“Paperclips and Memories and Things That Won’t Be Missed” by Caroline M. Yoachim
“Falling Leaves” by Liz Argall
“Not Smart, Not Clever” by E. Saxey
“Microbe” by Joan Slonczewski
“Afterparty – Excerpt” by Daryl Gregory
“Likeness” by Judith Chalmer
“Crashdown” by Emma Osborne
“she’s alive, alive” by Gwynne Garfinkle
“Graveyard Rose” by Seanan McGuire
“Resolute: Notes from the Editor-In-Chief” by Sigrid Ellis
“Finding The Next Lost: What is an ‘Operational Theme’ and Why Don’t I Have One?” by Javier Grillo-Marxuach
“Apex Author Interview with Caroline M. Yoachim” by Maggie Slater
“Apex Cover Artist Interview with Annaliese Jurgensen” by Loraine Sammy
Okay! Second time around for the magazine interviews, and I think I’m finding my feet here. Huzzah!
First up, the fiction. I found two of the short stories in this issue to be my favourite, the first of which is “Paperclips and Memories and Things That Won’t Be Missed”, which is a flash fiction piece by Caroline M. Yoachim. For such a short piece of work, this one packs quite an emotional punch – but what I like is that it’s not the bad kind, not exactly. The narrator is a ghost, which naturally brings a certain amount of melancholy and a touch of something macabre to the story, but at the same time I found it to be sweet, and very touching. Deftly done, as I said, for such a brief story.
The second story I really liked in this issue was “Microbe”, by Joan Slonczewski. This one was a subscriber/ebook exclusive, though it’s been published previously in Analog (August 1995) and reprinted in David G. Hartwell’s Year’s Best SF in 1996. “Microbe” has a distinct hard-SFness about it, but gets over the tricky hurdle of being a difficult read by being both accessible and incredibly interesting. The story takes place on a newly discovered alien planet, and in place of terraforming, which is deemed needlessly destructive, humanity instead has learned to adapt itself to whichever alien environment it’s exploring. Cue sentient biotech. Cue a lot of intrigued squeeing, over here. This struck me as an immensely fascinating idea, and I really, really wish there was more to this story! I would love to read a novel-length story set in a world (universe?) like this one. If you haven’t come across it before, you should definitely give it a read. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Now, on to the poetry! In my review of the last issue of Apex, I noted that poetry is generally not a medium I’ve successfully dipped my readerly toes into before, but this just makes my discovery of poetry I like all the more delightful. Well, I’m happy to declare that Apex is two for two on this score!
Do check out “she’s alive, alive” by Gwynne Garfinkle – and yes, if that title is evoking a certain classic movie monster, you’re on the money regarding what the poem is about.
Well, almost. This one’s all about the Bride. You remember her, right? Of course you do (and anyone who isn’t familiar with her has my geeky sympathy). This work is clear, concise and packs twice as much punch for it – which, given that my general misgivings about poetry tend to stem from a difficulty grasping a lot of the meaning in them, only pleases me more here. I’m also finding it especially powerful right now, in light of all the social media voice-raising about feminism that I’ve been witnessing of late.
And last but certainly not least, this issue features a poem by the ever-awesome Seanan McGuire, whose way with beautiful words is always a selling point for me regardless of what she’s writing. Her poem, “Graveyard Rose”, is no exception. It’s crisp yet lyrical, deeply evocative, a little bit creepy but mostly charming. What with McGuire’s latest novel, Sparrow Hill Road, having just been released as well, I may well have to detour back down her wonderfully creepy way for a fresh dose of my favourite urban fantasy sooner rather than later. This little taste of her work just makes me thirstier for it. Again, do read.
Another issue, another win for me from Apex. Nice one, guys.