Internet outrage is like a lit sparkler. It burns bright, can really cause harm, and peters out quickly, soon to be discarded and forgotten as the virtual crowd turns to the next thing to hate.

Yet my rage stays hot and keeps burning indefinitely like the Centralia, PA mine fire. While everyone else has moved on, I’m still annoyed by New York Observer columnist Andre Walker’s October 22nd, 2017, tweet asserting that “Nobody goes to libraries anymore. Close the public ones and put the books in schools.”

Despite an outpouring of criticism and data offered to Andre Walker, he decided to double down on the claim with a tweet on October 23rd. “I know this makes Librarians angry but shutting libraries and putting the books into schools would be an absolute good.” He went on to insult librarians and French teachers by stating “Librarians are like French teachers. These jobs exist in order to pay the wages of sad people who can’t get proper work.”

To Andre Walker’s credit, he finally came around after 110,000 people replied to his tweets (including yours truly). People do go to and use libraries!

Librarians are some of my favorite people. My grade school librarian was my best friend because she had access to ALL THE BOOKS. I was dirt poor as a kid and lived 20 miles from the nearest public library. When a new book came out she thought I would enjoy, she made sure to order it. By my reckoning, I read nearly every book, good or bad, that lined the shelves of the small Big Creek Elementary library.

Librarians deserve our love. Libraries deserve our support.

And, wow, wasn’t it gratifying to see Twitter support librarians and libraries, coming down hard on Andre Walker’s asinine comments.

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Blame Alix E. Harrow for my mini-rant about the excellence of librarians. Her story in this month’s issue, “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies,” is one that I’ve thought about nearly every day since I first read it. It’s rather heartwarming (especially so for this publication), yet it’s a piercing commentary on class, society, the importance of books, and the importance of librarians.

Our other original work this month is from Walker McKnight. “Work, and Ye Shall Eat” is one of those “What if?” stories. Except this one is weird. An apocalypse might (or might not) have occurred beyond the borders of a simulated historical town. Despite being nearly 7,300 words, this is a fast read. One that will leave you going “What?” and racing back to the beginning to read it all over again.

Our reprints editor Maurice Broaddus offers “Ghost Marriage” by P. Djèlí Clark for our readers. “Ghost Marriage” has a firecracker of an opening before it settles into common dark fantasy tropes. At least for a couple of pages. A huge twist, a greedy witch, and yet another wicked twist in the story’s dénouement help make “Ghost Marriage” an unforgettable ride.

The incomparable Lori Henry returns to the Apex Magazine podcast as narrator of “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies.” Check in with Lori and podcast producer KT Bryski for the latest audio production.

Russell Dickerson interviews artist Justin Adams, discussing the difference between concept art and illustration. Andrea Johnson and Alix E. Harrow talk about their love of libraries, maps, and the rules of witchcraft. Lesley Conner chats with Tal M. Klein about his novel The Punch Escrow and his movie deal.

Brea Grant and Mallory O’Meara return again in Page Advice. This month they tackle the issue of “Culturally Significant Books.” Erik Hane and Laura Zats discuss how political climates affect fiction in their latest Between the Lines.

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Don’t forget to check out our Patreon page. We offer both print and digital recurring month subscriptions to Apex Magazine.

Until next month!

Jason

 

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