Sunday, October 18, 2015

Magazine Review: Apex Magazine Issue 77


I've been faithfully reading each monthly issue of Apex Magazine since issue 71, so not that long, but long enough to know that I enjoy the stories published in this magazine.

This issue is a special treat to Apex readers. 

Starting with the cover, one of the most beautiful covers I've seen on the magazine. All of the covers are amazing for each issue but this one is especially eye-catching and I could stare at it for hours, really tells a story. I would encourage any reader to look up the old covers of Apex Magazine because they are all gorgeous. 


For the fiction, the first story is "When the Fall is All That's Left" by Arkady Martine. This space tale shows what science fiction can do, a life and death situation with the surreal twist that is familiar to Apex stories. It's not a long story, I read it first at a bus stop but it stuck with me for a while. Also this one can be listened to while driving on the great Apex podcast. 

"All Things to All People" by D.K. Thompson didn't quite stick with me but if you are a fan of body art, this takes an interesting twist. The barebones method made me feel a bit detached from the stakes but from the interview I learned this was intentional by the author. I may have to read this one again but not my favorite. 

"Super Duper Fly" by Maurice Broaddus does an excellent job subverting a racial trope and this story made me think. I've read one co-authored novel by Mr. Broaddus but it didn't contain the humor like this story. "Super Duper Fly" is really funny in surprising ways. The characters were unique and really helped me to...nevermind just read it, it's good.

"Me and Jasper, Down by the Meth Shack" by Aaron Saylor was also a twist on a classic horror trope and has a rich setting of Appalachia delivered with the dialect of an interesting first person narrator. A lot goes on in this story and it contains some surprises. 

"The Atlas of Hell" novelette by Nathan Ballingrud was another great tale. Really this issue just keeps bringing it with great stories. This was a reprint and a reader of horror will quickly see why this story has been put in a year's best collection. It is a story that drew me and kept me reading on the edge of my seat all the way through, great writing with vivid description and an interesting plot. 

The two novel excerpts from Empire Ascendant by Kameron Hurley and The Pickpocket's Tale by Kevin J. Anderson and Neil Peart were both interesting chapters of fantasy tales. Both of these stories gave just enough plot that I will be adding both of these books to my Goodread to-read list. I like when writers take their fictional worlds seriously and I think that is necessary to draw a reader like me in to these bizarre new settings. 

Reading Apex Magazine also helps its readers improve in their writing. The nonfiction about unreliable narrators was informative as many of the nonfiction pieces in the issues are. I will also check out the books described in this essay. 

Last but not least, I always feel the poetry is an extra bonus at the end of the issue and find myself coming back to read poems from older issues on my phone when I have spare time. "The Underworld" by Laurel Dixon is a haunting depiction of, like it says, the underworld. "Ten Little Zombies" by Gregg Chamberlain is a great children's rhyme about the undead. "Hello, Wild Things, and Good Luck" by Sara Hollowell take the reader to a transformative new world where everything doesn't suck. "Minotaur" by Zachary Riddle is the most chilling and creepy one. Great poetry all around, as usual.  

The stories will be doled out each week but I would encourage everyone to subscribe so they can get each new issue on the first Tuesday of every month, it is worth it!
Here is the link to the latest issue:
http://www.apex-magazine.com/issue-77-october-2015/

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