Apex Magazine Issue 54, November 2013 (magazine review).

I’m always prepared to accept that magazines will be a mixed bag of content as they have to cater for as large an audience as possible. Some items will hit the mark for me and some will miss completely. As it happens, the first story item ‘Recordings Of A More Personal Nature’ by Bogi Takács definitely hits the mark but more of that later. The cover illustration is by Galan Dara, who is obviously talented and has worked on many projects. I’m just not sure if it warrants two pages at the beginning of the magazine to tell us all about her. People are buying the magazine to read but you have to go 9 pages from the front cover before you get to the first item to read which are the notes from the editor-in-chief section. It’s traditional that this appears before the main content so no complaints about it being the first item.


Onto the first story ‘Recordings Of A More Personal Nature’ by Bogi Takács, which is a real gem. In this culture (I’m assuming they are human), there are temples where archivists recall the civilisations past history. It’s similar to a cultural oral tradition but, in this case, archivists appear to mentally connect with a database where they can retrieve past events and deposit new ones into the archive. These archivists have to undergo years of training, as do their attendants and presumably the other echelons of temple staff so that each can perform their assigned duty. The interesting thing here is that they are losing their ability to connect to the archive. The shock to society and how they deal with it are the main features of the story and rightly so.

The second story is ‘The Jackal’s Wedding’ by Vajira Chandrasekera and as much as I’d like to like it, I don’t. It’s another tale of magically empowered animals where the daughter of the jackel turns into a woman and get married to a hunter. It’s a story of love and betrayal but in a world that does not make sense. At one point, they eat each other’s hearts only it’s not explained how they did it why it didn’t do them any harm. Next one of the characters is killed by a dagger but if they could survive someone eating their heart how would a dagger kill them?

Moving on, perhaps I have missed something but the ‘Magazine Glitter & Mayhem’ gets a lot of mentions. The cover artist Galan Dara mentions it as one of her projects. It gets another mention in Lynne M. Thomas’s ‘Notes From The Editor-In-Chief’ section and now it gets a whole page and a half to itself complete with a picture of the front cover. Reading the text I find what I’m missing, it’s edited by none other than Lynn M. Thomas.

The next story, ‘This Is A Ghost Story’ by Keffy R.M. Kehrli begins with a sentence on its own that reads, ‘These are not all the same man, but they could be.’ Having read the story, I think it should have read, ‘These are not the same story, but they could be.’ The following sections appear to be just random events and happenings. Some appear to involve the same musician, others don’t. The ones that don’t have no meaning or connection to the musician that I can deduce. I still can’t figure out where the ghost comes into it.

Next up is a poem from Alexandra Seidel called ‘Major Arcana I: The Mage’, which I read several times. Now this is unusual, as poetry generally doesn’t do anything for me at all. This one however intrigued me as I tried to figure out some of the meanings behind the lines. It was still beyond me but I liked it never the less. Unfortunately, the next poem ‘Where The Ocean Falls Into Itself’ by Rose Lemberg was a complete miss for me. I shall leave it at that as perhaps I don’t know how to appreciate poetry and couldn’t appreciate this one.

The next item is a play titled ‘The Creature In Your Neighborhood’ by Jim C. Hines (yes, I know ‘Neighborhood’ should be spelt ‘Neighbourhood’ but that’s how it is in the title). It only made sense to me after I had read the interview with Jim C. Hines. The interview should have come first to put the play into context.

I know it’s Lynne M. Thomas’s last magazine as editor but I really don’t think that ‘Apex Magazine’ is the right platform the essay written by her and her husband. Called ‘The SF/F Community: An Essay Of Thanksgiving’, it spans 9 pages and is, as it says ,just an essay of saying thank you.

The other thing that annoyed me is it’s badly formatted for the Kindle. It shouldn’t be as people pay good money for this and will be turned off by the poor formatting. There really is no excuse for it. Perhaps I lucked out on issue 54 with only one good story but I don’t feel inclined to try my luck with issue 55.

Andy Whitaker

November 2013

(pub: ApexPublications. Kindle edition black & white Price: £ 2.99 (UK

ISSN: 2157-1406. ASIN: B005ANGWV8)

check out website: www.apexbookcompany.com/collections/apex-magazine-all/products/apex-magazine-issue-54/

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