I hear you love science fiction. Well, me, too. Have you read Apex? I know, right? The covers are absolutely stunning. Agreed. The stories are always top notch. Have you heard about the promotion? It’s super cheap to subscribe and there’s some great stuff to be had now and in the future . . . so check out their Revive the Drive campaign.
I had an opportunity to speak with Managing Editor Lesley Conner about some interesting stories from the past, what they’re up to in the present and some exciting news about the near future.
What is the most memorable submission you’ve received, good or bad?
I don’t actually remember the story, but one time an author was incredibly insulting in their cover letter. The gist of it was that if we didn’t accept their story it was because we were discriminating against them and were too stupid to understand the genius of the story. According to them they had experienced everything in the story and had written it based off those experiences so clearly it was the best story ever. Somehow I feel this logic is flawed. We did not accept the story—1. Because it in fact was NOT the best story ever, and 2. Insulting the editors before they even have the chance to read your story doesn’t exactly make them clamor to work with you.
I’ve received lots of insulting letters after rejecting stories (even had someone threaten to sue me once), but this was the first time it happened prior to rejection.
What kinds of stories are you looking for that you don’t see enough of?
I’d love to see more dark SF. We get a lot of fantasy, magical realism, and straight up horror submissions, but the slush pile can be a little light on dark science fiction.
Do you think reader taste changes? Or are there certain stories they never seem to tire of?
I think it goes in cycles. For a while one type or style of story will be really, really popular and then at some point you hit a market saturation—readers can’t absorb one more zombie story or fairy tale retelling or whatever—so those types of stories fall away and something else moves up to take its place. Eventually those stories will come back around and readers will be ready for them again.
What was the day like when you first knew APEX was going to be your full time gig?
There wasn’t one day in particular where suddenly Apex was my full time gig. It was a gradual thing. I started by volunteering 5-10 hours a week, working on marketing and social media. As I learned more about editing and publishing, and as Jason Sizemore and I built a working relationship, I began taking on more and more responsibilities. Then in October of 2014 the opportunity came up for me to step into the managing editor role. Jason Sizemore had moved back into the editor-in-chief position and we already knew that we worked really well together, so it seemed like the next natural step. Best decision I’ve ever made.
What’s upcoming with APEX that you can’t wait to share with readers? Any teasers?
The slush pile has been especially amazing lately and we’ve snatched up some gems for futures issues. Stories by E. Catherine Tobler, Lavie Tidhar, and Rich Larson to name a few.
In addition to the fiction Jason Sizemore and I are lining up, Dr. Amy H. Sturgis is guest editing the August issue, focusing on Native American and First Nation authors. I’m really excited to see what she brings to Apex Magazine.
With the Revive the Drive campaign we are running right now, we’ve lined up amazing things for the January 2018 issue—original fiction by Tade Thompson, Delilah S. Dawson, Cherie Priest, and Jacqueline Carey, more nonfiction, and poetry! Pretty exciting stuff! Hopefully we reach all of our goals and unlock everything. If we do, the January 2018 issue will be epic!
Apex Magazine is a monthly science fiction, fantasy, and horror magazine featuring original, mind-bending short fiction from many of the top pros of the field. New issues are released the first Tuesday of every month.
Details about the Apex magazine Revive the Drive campaign
Apex Magazine is an online prose and poetry magazine of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mash-ups of all three. Works full of marrow and passion, stories that are twisted, strange, and beautiful. Creations where secret places and dreams are put on display.
Each month we bring you a mix of originals and reprints, interspersed with interviews and nonfiction. We have published many of the top short form writers working today: Mary Robinette Kowal, Saladin Ahmed, Genevieve Valentine, Amal El-Mohtar, Forrest Aguirre, Nick Mamatas, Theodora Goss, Nalo Hopkinson, Lucy A. Snyder, Cat Rambo, Jeff VanderMeer, Seanan McGuire, and Jennifer Pelland. And we’ve also presented the first professional work of amazing new writers such as Indrapramit Das, T.J. Weyler, Alex Livingston, Ursula Vernon, Kathryn Weaver, Kelly Barnhill, Douglas F. Warrick, and Jeremy R. Butler.
Apex Magazine received a Best Semiprozine Hugo nomination in 2012,2013, and 2014. We placed two stories in the 2010 Nebula Award category of Best Short Story, and our stories won the category in 2014 (“If You Were a Dinosaur My Love” by Rachel Swirsky) and again in 2015 (“Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon).
Each new issue is posted piecemeal throughout the month and placed on sale the first Tuesday of every month. Content can be read for free via the website. Alternatively, annual subscriptions are available and all our issues can be purchased in single issue formats (ePub/mobi/PDF or from the Kindle and Nook stores–these versions contain exclusive content such as classic reprints and novel excerpts).
We are reviving the subscription drive that was cut short in November. The new revived drive will run from March 27 to April 17th with a goal to raise $10,000!
Tier levels we will have to unlock during the drive will be:
- $500 – Polls will open for readers to vote for the cutest/best Apex animal mascot: Pumpkin versus Oz! (Expect loads of adorable pics on social media as our editors try to sway you to vote for their pet!) Also, Jason and Lesley will make personal donations to the Humane Society
- $1,000 – Apex will donate two short story critiques (one each from Jason and Lesley) to the ConOrBust auction, as well a membership to Imaginarium this October
- $1,500 – Jason and Lesley’s It Follows debate goes live! Join our editors as they watch It Follows and live tweet the entire experience. If you’ve been following their conversations about the movie on Twitter, then you do not want to miss this!
- $2,000 – an original short story by Tade Thompson in the January 2018 issue
- $2,500 – add a poem to the January 2018 issue
- $3,000 – add a reprint to the January 2018 issue
- $3,500 – Andrea Johnson will conduct a video interview with Jason Sizemore, asking him questions submitted by our readers
- $4,000 – add a a nonfiction essay to the January 2018 issue
- $4,500 – add a second poem to the January 2018 issue
- $5,000 – an original short story by Delilah S. Dawson in the January 2018 issue
- $5,500 – podcast a second original story in the January 2018 issue
- $6,000 – Apex donates a membership to ConFusion to ConOrBust
- $6,500 – raise cover artist rates to $75
- $7,000 – original artwork for all original fiction unlocked during the drive for the January 2018 issue
- $7,500 – an original short story by Cherie Priest in the January 2018 issue
- $8,000 – behind the scenes video with Jason
- $8,500 – original artwork for all six stories in the January 2018 issue
- $9,000 – a new print issue of Apex Magazine: SFFH #1
- $9,500 – raise author rates to 7 cents per word
- $10,000 – an original short story by Jacqueline Carey in the January 2018 issue
- STRETCH GOAL!!! $15,000 – raise author rates to 8 cents per word and artist rates to $100!
Amazing, right!?! If we unlock everything for the double issue in January 2018, it is going to be phenomenal!!!
We are also collecting donated items from awesome people that you’ll be able to purchase during the drive to help us reach our goal.
Some of these donated items include:
- story critiques from Jason Sizemore and Lesley Conner
- flash fiction critiques from Anna Yeatts, editor at Flash Fiction Online
- a query letter critique by literary agents Laura Zats and Eric Hane of Print Run podcast
- signed prints of cover art from issues 80, 83, and 86
- signed books by John Scalzi
- signed books by Brian Keene
- signed copy of The Crow God’s Girl by Patrice Sarath
- signed copy of The Buried Life by Carrie Patel
- signed copy of Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger
- a handwritten poem by Brandy Schwan
- cool collectors pieces by Justin Stewart
- hats crocheted by Janet Harriett
- coffee from Nate’s Coffee
- Gamut/Apex Magazine subscription bundles
- Shimmer/Apex Magazine subscription bundles
- Flash Fiction Online/Apex Magazine subscription bundles
- Personalized postcards from Lesley Conner for everyone who donates at least $5