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Apex Magazine: A Conversation with Jason Sizemore

Apex Magazine Revive the Drive Campaign


Apex Magazine is a monthly online magazine of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mash-ups of all three, with Best Semiprozine Hugo nominations and a Nebula-winning story. I’ve enjoyed Apex for years, so I was thrilled to be chosen as the first in a new series of interviews with Editor-in-Chief Jason Sizemore to help get the word out about the Apex “Revive the Drive” subscription campaign.

Please visit the Apex “Revive the Drive” Subscription Drive page to see all the fantastic goodies your new subscription will help unlock. And tell your friends and colleagues! 

Jason Sizemore has owned and operated Apex Publications since 2004. He is the editor of five anthologies, author of Irredeemable and For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher, and a self-described “three-time Hugo Award loser and occasional writer.”


TK GREENLEAF – In SFF, character often takes a back seat to concept and plot, especially in short stories where building cosmology rapidly is so critical. How important is character in the stories you publish? What makes for a well-written character in the stories you choose for Apex?

JASON SIZEMORE – Interesting question, because I think we tend to publish more character-oriented pieces that aren’t so plot heavy. I won’t argue that plot serves character, but if you give a story a fascinating character then you will engage the reader. Especially so in stories with little action. Or thematic-heavy pieces.

A well-written character is memorable, identifiable, surprising, critical to the short story, one we connect with, and so many more things.


TK – I love the way you describe Apex short fiction as “mind-bending,” because IMHO that’s the primary mission of SFF. But what bends my mind might not bend yours. What does “mind-bending” mean to you in practical terms?

JASON – It’s a widely-inclusive phrase we use to mean anything that might open your mind to new paradigms, points of view, settings, and plots.


TK – And while we’re at it, what, exactly, is this “Edge” you speak of? What gives a story or a poem “edge?” What sends a piece OVER the edge?

JASON – Ha, ya know, EDGE: cigarettes, leather jacket, shades, tattoos, and a motorcycle!
With our fiction, we hope to piss you off once in awhile. We want your jaw to drop and think “what the fuck was that about?” Or a reader to go “Heh, well, they know they’re getting some hate mail with this one.”

We don’t go looking for trouble. We’re not tough guy/gal edgy. But we do hope to challenge you as a reader and take your outside the vanilla playing field of a lot of genre fiction.


TK – What impact are movies/tv/vids having on written/audio stories? Are stories becoming more “visual” (more rich in visual description). Are the formulaic structures of movie/tv screenwriting creeping into short stories as well?

JASON – Due to the high volume of audio/visual entertainment being produced, creators in these areas are looking deeper for more work to license. They’re finding that there are a lot of damn good shorter works being produced. Look at a show like Black Mirror. I love the series. But many of the episodes’ plots read like bullet point presentation of various well-known short stories. I wonder if the series’ creator has tapped into the world of genre short fic for inspiration?

I’ve seen no sign of formulaic structures in any of the short fiction published by the prozines. In fact, publications like Apex, Clarkesworld, and Lightspeed are premiere sites for finding work that challenges the status quo.


TK – What about cli-fi (climate-oriented SF)? Are you looking for cli-fi stories? Are you seeing them in your submissions?

Jason – I’ve published lots of climate-oriented SF. In fact, the very first piece of short fiction I bought twelve years ago was a bit of a weird climate piece by Lavie Tidhar.

We’re always open to meaningful climate fiction. And I would say there has been an upward trend of them in our submissions.


Remember: Please visit the Apex “Revive the Drive” Subscription Drive page to see all the fantastic goodies your new subscription will help unlock. Tell your friends and colleagues! 

March 27, 2017

Categories: Interviews

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About T.K. Greenleaf

TK Greenleaf is the author of the science fiction novel DUO. A self-described “armchair anthropologist,” she writes character-driven science fiction that explores the future of human (and sometimes non-human) culture.