An initially low-paying magazine originally published as a review-size Print Magazine titled Apex Digest, which then went through an incarnation as a fortnightly cumulative Online Magazine before re-emerging as a monthly downloadable online magazine, paying professional rates, as Apex Magazine. It was published and originally edited by Jason Sizemore but from August 2010 was edited by Catherynne M Valente, from November 2011 by Lynne M Thomas, from January 2014 by Sigrid Ellis, who was joined by Sizemore as co-editor in January 2015; Sizemore resumed sole editorship from May 2015.
The first series, Apex Digest, called Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest from issue #2, was published by Apex Publications, Lexington, Kentucky, and appeared quarterly from Spring 2005 to Spring 2008, the final issue (#12) delayed by one quarter. By that time Apex had a print run of 3500 copies. During this period Apex retained an online presence, running monthly author features and reprints from the printed version as promotion for the magazine. Sizemore thought of this version as Apex Online. It began to run new material from January 2008. Sizemore then shifted the print magazine online, continuing as Apex Online on a fortnightly basis, alternating reprinted stories with new ones. This version of Apex Online was thus transitional. It grew steadily in size so that by February 2009 it had the appearance of a distinct downloadable magazine. The original stories published in this version were reissued as a print anthology, Descended from Darkness (anth 2009) edited by Jason Sizemore and Gill Ainsworth.
The third series, Apex Magazine, began in July 2009, on a monthly basis, and the first four issues were available in downloadable form; for some while thereafter it remained wholly online, with the alternative of downloadable ebook format from July 2014. A special one-off titled Apex Magazine: SFFH was published in late 2017 to test the appetite for a further print edition, and the magazine became available in printed form from #104 (January 2018) to #114 (November 2018), after which Sizemore reverted it to digital-only owing to lack of interest. A volume of all the stories from the first year of Apex Magazine is Descended from Darkness: Volume 2 (anth 2010 ebook) edited by Jason Sizemore; further anthologies are The Book of Apex: Volume 3 of Apex Magazine (anth 2012) edited by Catherynne M Valente, The Book of Apex: Volume 4 of Apex Magazine (anth 2013) edited by Lynne M Thomas, and Best of Apex Magazine, Volume 1 (anth 2016) edited by Jason Sizemore and Lesley Conner.
The majority of fiction in Apex has tended to emphasize dark sf and horror. In the early days of Apex Sizemore summarized the fiction he published as falling into three categories: (1) the application of Technology to create terrifying visions, (2) the "unknown" creating havoc, like an Alien invasion, and (3) powers of the mind or other new talents (see Psi Powers). All stories have sinister overtones, although since Valente's editorship there has been a lightness of tone with an increase in literary fantasies. Thanks to the freedom of the internet, Apex has published work by authors worldwide and has encouraged many new and emerging writers better known for their work in Online Magazines and Amateur Magazines, alongside better known names (some with reprinted stories), not only from the sf field but from crime fiction and horror. Contributors include Kevin J Anderson, Kage Baker, Ian Creasey, James P Hogan, J A Konrath, Mary Robinette Kowal (the March 2010 issue was dedicated to her work), Jay Lake, William F Nolan, Tom Piccirilli, Cherie Priest, Laurence M Schoen and Lavie Tidhar. Rachel Swirsky's "If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love" (March 2013) won a Nebula as best short story and Ursula Vernon's "The Tomato Thief" (5 January 2016) won the magazine its first Hugo; further award winners are listed below.
In April 2019 Jason Sizemore announced that owing to the heavy demands on his time made by the magazine, Apex would enter "indefinite hiatus" after issue #120 (May 2019), marking ten years of publishing. In January 2021 it was relaunched with a bimonthly schedule. [MA]
see also: Rhysling Award.
Awards for fiction
- March 2013: Rachel Swirsky, "If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love" – short story Nebula
- 7 January 2014: Ursula Vernon, "Jackalope Wives" – short story Nebula
- 5 January 2016, Ursula Vernon, "The Tomato Thief" – short story Hugo
- August 2017: Rebecca Roanhorse, "Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience" – short story, Hugo and Nebula
- February 2018: Alix E Harrow, "A Witch's Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies" – short story Nebula
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