As the founder and owner of the Lexington-based small press publishing company Apex Publications, which has been putting out science fiction, fantasy and horror literature since 2005, Jason Sizemore credits his upbringing – specifically, a sci-fi loving mother who took him to see science fiction and horror movies on the weekends as a child – with his early interest in the genre.
“Here I am 7 or 8 years old, watching John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing,’ even ‘The Exorcist,’ ‘Alien.’ As I grew up, that was the kind of thing I enjoyed to watch and liked to read,” he said. “Even in grade school, I was huge into the children’s fantasy stuff, the C.S. Lewis type things.
“I definitely became a sci-fi fan because of my mom introducing these works to me, even if I was really too young to watch that kind of stuff,” he added with a laugh.
Sizemore’s taste and interest in the genre continued to develop and expand as he got older – Robert Heinlein, Michael Chabon, Margaret Atwood – and as an adult, he began writing and occasionally publishing short stories. Finally, after reaching a point in his career where he was craving a creative outlet, Sizemore decided to launch his own publication, creating the quarterly sci-fi, fantasy and horror ‘zine Apex Digest, which essentially launched the “moonlighting career” the software developer has held down for the better part of the past decade.
Like most small businesses, Apex has evolved over the years, both growing and scaling back at various junctures. The magazine is now an online-only, monthly publication read by approximately 17,000 readers a month, and the company now has a book publishing division that publishes about six books a year, which can be found in around 60 bookstores across the United States (locally, Joseph-Beth Booksellers and Morris Book Shop carry Apex titles).
Notably, the publisher was nominated for a Hugo Award – a highly prestigious award in the genre often referred to as the “Emmys of science fiction and fantasy” – in both 2012 and 2013, an honor that Sizemore says has opened numerous doors for him.
“Suddenly people took me a lot more serious, which I found to be amusing,” he chuckled. “Even though I didn’t win, it still opens a lot of doors.”
Apex’s publications include novels, anthologies, short story collections and nonfiction. Recent popular titles have included “Appalachian Undead,” a collection of short zombie-related stories by authors with Appalachian ties, and “Glitter & Mayhem,” a collection that centers on the 1970s glam rock scene and which Sizemore says is “essentially a party in a book.”
“I like to publish books that I consider to be something that may challenge your perspective on life, books that I think will challenge you intellectually,” he said. “Most of our titles are in that fashion, but I also like to have fun.”
More information on Apex Publications, including a link to full-length issues of the monthly online publication Apex Magazine, can be found at www.apexbookcompany.com.
What are some of your favorite spots in Lexington?
The Morris Book Shop (of course), Ramsey’s restaurants, any good coffee shop.
You spend much of your time reading new works by new authors, but when you have the chance to sit down and write yourself, who inspires you?