came on board “ask questions that are compelling. Make readers want to read the story”.  Thanks to that piece of advice, I think my interviews across the board have gotten better.  Working with Apex is an amazing experience.

 

Along with the interviews I conduct, much of Apex Magazine’s fiction is available for free, online. But each issue also includes special content, such as a  bonus story or article, or an excerpt from a novel that’s available to subscribers only.

 

Know someone who keeps saying “I should really read more short fiction, I just don’t know where to start”? Are you planning to get an e-reader for a friend or family member for the holidays? Apex Magazine makes a great gift! In fact, Apex is currently running a subscription drive, which means you can get a year’s subscription for only $17.95.  It’s the gift that keeps giving. It’s cheaper than dinner and a movie,  and will go further than a  B&N gift card. Also? Read Apex Mag and you’ll have the opportunity to say  “oh yeah, I read all those award winning stores and editors before they were famous”. Because all that fiction? All that artwork? That costs money.  And like any business, the more funding Apex Magazine has, the more fiction, poetry, non-fiction and artwork they can purchase.

 

Wanna give Apex a whirl? In celebration of their subscription drive and in celebration of the start of the giving season, I am giving away two gift subscriptions to Apex Magazine. All you need is an e-mail address, and to be a resident of planet Earth.  Leave a comment down below, and leave me some way to reach you if you win (e-mail or twitter). I’ll be choosing two winners on Nov 10th.

 

Still not sure?  Here’s a taste of what Apex brought the world in the last year or so:

ApexMag11_large NOv 2014

I love this cover art.  I can trace the lines with my finger and discover all sorts of directions and shapes.  Among other gems, this issue included an excerpt of Lavie Tidhar’s A Man Lies Dreaming,  Elizabeth Bear’s “Tiger! Tiger!”, short fiction from Chikodili Emelumadu, Ginger Weil, and Rich Larson, and award winning fiction from Apex Mag‘s  Steal the Spotlight contest.

 

ApexMag01_large Jan

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.