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October 2009’s issue of Apex Magazine opens with Alethea Kontis’ “A Poor Man’s Roses”. On the surface this is a tale of a woman held prisoner and milked for the medical boons that her body produces. Beneath the surface it’s a tale of a woman finding her power to walk away from an abusive love, by walking away from love itself.
Peter M. Ball’s “To Dream of Stars: An Astronomer’s Lament” follows, a sad story of a man’s relationship with his dreams. John dreams of being a royal astronomer, but the cost of information of the stars is more than most people under the Queen’s rule can bear. Cruel, but tempered with a folk or fairy tale feel it’s a punishing tale.
“Yellow Warblers” by Jason Sizemore is now a thrice-published tale of the close minded habits of a rural town and how it, when combined with extraterrestrial species, leads t their own downfall.
“Ghost Technology from the Sun” by Paul Jessup, concludes this issue’s fiction section. Another mix of dark fantasy and science fiction it’s an Alice in Wonderland/Jim Jones/zombie tale of the surreal (and in this case largely imaginary) line between the dead and the living and how they feed each other. Another disturbing, but lovely tale, and another mark Apex manages to leave on the images of genre and storytelling.
Also in this issue is “Brain Matter: Must-Reads from Ekaterina Sedi”, an interview with Brandon Massey and “After, Thoughts—A Pantoum” by J.C. Hay, a poetic finishing flourish, reminding readers Apex can find pretty in gutter horror tropes as well.
The November issue, a special international issue, opens with Aliette de Bodard’s “After the Fire”. Set in a reoccurring Bodard world it perhaps has more value to those who have had the pleasure of reading more of Bodard’s work. Newcomers will find a sad story of a ship, one of the last fleeing from the destroyed Earth, weighed down with survivors judged important, and the ghosts of those who were left behind. It makes one want to read more, and perhaps to someday have the opportunity to read more of Bodard’s bits of vision in one collection.
“Benjamin Schneider’s Little Greys” by Nir Yaniv is the tale of a hypochondriac to ends up with a real, big problem after a visit to his trusty doctor. It’s an interesting idea, but wasn’t developed enough for my tastes. I would have gladly read more, and wanted a larger understanding of the “disease” creeping through Benjamin.
“An Evening in the City Coffeehouse, With Lydia on My Mind” by Alexsandar Žiljak is the last fiction tale of this issue, a back and forth story of aliens, spyware and porn. Engaging and quick moving it’s a fun must read for SF fans.
Summing up this issue is the editorial, “A Celebration of World SF” by this issue’s editor Lavie Tidhar and an interview with Tunku Halim.