Aurealis Award winners

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    Trucksong cover - click to view full sizeThe Aurealis Awards came out a week or so ago and Locus posted the winners. I couldn’t help noticing that many of the winners and finalists were published by Twelfth Planet Press and FableCroft so for us northern hemispherists curious about Antipodean fiction, here are a few quick suggestions on where to start. I’ve listed all the winners and then included any finalists curious readers can find here:

    Best Science Fiction Novel

    • Lexicon, Max Barry (Hachette)


    Best Science Fiction Short Story

    • “Air, Water and the Grove”, Kaaron Warren (The Lowest Heaven)


    Best Fantasy Novel

    • A Crucible of Souls, Mitchell Hogan (self-published)


    Best Fantasy Short Story

    • The Last Stormdancer, Jay Kristoff (Thomas Dunne)


    Best Horror Novel

    • Fairytales for Wilde Girls, Allyse Near (Random House Australia)


    Best Horror Short Story

    • “The Year of Ancient Ghosts”, Kim Wilkins (The Year of Ancient Ghosts)


    Best Young Adult Novel (Tie)

    • These Broken Stars, Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner (Allen & Unwin)
    • Fairytales for Wilde Girls, Allyse Near (Random House Australia)


    Young Adult Short Story

    • “By Bone-Light”, Juliet Marillier (Prickle Moon)


    Best Collection


    Best Anthology (Tie)


    Best Children’s Fiction

    • The Four Seasons of Lucy McKenzie, Kirsty Murray (Allen & Unwin)


    Best Illustrated Book/Graphic Novel (Tie)

    • Burger Force, Jackie Ryan (self-published)
    • The Deep Vol. 2: The Vanishing Island, Tom Taylor & James Brouwer (Gestalt)


    Winners were announced on April 5, 2014 at the annual Aurealis Awards ceremony at the Great Hall, University House, Australian National University, Canberra. Details at the Aurealis Awards website.

    One Small Step, an anthology of discoveries Focus 2012: Highlights of Australian Short Fiction Ink Black Magic

    Science and Herself

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    Science of Herself cover - I’m really enjoying the whole Outspoken Authors series from PM Press and last week I read Karen Joy Fowler’s entry, The Science of Herself, and now I want you to go and read it, too. And, bonus, today it is on super sale! (Full disclosure: I know Karen, published a collection of her work, and really want you to read her books!)

    The title story “The Science of Herself” is about (ok, forgive me, it’s about a lot of things) Mary Anning, who from an early age, was one of the foremost fossil hunters in Britain. Of course, she wasn’t recognized as such: those who bought her discoveries claimed them as their own and Mary and her family had to struggle for their daily bread. This is Karen in her element: writing about women in history doing their own thing, investigating the world, and not always being recognized or even noticed by the men around them. She mixes in some Jane Austen — after all, she did write The Jane Austen Book Club — and breaks your heart over and over. (That is kind of her specialty.)

    The second story, “The Pelican Bar,” won both the World Fantasy and Shirley Jackson Awards and is a spectacular story, although all the spectacle is slipped underneath the surface. In the interview, Terry Bisson asks whether the story (which is about a North American teenager) was inspired by the Guantánamo Bay detention camp and Karen says:

    “Definitely Guantánamo. Also Abu Ghraib. But even more directly, from the chain of overseas schools run by the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASPS), particularly the notorious Tranquility Bay in Jamaica and High Impact in Mexico. I read online a statement that we shouldn’t be surprised that Americans are OK with torturing foreign prisoners, because apparently we are OK with the torturing of American children, as long as it happens overseas. That statement was the seed of my story.”

    The last story is “The Further Adventures of the Invisible Man” which was originally published in Conjunctions 39: The New Wave Fabulists and is another fabulous how does she do it story.

    And, you know, the stories are fabulous, but the two pieces of nonfiction are what makes this book a must have. Karen is one of the smartest people I know and any time I can see her on a panel or listen to an interview (or even read one), I do. Her conversation with Terry Bisson is worth the price of the book alone, and, given that The Science of Herself is on super sale today, I hope you’ll give it a shot.

    February & March 2014 Bestsellers


    LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction – Issue 1 cover - click to view full sizeSince we’ve added a handful of new magazines recently — and since Apex is in the middle of their Fourth Story campaign — I thought it would be fun just to look at magazines for the most recent bestseller list.

    Andrea wrote about the #1 bestselling individual issue, Lontar: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction — and how awesome is it that readers are digging it? Yeah! Part of the reason I want to spotlight the magazine top 5 is that with Lontar, Shimmer, & Plasma Frequency are magazines that don’t usually make the subscription bestsellers list, which is always packed with such heavy hitters as Clarkesworld, Galaxy’s Edge, Lightspeed, Apex, NYRSF, and Locus.

    But I’ve always loved indie presses — also known as boutique publishers, micropresses, zinesters, so many terms! I started LCRW lo those many years ago because I loved the unexpected gems and unknown-to-me voices that I’d find more often there than in the slicker magazines. Sure, I don’t love everything in every issue of a zine, but I figure if I’m knocked over once or twice per issue, that’s going to be as good as most other magazines. (LCRW I’m not counting, as everything in it is something that knocked me over from the submission stacks.)

    Andrea also wrote recently about one magazine that’s relatively new to Weightless, Luna Station Quarterly, although since they’re already at issue 17, they’re hitting their 5-year-anniversary, which is pretty great. Other relatively new magazines on the site include:

    Bastion Science Fiction: according to the editors, this will be all sf all the time.

    The Common: a fascinating literary journal in which everything begins with a consideration of place.

    Flash Fiction Online: a monthly flash fiction magazine.

    Lovers of dark fiction, don’t miss Beware the Dark which just dropped in price from $4.99/issue to just $2.99, and a three-issue annual subscription is now a bargain $5.97.

    Although we don’t sell subscriptions to all the magazines here, most are available. Here they are organized from least-to-most expensive.

    Thanks again, everyone, for reading great books, for reading widely, and for choosing this indie DRM-free ebooksite!

    February & March 2014 Magazines

    1. Lontar: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction – #1
    2. Shimmer – #18
    3. Plasma Frequency – #10
      Interzone – #249
    4. Locus - February 2014 (#637)
    5. Clarkesworld – #89


    1. Clarkesworld
    2. Galaxy’s Edge
    3. Apex
    4. Beneath Ceaseless Skies
    5. New York Review of Science Fiction

    Clarkesworld Magazine – Issue 91 Galaxy’s Edge Magazine – Issue 7: March 2014 Apex Magazine Issue 59 Lightspeed Magazine Issue 47 Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #144 New York Review of Science Fiction #306

    Bastion Science Fiction Magazine – Issue 1 cover - click to view full size Plasma Frequency Magazine – Issue 10 cover  Flash Fiction Online Issue #6 March 2014 cover - click to view full size  Chelsea Station: Issue 4 cover - click to view full sizeThe Common 06 cover - click to view full size

    Operation Fourth Story: Apex Magazine

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    38763-coverEvery month, Apex Magazine includes at least three science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories. But the Apex editors who pull twisted, strange, and beautiful works full of marrow and passion out of the slush pile have a lofty dream: to bring you at least four great stories a month. For a magazine committed to paying five cents a word, dreams come at a price. To find funding for the much-sought-after fourth story, Apex editors could have decided to eliminate all one-syllable words from future stories, thus saving 25% or so on costs. But where would Apex Magazine be without love, screech, wolf, and pie? The sacrifice would have been too great. Instead, in an effort to attract new subscribers, the editors decided to lower Apex Magazine’s annual subscription rate to $17.95 for a limited time. Click here to become a new subscriber and to show your support for the worker bees of the syllable world.

    (Edit: see below for the official Apex press release on Operation Fourth Story. –Michael)

    Operation Fourth Story

    Apex Publications is happy to announce the launch of Operation Fourth Story! So far 2014 has been a great year for Apex Magazine. A new editorial team led by Editor-in-chief Sigrid Ellis took over January 1st, submissions and web readership are both at record levels, and our subscriber base has steadily grown.

    The Apex Magazine team has decided to use this momentum and take the magazine to a new level, to make it bigger and better than ever before.

    April 3rd through April 17th Apex will be executing Operation Fourth Story, with the intention of gaining enough revenue via subscriptions and/or patrons to be able to add a fourth original short story to each issue. We’ve determined that we will need approximately 250 new subscriptions through a combination of Apex, Weightless, Amazon, and Patreon to reach our goal.

    During Operation Fourth Story, yearly subscriptions to Apex Magazine will be available on discount for $17.95 both direct from Apex and through Weightless Books.

    As an added incentive, anyone who subscribes during this period direct from Apex, through Weightless or Amazon, or by becoming our patron on Patreon will also receive a free Apex eBook of their choice. (Go to or to see our full catalog.) To receive the free eBook forward the subscription receipt or confirmation email to Lesley at [email protected] and let her know which book you would like.

    Finally, when Apex meets our goal of 250 new subscriptions, we will randomly select one subscriber to win a Kindle Paperwhite.

    Already an Apex Magazine subscriber? Renew your subscription during Operation Fourth Story to take advantage of the fantastic price and to claim your free Apex eBook.

    For full details about Operation Fourth Story, please see the announcement on the Apex blog:

    APEX PUBLICATIONS ( is a small press dedicated to publishing exemplary works of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Owned and operated by Jason B. Sizemore, Apex publishes the twice Hugo Award-nominated Apex Magazine. The Apex catalog contains books by genre luminaries such as Tom Piccirilli, Catherynne M. Valente, and Lavie Tidhar.

    News From Luna Station: All Is Strange and Mostly Dangerous

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    38077-coverIf you read Luna Station Quarterly Issue 17, try not to let your courage falter the next time you see a supermodel. They can smell fear. In “The Woodsman,” my favorite piece in Issue 17, author Jan Stinchcomb layers on the homicides and reveals what it takes to be a dark-souled “beauty.” Suffice it to say you should steer clear of the forest.

    The talents of female speculative fiction writers are on display throughout this issue of Luna Station Quarterly, which includes science fiction, fantasy, horror, humor and fairy tales with evil at their core. Although the journal only accepts work by female authors, stories are told from perspectives as varied as those of men, women, children and a sheepdog.

    “Mission Critical” by Deborah Bailey is my favorite science fiction piece. A long-duration spaceflight crew must decide who’ll be the next to die in order to feed the thing in the ship’s hold. The fate of humanity is at stake. The premise is great. The execution, so to speak, is perfectly done.

    Many of this issue’s stories hold a touch of horror, but “The Good Mother” by l.a. james is the creepiest. A woman at a funeral accidentally leaves with a ghost child who presses against her leg. Whose child is this? Why does it latch onto the woman? How does she rid herself of it? Does she want to? I grew up around ghost stories. This one gives me the willies.

    Luna Station Quarterly characters seem especially fond of being reborn. A soul pulled from the animasphere brings the body of a previously-comatose person to life. A human-legged mermaid dies and gets her tail back. A phoenix in the flock exists in a form undetectable even to herself.

    I liked every one of the fourteen stories in this issue. Some of these creations I’ll remember for a long time.

    Luna Station Quarterly is available DRM-free from Weightless Books in single issues or as a 12-month subscription.

    Lammy Finalists on Sale

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    Quick: pick them up here: eight Lambda Award finalists from Lethe Press are on sale for just $4.99 each.

    The Padishah’s Son and the Fox: an erotic novella

    The Padishah’s Son and the Fox: an erotic novella 
    Alex Jeffers

    In a Turkish prison on the Black Sea coast, a lifer known as Yamyam “the Canniba” whiles away tedious days and nights retelling old folk tales to the other inmates. … More

    Like Light for Flies

    Like Light for Flies 
    Lee Thomas

    A young boy is horrified to discover what his brother is really doing in their father’s work shed. An old man whispers a word that sets his victim on the road to madness. A Victorian… More

    Dust Devil on a Quiet Street

    Dust Devil on a Quiet Street 
    Richard Bowes

    Dust Devil on a Quiet Street chronicles the remarkable life of Boston-born, New York City-reared author Richard Bowes. Bowes’s childhood and adolescent brushes with … More

    The Rest of Us: Stories

    The Rest of Us: Stories 
    Guy Mark Foster

    A remarkable collection of short stories that embrace the breadth and depth of being a gay African-American, The Rest of Us approaches life from the angst of youth and first love … More

    My Dear Watson

    My Dear Watson 
    L.A. Fields

    One of the most famous partnerships in literature yields, over time, to a peculiar romantic triangle. Sherlock Holmes. Dr. John Watson. And the good doctor’s second wife,… More

    Deprivation; or, Benedetto furioso: an oneiromancy
    Deprivation; or, Benedetto furioso: an oneiromancy 
    Alex Jeffers

    Sleep deprivation does funny things to your head. Steeped in the romance of Renaissance Italian literature, Ben Lansing isn’t coping well with the routines of his first… More

    Death by Silver

    Death by Silver 
    Melissa Scott et al.

    In Death by Silver veteran authors Melissa Scott and Amy Griswold introduce a Victorian London where magic works, influencing every aspect of civilized life, and two very appealing… More

    How to Greet Strangers: A Mystery
    How to Greet Strangers: A Mystery 
    Joyce Thompson

    Archer Barron is rebuilding his life after hiding from it for years. Once he had grand expectations—graduating law school, donning drag to express his feminine aspects, and… More

    The View is Different From Here: Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction

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    37784-coverI hadn’t expected to find a horror story in the first issue of Lontar: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction, but there it was. In “The Yellow River” by Elka Ray Nguyen, a young Vietnamese serviceman travels to a haunted part of the jungle. More than anything, this Lontar story sticks with me, perhaps because the rather innocent characters in it are compelled to complete military service in a setting very different from their normal lives. I didn’t know military service is compulsory in Vietnam. Maybe the bit about the ghost is true, too.

    Learning real things about a region of the world relatively unknown to me is an unexpected bonus of the great stories in Lontar. With each tale, I was allowed a view through the eyes of someone whose experiences and orientation are so far separated from my own and yet so similar that the journey is wondrous.

    In “Philippine Magic: A Course Catalogue,” Paolo Chikiamco offers a proposed line of academic study that includes FLK 401, a semester about Barang Barang, “a type of magic where the sorcerer sends insects or animals to appear inside the body of the victim.” In RLC 103, the mythology and iconography of anting-anting will be discussed, including “the letters ‘AEIOU’ to represent the secret names of Atardar, the whale-like dragon that is a symbol of evil.” The thrust of Philippine magic had been unknown to me, but I thought I was familiar with the name “Becca.” I was wrong. In RLC 403, the prospective student can learn about “symbols associated with Becca (Lucifer) and other evils.”

    “The Gambler” by Paolo Bacigalupi was my favorite story in Lontar’s first issue. Nominated in 2009 for both a Nebula and a Hugo Award, “The Gambler” tells of a Laotian refugee, Ong, in the near future. Ong’s having trouble adjusting to life in the U.S.A. He’s landed a good job as a journalist for an online paper similar to others that grew up in “the smoking remains of the New York Times Company,” but Ong’s compelled to write stories about the failures of government. No one wants to read his stories. “I am drawn to them, as though poking at the tiger of the American government will somehow make up for not being able to poke at the little cub of New Divine Monarch Khamsing.” To me, “The Gambler” was about communication. For the Laotian protagonist, “Real news was too valuable to risk in public.” Ong struggles with this particular conviction, especially when his career as a journalist is given a public chance for success in the company of a world-famous starlet.

    Lontar’s first issue is filled with interesting and thought-provoking stories. It’s worth a read, and it’s available DRM-free from Weightless Books.

    Shimmer 18 guest editor post

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    Shimmer Magazine – Issue 18 coverHere is a guest post written by Ann VanderMeer in celebration of the publication today of the issue 18 of Shimmer Magazine which Ann guest edited:

    Let’s raise a glass and say L’Chaim to Shimmer 18!!

    L’Chaim, which means To Life, is a toast I heard quite often growing up. Later in Hebrew school I learned a bit more behind the magic of this phrase.

    Being a numbers kind of a gal (in addition to letters, I must admit), I was intrigued by the system of numerology called Gematria. Each letter of the Hebrew alphabet is assigned a numerical value and these numbers give words their power and also provide more insight into language.

    The Hebrew word Chai, which means Life, corresponds to the number 18. Issue 18 has great new stories from Annalee Newitz, Ben Peek, Rachel Marston, Ramsey Shehadeh, Ben Godby, Christine Schirr, Dustin Monk and Jeff VanderMeer (yes, that’s right – a little bit of nepotism here but I am allowed once in a while. This new story by Jeff is kind of a precursor to his new Southern Reach series).

    So, yes!  This issue of Shimmer Magazine #18 should be celebrated TO Life!

    January 2014 Bestsellers


    Happy new year to all the bestsellers: Sofia Samatar, Apex Magazine, and the New York Review of Science Fiction! This is the second month where the bestsellers were ruled by the weekly sale titles (sign up here). Maybe I’ll give them a different chart next month. After all, if the NYTimes can keep changing their charts, so can we. Readers do love those sales! Some of the titles there are still pretty bargain priced, for example Glitter and Mayhem is only $4.99!

    Apex Magazine is a real dark horse: the subscriptions are just about always on the charts, although this might be the first time an individual issue has topped the charts. Congrats to the editors, old and new, for building a growing powerhouse.

    And then the subscriptions moved around a bit post-holiday. A lot of NYRSF subs had to come in to knock perennial fave Clarkesworld Magazine off the top. January was a busy month, and I am curious to see what happens this short February.

    January 2014 Books

    1. Sofia Samatar, A Stranger in Olondria
    2. Naomi Mitchison, Travel Light
    3. Mike Allan, ed., Clockwork Phoenix: Tales of Beauty and Strangeness
    4. Lynne M. Thomas, ed., Glitter and Mayhem
    5. Scott H. Andrews, ed., Ceaseless Steam: Steampunk Stories from Beneath Ceaseless Skies Online Magazine


    1. Apex Magazine - Issue 56
    2. Locus - January 2014 (#636)
    3. Clarkesworld Magazine – Issue 88
    4. Galaxy’s Edge Magazine – Issue 6
    5. Lightspeed Magazine - Issue 43


    1. New York Review of Science Fiction
    2. Clarkesworld Magazine
      Galaxy’s Edge Magazine
    3. Apex Magazine
    4. Lightspeed Magazine
    5. Locus Magazine

    Apex Magazine Issue 56 Clarkesworld Magazine – Issue 88 Galaxy’s Edge Magazine – Issue 6: January 2014 Locus January 2014 (#636) Lightspeed Magazine Issue 43 

    Locus 2013 wrap up issue


    Locus February 2014 (#637) cover - click to view full sizeDon’t miss the new ish of Locus: the annual Year in Review issue with essays, the 2013 Recommended Reading List, and all the other stuff. The recommended list is also here and the the Locus awards ballot (open to anyone) is here.

    December 2013 Bestsellers


    December is always busy here: there are lots of ebook gifts and gift certificates, lots of people giving and renewing subscriptions, and lots of northern hemisphere readers hiding from the snow and southern hemisphere readers hiding from the heat! Add to all that the Weekly 1-day, 1-book sale, and the bestseller chart did some churning since last month.

    This shall be known as the dark blue bestseller list!

    December 2013 Books

    1. Ginn Hale et al, Irregulars
    2. Rich Horton (ed.),  The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2013
    3. Mary Anne Mohanraj, The Stars Change
    4. Apex Magazine, #55 Maria Dahvana Headley, Kat Howard, Ken Liu, Sandra McDonald, Rachel Swirsky, Daniel José Older, Amal El-Mohtar


    1. Clarkesworld Magazine
    2. Lightspeed Magazine
    3. New York Review of Science Fiction
    4. Apex Magazine
    5. Galaxy’s Edge Magazine

    It Came from the North: An Anthology of Finnish Speculative Fiction cover - click to view full size  Apex Magazine Issue 55 cover - click to view full size The Stars Change cover - click to view full size Irregulars cover - click to view full size The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy: 2013 cover - click to view full size

    1st and last 2013, 2014

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    What sold first? What sold last? I was looking at the 2013 bestsellers and realized I’d meant to post these:

    2013 First:

    Lightspeed Magazine Annual Subscription

    2013 Last:

    Desirina Boskovich (ed.), It Came from the North: An Anthology of Finnish Speculative Fiction
    Rich Horton (ed.),  The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy
    New York Review of Science Fiction #303

    2014 First:

    Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet #29

    Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet 29 cover - click to view full size It Came from the North: An Anthology of Finnish Speculative Fiction cover - click to view full size  The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy: 2013 cover - click to view full size  

    Unending Steampunk!


    Ceaseless Steam: Steampunk Stories from Beneath Ceaseless Skies Online Magazine cover - click to view full sizeToday’s Weekly Sale book, Ceaseless Steam, collects 18 steampunk stories—not bad for $3.99: great for $1!—from that biweekly powerhouse, Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

    And: Ceaseless Steam includes a story by Dean Wells, “To the Gods of Time and Engines, a Gift,” which is set in the same world as his new story “Evensong, Having Been Answered” out in today’s new issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Lovely!


    A year of excellent reading!

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    One Small Step, an anthology of discoveries cover - click to view full sizeWe just got the loveliest email from Allen L. who says:

    Another tidbit. I bought more  products from and through your site than from all other sites combined last year. Your vendors would have gotten no sales without Weightless to introduce them.

    In return I’ve learned an amazing amount on topics that I did know existed, been introduced to authors that have held me spellbound for hours and hours at a time, and had the pleasure of being introduced to other sites like Weightless where “unknown” authors have a forum for their voices and their work.

    Thanks for a great year of excellent reading.  I’m looking forward to an an even better 2014.

    Thanks, Allen!

    That reminds me I haven’t posted a Bestseller list for either December or 2013, better get cracking on that. (Hmm. So, Thursday, then?)

    To tide you over: FableCroft just dropped the price of the anthology One Small Step from $9.99 to $7.99.

    Which Model for Ebook Subscription Sites

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    I’m a big fan of ebook subscriptions and I can see that ebook serial fiction is a huge and growing part of reading — I swear half of the NYTimes bestseller list is usually serial mysteries — and I’m curious about how ebook subscription services such as Oyster will do. (Weightless has no plans in this arena!)

    The elephant in the room is licensing. I use Netflix streaming and half the time I look for something, it’s not there. Which doesn’t exactly encourage me to go back. As I understand it, movies disappear because the movie studios would like a higher payment from Netflix and Netflix are stuck, because if they pay one studio more, then all the rest will be clamoring for higher payments.

    So while Spotify and iTunes Radio and so on seem to be very well, it does make me wonder which way ebook subscription services will fall out: movies (limited selection, things come and go) or music (even the old standouts sign up eventually)? I figure by the end of the year, we’ll have a pretty good idea!


    Apex Magazine Interview: Sigrid Ellis and Jason Sizemore

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    37322-coverWeightless Books interviews Apex Magazine’s publisher Jason Sizemore and new editor-in-chief Sigrid Ellis.

    1. How do you know when you have the right balance of science fiction, fantasy and horror for an issue of Apex Magazine?

    Sigrid Ellis: Hah! Well, I’m new at this. The proof is yet to come. As your readers are probably aware, I am taking over Apex Magazine from Lynne Thomas and Michael Thomas. Whether or not I know the right balance remains to be seen!

    At the moment my managing editor, Cameron Salisbury, and I have selected and organized fiction for our first four issues of Apex. Our conversations have focused on questions of tone, length, and how the works relate to each other. Is one lighter than the other? Too light? Are they thematically linked? Too linked? Do they have things to say to each other? What about point of view? First person, third? Tight narration or omniscient? Is one more descriptive than the other? Does that work?

    I could go on.

    Whether a piece is science fiction, fantasy, or horror has not so far been my chief concern. That may change, of course, in the future! I look forward to the feedback from our first issues, and what that may teach us.

    2. What’s changed in short fiction since Apex Magazine started in 2005, and how have you responded to it?

    Sigrid Ellis: It is my observation that genre short fiction has been served notice, a notice declaring that diversity is no longer sufficient. What we as readers, fans, and decent human beings call for now is representation. Cat Valente, Lynne Thomas, and Michael Thomas made Apex Magazine a force for representation. I hope to continue that work.

    Jason Sizemore: We joined the fracas right as the tide of electronic books hit the genre. It has been an interesting ride!

    The most obvious change is the general presentation and distribution of the work. Podcasts, eBook issues, and online content have all expanded while the print industry has shrunk.

    In terms of aesthetics, I think the biggest shift in short fiction is toward darker and bleaker work. We’ve always published dark work (the original name of Apex Magazine is Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest, after all), but over the years we’ve grown more experimental in what is published.

    3. Name a recent favorite Apex Magazine story and one from more than a year ago.

    Sigrid Ellis: My favorite recent story is Rachel Swirsky’s “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love,” from issue 46.

    Looking further back, Genevieve Valentine’s “Armless Maidens of the American West” in issue 39 is a favorite.

    What stands out for me in both of these stories is how adroitly the authors pull off an exceptionally difficult task, that of writing in the second person. Second person narrative is not to be toyed with lightly!

    However, let me note, very clearly, that what I find impressive is the use to which they each put that narration. Both of these stories are intensely emotional. They are grounded in character and detail. They each raise somewhat painful questions, about wildly different topics. Valentine’s piece looks at complicity in exploitation, and the right or ability of a person to own and alter that complicity. It’s a story about the tangle of autonomy. Swirsky’s story is a parable of the pain of love. It’s a fable describing the joy and rage and helpless fearful grief that are all, inextricably, part of loving another human being. And it is a revenge fantasy against the damage caused by blind injustice.

    Jason Sizemore: A recent favorite would be “The Performance Artist” by Lettie Prell (issue 44). Lettie’s story might be the best deconstruction of society’s fascination with reality television and self-spectacle that I’ve encountered. And the end of the story is a gut punch.

    A favorite from the archives would be “The Green Book” by Amal El-Mohtar (issue 18). This was our first Nebula nominated work. Amal did an incredible job creating a short story that is a bit House of Leaves and a bit Twilight Zone.

    4. Your author interviews are packed with information. Have you ever been surprised by something uncovered in one of them?

    Sigrid Ellis: All author interviews are a bit of a surprise! While I know the work of many of Apex’s authors, I don’t particularly know them personally. I find myself clicking on the interviews with excitement, looking forward to meeting the human being behind the story just as much as our readers.

    5. Apex Magazine started podcasting recently. Is that because you decided to stop sleeping and needed something more to do?

    Sigrid Ellis: Hah, well, I already don’t sleep. But, no, podcasting is simply a part of the new models of fiction consumption. Readers – myself included! – are becoming accustomed to having fiction available across platforms and media formats. I can buy a novel from Amazon, start to read it on my laptop, go listen to the audio version in my car while I drive home, then pick up my tablet and continue reading after dinner. The more formats we provide, the more people will find the format that works for them. And that leads to more people enjoying the work.

    Jason Sizemore: There’s an old school PSA commercial where one kid pressures another kid to do drugs…the bad kid says something like “Come on, everybody’s doing it.” It was kind of like that situation. All the top short fiction zines had a podcast, so Apex Magazine needed one!

    Of course, I love the podcast format and am happy that we’ve ventured into it. In 2014, I hope to expand our podcast to include all our original fiction ran per issue.

    6. Are you on any upcoming science fiction and fantasy or horror convention panels?

    Sigrid Ellis: My next convention is Wiscon, in Madison, Wisconsin, over Memorial Day weekend. I pretty much always end up on a handful of panels at that convention and I expect this year will be no different. Look for me there! I’ll probably have things to say about Apex Magazine and about my other editorial project this winter, the comic series Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios.

    Jason Sizemore: I’ll be doing Confusion in Detroit (Jan 17-19). Then I’m at Millennicon in Cincinnati (Mar 14-16).

    7. What are you reading now besides submissions for Apex Magazine?

    Sigrid Ellis: The Great Mortality, by John Kelly. It’s a history of the Black Death. Also I am perpetually re-reading my way through the Phryne Fisher mystery series, by Kerry Greenwood. I’m on my, hrm, my fourth re-read of all nineteen books.

    Jason Sizemore: Sitting on my nightstand is Skinner by Charlie Huston. The audiobook in my car is Shift by Hugh Howey.

    Apex Magazine is an online prose and poetry magazine of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mash-ups of all three. Apex Magazine, which is available for DRM-free purchase from Weightless Books, received a Best Semiprozine Hugo nomination in 2012. A new issue of Apex Magazine is available the first Tuesday of every month.