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“No One Escapes Cidhna Mine”: September in Review

Happy Spooky Season one and all, however you choose to celebrate. I’ve got a new cauldron on order, a rewatch of Hocus Pocus planned out and a bunch of small press horror books and short stories on hand to see me through the month of dark magic and pumpkin spiced lattes (yes I’ve embraced my early 30s basic bitch persona with gusto).

September was an interesting month for me, both personally and blogwise. I’ve got a couple really cool announcements to share first of all. The first one, because it’s currently the more concrete of the two, is that I’m now a bona fide slush reader for Apex Magazine! I’m honestly so happy and excited to be part of the Apex team; they’re hands down my favourite short fiction mag and just put out consistently groundbreaking suckerpunch stories that leave me reeling more often than not. I dove headfirst into the slush mines yesterday and already got a few rejections under my belt and one I’m sitting on at the moment that has potential to be sent up the chain. I was speaking to some of the other folks in the Apex Discord about the slush experience and how it has that addictive ‘slot machine’ feeling, the urge to just pull the lever on one more story in case it’s that diamond you’re on the look out for. So yes, very excited to be embarking on this new chapter in my bookish life.

The second thing is something that’s still a bit murky, but definitely has the potential to go big places. Myself and a wonderful team of collaborators are in the early stages of setting up a new digital magazine! If you follow me on Twitter you might have noticed me talking recently about how I want to see more left wing, and specifically anticapitalist, discussion about science fiction, fantasy and horror pop culture. Well apparently so do a bunch of other people! There’s already a great mag called Blood Knife that’s doing phenomenal work in this space, but we need more of it. We’re currently in the very early stages of discussing potential funding models and logistical stuff, but definitely watch this space for future announcements.

In other news, I’ve decided to pull the plug on the community roundups I’ve been (irregularly) putting out on Fridays. I like the idea but the fact is that, while people read the posts themselves, the stats told me very few people actually followed through by clicking on the stuff I was linking to, which made the whole thing feel a bit hollow. And honestly, it required me to spend a lot more time online than I was comfortable with scouring the web for content to include. So RIP community roundups. I’d say it wasn’t you, it was me, but actually I think it was definitely you.

I wrote two whole book reviews in September too, which feels like a step up. Don’t know where my review-writing mojo has been these past few months, but I just haven’t been feeling it and even writing these two felt like pulling teeth to be honest. I’ll be the first to admit they’re not my finest work, but sometimes you’ve just got to write through the pain. The first was for cosmic horror novella Spiffing by Tim Mendees. A bit derivative and clumsily put together, but still a fun little read. The second was for Horus Rising by Dan Abnett, the first book in The Horus Heresy series set in the Warhammer 40k universe. Surprised by how great this book was actually, based on my prior assumption that it would be more of a cookie cutter franchise story. Suffice to say I’m a full Warhammer nerd now and even got into painting minis, which is a delightful hobby I wish I’d picked up earlier in life.

Finally, I’ve been enjoying doing more interviews with people in the bookosphere. I’ve featured a few interviews with authors in the past, but I’ve started doing them a bit more regularly now and started to include chats with editors and bloggers too, which I very much plan to carry on with. I had a great interview with Rick Claypool early on in the month; he’s the author of the fantastic sci-fi ‘workplace survival horror’ novella The Mold Farmer, which I reviewed back in August. Then I had a really fun chat with my pal Peat, who I’m sure many of you know. Ever wonder why Peat loves ice hockey so much or how he writes such original and insightful stuff over on his blog? Well deffo check out our Q&A, it was a blast. There’ll be more of this stuff in the near future, with confirmed appearances by the spreadsheet dragon herself, imyril of One More fame, and Matt Blairstone, editor at upstart new horror publisher Tenebrous Press.

On top of all this we also announced the Subjective Chaos Kind of Awards finalists! If there’s one thing you do check out after reading this post, it’s this. There’s some absolute gems on the list and the fantasy and novella categories in particular are out of this world fantastic. There’s gonna be some soul-searching to be done on the judging panel for sure.

And that’s it for this month bookwyrms. I was going to regale you with my newfound love for car crash reality TV show Married at First Sight, which is simultaneously both the worst and best thing I’ve ever seen, but alas! This post has become over long already, so maybe I’ll save that joy for next month. Until next time nerds, happy reading.

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9 thoughts on ““No One Escapes Cidhna Mine”: September in Review

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  1. Happy spooky season! 🎃 I bloody love October.

    Congrats on your new adventure with Apex Magazine! That sounds so exciting, and it’s clear it’s something you’re passionate about. I love the idea of an anticapitalist SFF mag, too – I’ll be keeping my eye out for it.

    It sounds like you’ve had a very eventful September, I hope October is a great month for you! I think I’ll be joining you for a Hocus Pocus rewatch…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hocus Pocus is a timeless classic that I’ll never stop rewatching 😃 You got any other Halloween faves?

      Thank you kindly for the congratulations, it’s a bit of a dream to be part of the Apex team and a little bit surreal tbh! I’m really excited about getting this magazine off the ground too. We’re hoping to have articles on SFFH pop culture as well as some fiction, interviews and reviews. Lots of cool stuff on the horizon!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hocus Pocus is SO GOOD. Really makes me want a black cat called Binx. I have a soft spot for Practical Magic – such a fun film – but my absolute favourite is Sleepy Hollow. 😀 I did really like the Fear Street trilogy on Netflix, though, so I might rewatch it this month!

        I can imagine! It’s clearly very well-deserved, though – you’ve been such a loud, supportive voice for that magazine that they’d be crazy not to have you. That sounds really fun! You can definitely count me as a reader-in-waiting.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats on the slush pile, and v. excited to see what the Bookwyrm has to say for herself.

    And yes, I’ve noticed I don’t seem to generate many clicks on my community round-ups. I still do them because it’s fun and you never know, but generating plenty of coverage for others they’re not.


  3. Congratulations on your new Apex Magazine role! So cool!! (Belated congrats, sorry I’m catching up on my blog reading).
    Now I’m off you check out the Subjective Chaos finalists like you told me to! 😆

    Liked by 1 person

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