RogerBW's Blog

Apex 113, October 2018 09 November 2018

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.

With Lips Sewn Shut by Kristi DeMeester has the titular women making lace, their oppression, and the possibility of escape. It's a fantasy that explains very little of its setting, and as such it works primarily on a mythic level; this experience can quickly be universalised. I thought it worked very well.

Bargains by the Slant-Light by Cassandra Khaw has a woman making a deal with the devil. It has one beautiful piece of imagery, but it's one of those stories that's just a snapshot, without any progression. So that's really all it's got.

The Standard of Ur by Hassan Abdulrazzak suffers from a split personality. Some time in the nearish future, the narrator visits Iraq, to determine whether the British Museum should return the titular Standard to a new museum there, and learns more about The Solution, the thing that managed to end the violence there; but odd things are happening around the Temple of Inanna in Uruk. The problem is, this is not one story but two separate ones, and the author completely drops one (after a mid-story infodump) in order to tell the other. (And there's some stuff about it being impossible to survive out of doors without a heat suit, which never goes anywhere either.) This starts off with real promise, then completely fumbles by the end.

For Sale: Fantasy Coffins by Chesya Burke (reprint) is set in Ghana, with a girl who lays ghosts; it's good for atmosphere but doesn't have much to say about the people.

Someone Else's Sandbox by Tim Waggoner is a defence of writing tie-ins rather than in original settings; it does indeed feel quite defensive, and Waggoner never quite addresses the point that everything is subject to the owners' approval.

Page Advice with Mallory O'Meara and Brea Grant deals with what to do when you've enjoyed a book so much you want to keep reading it. Elementary stuff.

Between the Lines with Laura Zats and Erik Hane starts off by looking at the definitions of novels, and then wanders off into random futurism. Nothing to say.

Interview with Author Cassandra Khaw by Andrea Johnson is more impressed with her story in this issue than I am.

Interview with Cover Artist Vinz El Tabanas by Russell Dickerson make it clear that the artist is mostly drawing other people's characters.

No Hugo nominations this time, though the DeMeester comes close. On the other hand, if this had been the first issue I read, I probably wouldn't have bothered to come back.

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