Science Fiction Startup A Success

Gannett News Service:

Jason Sizemore believes there’s a future in science fiction.

In late 2004, at a time when many argued that “the form, the art was dying” in short-story magazines, the Kentuckian was inspired to launch Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest.

With a circulation of about 2,500, including a subscriber base of 500, the publication is still relatively small compared with the top science-fiction magazines, Analog, Asimov’s Science Fiction or The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

Still, Apex made a profit in its second year, “which totally blows my mind,” he said. “Usually, these things take three to five years.”

Apex got a vote of confidence — and a boost in sales — from noted science-fiction writer and editor Ben Bova, who has contributed two stories. Science-fiction publications “come and go, but I think Apex has a good chance” of making a long run, said Bova.

Sizemore knew little about publishing before starting Apex. “I did a fair amount of research,” he said. He rejected the idea of starting an Internet-only magazine — partly because writers prefer contributing to print publications, but also because he wanted to pay professional rates for stories.

“That’s really hard to do if you just run a Web site, because you are not bringing revenue” for free sites, he said. “And subscriptions and purchase-based business models online have yet to perform.”

Apex focuses on stories that blend science fiction and horror — edgy works that show “how technology brings the darker side of humanity,” Sizemore said. “I know horror has always kind of been seen as the slums of literature, but some of the stuff getting created now is excellent.”

Photo by Tim Webb/Gannett News Service.

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