Do you Have Robotic Ambitions?
Hints for Success from Jason Sizemore
Apex Magazine’s Robotic Ambitions is in its final days and fully funded, surpassing the goal of $12,000 US. I pledged and am very excited about this project. has reached more than I am very excited about Apex Magazine’s latest project. Don’t miss your chance for some great rewards, including a seminar led by Jason Sizemore which explores “sentient mechanical beings and their portrayal in science fiction.”
Jason Sizemore, owner and editor-in-chief of Apex Magazine gave me some insights on what they are looking for from writers.
Editors Jason Sizemore and Lesley Conner are looking for stories that examine the concept of “robotic ambitions.” Using philosophical, moral, and practical points-of-view, what does it mean to be sentient and mechanical? What challenges will mechanical beings face from a fearful and chaotic world? What are their goals and ambitions?"
AF: Can you give us some hints as to what kind of stories are most likely to be successful? Are you looking for stories told primarily from a robot’s POV?
JS: The POV isn’t the critical aspect. What’s important is that your story tackles the concept of artificial (mechanical) sentience in some manner. We have a list of example stories that we’ve published in Apex Magazine over the years that Lesley and I would consider fitting the theme. We’ve also made a story that will appear in Robotic Ambitions, “A Still Life” by Elliott Wink, available for potential readers and writers.
The stories can be found listed on our anthology call page here:
What’s important is that your story tackles the concept of artificial (mechanical) sentience in some manner.”
AF: Tell me about your inspiration for “Robotic Ambitions”.
JS: Even prior to the current discussions going on concerning ChatGPT and the various AI art tools, I’ve had a fascination with the struggle we have coming to terms with technology. What happens when we can no longer discern the difference between human and artificially created concepts/designs? Will humans become marked as deprecated by AI and relegated to secondary status? If AI consciousness should emerge, what does that mean for the world?
I don’t see these predicaments becoming a concern in my lifetime, but I do find them interesting to think about. My hope is that Robotic Ambitions will interrogate these questions and propose scenarios and situations and how AI and humanity deals with them.
...I’ve had a fascination with the struggle we have coming to terms with technology. What happens when we can no longer discern the difference between human and artificially created concepts/designs?”
AF: I love the cover art. Can you tell me more about its conception?
JS: The artist is Vincent Lefevre. Lesley and I originally wanted to commission an original piece for the anthology. So we set about to look for work to offer as inspiration to a potential artist. One of us, I don’t remember who, came across Vincent’s work titled “Fatherly Love.” It features a larger robot leading a smaller, childlike robot down a street in a rainstorm. The little robot holds a futuristic umbrella.
We both immediately loved the piece. It displays warmth and affection, not the expected cold-natured mechanical ambience many will assume the anthology concerns itself with. The anthology isn’t going to be entirely dystopian. Nor are we interested in presenting a barrage of anti-tech stories. Thus, the decision to license “Fatherly Love” for our cover was made.
Vincent creates many depictions of robots and androids. He has a fantastic portfolio available at
https://www.artstation.com/ptitvinc for those interested.
AF: In your opinion, what are the best resource for writers looking to enhance their craft? Any seminars, books, or cons you suggest?
JS: Writing can be a lonely profession. If you have the financial means look to attend a professional writers’ convention. You’ll find opportunities to network, meet other writers in similar career paths, and to receive the wisdom veterans in the business. Don’t be shy about talking to others—remember that the writers, agents, editors, and publishers at the convention are there to meet people.
Local writing groups can be fruitful, especially if they’re well ran and have defined goals for their members.
I also advocate for writers to engage with the various online networking and educational opportunities. These present in various manners: online workshops, Discord, Facebook groups.