Apex Magazine - November 2009 - Vol. III, Issue IV
Edited by Guest Editor: Lavie Tidhar
Review by Sam Tomaino
Date: 24 November 2009
The November 2009 of Apex Magazine is the first I've reviewed and is very promising. It is guest-edited by Lavie Tidhar. In his editorial, he calls this the World SF issue of Apex Magazine to celebrate the publication of The Apex Book of World SF. He tells us of the authors he picked for this issue (all of whom have other stories in the book: Israeli writer Nir Yadiv, Croatian writer Alexsandar Žiljak, and French writer Aliette de Bodard (of whom I'm already a big fan), and the interview with Malaysian writer, Tunku Halim.
"After the Fire" by Aliette de Bodard is another powerful story by her. Jiaotan is having nightmares of fiery death and is awakened. She is on a ship travelling across the galaxy. A computer's voice says she is needed. Why? Jiaotan is just a poet, her sister, Sukuang is the ship's engineer. We find out what has happened in this grim, frightening story.
"Benjamin Schneider's Little Greys" by Nir Yaniv (translated from the Hebrew by Lavie Tidhar) is narrated by a woman named Dr. Katz, who has a patient named Benjamin Schneider who is a hypochondriac. He visits her every week and usually nothing is wrong with him. As the story opens, he has come to her complaining of grey coils on his left wrist. X-Rays do show something odd. The next week, he claims there are grey spots in his eyes and the doctor does see something there. What is wrong? This one had a very unsettling feel and was quite effective.
"An Evening in the City Coffeehouse, With Lydia on My Mind" by Alexsandar Žiljak takes place in a future Zagreb. Our unnamed narrator is on the run and has stopped at a coffeehouse when he thinks he's eluded his pursuers. As his story unfolds, we find out he's a pornographer who sends out "flies" (a "floating camera plus nanocomputer plus video memory") to peoples homes and secretly records them naked or having sex. He sends a group of flies to the house of a beautiful woman named Lydia who he has concluded is a prostitute. To his shock, he finds out her clients are aliens. He makes the mistake of showing the footage to his friend, Pico, who unwisely tried to blackmail her. That send things into motion for a breathtaking conclusion. Žiljak is a talented writer whose work I’d like to see more of.
Apex Magazine exists on PayPal donations and I recommend you go their web-site and check them out. They are worth supporting.