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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Clavis Aurea #8: Cat Hellisen, Ashley C. Ford, and Heather Clitheroe

by on Jun 19, 2014 in Blog | 1 comment

Pentangle’s Cruel Sister was a formative album for me, its title track in particular. It’s an old murder ballad about two sisters vying for the affections of a knight who has come to court the elder, but truly loves the younger. The dark elder sister drowns the golden younger sister, presumably out of jealousy, only to repent of the murder when a traveling musician turns up a year later playing a harp made of the dead girls’ bones. The things we do for love, right? The ballad notably doesn’t dwell much on the role of the suitor, despite the fact that he was two-timing the sisters and presumably bears some responsibility for the ensuing tragedy. Luckily, there are...

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Clavis Aurea #7: K.M. Ferebee, Jack Hollis Marr, E. Catherine Tobler

by on Jun 6, 2014 in Blog | 1 comment

“Magical realism” can be a misleading term. There is a nonsensical quality to magical realism in literature; mystifying content which isn’t realistic at all. In high fantasy, magic makes internal sense, like an alternate science. There are plausible magic “systems,” schools of wizardry and races of creatures with particular abilities. With magical realism, the magic is at odds with the real world. It isn’t internally rational. It isn’t a new science: it’s magic. “The Earth and Everything Under” by K.M. Ferebee (Shimmer #19) is a lovely piece of magical realism that perfectly encapsulates that spirit of the unexplainable. In this tale of witchcraft, nature’s laws...

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Submissions are closed through September 1st, 2014

by on Jun 2, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Don’t forget, Apex Magazine is closed to all submissions through September 1st, 2014. This includes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and artwork. We will reopen on September 1st, 2014. So polish those stories over the summer while you’re lounging on the beach.

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Clavis Aurea #6: Eugie Foster, Thoraiya Dyer, Ruthanna Emrys

by on May 22, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

One of the great attractions of traditionally escapist genre fiction is the scope of the story. These are stories about big movements of history: plots to overthrow kings, bring down gods, reign in forces of nature or supplant the basic elements of the universe. They are stories of consequence – they are stories about power. These are also stories about destiny, because all too often, the hero finds themselves coming into power because they were chosen by fate to do so. This makes sense in the context of a literary tradition that comes from the same culture that brought us Manifest Destiny – the idea that American settlers were destined to control North America. Western...

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