US Online Magazine that qualifies as a Semiprozine based on wordrate and estimated readership. It was founded by Carol Burrell, Leah Bobet and Elizabeth Bear and published by Burrell from New York under the ByrenLee Press imprint. Elizabeth Bear was managing editor from the first issue (January/February 2003), to issue #7 (January/February 2004), followed by Kathryn Allen (March/April 2004 #8), Aleta Daknis (to #16 October 2005). Thereafter Wendy S Delmater was editor – and also became publisher from #37 (January 2011) when the magazine moved to be hosted by WordPress – until Carmelo Rafala took over the managing editorship with #45 (January/March 2013). There have been several assistant editors including Rob Campbell as Science Fiction Editor. The magazine was issued bimonthly until #13 and thereafter quarterly.
The title comes from a quote by Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), "And if you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." Burrell's idea was that the magazine's stories would explore the human reaction to gazing into that abyss and from thence rising to the apex. The stories therefore tend to be positive, often transcendental, each exploring the human condition overcoming adversity. The title, however, frequently causes confusion amongst readers with Jason Sizemore's Apex Magazine, even though the two are at opposite poles. Apex explores dark sf and horror, whilst Abyss & Apex specifically excludes outright horror and keeps an even balance between fantasy and sf. Some of its fiction may be called Fabulation with a scientific tinge, but it also publishes much Hard SF. It has attracted work by many new and emerging writers and some established writers including Barth Anderson, Greg Beatty, Ian Creasey, Aliette de Bodard, James S Dorr, Jay Lake, Richard A Lovett, Tony Pi, Tim Pratt, Cat Rambo, Bud Sparhawk, Rachel Swirsky and Lavie Tidhar. All of the fiction in Abyss & Apex shows originality and ingenuity, much of it by new writers who are little known in the major magazines. Examples include "Godspeed, Inc." (October 2006 #20) by Vincent Miskell, a tense thriller set at the edge of the solar system and the first of the Naomi Kinder stories, and the tender "Metamorphoses in Amber" (October 2007 #24) by Tony Pi, which was shortlisted for the Canadian Prix Aurora in 2008 and tells of the rivalry within an elite group of immortals. It also encourages the publication of poetry. "No Ruined Lunar City" (October 2004 #11) by Greg Beatty won the Rhysling Award in 2005.
A selection, predominantly from issues #15 to #27, is The Best of Abyss & Apex, Volume One (anth 2009) edited by Wendy S Delmater; for further anthologies see below. [MA]
- Wendy S Delmater, editor. The Best of Abyss & Apex, Volume One (Overland Park, Kansas: Hadley Rille Books, 2009) [anth: pb/Mondolithic Studios]
- Wendy S Delmater, editor. The Best of Abyss & Apex, Volume Two (Lexington, South Carolina: Hadley Rille Books, 2016) [anth: pb/Jeff Lee Johnson]
- Wendy S Delmater, editor. The Best of Abyss & Apex, Volume Three (Lexington, South Carolina: Hadley Rille Books, 2018) [anth: pb/]
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