RogerBW's Blog

Apex 118, March 2019 15 April 2019

Apex is a monthly on-line magazine edited by Jason Sizemore among others.

Everything is available in HTML from the magazine's site, and it can be bought in various other formats.

Musings from Maryland by Lesley Conner is the emergency backup editor's comments on long-distance friendships (it's hard to bring round a casserole when you're living in a different state).

The Prison-house of Language by Elana Gomel looks at the roots of language, and what might have come before the "Chomsky module" that allows linguistic acquisition. There are some good bits here, but the implications of the magic-tech that allows gene expression to be turned on and off at will aren't really considered (it's just needed to make the main plot work), and for me the conclusion is completely fumbled. (Lbh unir qrgrezvarq gung nyvraf tnir ynathntr gb uhznaf, naq lbh unir sbhaq n zrffntr sebz gurz, naq lbh unir pbaprnyrq vg sebz gur cbjref gung or. Fb jung ner lbh tbvat gb qb nobhg vg? Jul jbhyq gur ernqre or vagrerfgrq va gung, yrg'f whfg raq gur fgbel vafgrnq.)

Where Gods Dance by Ben Serna-Grey is a story about a parent trying to rebuild their lost child. It might portray mood effectively; I can't tell. It has no plot.

Curse Like a Savior by Russell Nichols has people buying holograms of historical and mythical figures, which get hacked to swear rather than saying their pre-set quotes. And something else. This felt to me like two different stories, either of which might have been moderately interesting, but the attempt to combine them spoils both.

O Have You Seen the Devle with his Mikerscope and Scalpul? by Jonathan L. Howard has someone following reconstructions of the Jack the Ripper murders – in virtual reality? Maybe? And hating every moment of it, so it's not clear why he's doing this. It felt to me like a welcome counterpoint to the obsession with details at the cost of humanity that some serious murder-fans get into, but while I'd rate it as the best story of the issue it's so unwilling to establish its own ground rules that there's no dissonance when they're (presumably) broken.

The Art of Peace: Mari Evans' Legacy of Peaceful and Ethical Engagement by Tabitha Barbour is so laudatory about someone I've never heard of that it's not a good introduction (and it's probably not meant to be). But it does make good points about how to engage in community work (mostly: see what the people you're trying to help actually want and how they want to do it rather than assuming you know better).

Words for Thought by A.C. Wise continues to analyse stories for theme.

Interview with Author Elana Gomel by Andrea Johnson is dull, but worth it for the sentence "With AIs and online communication, I think we'll have a kind of merging of natural and computer languages" which suggests that the author really doesn't know much about computer "languages".

Nothing much of interest to me this time round.

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