Words from the Editor-in-Chief

Science fiction has long been in dialogue with the prevailing cultural discomforts of the era, starting with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (advancement of science) and through modern classics such as Jeff VanderMeer’s Area X series (ecology). Fiction requires conflict, and what worries us also entertains us.

This transformation of anxiety to entertainment is a close cousin of the axioms “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” and “I’d cry if I weren’t laughing.” Writers write to exorcise demons, but they also write as a means of making sense of the world for themselves and their readers. Several of the stories in this month’s Apex Magazine have that feel of trying to give form, to give a voice to the problems we, the world, face.

And are they entertaining? Oh, heck yes.

In “Cold Blue Sky,” J.E. Bates writes one of my favorite types of stories—a murder-mystery involving artificial intelligence. Rich Larson tackles the phenomenon of social dogpiling in “Fifteen Minutes Hate.” Cherie Priest turns her powerful gaze to classism in “Mother Jones and the Nasty Eclipse.” “Stars so Sharp They Break the Skin” by Matthew Sanborn Smith explores a dangerous and new way to wage war. And Eugenia Triantafyllou’s “Cherry Wood Coffin” is a potent bite of flash fiction dealing with the knowledge of impending death and its inevitability.

Our classic reprint this month comes from genre icon Nisi Shawl. “Luisah’s Church” is about many things, the least of which is religion. It’s filled to the brim with character and intrigue, and is a perfect example of why I adore Nisi’s work so much.

It’s a double-shot of essays this month. Remember the bizarre incident in 1987 when the WGN television feed was hijacked by someone posing as pop-culture icon Max Headroom?  Kirk Jones explores his own experiences of this phenomenon in “Signal Intrusion.” Remember earlier in this editorial when I was discussing anxiety and worries? Tobias Buckell shares how he deals with his own in “How I Learned to Follow My Own Advice and Let It Go.”

This month our featured author interview is with Matthew Sanborn Smith. Our artist interview is with cover artist Anna Dittmann.

Finally, don’t miss the latest installments of our monthly columns “Between the Lines” with Laura Zats and Erik Hane and “Page Advice” by Mallory O’Meara and Brea Grant!

Until June …

 

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