Sunday, March 6, 2016

Magazine Review: Apex Magazine Issue 82

This awesome and spooky cover leads into another great issue of Apex Magazine. The 82nd issue contains stories of paranoia, horror, and futures both believable and bizarre. The poetry was exceptional as well.

The five poems this month explore some haunting territory. "Naked" strips down an unfortunate person and also uses the stripped down approach in words to get right to the heart while still saying a lot in only a few lines. "The Sword Excalibur" by David Barber takes the legend of the sword and king and turns it into a cool, eerie, fantasy poem. "BlackRiver" by Caleb J. Oakes takes an unusual metaphorical look at a close physical encounter. "Allegory of the Woman from Earth" by Rodney Gomez is a very cool free verse poem of the escaping the netherworld, short and sweet with some crazy imagery. "Chimney Witch" by Matthew Chamberlain convinces me more and more that witches are experiencing a reemergence in horror circles. This long poem has some very cool characters and creates a whole world within the lines. 

Philip K. Dick has become one of my favorite sci-fi authors as I have read more of his work. Author Lavie Tidhar does a fascinating job using trends like paranoia and untrustworthy realities in "Agent of V.A.L.I.S." to mimic Dick's style but also adding a few surprises incorporating an actual hallucination the classic author experienced. Stories like this always make me take a second look at the world around me.

"Death Flowers of a Never-Forgotten Love" by Jason Sanford shows a future of memory of the deceased that seems appealing at first but as the story progresses become rather haunting, a very interesting message about how we will use technology as it becomes even more complex and stronger. This story also tells a mournful and moving love story too, a great listen on the podcast.

I've been enjoying these new stories told through technology like emails, text messages, and social media interactions. "Screaming Without a Mouth" by Travis Heermann is a great example of this trend. This ghost story gave me chills as it makes the reader play detective and slowly figure out the disturbing tale of revenge and grief. 

The reprint is also a great detective story. "Dolly" by Elizabeth Bear takes an approach to AI and the murder mystery that is both familiar and unique. It really got me thinking about all this technology we let into our homes and what a roomba will look like in a decade or so.  

This short fiction shows the potential of where sci-fi and horror can take a reader and as always, I'm looking forward to the issue next month and revisiting these poems and stories sometime in the future.

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