Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Book of Apex: Volume 4 of Apex Magazine - Edited by Lynne M. Thomas

3.5 of 5 Stars    Review copy

Apex Publishers focuses on Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror and, during the last year, I've had the pleasure of reviewing some great books from them, including Tom Piccirilli's What Makes You Die, Maurice Broaddus' I Can Transform You and Desper Hollow from Elizabeth Massie, as well as the collection,  Plow the Bones from Douglas F. Warwick.

Apex also publishes a monthly Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror magazine featuring original, mind-bending, short fiction from many of the top pros of the field. New issues are released the first Tuesday of every month.

This collection of thirty-three stories is culled from the pages of that magazine during the tenure of it current editor-in-chief Lynne M. Thomas and covers tge issues from Nov. 2011 through Jan. 2013.

The volume is rich in Fantasy, but light on Science Fiction and even lighter in the Horror genre.  As a result I didn't enjoy the collection as much as I had hoped.  The writing is fine and  I did discover a few new authors I'd like to read more of and even some of the fantasy was enjoyable.

The collection starts the way any great collection or antholoy should, with one helluva great story, "The Bread We Eat In Dreams" by Catherynne M. Valente is the tale of a demon mistaken for a witch by the locals.

"The 24 Hour Brother" by Christopher Barzak was also quite good.  Living a life in a day was an eye-opener.

Cat Rambo's "So Glad We Had This Time Together," about an unreality show was clever. Vampires, werewolves and the like, all living under the same roof with real people.  I'd watch!

"A Member of the Wedding of Heaven and Hell."  Pure Fantasy.  Pure Fun.  From Richard Bowes.

The Horror I was hoping for can be found in Rachel Swirski's "Decomposition."  "He pried open her jaw.  Fat, yellow maggots wriggled in froth that had once been saliva."

"Trixie and the Pandas of Dread" by Eugie Foster is a fun little tale about one badass god.

As you can see, there were several standout stories, but for each one I loved, there were more than a few I could take or leave.

Kudos to artist Julie Dillon for an amazing cover.  Available as a paperback and ebook from Apex publications and from the usual e-retailers.

3 Stars, if you're a Horror or Science Fiction fan, 4 Stars, if you're into Fantasy.  Thus the 3.5 Stars overall.

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