Apex Digest #1

Review by Paul McAvoy

What's in a name? Does the first line of a story or a book have to be a great opener? Possibly not, and yet... I cannot help wondering at this title... Apex Digest... what does it all mean?

‘Summit Eat?’ Now, correct me if I am wrong but shouldn’t a magazine specialising in Science Fiction and Horror have a more suitable title? Something with ‘Vortex’ in it, perhaps? Or ‘Dark?’ How about ‘Dark Vortex?’ Anyway, enough said on all that; thankfully the actual magazine in question is much better than its title…

The general feel and look is great, with over 100 pages, a spine and a shiny cover. Nice artwork within. Stories a bit hit and miss, but you can’t have everything. Editor Jason B Sizemore’s enthusiasm is evident throughout.

M M Buckner kicks things off with his story Permutations, a bit of a hard to follow tale, but His Cross to Bear by Liam Rands is much better, a strange tale of how the Criminal Justice System might work in years to come. Next up is The Throne Room by J Stern, followed by Invasion of the Zog by Whispers’ very own Lavie Tidhar, most enjoyable. PH: Only Partially Human by Anna Parrish promises much and delivers much, a hard to put down tale of racial problems between humans and half humans.

Layers by Michael Simon was to me the best of the lot, and tells the story of a wonder drug that fights off depression, and how it does not turn out to be so wonderful after all – in fact it is pretty deadly. This author is one to watch out for. A Place in the Sun by Doug Hewitt is another good one, quite a mixture of suspenseful sci-fi and comedy. Other offerings come from the likes of Lawrence M Schoen, Christopher Stires and Christine W Murphy.

Non-fiction consists of a review section, an interesting essay by Gill Ainsworth about the shared ground of SF and Horror, plus an interview with Project Pulp and Wicked Hollows’ very own Jon Hodges, where he discusses his various projects and talks at length about the small press and e-zines.

Overall, I did enjoy the read that was Apex Digest; and top marks to Jason for a job well done.

Apex Science Fiction, USA, A5, 106 pp, $5 US (International $6.50) or $18/4 US (International $22). Website: www.apexdigest.com

This review originally appeared on Whispers of Wickedness, and is reproduced here with permission.