Clavis Aurea #13: Rich Larson, William Delman, Stephen Graham Jones

by on Sep 4, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

There’s a certain kind of story about working-class men in hard circumstances that comes up a lot in the literature of resource economies. We have a long history of sending our poor men into hard, labourious work that often claims lives young: fishing, mining, logging, and now add to that oil extraction. It’s a living, but it’s a hard one. Long hours far from home, dangerous conditions, isolated locations far from support. This hard life spent fighting the forces of nature lends itself to bleak storytelling. The stories and ballads of the working class are full of brothers and husbands lost at sea, families torn apart by fathers made hard by dangerous, thankless work,...

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Apex Magazine Presents: Steal the Spotlight Micro Fiction Contest

by on Sep 2, 2014 in Blog | 7 comments

Halloween is coming and with it the vampire, zombie, witch, and ghost stories will creep into your hands and whisper “Boo” in your ear. Now I love a good ghost story. Witches are wicked. Zombies give me the chills. And vampires are grand. But… But there’s more out there. Monsters waiting in the wings to give you a fright. And they want their moment to shine! I went to Twitter to ask you, the Apex readers, what monsters you’d like to see steal the spotlight, and did you ever have suggestions. Everything from wendigos to banshees to Jekyll and Hyde. So tell me a story. After the huge success of our Christmas micro fiction contest last year (over 500 submissions!), we’ve...

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Clavis Aurea #12: Joseph Tomaras, Jo Walton, James Gunn

by on Aug 18, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

The surveillance society dystopia has attracted more mainstream critical attention than the entire rest of genre combined, thanks to a rich array of prescient offering from Orwell’s 1984 to Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother. Yet, now that we arguably live in a surveillance society, these stories have become less cautionary. People in power now know virtually everything they could want to about all of us, and, for the most part, Westerners are happy to be watched. Now the question is not how to avoid Big Brother, but how we live with him. Or, as in the case of Joseph Tomaras’s ‘Bonfires in Anacostia’ (Clarkesworld # 95), how our ignorance...

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Clavis Aurea #11: Sylvia Spruck Wrigley, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, David Cleden, Lou J. Berger

by on Aug 1, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

The best thing about flash fiction is that it is exactly the right length to read on the subway; underground with no WiFi. When Daily Science Fiction recently announced that they would stop running their longer stories on Fridays, I had to admit I was relieved. Dangling from a crossbar with my fellow commuters packed around me, I always thumbed past the longer stories, knowing I wouldn’t make it before my stop. Flash hits that sweet spot. Really good flash will make my whole day (or ruin it, such as when I was almost hit by a car reading Jess Hyslop’s great “How to Love a Necromancer”). Sylvia Spruck Wrigley’s “Space Travel Loses its Allure When You’ve Lost Your Moon...

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Clavis Aurea #10: Virginia M. Mohlere, Lara Elena Donnelly, Rhonda Eikamp

by on Jul 17, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Non-violent strength is one of my holy grails of specfic writing. Can a character be active, engaging, powerful and in control without being militant? Of course they can. It’s just a harder trick to pull off than letting your characters go off the rails and kick all their problems in the face. In “Hold Back the Waters” by Virginia M. Mohlere (Mythic Delirium 1.1, July-Sept. 2014), we meet Annabeth, a young coffee barista who is also solely responsible for making sure Lake Michigan doesn’t rise up and wash away St. Bran’s, Chicago. Unassuming, down to earth, and competent, Annabeth has the quiet power of a goddess or a force of nature. From the solid base of her...

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Clavis Aurea #9: Michael J. Deluca, Su-Yee Lin, Adam Callaway

by on Jul 3, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

I am of the opinion that Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago is the greatest post-apocalyptic novel ever written. It has everything: the collapse of a great empire, a world-spanning war, an apocalyptic winter, a gritty civil war, ruined cities, post-industrial scrounging, wilderness survivalism, and even cannibalism. Genre readers are often surprised when I recommend it because what they remember of Doctor Zhivago is a wistful love story, scenic Russian winters and maybe the appendices full of poetry. That isn’t the end of the world. That is life. It is unquestionably simpler to write a post-apocalypse which fetishizes the scenario – who bombed out who, how what...

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