In February we celebrate the women who send chills down our spines and leave us hiding under our blankets. We watch horror movies written, directed, and starring women. We feast our eyes on horror artwork created by women. And we read the horror novels and short stories penned by women writers.
February is Women in Horror Month, and because of this we celebrate!
To help you celebrate the month that toasts the women who create creatures that go bump in the night, we have marked the eBook editions of our horror titles written/created by women. From now until the end of the month, you can grab Let's Play White by Chesya Burke, Sing Me Your Scars by Damien Angelica Walters, Seasons of Insanity by Gill Ainsworth and Frank W. Haubold, Desper Hollow by Elizabeth Massie, and Harlan County Horrors edited by Mari Adkins for only 99 cents!
You can take advantage of this awesome price direct through Apex, or pick them up from Amazon, B&N, or Kobo. So why not buy them all! Each eBook will cost you less than a dollar and you will have a large selection of stories on hand that prove that yes, women indeed can create some amazing horrors!
Happy new Apex Magazine day! It’s always a little weird when the first Tuesday of the month doesn’t fall until the 7th. We’re already a week in, but February feels like it is just starting to me because today we get to unveil our amazing new issue and stellar lineup!
This month we have new stories by Nisi Shawl, Lyndsie Manusos, and Rich Larson, and a reprint by Samuel Marzioli. We’re also featuring the winners from our Valentine’s Day themed flash fiction contest: Rich Larson, Tonya Walter, and Joanna Truman. Bianca Spriggs selected one final selection before we go on a poetry hiatus: “Fury” by Simona Sušec. In nonfiction, we have feature about the LifeAfter podcast with writer Mac Rogers. Andrea Johnson sits down with Nisi Shawl to discuss her story “Queen of Dirt” and writing in general. Russell Dickerson welcomes back Adrian Borda for a second cover artist interview with him. Adrian was also the cover artist for Apex Magazine issue 71. We are thrilled to have him back and to be able to share more of his amazing artwork with you!
Head over to the Apex Magazine website to read Jason Sizemore’s editorial and “Queen of Dirt” by Nisi Shawl, both of which were posted today. The rest of the issue will be posted online over the course of the month so be sure to come back often!
Or, if you’d like to read the entire issue at one time, pick up the eBook edition in either PDF, ePub, or mobi files for only $2.99.
Subscriptions are available direct from Apex for only $19.95. Subscribers fund every issue of Apex Magazine. We will be picking up our drive to fund 2017 on March 27th and are looking for readers with blogs and Facebook pages to help us Revive the Drive by running mini-interview with editor-in-chief Jason Sizemore and managing editor Lesley Conner. Contact Lesley at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to schedule an interview.
Table of Contents
Words from the Editor-in-Chief—Jason Sizemore
Queen of Dirt—Nisi Shawl
You Too Shall Be Psyche—Rich Larson
The Bells—Lyndsie Manusos
Servant of the Aswang—Samuel Marzioli
FLASH FICTION WINNERS
As Long As You Can Stand It—Joanna Truman
Butterfly Man—Tonya Walter
St. Theophilus the Penitent—Rich Larson
Interview with Author Nisi Shawl—Andrea Johnson
Feature with LifeAfter Podcast Playwright Mac Rogers—Jason Sizemore
Interview with Cover Artist Adrian Borda—Russell Dickerson
Apex is pleased to announce that James Newman's noir thriller UGLY AS SIN is now available for purchase. You can get your copy from our store, Amazon, or your favorite online vendor.
Visit the UGLY AS SIN product page.
Read our interview with author James Newman about UGLY AS SIN.
Instead of providing a capsule synopsis about UGLY AS SIN, I'll let Brian Hodge's assessment of the book set the scene:
“Ugly As Sin has about as vicious a premise as I’ve ever come across. It’s not what it first appears to be. It’s worse. Wrapped inside its mystery and ticking-clock hunt is the most jaundiced indictment possible of the corrupted soul of celebrity culture...its feeders and especially its fed.”
James Newman is the iconic author of the novels Midnight Rain, The Wicked, and Animosity, the short-story collection People Are Strange, and the novellas The Forum, Revenge Flick!, and Olden. He lives in the mountains of North Carolina with his wife and their two sons. Despite the darkness that exists in much of his work, he's about as nice a guy as they come.
Enjoy our interview with this singular talent.
APEX MAGAZINE: Midnight is a town vividly rendered and inhabited by a fascinating population. Did you have a particular inspiration when developing this setting for your story?
JAMES NEWMAN: In many ways, is based on my own hometown and the places around it. Midnight is a much smaller place than Hendersonville, North Carolina, though (which is a small city more than anything). Midnight is actually an amalgamation of several different towns here in the mountains of western NC. It's also a place that's very much influenced by the settings of those small-town horror novels I loved to read during my seminal years -- stuff by Stephen King, Robert McCammon, and Ronald Kelly. There's something comfortable yet at the same time potentially sinister about a place where everyone knows everyone and it's impossible to keep secrets.
AM: Nick, the main character, must lose his physical identity in order to discover a better side of himself. What do you think this says about his character, both at the beginning of the story and as he develops toward the story's conclusion?
JN: Make no mistake, he probably wouldn't have changed if those guys didn't do what they did to him in the Prologue. Nick was living comfortably. In that respect, he's no angel. He even said it himself at one point, when he's talking with his daughter one night: "I'm here because I didn't have anything better to do." He's not trying to hurt her feelings, it's just a moment of raw honesty. Perhaps the first time he's been so brutally honest with himself or someone else in many, many years.
That said, after Nick's career goes down the toilet -- not because of what those guys did to him, but because of his own vanity, more than anything else -- he sees that there's something more out there for him. Once he's forced to take off the rose-colored glasses, if you will, and view the world through the eyes of a normal, middle-class person who doesn't have everything handed to him on the proverbial silver platter, he realizes what he's been missing. He sees that there's something beautiful waiting for him, no matter what he looks like on the outside. To those who genuinely care for him it doesn't matter what his face looks like, as long as he's willing to fix the ugliness inside of him.
AM: Can you speak to the significance of the title?
JN: I've always thought the phrase was so vivid and mean. It was so perfect for a crime/noir novel, don't you think? In fact, I knew that was gonna be the title of this one before I wrote a single paragraph. It has multiple meanings, obviously -- my main character is horribly disfigured, forced to go through life being stared at by the "pretty people" like he's some kind of monster. But there's also the things he discovers once he gets to Midnight, NC and starts digging into what's going on. It could be argued as well that his soul has been pretty scarred for the last few decades, before he finally finds something in his hometown that gives him a chance of redemption.
AM: What would you say is the most important function of violence in this story?
JN: It's all Nick has ever known. Violence has been his way of life for the last 40 years. Granted, back in the day when he was a world-famous pro wrestler, it was manufactured "violence." Fake. Choreographed, so no one would really get hurt. These days he's living by a different set of rules. Nick's not a smart fellow -- he's uneducated, went straight into the wrestling business right out of high school. He's no detective, although he's been forced to play detective to find what he needs once he arrives in Midnight. He knows that the only way to get what he wants is to throw his weight around (quite literally), more often than not. These days he's dealing with shady characters who will only respond to that kind of threat. Back in the day he kicked asses week after week and was rewarded by the roar of the crowd. Now he's doing it for entirely different reasons, for something even bigger than himself, and sometimes his foe doesn't get up when it's over.
AM: Much attention is paid to Nick's tall stature and physical build. What is the most important aspect of this detail, other than that it enables him to act as a skilled and powerful fighter?
JN: It makes him awkward among the "normal" people as well. If it wasn't bad enough for Nick that he sees people pushing their food away any time he walks into a restaurant, or hiding their kids' eyes as if his disfigurement might somehow be contagious, he also has to deal with the fact that he's just so ... awkward. Whether he's hunched over the steering wheel of a tiny rental car or trying to use a computer, he's moving through a world that's not quite built to scale for a man like him. He's scary-looking, and his size sure doesn't help with that, but I can't help but feel sorry for him, too. For the last forty years he's moved through a world that's larger than life, a world populated with flamboyant characters not too much smaller than himself. Now he lives among men half his size, folks who flip burgers or sell drugs or work in banks for a living, and they're all barely half his size. He's having a tough time getting used to that.
AM: It is hinted early in the story that Nick made a deal with the devil for immortality, and he does survive a great deal of devastating violence. Though Nick himself denies any truth in what his attackers say, would you say that there is some supernatural element to the story?
JN: No, I've never thought there was any supernatural element to this story at all. The guys who mess up Nick's face in the Prologue believe as much, no doubt about that, but those two were a few cans shy of a six-pack. The sold-his-soul-to-the-devil thing was strictly part of Nick's old wrestling persona, the Widowmaker. I guess it could be argued that Nick allowed fame to steal his soul early in his career, seducing him away from his responsibilities to his family, but that's the extent of it. If anything, the devil is strictly metaphorical here.
You can buy UGLY AS SIN from Apex or one of our fine vendors.
Interview conducted by Jane Morkowitz.
We first published The Apex Book of World SF: Volume 1 in November, 2009. That anthology and its subsequent volumes have been moderate successes for us. One volume or another are taught in numerous college courses (and at least one high school class). The third volume made the NPR's list of year's best books a few years ago.
Recently, we relaunched the series with a fantastic set of new covers by Sarah Anne Langton. Lavie Tidhar, the series' original editor, became "Series Editor" and Mahvesh Murad edited volume 4.
Much credit is due Lavie Tidhar. He's been a tireless supporter of international SF. The rising interest in non-English genre fiction is owed in part to Lavie's work.
Much credit is due the amazing authors and artists and translators who have contributed to the first four volumes. Thus far, we've published 86 international authors from 47 different countries.
47! Science fiction, fantasy, and horror are truly globla phenomenons!
Below is an embedded spreadsheet that we use as a reference for who we've published from which country.
Join us in congratulating Mary Soon Lee for picking up a Rhysling Award nomination for her poem "Not Like This". "Not Like This" appeared in issue 86.
According to the Science Fiction Poetry Association website:
The Rhysling Awards are named for the blind poet Rhysling in Robert A. Heinlein’s short story “The Green Hills of Earth.” Rhysling’s skills were said to rival Rudyard Kipling’s. In real life, Apollo 15 astronauts named a crater near their landing site “Rhysling,” which has since become its official name.
Nominees for each year's Rhysling Awards are selected by the membership of the Science Fiction Poetry Association.
Apex Publications is pleased to announce that we will be adding seven book titles to our catalog from Shock Totem in the wake of the announcement of their closure.
Apex will be releasing the following books formerly under the Shock Totem brand:
Beautiful Sorrows, by Mercedes M. Yardley
The Wicked, by James Newman
Ugly As Sin, by James Newman
Shine Your Light on Me, by Lee Thompson
Greener Pastures, by Michael Wehunt
Everything That’s Underneath, by Kristi DeMeester
Aetherchrist, by Kirk Jones
We are absolutely delighted to be working with this group of talented authors. Apex recently published Kristi DeMeester in Apex Magazine, James Newman is a horror icon, and the rest are all authors on the rise.
Right now, the plan is to release The Wicked and Ugly As Sin first, followed by Shine Your Light on Me then Beautiful Sorrows.
Apex Magazine is up for the This Is Horror award for "Fiction Magazine of the Year"! We are honored and grateful for this recognition of the amazing work our writers and editors put into the publication.
The awards are voted on by fans. If you're inclined, a vote for Apex Magazine would be awesome.
There are strong choices in all the categories. Hats off to the This Is Horror folks for putting together a great list of nominees.
Would you like to get your hands on a print copy of Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling edited by Jaym Gates and Monica Valentinelli for FREE?
For nine people, that is exactly what is going to happen!
Here's the situation. Jason Sizemore and I have been mailing out the contributor and Kickstarter backer copies of the anthology. For me to be able to help out, Jason has been mailing large boxes of books from Kentucky to my home in Maryland for me to package up and send back out. One of these boxes ... well, I'm not exactly sure what happened to it, but the books inside were banged up. Not badly, the books are completely readable and look pretty good, but they aren't pristine enough to send out to Kickstarter backers or to sell.
Bad news for us. Good news for you.
After sending out most of them to reviewers, I have nine scuffed up copies left. I don't want to store them at my house indefinitely so Jason and I have decided to give them away!
How can you score one?
Easy! All you need to do is follow these three easy steps:
1. Live in the US. (International shipping costs prohibit us from opening this up to everyone. Sorry.)
2. Buy $18.95 worth of goodies from the Apex store. $18.95 is the cover price of Upside Down. Take that money and get something else. Anything else! A subscription to Apex Magazine. A few eBooks. Another recent release that you haven't snagged yet. As long as the total before shipping comes to $18.95, you are good. (And remember, if you spend $25, shipping is FREE!)
3. Let me know you want a copy of Upside Down. Leave a note while you are checking out or send me an email at email@example.com. It doesn't matter as long as you say you want Upside Down.
That's it! The first nine people to spend $18.95 in the Apex store and let me know they want a copy of Upside Down, will get a copy for free! A great deal for you, and it will help me make sure these books find good homes!
Note: Since the copies of Upside Down are at my house and Jason ships out all the Apex orders from the Apex's offices in Kentucky, the copy of Upside Down will come separately from the rest of your order.
If you’ve been waiting for the release of Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling edited by Jaym Gates and Monica Valentinelli, then wait no more!
Today is release day!
Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling is an anthology of short stories, poems, and essays that highlights the long-standing tradition of writers who identify tropes in science fiction, fantasy, and horror and twist them into something new and interesting. The anthology was successfully funded through Kickstarter earlier this year.
"Speculative fiction fans tired of clichés will want to grab this expectation-subverting anthology." --Publishers Weekly, starred review
Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling is an anthology of short stories, poetry, and essays edited by Monica Valentinelli and Jaym Gates. Over two dozen authors, ranging from NYT-bestsellers and award winners to debut writers, chose a tired trope or cliche to challenge and surprise readers through their work.
Read stories inspired by tropes such as the Chainmaille Bikini, Love at First Sight, Damsels in Distress, Yellow Peril, The Black Man Dies First, The Villain Had a Crappy Childhood, The Singularity Will Cause the Apocalypse, and many more ... then discover what these tropes mean to each author to find out what inspired them.
Join Maurice Broaddus, Adam Troy-Castro, Delilah S. Dawson, Shanna Germain, Sara M. Harvey, John Hornor Jacobs, Rahul Kanakia, Alethea Kontis, Valya Dudycz Lupescu, Haralambi Markov, Kat Richardson, Nisi Shawl, Ferrett Steinmetz, Anton Strout, Michael Underwood, Alyssa Wong and many other authors as they take well-worn tropes and clichés and flip them upside down.
This anthology is available in trade paperback, eBook, and hardcover editions direct from Apex. Pick up the trade paperback and eBook editions from any of our online retailers.
Upside Down is editor Jaym Gates’s (War Stories) second anthology with Apex Book Company, and it is the first for editor Monica Valentinelli. The two have put together an anthology with a strong mix of fiction and essays that is sure to both entertain and educate readers on tropes and how they are used by writers.