Apex Magazine Issue 66 is LIVE!

By Lesley Conner
on November 04, 2014

Today is new Apex Magazine day! This month we have original fiction by Rich Larson, Chikodili Emelumadu, Marissa Lingen, and Ginger Weil, poems by Puneet Dutt and Ama Codjoe, and a nonfiction article by Ozgur K. Sahin. We also feature the winning entries from our Steal the Spotlight micro fiction contest. We have interviews with Ginger Weil and Mark Greyland. Our reprint is by Elizabeth Bear and the novel excerpt comes from Lavie Tidhar's A Man Lies Dreaming. Both are available exclusively in our eBook/subscription editions.

All of the original fiction, poetry, and nonfiction can be found online.

Apex Magazine is also available in nicely formatted eBook editions for only $2.99 direct from Apex or through Weightless Books, Amazon (US), Amazon (UK), or Nook. Never miss an issue by buying a subscription. 12-month subscriptions are available through Apex and Weightless Books. Or you can pick up a monthly subscription through either Amazon (US) or Amazon (UK).

Table of Contents

Fiction

“Brute” by Rich Larson

“Candy Girl” by Chikodili Emelumadu

“The New Girl” by Marissa Lingen

“The Stagman’s Song” by Ginger Weil

“Tiger! Tiger!” by Elizabeth Bear (eBook/subscriber exclusive)

Excerpt from A Man Lies Dreaming by Lavie Tidhar (eBook/subscriber exclusive)

 

Steal the Spotlight Winners

“Stone Woman” by Robin Wyatt Dunn (Banshee)

“When a Crossroads in a Corner” by M.J. Starling (Hellhounds)

“Whispering Waters” by Jessica Walsh (Sea Monsters)

“The Fitzpatrick Solution” by Loreen Heneghan (Science Experiments Gone Wrong)

“Guided Breathing Exercises: Being Mindful of the Succubus in Your Bedroom” by Christine Purcell (Demons)

 

Poetry

“Brains, Brains, Brains” by Puneet Dutt

“Sonnet 29” by Ama Codjoe

 

Nonfiction

“Interview with Kris Millering” by Andrea Johnson

“Interview with Mark Greyland” by Loraine Sammy

“Clavis Aurea: A Review of Short Fiction” by Charlotte Ashley

“Statistics vs. Story” by Ozgur K. Sahin

 

Podcast Fiction

“Candy Girl” by Chikodili Emelumadu

Those Who Steal the Spotlight

By Lesley Conner
on October 31, 2014
4 comments

The time has come to announce the winners of Apex Magazine's Steal the Spotlight micro fiction contest.

But first some fun facts.

We announced the contest and opened submissions on September 1st, accepting entries until October 15th, giving you all a month and a half to write up and send in your best micro fiction. In that time period we received and read 1,410 entries! Yeah! Seriously, you guys rocked this contest!

To give you a little perspective, when we ran our Christmas themed micro fiction contest last year, we received just over 500 entries and were floored by the response. To say we were surprised to get nearly three times that many for the Steal the Spotlight contest is an understatement. Astonished and thrilled, with a side of slightly overwhelmed, would be more accurate.

The Black Dog/Hellhound category wins the title of most entries with an even 300 submitted stories. This surprised me because the Demon category had been in the lead right up until the end, ending up with 297 entries. Banshees came in third with 284, Sea Monsters with 266, and Science Experiments Gone Wrong with 264. As you can see they were all pretty close. I'm sure some of you are thinking that of course they were because nearly everyone wrote an entry for all five categories. While we did have several people who wrote for all the categories, I wouldn't say the majority. In fact, two of our winners only submitted one story a piece.

So who are our winners, anyway?

Jessica Walsh won Sea Monsters with "Whispering Waters."

Robin Wyatt Dunn won Banshees with "Stone Woman."

M. J. Starling won Black Dog/Hellhounds with "When a Crossroads is in a Corner."

Loreen Heneghan won Science Experiments Gone Wrong with "The Fitzpatrick Solution."

Christine Purcell won Demons with "Guided Breathing Exercises."

A big congratulations to our winners. You can read their stories in Apex Magazine Issue 66, which comes out this coming Tuesday.

I also want to thank all of you who wrote stories and sent them in for Jason and I to read. You sent in some truly amazing entries and we're so happy you all participated.

Severance Package Preorder Deal!

By Lesley Conner
on October 28, 2014
2 comments

Yesterday we opened up preorders for Severance, a new humorously dark science fiction novel by Cracked.com columnist Chris Bucholz. Already we're offering our standard preorder deal: preorder a trade paperback edition of Severance (out December 9th) and receive the eBook edition for free immediately, plus free domestic shipping.

A great deal for an amazing book, but we thought we could do better.

One lucky person who preorders Severance through the Apex store - preorders will be open until the release in early December - will win a Severance Package.

What's in this Severance Package? That's a good question, and I have an outstanding answer. How does Apex's next two releases sound? For free, delivered to you when they come out. What if I told you that Apex's next releases are made up of Brian Keene's much anticipated novel The Lost Level and Damien Angelica Walters' collection Sing Me Your Scars and Other Stories? Interested now? I thought so.

A fantastic prize for one lucky person, and all you have to do is preorder Severance for your chance to win.

Want to check out an excerpt of Severance before you order? Read the first chapter here.

An excerpt from Severance by Chris Bucholz

By Lesley Conner
on October 27, 2014
1 comment

Preorder Severance by Chris Bucholz

 

Chapter 1: A Distinct Odor

Laura Stein rolled onto her side, taking care to not crush the bag of urine strapped to her thigh. Through the vanes of the air damper, she could see the upper side of a suspended ceiling facing her. An art studio lay underneath that, assuming the occupancy database was accurate, which it occasionally was. She waited a few seconds, listening for any sign that art was currently happening, and after hearing nothing, pried open one of the damper vanes, creating a gap wide enough to drop through. Feet first, she passed through the damper and set herself down on the suspended ceiling, confident the frame would support her weight. She repositioned the damper vane in place, then rolled to her side and opened a tile in the ceiling, peering into the space below. Empty.

She lowered herself out of the ceiling and dropped to the floor. Standing on a chair, she repositioned the tile above her, then made her way to the closet at the back of the studio. From the webbing strapped around her waist, she withdrew a tool to remove an embedded floor panel, exposing a dark cavity. She descended feet first into the hole, again mindful of the flexible package of urine, then awkwardly positioned herself face up and dragged the access panel into place above her. In darkness again, she tapped a luminescent patch on her shoulder, shedding a dim light in front of her. Rolling over onto her stomach, she began dragging her way down the crawlspace, scraping her hands, chin, and every other part of her body as she went.

Designed for maintenance robots, utility crawlspaces could theoretically accommodate human-sized travelers — the theory essentially being: "but they really have to want to be there." The number of scrapes, abrasions and calluses on Stein's hands and knees attested to the number of times she'd really wanted to be in such places. Typically for work-related reasons, but she wasn't working tonight. Stein was one of the enviable few Argosians whose profession — ship's maintenance — overlapped significantly with her hobby — light burglary.

Reaching a junction, she checked the identification tag on the wall. L3-UC-3401. The odds of her being in the wrong place were slim, but the next section would be a dead end, and she didn't want to back in and out of any more side passages than she had to. She patted the satchel of urine strapped to her hip for the tenth time since entering the crawlspace, reassured that it was still dry to the touch.

She shimmied a few meters down the side passage, counting the number of panel seams above her as she went. When she reached the sixth seam, she stopped. Reaching behind her, she fished a cutter from her tool webbing, then began to roll over. She stopped abruptly, perilously close to wetting herself, shivered, then rolled over the other way, maneuvering her body until she was lying on her back. Exhaling, she tapped the terminal on her other hip and spoke softly, "How we doing?"

"Still clear," Bruce replied. "I told you, this guy's definitely befouling someone's party right now. Take as long as you want."

"Well, just keep watching. I've got a shy bladder," Stein whispered.

"Just relax and it will come. Imagine you're in a really crowded room and everyone's watching — that's what I do when I need to go."

Stein laughed.

"Or maybe imagine my mom. That sometimes works for me too."

She grinned and adjusted the controls of the cutter. "Okay, here we go," she whispered. Positioning the tool, she drilled a tiny hole in the panel above her. Applying light pressure to the cutter, she listened to the torch as it cut through the sandwiched materials into the room above. A change in pitch announced the end of the cut, at which point she turned off the tool and tucked it back in her webbing. Her hand returned with a micro-lube gun. Positioning it in the hole she'd just made, she began threading the sturdy tube up until she was confident it had breached the threshold of the floor above. Pausing, she rolled her shoulders, releasing the tension that had crept into her neck. After a deep breath, she reached down to her right hip and delicately detached the sack of urine from the webbing. Carefully, she twisted off the cap of the sack and slid the lube gun's feed tube into it. She exhaled. Slowly, she depressed the trigger of the lube gun.

"Ahhhhhhhhhhhh."

The contents of the satchel traveled up the tube at high velocity, ejecting over a small patch of floor in the room above. The donor of the urine was not Stein herself, but a gentleman by the name of Gerald Lehman, a Marker. Lehman had not known he was donating the urine at the time, and indeed would have been impressively paranoid if he had. A small device attached to the trap underneath his toilet had been collecting his urine for days, a trap implanted during a similar subterranean raid a week earlier. But however upset Mr. Lehman might be after discovering the theft of his urine, it would pale beside how he'd feel if he knew its ultimate destination: the living room of Sebastian Krol, leader of the Markers, and his nominal boss.

Throughout the course of human history, peeing on your boss's living room floor has always been regarded as a pretty bad move, but in an organization like the Markers, it was particularly ill-advised. The Markers were a club/society/street-gang — one of many on the Argos — that distinguished themselves from their peers by pissing on things and off people. Markers, when queried about this behavior, would usually expound on the importance of keeping in tune with humanity's ancient mammalian roots, or recite a prepared speech about the tyranny of indoor plumbing. Everyone else, when queried about this behavior, would suggest that they just liked being dicks. Markers were a particular annoyance for those whose work involved crawling around in poorly drained and ventilated areas, people such as Laura Stein and Bruce Redenbach.

Stein and Bruce's scheme involved placing an ambitious junior's Mark within the leader's home, which they hoped would incite an internecine conflict within the Marker organization and possibly some mild bloodshed. "And if it does lead to some murders," Bruce had noted, "then so be it. Horrible smelling murders that security doesn't try very hard to solve."

The satchel empty, Stein withdrew the tube and stowed everything in her webbing. As gracefully as possible, she scuttled her way back down the corridor. "All done," she whispered.

"Bet that feels better," Bruce said. "Coast is still clear. Do you smell? I bet you smell."

Stein ignored him, concentrating on her awkward backpedaling retreat. Five minutes later she was back in the closet, sealing the access panel shut. Standing, she peeled off her coveralls covered in the dirt and grime of the crawlspace, and stuffed them into an expandable bag she extracted from her webbing. Now somewhat presentable looking, she exited the closet back into the art studio. Her hand fluttered to the terminal to call Bruce and check if it was safe to leave by the front door, before she stopped.

A strange buzzing noise was emanating from somewhere, and she turned, looking for the source. A half-dozen canvases lay in a stack by a set of shelves. Beside them, a pair of easels toiled, holding up a wall. The shelves themselves contained art supplies, a selection of horrible clay pots, and a thin layer of dust. She frowned. She wasn't surprised to find the studio abandoned — there were a lot of similarly disused rooms scattered across the ship. But she hadn't thought this was one of them. When they were planning out her route for the evening's excursion, the occupancy database — admittedly not always reliable — said this room was still in use, owned by an M. Melson.

The strange noise was still there, growing louder. Out of a sense of professional curiosity she continued searching the room, thinking it might be a short circuit arcing behind a wall panel. She stooped to peer behind a bookshelf in the corner, nudging it slightly.

Bright blue light obliterated everything. She jumped back, falling on her ass, scrambling backwards like a crab, one hand clamped over her eyes. A piercing noise filled the air around her. Stein opened her eyes a fraction. The blue light was still there, still blinding. Blinking, she could see the negative afterimage, a bright slash of orange imprinted on her retinas. Strange black images danced in her vision. Keeping her eyes shut, she clamped her hands over them, squeezing. The images floating on the bright sea of orange coalesced into distinct shapes. They almost looked like letters.

 

ISBN: 978-1-937009-27-4
Copyright 2014 by Chris Bucholz

Want to read more? Preorder Severance by Chris Bucholz and receive the eBook today!!

SEVERANCE by Chris Bucholz cover reveal and synopsis

By Jason Sizemore
on October 22, 2014

In a matter of a few weeks, Apex will be publishing SEVERANCE, a rather twisted, entertaining dark SF novel by Cracked.com columnist Chris Bucholz. Be on the lookout for preorder information in the next couple of days.

Behold, the cover!

Cover art by Kimmo Lemetti. Typography design by Mekenzie Larsen and Chris Bucholz.

SYNOPSIS

After 240 years traveling toward Tau Prius and a new planet to colonize, the inhabitants of the generation ship Argos are bored and aimless. They join groups such as the Markers and the Breeders, have costumed orgies, and test the limits of drugs, alcohol, and pain just to pass the time.

To Laura Stein, they’re morons and, other than a small handful of friends, she’d rather spend time with her meat plant than with any of her fellow passengers. But when one of her subordinates is murdered while out on a job, Laura takes it as her responsibility to find out what happened. She expects to find a personal grudge or a drug deal gone wrong, but instead stumbles upon a conspiracy that could tear the ship in two.

Labelled a terrorist and used as a pawn in the ultimate struggle for control, Laura, with help from her friend Bruce and clues left by a geneticist from the past, digs deep into the inner working of the ship, shimmying her way through ductwork, rallying the begrudged passengers to rise up and fight, and peeking into an unsavory past to learn the truth and save their future.

Fall Is Here! Bundle Up and Save!

By Lesley Conner
on October 17, 2014

Fall is here.

Cooler temperatures, longer nights, and hot drinks to warm up with; the perfect combination for bundling up and reading. So grab a sweatshirt and head over to the Apex store, where we’ve set it up for you to bundle even more and take home some amazing savings!

From now until October 31st, we’re celebrating fall with a Bundle Up and Save sale! The more Apex books you buy, the more you’ll save! Grab two Apex titles and you’ll automatically get 10% off your purchase. Three books gets you 20% off. Add another two books to your cart, bringing your total up to five, and you get 40% off! Want to go for the BIG savings and make sure your Apex library is complete? Buy 10 or more Apex books and you get 50% off you entire purchase!!

That’s some major savings on incredible reads!

The sale includes both print and eBook editions of Apex’s entire book catalog. Grab everything from War Stories to Dark Faith to Glitter & Mayhem. Any combination, any amounts, and you will save! No discount codes, no special trick to get the deal, just add the titles you want to your cart and watch your savings will automatically be calculated. And don't forget, orders of $25+ are eligible for free domestic shipping.

So what are you waiting for? Bundle up and save!

A change to the Apex Magazine submission guidelines

By Jason Sizemore
on October 15, 2014

If you head over to the Apex Magazine submission guidelines and take a peek you'll notice something has changed. Instead of sending sending submissions to our old Gmail account, now you'll go through Submittable, filling out a short form and attaching your story or poem there. This isn't a big change for writers. Many other markets use submission services like Submittable, and it makes it very easy for you to check on the status of your submission.

For the Apex Magazine team, the switch to Submittable is going to keep things more organized. Everything is in one place. Submission editors can leave notes for Jason or myself. It will be much quicker to see who has which submissions and what is the status of those submissions. Basically, it'll be awesome.

"But," I can hear some of you say, "I emailed a story to Apex Magazine this morning! Do I need to resubmit?" The answer is no. I went in after we made the announcement on Twitter and distributed all the remaining entries to our submission editors. We are working hard to handle all of these submissions before we dig in to the ones that will be coming in through Submittable. If, after 60 days you haven't heard about a submission, send us a query. I'm happy to look into it for you.

War Stories has arrived!

By Lesley Conner
on October 08, 2014

After months of work, War Stories: New Military Science Fiction has finally arrived, prepped and polished and ready for the frontlines.

Edited by Jaym Gates and Andrew Liptak, War Stories collects 23 science fiction and fantasy stories that examine the effects of war, prior, during, and after the battle has taken place, on both the soldiers and those who love them.

Order War Stories today!

War is everywhere. Not only among the firefights, in the swear dripping from heavy armor and the clenching grip on your weapon, but also wedging itself deep into families, infiltrating our love letters, hovering in the air above our heads. It's in our dreams and our text messages. At times it roars with adrenaline, while at others it slips in silently so it can sit besdie you until you forget it's there.

Join Joe Haldeman, Linda Nagata, Karin Lowachee, Ken Liu, Jay Posey, and more as they take you on a tour of the battlefields, from those hurtling through space in spaceships and winding along trails deep in the jungle with bullets whizzing overhead, to the ones hiding behind calm smiles, waiting patiently to reveal itself in those quiet moments when we feel safest. War Stories brings us 23 stories of the impacts of war, showcasing the systems, combat, armor, and aftermath with condemnation or glorification.

Instead, War Stories reveals the truth.

War is what we are.

Get your copy of War Stories today and dive into these fast paced, emotional stories about the impacts of war.

Apex Magazine Issue 65 is LIVE!

By Lesley Conner
on October 07, 2014

It's the first Tuesday of the month, which means we have a new issue of Apex Magazine ready for your consumption. This month we have beautiful stories by Mary McMyne, Kris Millering, Jessica Sirkin, and Tom Piccirilli. Our poetry is by Chris Lynch, Neile Graham, and Sonya Taaffe. Loraine Sammy brings us a nonfiction article titled "Fandom Activism for Change in Visual Entertainment Media: We Have the Power." Kris Millering talks with Andrea Johnson in our author interview, and artist Catherine Denvir discusses the differences between being an illustrator and painter in our artist interview. Exclusive to our eBook editions, we have an excerpt from King's War: The Knight's of Briton Court 3 by Maurice Broaddus.

As always, all the original short fiction, poetry, and nonfiction can be found for free at the Apex Magazine website. Or help support Apex Magazine and our authors by purchasing a nicely formatted eBook edition for only $2.99, and enjoy exclusive content. Individual issues are sold direct through Apex, or through Amazon (US), Amazon (UK), Barnes & Noble, and Weightless Books.

Want to read all the exclusive content from the convenience of your eReader and never miss an issue, plus get the best price? Subscriptions are available. For $19.95, get 12-months of Apex Magazine in PDF, mobi, or ePub formats direct from Apex or through Weightless Books. Or Amazon has month-to-month subscriptions available for only $1.99 an issue!

 

Table of Contents

Fiction

“Primrose or Return to Il’maril” by Mary McMyne

“Coins for the Eyes” by Kris Millering

“The House in Winter” by Jessica Sirkin

“What I Am” by Tom Piccirilli

Excerpt from King’s War: The Knights of Breton Court 3 by Maurice Broaddus (eBook/subscriber exclusive)

Poetry

“Half Wives” by Chris Lynch

“The Excavation of Troy” by Sonya Taaffe

“On the Excarnations of the Gods” by Neile Graham

Nonfiction

“Resolute: Notes from the Editor-in-Chief” by Sigrid Ellis

“Interview with Kris Millering” by Andrea Johnson

“Fandom Activism for Change in Visual Entertainment Media: We Have the Power” by Loraine Sammy

“Clavis Aurea: A Review of Short Fiction” by Charlotte Ashley

“Interview with Catherine Denvir” by Loraine Sammy

Podcast Fiction

“The House in Winter” by Jessica Sirkin

Enjoy Apex Magazine? Help spread the news. Tell a friend, leave a review, or send us a Tweet.

Ten Books to Give for All Hallow's Read

By Lesley Conner
on October 06, 2014
1 comment

October is here and with it comes all things fall. The leaves are painting the skyline orange, yellow, and red, pumpkins are creeping into everything from coffee to Oreos, and horror movies and novels are finding their way to the top of to-watch and to-read piles.

Another cool thing that’s going on is All Hallow’s Read. If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, go here. Neil Gaiman does a wonderful job explaining it. I can wait.

Back? Okay. Isn’t that the coolest thing ever? A new holiday tradition where we give our family and friends scary books. The horror geek and book nerd in me are squealing with joy! But then of course, the question becomes what to give. To help you make the best decisions of which scary titles to share with your friends, I’ve scanned my bookshelves and the internet for suggestions.

Ten Books to Give for All Hallow’s Read.

  1. October Dreams (AKA October Dreams: A Celebration of Halloween) edited by Richard Chizmar and Robert Morrish – Suggested by Maurice Broaddus, author of Orgy of Souls and I Can Transform You and editor of Dark Faith and Dark Faith: Invocations.
  2. Survivor by J. F. Gonzalez – Suggested by my bookcase. Honestly, anything by J. F. Gonzalez would be a good pick, but this book scared the crap out of me when I read it, and he’s currently working on two novellas that tie into the storyline from this novel.
  3. Alabaster Pale Horse by Caitlin R. Kiernan – Suggested on Twitter by @djerfisherite.
  4. The Night Country by Stuart O’Nan – Suggested by Douglas F. Warrick, author of Plow the Bones.
  5. Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill – Suggested on Twitter by @ElioSchmie.
  6. The Mist by Stephen King – Suggested by, well, I want to say my bookcase, but as I’m scanning my Stephen King titles, I realize I don’t own Skeleton Crew, which is where I first read The Mist as a young girl. Recently a friend and I were talking about how frightening this novella is - we both read it around the age of 13 - which is why it made this list. And now I must buy myself an All Hallow’s Read gift to fill the hole in my Stephen King library.
  7. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury – Suggested by Jerry Gordon, editor of Dark Faith and Dark Faith: Invocations.
  8. The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson – Suggested on Twitter by @Stephenspower.
  9. Urban Gothic by Brian Keene – Suggested by my bookcase. As with J.F. Gonzalez, you could basically give any Brian Keene title for All Hallow’s Read and be good, but I picked Urban Gothic because it’s my favorite of his novels. The entire book reads like a 80s horror movie, with teenagers who end up places they shouldn’t, wild chases, violence, and death, and as a girl who grew up loving those movies, this book was a blast to read.
  10. Salem’s Lot by Stephen King – Suggested by Elizabeth Massie, author of Desper Hollow.
And that's it. Ten scary reads to give to your family and friends for All Hallow's Read. What books would you suggest people give? Leave a comment to let us know.

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