WAR–the father of all things; what is it good for; the ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner; never changes. It is also the subject of the latest special presentation by APOCALYPSE CONFIDENTIAL.
This humble psyop sleaze rag celebrated its YEAR ONE anniversary on the same evening that Russia invaded Ukraine, casting a long shadow of the possibility of large-scale conventional warfare across Europe, and the world, for the first time in decades. Events haven’t quite turned out that way, yet, but the shadow remains.
We proudly present a variety of works, from poetry and fiction to art/comics and essays, set in that shadow of war, amid the chaos and carnage of combat in all its forms. But first, a few words from our editorial team.
War is the engine by which the world is remade.
— Hermes, editor at large
If I might borrow once again the often borrowed lines of George C. Scott in Patton, from Francis Ford Coppola’s lovely script:
“Americans, traditionally, love to fight. All real Americans love the sting of battle. When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big league ball players, the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser.”
Just so here at APOCALYPSE CONFIDENTIAL. We celebrate here the winners; they have been lovingly published herein. And also we must thank the other poor bastards for dying for our online magazine special. Much like the Patton speech was an amalgam of several words of Patton, both real and imagined, so too our special is a collection of the reality and unreality of wars. And we hope it makes for a nice picture.
Go and do likewise.
— Tom, poetry editor
I can’t think of anyone less equipped to say something meaningful about the nature of war than a brittle boned lit mag editor, an obligate pacifist, but I’ll give it the old college try. What little I can claim to know about war I learned second- or third-hand: from mind blown Vietnam memoirs, like Herr’s magnificent Dispatches; from grainy LiveLeak clips uploaded by ghosts on the other side of the world; and from veterans themselves. No spoken testimony, no image nor video, can convey the sublime horror of combat (or so I’m told). Maybe we assigned an impossible task, asking our contributors to write that which cannot be written. The unspeakable. The ultimate. War. But who doesn’t love a lost cause? The essays, stories, and poems collected in this special get as close as art can.
— Dawson, fiction editor
From Homer to Tolstoy, war lies at the heart of the Western canon. Even Hamlet—for a century misread as a neurotic—receives a soldier’s farewell. (And was he a Norwegian agent? Sometimes critics ask all the wrong questions.)
The APOCALYPSE CONFIDENTIAL WAR special comprises the best new writing on the oldest of subjects. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did.
— Max, fiction editor
The minimum amount of courage required to jump out of an airplane into an area where men are shooting at you is much greater than the maximum amount of courage I’ve ever had to summon in my life. In my current situation it is hard for me to imagine something for which it is worth fighting and dying. Plus I’m scared of confrontation.
But maybe what exactly I need is a good old battle. To go over the top and not know if I’ll find glory or death. What is it like knowing the lights could go out in an instant? That oblivion or heaven is a split second away.
But then again that’s always true, even if not on the battlefield. The lights could go out at any time, even if not from a sniper’s bullet. Maybe from a heart attack, a car accident, and so forth. So it’s best that you devour these WAR stories, and poems, and essays, from our brilliant contributors NOW. While you still can.
— Brendan, managing editor
In a sense, we have always been a wartime publication, and not just in an Orwellian, “we have always been at war” type of way. One of our favorite lines around here is, “Apocalypses happen every day,” and apocalypse, whether in the end-of-the-world sense or the revelatory sense, is nothing if not a cataclysmic, cosmic battle, a fog of war that clarifies, a conflict that cuts through conflict. Let this WAR special be the blade.
— Jacob, editor-in-chief & publisher
THE ADVENTURES OF THE SILVER CROSS by Arbogast
THE AFRICA SHIFT by Jesse Hilson
BÉLA KISS GOES TO WAR by David Kuhnlein
“BREATHE (PANIC LEXICON)” by Rudy
COLLAGES OF WAR by Howie Good
CONFLICT ’22/PEACE ’22 by EMPTYCOLLECTIVE
DUMBER THAN BOMBS by Adrian Georges Silva
FEAR AND COMMON SENSE by Dustin Cole
GOD IS WEARING BLACK by Kelby Losack
“GROUNDING” by Chris Allen
HARD CANDY by Russell Thayer
“IN THE MOUNTAINS” by Sean Bronson
THE MOTHER OF WAR by Sardar Mahavira Singh
ONCE UPON A TIME IN NINEVEH by John Jay Stancliff
“PASTORAL” by Ryan Haas
“PRAYER” by Humphrey ‘Huck’ Astley
SEEPING EYES, TEETH OF WIRES, LIPS OF DISCORDANCE by @LemurianTime
SONGS FOR THE IRREGULARS by Noam Hessler
WOLFSANGEL by Eor Odinson
“WOUNDS OF PHOSPHOR” by John Tustin