Guest post by Lavie Tidhar, author of HebrewPunk and An Occupation of Angels, and editor of the Apex Book of World SF series.

HebrewPunk, one of the first books ever published by Jason Sizemore’s then-fledgling Apex Publications back in the sunny summer of 2007, is still near and dear to my heart. I don’t think it ever sold a tremendous amount of copies (but then, what book of mine has!), yet, improbably, it always pops up. I can never do a signing at some event—be it in Sweden, Poland or Singapore—without someone coming over with a paperback copy of, yes, HebrewPunk, of all things.

It’s also close to my heart because, in many ways, it is the book where I began to define to myself what it was I was doing. The interest in how genres work, the interest in history, the interest in both politics and pulp and how they might actually come to work together.

And it is close to my heart because the second story in the collection had a meaningful impact on my career. “The Dope Fiend” was not only one of my very first proper professional sales but it was the biggest in many ways, being the very last story published on the Sci Fi Channel’s Sci Fiction website edited by Ellen Datlow. It was a huge vote of confidence in work I was not yet myself confident about.

And that story, as it turned out, endured. I was a little horrified to be invited a couple of years ago to talk to a group of students about the story because, yes, it was part of the curriculum for their course. And then again the next year. It had somehow and impossibly become canon. As for me, I was simply relieved—on frantically going back to read it for the first time in years so I might know what I’m actually talking about!—to find out I still liked it a fair bit.


As soon as I wrote the first story in the sequence, “The Heist”, the concept of HebrewPunk appeared. I had to write three more stories. Each would be set in a different historical period and setting (Transylvania in World War Two; 1920s London; 1904 British East Africa) and each would be in a recognisable genre (a WW2 story; a “dope fiend” story; a Lost World story). And each would focus on one of the three characters from the first story.

The first three were published separately. The last one, “Uganda”, I wrote specifically for the book once we’ve agreed publication. It would serve, many years later, as one of the seeds for my recent novel, Unholy Land.

I’ve loved the cover of the book from day one—Jason had commissioned an artist called Melissa Gay, and it is worthy of being a Weird Tales cover circa 1934. It was a proper oil painting, too, and I often wish I’d bought it when I had the chance! A few years later I was fortunate enough to get another Melissa Gay cover, this time for Jesus & The Eightfold Path, which was originally serialised in Apex and for which Jason later provided the introduction ... But that’s a different story.

The book came out while I was living on the island of Vanua Lava in Vanuatu, arriving in a mail bag carried by a small Cessna that landed in the grassy field below the volcano a couple of times a week. I kept my one copy on my one shelf in my bamboo hut across the bay. I lugged it with me around the world since then and it’s still sitting on my current bookshelf as I type this: older, a little worn down, but still going—much like me, I suppose. So, yes. HebrewPunk has been with me for a while. I am incredibly fond of it—and I look forward to the next unlikely copy to turn up wherever I am next in the world.

Pick up a copy of HebrewPunk, An Occupation of Angels, any of the Apex Book of World SF series, and any other Apex title, and save 25% with discount code SEPTEMBER.