My Favorite Bit: Jason Sizemore Talks About APEX MAGAZINE and Their Annual Kickstarter

Jason Sizemore is joining us today to talk about the annual Kickstarter for Apex Magazine.

Apex Magazine is an online zine of fantastical fiction. We publish short stories filled with marrow and passion, works that are twisted, strange, and beautiful. Creations where secret places and dreams are put on display. We publish in two forms: an every-other-month eBook issue and a gradual release of an entire issue online over a two month period. Along with the genre short fiction, there are interviews with authors and nonfiction essays about current issues. Additionally, we produce a monthly podcast of narrated original short fiction.

What’s Jason’s favorite bit?

JASON SIZEMORE

As editor of Apex Magazine, which is currently our annual Kickstarter, a common question I hear goes something like this: What is your favorite story you’ve published in the magazine?

It’s like what I tell my children. I love them all equally. I have no favorites.

But… I will admit that certain stories speak to me more than others. With that in mind, I am going to answer a tangential question to the one posed to me so often: What are some stories you’ve published in the magazine that uses genre conventions to make powerful statements?

The first of these is “How to be Good” by R. Gatwood. Renward has a job to do. It is a job he knows is difficult and unpleasant, but he takes pride in his work and the quality he provides. It’s hard to discuss this story without giving away too much, but I’ll try. Renward is an interrogator for a shady government agency. There’s a great twist that caught me by complete surprise (difficult to do to any experienced editor) that shifts the entire moral balance of the story. This isn’t an easy read (mind those content warnings), but if pressed about a favorite, I sometimes point to “How to be Good.”

The second is “Throw Rug” by Aurelius Raines II. Umi is a small kid compared to others his age. Despite his stature, he joins the school’s wrestling squad where he is routinely beaten. As he grows older and much, much larger, he continues to wrestle. He also deals with racism, social/class snobbery, and poverty. This story is another with a twist, though it’s telegraphed from early in the story intentionally. Raines does a beautiful job showing that as you grow, the amount of crap the world flings at you only increases. His protagonist remains stalwart in the face of adversity, serving as a fine example of how you can turn the inequities of life into victories.

The story we relaunched Apex Magazine with in January, 2021, “Root Rot” by Fargo Tbakhi is my third selection. Here we have a story of a drunkard living on a near-forgotten Mars colony who is trying to do right by his family. It’s not often when I’m surprised a story is overlooked by the major awards: this one is an exception. Tbakhi brilliantly intertwines a plot that tackles several heavy themes: alcoholism, colonialism, environmentalism, and, of course, accepting loss. There’s no twist in this one except for the twist of heartbreak you’ll feel in your stomach reading the story’s final paragraph.

If these stories don’t work for you, we have a veritable catalog of fantastic work by the generous owner of this journal, Mary Robinette Kowal, that I am certain readers of My Favorite Bit will enjoy!

Don’t forget to check out the Apex Magazine Kickstarter. We have bonus stories on offer, plenty of great rewards and add-ons, and Kickstarter exclusives!

LINKS:

Apex Magazine Kickstarter

Website

Twitter

BIO:

Jason Sizemore is the co-editor-in-chief and publisher of Apex Magazine. Jason resides in Lexington, KY, where he fights to make science fiction as popular as horse racing is in the area. For further information visit jason-sizemore.com.

Did you know you can support Mary Robinette on Patreon!

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