Apex Magazine, August 2009
The August issue of Apex Magazine starts with “Kenny 149” by Brad Becraft, a fairly quick, definitely science fiction tale of war and humanity. It’s a solid Apex tale, of a soldier battling against an overwhelming number of alien invaders without straying into heavier territory.
“Pimp My Airship” by Maurice Broaddus decides to tackle all black-American issues at once by taking them to, not quite an extreme, but an advanced state (we hope). In Broaddus’s story the whole of America is enslaved by an alien race and blacks have been forced underground, literally, and are encouraged and able to dope themselves into passivity. In this world Knowledge Allah tries, with much scorn and difficulty, to get Sleepy, the lead character, to step up and stand up for himself, his race and the world. The language used to tell this potentially coarse and inflaming tale, is high brow and heavier than needed, which serves to make a point about Sleepy, the Every-black-man of the tale.
Eugie Foster’s novelette “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest;Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast” rounds out the August issue. A gorgeous, dark and unexpectedly creepy story, Foster spins a world where everyone plays certain roles, enforced physically by the daily donning of masks. With this tale Foster questions not just societal roles, but those of relationships, gender and caste as well. A highly recommended read.
This issue also features essays and columns from Jason Sizemore and Monica Valetinelli, as well as an interview with Gene O’Neill.
Apex Magazine, September 2009
“Fungal Gardens” by Ekaterina Sedia is the first story in the September issue of Apex Magazine. This tale is ripped straight out of an issue of Discovery, with creepy, insect “bad guys” with a very real origin. This tale is really a scientific mystery story, but makes for an interesting SF tale nonetheless.
“Advertising at the End of the World” by Keffy R.M. Kehrli is a metaphorical zombie tale, featuring a woman who might be the last survivor the human race living in a secluded cabin in the woods until a flock of mindless, shuffling creatures show up and mess things up. Only these critters aren’t the traditional undead. They are machines created by companies, technologically advanced door-to-door salesmen, more annoying and sad than fearsome. Kehrli’s story is subtle, creepy and sad, and a great read.
Last of the fiction features is “The Girl in the Basement” by Matthew Kressel, a tale that amps up the creepiness in the previous tale, and poses more questions than answers as it tells a story of the kind of marks abuse leaves on a child’s soul.
All together the September issue is stellar. Also included is an interview with Elizabeth Engstrom and essays by Monica Valentinelli and Jeff VanderMeer.