Welcome to Issue 8: March/April 2004
March 3rd, the date of publication for Issue 8 of Abyss & Apex, would have been the twenty-fifth birthday of Byren Lee, for whom ByrenLee Press is named, so it seems an appropriate time to debut the new issue of the magazine that has fallen headfirst into my lap.
He came to live with us while his parents negotiated a possible divorce. His grandfather worked long and irregular hours in blue for the city. His step-grandmother worked banker’s hours, and those are never 9 to 3. His pre-adolescent aunt ended up with the child, during the summer and when their hours (nursery school and junior high school) coincided, so she went everywhere with the baby, then the toddler, then kindergarten kid. To friends’ homes. On the NYC bus. To museums. To roleplaying-game sessions in the park. To pizza shops. It never occurred to her that this was the burden of being a teenage mom, and she contentedly ferried the well-behaved moppet to—
All right: that’s the edited version. I’m an editor by training and trade, after all, and also a writer, and I can’t help myself. My inner copyeditor, ever striving for accuracy, reminds me that, sometimes, a pre-teen and teenager gets frustrated and impatient and screamingly mad, especially when the baby is being screamingly mad right back at her, so it was good that Mother and Father were around to take the little barbarian away when things got heated. But those memories are well overshadowed by the Sense of Wonder at having a tiny bright-eyed person tagging along (that empty little mind to fill!), to whom the entire world was new and shiny and science-fictiony and purely fantastical.
Back to the story, then: At night, the toddler had the rollaway bed in her room, and for bedtime stories she told him the ones she enjoyed, because she was (and still is) that much of a science fiction & fantasy geek:
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. . . .
And, because she had been learning French since she was only a few years older than he:
Dans un trou dans la terre vivait un hobbit. . . .
And Asimov mixed in the with Hans Christian Andersen, LeGuin alongside the Lewis Carroll, Bradbury as antidote to the Brothers Grimm. Years later, after he had returned to live with his parents, had gone to live with his paternal grandfather, had lived a much rougher life, those were stories he always remembered; in particular, that hobbit. He could always quote easily, fluidly from Tolkien. He didn’t lose his love for reading, and he read, easily and fluidly and voraciously from an early age, and he wrote, the sort of poetry and stories a teenager writes, but fluidly and voraciously.
Abyss & Apex is barely a toddler itself—but maybe magazines age in dog years. I know running one ages you at a rapid rate. Editing a magazine, in print or online, is much sweatier work than curling up with a stack of submissions to read and working on line edits with authors on those stories that find a home here. That’s the fun part. Much behind-the-pixels work goes into managing Abyss & Apex, and under the right circumstances and lucky planets, that can be a fun part, too. I’m lucky, now that I’ve returned to a more active position at Abyss & Apex, to be joined starting this issue by an excellent staff. Our editorial team includes Adrienne Allmann, Rachel R. Hartman, Sonya Sipes, Amy Valleau, and Ken Woods (who will be joining us soon to round out the staff as Benjamin Buchholz takes a break to commit himself to his duties in the Armed Forces), as well as a cadre of folks helping out in myriad anonymous ways. Visit the About Us page to learn a little bit more about each one of the editorial staff as we update it with brief bios.
I’m looking forward to our new direction in 2004, and of course looking forward to reading and presenting some of the best fiction online. I’m proud to have a bright quartet of stories for March/April from Barth Anderson, Tracina Jackson-Adams, Frank Tuttle, and Steve Wilson, a collection of very different first-person tales ranging from the timely to the timeless and from lyrical to sharp-edged to surreal.
Enjoy them, and remember how shiny and science-fictiony and purely fantastical the world can be.
—Carol Burrell, Editor-in-Chief
Art Director: Bonnie Brunish