An exceptionally terrifying issue of Apex Magazine came out this June. The stories and interviews inside do a great job fulfilling the promise of the spooky cover art with monsters and war and, perhaps the scariest of all, family all tied into these great works of short speculative fiction.
"Folk Hero" by Mary Pletsch takes readers to a far off space colony that has rebelled against civilization using songs to tell their story and coordinate sniper attacks. The tale spreads across generations and shows how hate can be transparent from parents to children. The snippets of the poem are frightening and the story does well when reading it or listening to it on the podcast.
"Cuckoo Girls" by Douglas F. Warrick might be one of my favorite horror stories come years end. Great characters stuck in a haunting scenario. The description of the menacing figures pursuing these young women is the stuff of nightmares. I found myself squirming as I read it and desperately hoping for escape. The ending is great and all around this is just a great story showing what horror can accomplish plus it's pretty action-packed.
The reprint of "Memorials" by Aliette de Bodard is a story I'm glad to have encountered. I read a few other stories by the author and this one is exceptional. Known for weaving complex stories, this work of fiction explores family and aftercare and virtual reality all while making a vivid world of new species.
"The Kraken Sea" by E. Catherine Tobler is a novel that I will certainly put on my growing to-read list. Apex Publications has put out some great work this year and this tale of the circus looks to be right up there with it. It's great to sample a novel before it hits the stores.
I'm a fan of both The Black Tapes and Tanis so the extra insight provided in the interview was very cool to read. I would highly recommend looking up episode one of both of these explorations of darkness and after the first episode, most horror fans will be hooked.
The poetry kept it going in the horror genre with "Later, they found her journal" by Tina Parker exploring the Bloody Mary myth. "Ghost Plague" by Tina L. Jens is a great horror poem of the struggles of living with hauntings. "By Payette Lake" by Cullen Groves spans time and speaks to the fear of mortality. I cannot enough of these type of poems.