A Statement on Diversity and Fireside Magazine’s #BlackSpecFic Report

by on Sep 9, 2016 in Blog | 2 comments

On July 26th, Fireside Magazine released a study highlighting the dearth of black authors in 63 genre short fiction publications.

The results exposed a difficult truth: black writers are significantly underrepresented in our industry’s publications. Specifically, Apex Magazine has done as poor a job with representation as everybody else.

My team and I want Apex Magazine to be a welcoming place for POC authors, and we’ve always sought to make that a reality. We have updated our guidelines to reflect our desire to see work from people from all backgrounds. If you are a POC author, we want you to pen an awesome Apex Magazine story and send it to us when we reopen later this year. Please let the world know we want to see your work!

I’m proud that we have a fairly diverse team of editors and slush readers. I’m going to call on this team to hold our zine accountable when it comes to matters of diversity.

Finally, Apex wants to be part of the solution, not a part of the problem. Open a dialog with us via comments below or email (jason@apexbookcompany.com). We want to hear thoughts, ideas, and commentary from our readers and authors who seek diversity in fiction.



  1. Dear Apex:

    I am pleased to read your recent editorial post acknowledging your historic underrepresentation of minority authors. My hope is that this marks a shift in the revanchist attitudes of this and other SFF publications, such that you will finally solicit and publish the authentic narratives of draconic authors, rather than continuing to promote the cultural appropriation of draconic experience by homeotherms writing to reinforce their own mammalian privilege.

    I am concerned, however, that you have once again sidestepped the core issues by making a public commitment to increased representation of “POC,” without any corollary statement of what constitutes a POC for purposes of publication, and how POC status will be presented, vetted, and verified to Apex staff. For instance, one would think that mere self-identification (e.g., as a dragon) would be sufficient for an enterprise such as this, but humans are an odd bunch, and seem inclined to leap on every opportunity (even in such areas as speculative fiction) to focus on what divides them, rather than what they have in common.

    So, with regard to future submissions by HUMAN authors, will Apex be adopting the fractional racial distinction policies formerly favored in Louisiana and Australia, and requiring authors to submit governmentally-recognized evidence of “octoroon” or “quadroon” heritage? Or will Apex have a “tiered” system of representation, modeled after South Africa’s recent policies, whereby submitted manuscripts are sorted into “black,” “white,” and “colored” drop-boxes, based on the (documented & immutable) family heritage of their authors? The “one-drop” theory of human exclusionary preferentialism has also been historically popular, but its practical applications have often been more reflective of bias than any objective standard, being based predominantly on how a human “looks” or “sounds” to other humans, with many humans choosing to “pass” as members of various demographic groups in order to better “fit in” with the dominant culture of the time. Is “one ancestor” who is NOT a POC sufficient to permanently define an author as someone who likewise is not, and never can be, a POC? In this context, while the availability of low-cost DNA testing could help to provide Apex with a way to ensure that its authors are properly classified based on their global heritage, one would then be faced with the challenge of verifying that the DNA test results (presumably submitted as a cover sheet with each manuscript) were in fact those of the purported author. Will Apex conduct a pre-publication DNA verification test of each author whose work is conditionally accepted for publication based on proof of membership in the preferred human subgroup? Etc.

    Happily, as a card-carrying and self-identified NON-human, none of these problems are MY problems. I look forward to enjoying Apex magazine (or not), based on the quality of writing (or lack thereof), by whatever authors your editorial staff chooses to publish, according to whatever Sorting-Hat processes Apex chooses to employ. However, I remain steadfast in my assertion that until Apex publishes works by NON-human authors, any editorial lip service paid to authorial “diversity” will merely reflect the false consciousness born of an exclusively human outlook on existence. I look forward to the day when Apex’ editorial staff are able to see past this parochial perspective, and publish AUTHENTIC works by dragons and other underrepresented authorial groups. Meanwhile I remain,

    —Smoldering Emberscale,
    The Perpetually Offended

  2. Dragons, unlike people of color, do not exist.

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