RogerBW's Blog

Apex 117, February 2019 16 March 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.

Words from the Editor-in-Chief by Jason Sizemore talks about his medical problems, rarely an interesting subject for anyone. But this is why this issue has inspirational stories (rather than, well, see reviews of previous issues).

The Crafter at the Web’s Heart by Izzy Wasserstein is set in a city held over an abyss by monstrous cobwebs. That's a lovely conceit, but the story is less interesting, being both too small in scope (at the start) and vastly too large (at the end). There's an attempt at QUILTBAG credibility by referring to the female narrator's ex-lover as "they" – which might seem a bit less blatant if this weren't the only person in the story not given a conventionally-gendered pronoun. Good ideas, even some good characters, but the plot itself just fails; I'd be interested in reading a different story about the same people.

"Whoever sent it was likely manipulating them. To get them to enact whatever ritual the tome contained."

"Wouldn't they see that coming?" I asked. "My—friend figured it out in ten minutes."

"The cultists? All they needed to do was get you inside without tipping you off, and they couldn't even manage that."

Necessary and Sufficient Conditions by Wole Talabi is a story of vengeance that's just a little too impressed by its shiny nanotech; at the centre of it is a hackneyed moral dilemma and a twist that you might not have seen coming if this had been published in the 1960s.

Hole in the World (Excerpt) by Brian Keene is very clearly an excerpt: there's no plot here, just a series of vignettes of not terribly interesting people.

Cold Iron Comfort by Hayley Stone is the story of the girl who ran away with the fairy prince… only it turned out he was a better seducer than husband, and now she's running away from him. In the modern world, and if the fair folk come over a lot like rich Yanquis to a Hispanic girl living in a junk yard outside Tucson, I'm sure that's deliberate. The ending is a bit hasty but this still holds together well.

The Anatomy of a Transracial Child by Woody Dismukes is from someone adopted as an infant from Brazil to the US. So he doesn't look like his family and friends, and he doesn't speak enough Portugese to be at home in Brazil either. This spreads into some interesting ideas on the value of SF to someone who feels like a permanent outsider.

Words for Thought by A.C. Wise is more story summaries.

Interview with Author Izzy Wasserstein by Andrea Johnson manages to be more than a puff-piece, but just barely.

The Stone is right on the edge of an awards nod; if I don't run out of nominating slots I'll probably put it in. The rest is not superb, but at least every piece has something to say and generates some interest; by my lights it's the best Apex for some time.

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