Apex Magazine Issue 76 is LIVE!

By Lesley Conner
on September 01, 2015

It’s new Apex Magazine day, which means I finally get to share our special World SF themed issue with you all. Waiting for the release of Apex Magazine Issue 76 has been especially hard because guest editor Cristina Jurado did an amazing job creating a rich and diverse issue.

This month we have new fiction by Tade Thompson (“Child, Funeral, Thief, Death”), Isabel Yap (“Find Me”), and Marian Womack(“Frozen Planet”). Our reprints are by Liu Cixin (“Mountain”) and Kuzhali Manickavel (“Six Things We Found During the Autopsy,” a reprint from The Apex Book of World SF 4). We have poetry by Anne Carly Abad and Christina Sng, and Cristina Jurado wrote our nonfiction article discussing speculative fiction in Spain. Exclusive to the subscriber/eBook edition, we have excerpts from Escape from Baghdad! By Saad Z. Hossain and Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho. Charles Tan interviewed both of our excerpt authors, and we have those available online, as well as in the eBook edition.

As always, all of the original fiction, poetry, and nonfiction can be read for free on the Apex Magazine website. This month, our reprints are also free to read.

Or for only $2.99, you can purchase a nicely formatted eBook edition of Apex Magazine Issue 76 and help support the work of these amazing authors and our guest editor. EBook editions are available direct from Apex, or through one of our many vendors, such as Weightless Books, Amazon, and B&N.

Subscriptions are available on a yearly basis through either Apex or Weightless Books. Amazon provides monthly subscriptions and will deliver the mobi edition directly to your Kindle. Subscribe to Apex Magazine! Never miss an issue and support the work of our authors and editors.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Fiction
Child, Funeral, Thief, Death — Tade Thompson
Six Things We Found During the Autopsy — Kuzhali Manickavel
Find Me — Isabel Yap
Frozen Planet — Marian Womack
Mountain — Liu Cixin

Nonfiction
The Invention of Speculative Fiction in Spain — Cristina Jurado
Interview Saad Z. Hossain — Charles Tan
Interview with Zen Cho — Charles Tan
Clavis Aurea: A Review of Short Fiction — Charlotte Ashley
Interview with Ekaterina Zagustina — Russell Dickerson

Poetry
Dysmorphia — Anne Carly Abad
The Dissection — Christina Sng

Excerpts
Sorcerer to the Crown — Zen Cho
Escape from Baghdad! — Saad Z. Hossain

Word of mouth and reader reviews are crucial to the success of small press publishers such as Apex Publications. If you enjoyed this issue of Apex Magazine, tell a friend and/or leave a review. Even a few words can go a long way and mean the world to authors, editors, and publishers.

 

The Apex Book of World SF 4: Author Spolight - Isabel Yap

By Lesley Conner
on August 31, 2015

The Apex Book of World SF 4 edited by Mahvesh Murad is out now and our author features continue!

Isabel Yap was born and raised in Manila, and has since lived in California and London. Her stories have been published in The Year's Best Weird Fiction Volume 2, Tor.com, Interfictions Online, Shimmer, and elsewhere.

Order The Apex Book of World SF 4.

Order all four anthologies in The Apex Book of World SF series with their brand new covers.

Tell us a little about your story in The Apex Book of World SF 4

“A Cup of Salt Tears” has been described as a dark fairytale, which I think is quite apt. It’s a bit sad and twisted, but I like to think it’s also hopeful and mysterious, like a good fairytale. I mainly wanted to set a story in an onsen, because visiting the onsen was one of the highlights during my term abroad in Japan. I’ve always liked the kappa as a mythical creature. I thought it would be a nice challenge to write something romantic with a kappa protagonist.

Fun fact: I wrote this story at Clarion, while looping Beyonce’s Yes.

Why do you feel it is important to read stories from around the globe? 

For all the same reasons that it’s important to read stories – to learn more about the world, to experience things beyond one’s self, and to have fun. There’s just so much out there – so many different narratives, myths, legends, traditions – that to me it seems like missing out if you only read stories from one region or culture.

If you could tell people to read one author from your home country, who would it be and why?

Oh, this is a tough one. There are so many good Filipino writers creating great stories in both Tagalog and English. If I was to recommend one, though, it would be Gilda Cordero-Fernando. Her story “The Dust Monster” will always be one of my favorites. Reading it reminded me that writing from a Pinoy perspective doesn’t mean that my story needs to be grim or realist; I can write enjoyable, emotional fiction with fantastic elements as well, and there are readers for that kind of thing.

If you’re curious about the SFF scene in the Philippines, I would strongly recommend checking out the Philippine Speculative Fiction series – it's always a diverse collection, with a healthy mix of established and newer writers.

Order your copy of The Apex Book of World SF 4 today!

Read our other The Apex Book of World SF 4 author spotlights

The Apex Book of World SF 4: Author Spotlight - Nene Ormes

By Lesley Conner
on August 28, 2015

The Apex Book of World SF 4 edited by Mahvesh Murad is out now and our author features continue!

Nene Ormes has a past as an archaeologist and as a tour guide in Egypt and now lives in Malmö, Sweden. Her debut novel, Udda verklighet (Touched), is the first in a series of urban fantasies set in her home town. The second novel, Särskild (Dreamer) won her a culture award. “The Good Matter” takes place in the same world as the novels.

Read "The Good Matter" on io9.

Order The Apex Book of World SF 4.

Order all four anthologies in The Apex Book of World SF series with their brand new covers.

Tell us a little about your story in The Apex Book of World SF 4

My story, “The Good Matter,” came about from a fond fantasy I nurtured through my archaeology days - what if I could touch an object and feel its history? I could get a window through time and a glimpse of the life and hand that had shaped it. That would have been really convenient, I thought, and exciting! But if you had that ability and was surrounded by objects with long histories every day, how would you handle it? And so Gustav, an antique dealer, entered my fantasy universe and this is the first story about him. He shows up in my novels as well, and his shop is in Malmö, albeit in my urban fantasy version of Malmö.

Why do you feel it is important to read stories from around the globe?

In Sweden about half of our published books every year are translated from another language, so for me that is the way literature should be. It gives access to other cultures, other experiences, other thoughts than your own, and you have to be aware of the many layered reasons why people do what they do. It's not just the situation in the stories, it's where that situation takes place and to whom it happens as well. 

If you could tell people to read one author from your home country, who would it be and why?

One of my absolute favorites is Inger Edelfeldt. If she's at all available in your languages seek her out. 

Order your copy of The Apex Book of World SF 4 today!

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The Apex Book of World SF 4: Author Spotlight - Saad Z. Hossain

By Lesley Conner
on August 25, 2015

The Apex Book of World SF 4 edited by Mahvesh Murad is coming in late August - the eBook is available on Amazon NOW! Between now and then, we would like to feature some of the contributors in the anthology.

Saad Z Hossain lives in Dhaka, Bangladesh. His debut novel, Escape from Baghdad! was published in the US in 2015.

Preorder The Apex Book of World SF 4.

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Tell us a little about your story in The Apex Book of World SF 4.

I'm writing a novel on djinns, so I've been warming up the world building by doing some short stories. I've been trying to get away from the traditional mythology of djinns by fleshing out their culture, their lore, their politics. When you think about how radically the human world has changed over the past seven thousand years, it's ridiculous to think that djinns would remain the same as folklore.

 Why do you feel it is important to read stories from around the globe?

It's remarkable how different cultures treat sci fi. I recently read some sci fi from Cuba, A Planet for Rent by the great Yoss. The main difference I found compared to Western sci fi was the pessimism around alien contact. This makes sense, given the massive destruction of native populations by European colonialism. As a reader I'm always looking for some twist of perspective that lifts a story out of regular 'genre fiction'. The best chance of finding gems is to range far and wide. Also many people around the world are now writing in English, one of the effects of globalization I suppose, and thus a lot of new stories are available to us.

 If you could tell people to read one author from your home country, who would it be and why?

I could tell you ten great authors who write in English, and hundreds of heavyweights who write in Bangla. Our literary tradition stretches back centuries, but most of it is inaccessible to English speakers. If we focus on the new wave of Bangladeshis writing in English, there are a couple of great new publishers called Bengal Lights and Bengal Publications, who are putting out original work. If we count the diaspora, then I would start with Tahmima Anam, who wrote A Golden Age and The Good Muslim.

Preorder your copy of The Apex Book of World SF 4 today!

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The Apex Book of World SF 4: Author Spotlight - Elana Gomel

By Lesley Conner
on August 24, 2015

The Apex Book of World SF 4 edited by Mahvesh Murad is coming in late August. Between now and then, we would like to feature some of the contributors in the anthology.

Elana Gomel lives in Tel Aviv and is the author of six academic books, and multiple fantasy stories that have appeared in New Horizons, People of the Book, and elsewhere. Her fantasy novel, A Tale of Three Cities, was published in 2013.

Preorder The Apex Book of World SF 4.

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Tell us a little about your story in The Apex Book of World SF 4.

The story is called "The Farm" and it originates in my family history: one of my grandfathers was killed trying to force Ukrainian villagers to join a collective farm. I am fascinated with utopian dreams mutating into dystopian nightmares. This story is one attempt to understand how and why this happens.

Why do you feel it is important to read stories from around the globe?

We are one planet and we are all connected. I was born in a country that no longer exists (USSR) and have lived in Israel, California, China, Italy, and other places. There are more and more people like me (I actually wrote a book about my experience and got responses from many people who share it). Even if you never leave the country of your birth, you cannot understand the world today by limiting yourself to one culture.    

If you could tell people to read one author from your home country, who would it be and why?

There are many interesting Israeli writers but science fiction is not a very popular genre - perhaps because reality in the Middle East is so fantastic. David Grossman is an iconic figure and a good introduction to the secular Israeli culture.

Preorder your copy of The Apex Book of World SF 4 today!

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The Apex Book of World SF 4: Author Spotlight - Samuel Marolla

By Lesley Conner
on August 20, 2015

The Apex Book of World SF 4 edited by Mahvesh Murad is coming in late August. Between now and then, we would like to feature some of the contributors in the anthology.

Samuel Marolla lives in Milan, Italy and writes both fiction and comics. He is also the co-founder of Acheron Books, publishing Italian speculative fiction in English translations.

Preorder The Apex Book of World SF 4.

Preorder all four anthologies in The Apex Book of World SF series with their brand new covers.

Tell us a little about your story in The Apex Book of World SF 4

"Black Tea" has always been a lucky tale for me. You may think this is strange because it's a very dark story. It's about an ancient, big, and empty mansion near the Milan suburbs, in which, if you enter, an old kindly lady may offer you a cup of black tea. And after drinking this black tea, the first thing you can lose is your memory... and then...

I consider the story a lucky one because of its publishing history. It was first published in Italy, and in Italian language, by Mondadori Editore, in my first horror short stories collection named Malarazza. Then it was reprinted in English language by an Italian digital publisher. The tale participated at the Bram Stoker Award 2013 and then received a Honorable Mention by Ellen Datlow. Now, in his "third life" by Acheron Books, it was selected for The Apex Book of World SF 4!

Why do you feel it is important to read stories from around the globe?

The vision of the international writers around the globe can be unique and full of suggestions. The best of "narrativa fantastica" (Italian for speculative fiction) has always come from different, international visions: let me mention for example international Masters like Borges, Calvino, Jean Ray, Nabokov... I think that connecting and sharing international authors can be a gold mine for speculative fiction as a whole.

If you could tell people to read one author from your home country, who would it be and why?

Surely Dino Buzzati. He's the Italian Master of weird short tales (and of many other things). A genius.

But please, let me spend some words about another Italian genre writer, Giorgio Scerbanenco. I believe that this argument is correlated to the "stories from around the globe" in the last question and the great idea of The Apex Book of World SF series. Scerbanenco is the most important Italian crime writer. The strange thing is that he was born in Ukraine (from Italian mother and Ukrainian father) and came to live in Italy only at ten. Some years later, he started to publish his crime novels (and some weird tales, too), written in Italian language. And what Italian language! Giorgio Scerbanenco (ex Vladimir Scerbanenko!) wrote in a perfect, magical, memorable Italian. He became one of the biggest Italian writers of all the times, and he created the "Italian way" to the write a crime story, because until this moment we knew and read only thrillers set in America, written by US authors. I love to think that Scerbanenco stories are the fusion of three different "literary souls": Ukrainian, Italian, and American!

Preorder your copy of The Apex Book of World SF 4 today!

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The Apex Book of World SF 4: Author Spotlight - Julie Novakova

By Lesley Conner
on August 19, 2015

The Apex Book of World SF 4 edited by Mahvesh Murad is coming in late August. Between now and then, we would like to feature some of the contributors in the anthology.

Julie Novakova was born in Prague, the Czech Republic. She is a writer, evolutionary biologist, and occasional translator who has published seven novels, one anthology, and more than thirty short stories in Czech. Some of her English stories have been published in Clarkesworld, Perihelion SF, and Fantasy Scroll.

Preorder The Apex Book of World SF 4.

Preorder all four anthologies in The Apex Book of World SF series with their brand new covers.

Tell us a little about your story in The Apex Book of World SF 4.

“The Symphony of Ice and Dust” opens with a small group of composers from a far future, heading to the distant dwarf planet Sedna for inspiration for their next piece. Upon arrival, they discover that they are not the first humans there; an expedition had actually been sent there during Sedna's last perihelion at the end of our century. The stories of those two missions intertwine and the far-future humans uncover the course of their long-gone predecessors.

Why do you feel it is important to read stories from around the globe?

Each culture has its own specifics: unique history, language specialties, myths, sights, natural environment, etc. that can become a basis for a remarkable and unique story. We're widening our horizons by reading fiction from all over the world, and it can be very entertaining and thought-provoking as well. And while the stories may be highly influenced by the author's culture, they can also show us how futile it usually is to try to strictly define some "national schools" and that the works can be accessible everywhere.

If you could tell people to read one author from your home country, who would it be and why?

That's a tough question. The great classics by Čapek or Nesvadba are available in translation but to get to know current Czech fiction, one should read works that mostly haven't been translated yet, like Vilma Kadlečková's Mycelium series in case of novels, or Hanuš Seiner's stories in case of short fiction. These are brilliant. But I've already translated two of them and hope they're accepted upon submission! I'd watch out for his name. I've also heard rumors about translation of Vilma's books, so we may encounter them on the English-speaking market in time... One day, I may get the ambition to compile a representative anthology of translations of contemporary Czech short fiction. I know of works by many authors that would deserve a place in it.

Preorder your copy of The Apex Book of World SF 4 today!

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What's new with Apex Publications

By Lesley Conner
on August 17, 2015

This has been an incredibly busy summer. We've published two books - For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher by Jason Sizemore and King of the Bastards by Brian Keene and Steven Shrewsbury, read through a lot of Apex Magazine submissions, and were open to novel and novella submissions for the first time in a long while. With all of that and more, we thought it would be a good time to catch you up on what is going on at Apex.

We're putting the finishing touches on The Apex Book of World SF 4 edited by Mahvesh Murad. With the release of the 4th volume in our World SF series, we're rereleasing the first three volumes with new covers that give the series a cohesive look. We'd originally hoped to have the new book completed and ready to go by August 25th, but to make sure that everything is perfect, we're pushing the release date back to August 31st.

That gives you a few more days preorder The Apex Book of World SF 4 at the special price of $15.00 for the print edition or $4.49 for the eBook.

Or pick up all four books in the series for only $50.00 for print or $12.00 for eBooks!

September 1st, Apex Magazine Issue 76 will go live. It is a special World SF themed issue, guest edited by Lavie Tidhar, Mahvesh Murad, and Cristina Jurado. We'll have original fiction by Isabel Yap, Tade Thompson, and Marian Womack. Our reprints are by Liu Cixin and Kuzhali Manickavel. Additionally, there are interviews, poetry, a nonfiction article, and excerpts from novels. Everything that you've come to love and expect from Apex Magazine, but with a World SF flare to showcase the amazing speculative fiction that can be found around the globe and to celebrate the release of The Apex Book of World SF 4.

Speaking of Apex Magazine. When we closed to submissions in June, we'd originally planned to reopen on September 1st. That's changed. While reading through all of the submissions that came in before we closed, we accepted several months worth of fabulous original fiction. Enough, in fact, to schedule well into the spring of 2016. Instead of reopening to submissions and scheduling farther into year - or worse, passing on great stories because we're already holding so many - we're going to remain closed to submissions at this time. Apex Magazine will reopen to submissions on January 1st.

 

The Apex Book of World SF 4: Author Spotlight - Johann Thorsson

By Lesley Conner
on August 17, 2015

The Apex Book of World SF 4 edited by Mahvesh Murad is coming in late August. Between now and then, we would like to feature some of the contributors in the anthology.

Johann Thorsson is a native of Iceland who spent his youth in Israel and Croatia. He writes regular features about books for Bookriot.com and his short stories have been published in both English and Icelandic.

Preorder The Apex Book of World SF 4.

Preorder all four anthologies in The Apex Book of World SF series with their brand new covers.

Tell us a little about your story in The Apex Book of World SF 4.

I woke up with the image of a woman made of chocolate one morning, and she was eating herself (she was made of chocolate, after all). I couldn't get the image out of my head so I wrote a story but the woman being made out of chocolate didn't make any sense. So I tried it again with the woman being just a normal flesh-and-blood human. This both added to the story's versimilitude and made the self-cannibalism more of an anomaly. I re-wrote it again, and ended up with “First, Bite Just a Finger,” which sold to the first market I sent it to, Fireside Fiction.

Why do you feel it is important to read stories from around the globe?

Where to start? Reading stories about people who are unlike ourselves increases our empathy for them, decreases our myopic view of the world, and makes us better people overall. There is also a bias in publishing towards the works of white males (yes, I am aware of the irony) so anything we do to correct that bias is important.

If you could tell people to read one author from your home country, who would it be and why?

There is a rather obvious answer to this for me, being from Iceland, but I'm going to recommend the magical and lyrical books of Jón Kalman Stefánsson. They tell stories that really couldn't take place anywhere but Iceland, and you feel the pain and successes of the characters while also seeing the harsh, unforgiving beauty of the country they live in.

Preorder your copy of The Apex Book of World SF 4 today!

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The Apex Book of World SF 4: Author Spotlight - Bernardo Fernández (Bef)

By Lesley Conner
on August 14, 2015

The Apex Book of World SF 4 edited by Mahvesh Murad is coming in late August. Between now and then, we would like to feature some of the contributors in the anthology.

Mexican author Bef has published three science fiction novels, as well as a series of crime novels. He has also published graphic novels. His short fiction has been published in Mexico City Noir, Three Messages, and Warning: Contemporary Mexican Short Stories, and he is a winner of Spain’s Ingnotus Prize.

Preorder The Apex Book of World SF 4.

Preorder all four anthologies in The Apex Book of World SF series with their brand new covers.

Tell us a little about your story in The Apex Book of World SF 4.

It began as a heartbroken therapy. I'd just ended a long relationship and the writing of the story and its setting in an apocalyptic Mexico City worked as a metaphor of the pain I was feeling at the moment. It also was a sort of experiment: I tried to tell all the story from the first person point of view of a woman. The result is "The Last Hours of The Last Days." It was first published in SUB, a Mexican SF/F magazine, and its English translation was published by Rudy Rucker in his Flurb e-zine. English and Spanish versions have slightly different endings.

Why do you feel it is important to read stories from around the globe?

To get an idea of what the global zeitgeist is all about. SF is an especially interesting creative writing area. The global SF community has a lot of interesting stories to offer and this is a good opportunity to get a load of good reading from around the globe.

If you could tell people to read one author from your home country, who would it be and why?

There are several names that come to my mind: Pepe Rojo, Alberto Chimal, Karen Chacek but if I had to choose only one, it'd be José Luis Zárate, maybe México's most bizarre fantasist, who's written several weird SF/F novels ranging from a Lovecraftian take on Lucha Libre (Xanto) to completing the Demeter's Captain diary from Dracula in La ruta del hielo y la sal. Zárate posts 4 daily micro stories on his twitter account: @joseluiszarate (alas, in Spanish). He´s my favourite living Mexican writer.

Preorder your copy of The Apex Book of World SF 4 today!

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