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Apex Digest of Science Fiction and Horror #2, edited by Jason Sizemore Book Review | SFReader.com
Apex Digest of Science Fiction and Horror #2, edited by Jason Sizemore Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Apex Published: 2005 Review Posted: 7/13/2005 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 9 out of 10
Apex Digest of Science Fiction and Horror #2, edited by Jason Sizemore
Book Review by Bryn Sparks
Have you read this book?
Apex Digest of Science Fiction and Horror has come of age
with the summer issue (#2). Editor Jason Sizemore has pulled some name
authors into the second edition to raise the bar, and the lesser-known
writers have managed to also meet that mark. Sizemore's vision of dark
speculative fiction, hinted at in the premiere issue, has now exploded into
realisation. The stories in the magazine have a tight dystopic theme running
through, with a focus on individuals. Two sub-themes also emerge, providing
a balance between black technology and bleak society.
"The Falcon" by James P Hogan opens the issue with an extremely skilful
story of a woman who escapes her harsh reality into a dream of normality --
or perhaps it is a story of a woman recovering from a delusional psychosis
of dystopia. Or perhaps it is a story of a political dissident being
contained in a virtual prison by a society that is more complex and
surprisingly humane, than first appears. The important point is, the story
draws the reader through many levels of interpretation, limited only by the
degree to which the reader chooses to be engaged. In the hands of an
amateur, the story would struggle. In the hands of a writer as skilful as
Hogan, this story by itself justifies the cover price of the magazine.
"Thick and Thin" by Russian sailor Peter Hagelslag is a Venusian
morality tale about a nano/biotek symbiant named Halo of Flies and Murphy
respectively. Hagelslag is a confident writer, and the reader is
immediately won over by the tight characterisation of the constituent
personalities of the symbiotic protagonist(s). The extremity of the physical
environment is used to focus attention on the relationship - if Hagelslag
were a boxer, he would certainly be punching above his weight.
"A Flash of Light" by novelist James R Cain is well written version of
the oft used plot device: end-of-the-world/new-Eden-ism. But it is well
written, and the reader is rewarded by the journey, if not the
"An Odd Day in I-Forgot" by Apex editorial staff newcomer Athena
Workman is worth mentioning for the clearly envisioned setting, and (once
again) memorable characters. Wert the Giant, Rusty the Fagger, Gregorina the
Burnie, Teensy the Dwarf - all of them are used to great effect to
indirectly describe a society of Housewife Hubbies, Mall giga-complexes and
a curiously mixed Orwellian suburbia. It's not what you see straight ahead,
it's what you see out of the corner of your eye that makes Odd Day work so
All of the other stories are well written and engaging. Not a turkey to be
found, which is always a relief when reading small press genre publications.
More to the point, Sizemore's arrangement allows a reader to start at the
beginning and finish at the end in a single sitting, without the reader
feeling the need to check the length of the current story in the contents
page, or flicking to the excellent reviews and interviews to take a break
from amateur offerings. The cover art builds on the premiere issue visual
brand, and although the quality of the interior art is inconsistent, some of
the illustrations are excellent.
More to the point, the story arrangement is coherent, they are all high
quality, and the magazine certainly kicks some serious genre arse.
Click here to buy Apex Digest of Science Fiction and Horror #2, edited by Jason Sizemore on Amazon