Abyss & Apex Issue 34: 2nd Quarter 2010
Edited by Wendy S. Delmater
Review by Sam Tomaino
Abyss & Apex
Date: 26 May 2010
The newest issue of online magazine Abyss & Apex is #34 and it has some more great reading.
The issue begins with young Prince Ezi, "Talking to Elephants" in the story by Mary Anne Mohanraj. He tries to convince them to help his country against the invading Hansithi. He befriends his pretty cousin, Madhuri, who has power over fire and water. Things work out in a surprising way in this delightful fantasy.
"Burning Bright" by Jennifer Hykes is a first publication and a very promising debut. One day, Lori sees a small dragon in her backyard. It tells her that in a month it will be big and will eat her. Lori does not know what to do and no one else sees the dragon. She starts to make changes in her life: starting her own business making candy; befriending a co-worker; relating better to her husband and son. I won't give away the end but will say that it was just perfect. Jennifer Hykes is someone to watch and I hope we see more of her.
The "Boneless Corpse" in the story by E. Bundy is that of a dwarf. Our narrator, a female private eye who is psychic, is asked to investigate by a dwarf named Brialdur. A man named Virgil Russell is exhibiting a boneless corpse so our narrator goes to interview him. She discovers that he is a Skurnj, a branch of the human race that lived by the sea and have certain powers. Things are resolved in this well-fleshed out little fantasy.
In "Mind's Eye View" by David Schibi, Eli lives in several scenarios: on a park bench with his wife Alice; in a tram with his co-workers; in his office where he controls a huge corporation. But what is really happening? This was a good look at what might happen when minds can be downloaded into artificial bodies.
"The Black Sheep of Vaerlosi" by Desmond Warzel features a customs agent, the Inspector-General of Okazaki Sector (somewhere in outer space) who pulls over a ship called the Black Sheep, bound for a planet called Vaerlosi because he recognizes the picture of a man named Gilbert Nwachakwu, a notorious outlaw. Having paid the appropriate fines, Nwachakwu has no outstanding warrants. The inspector finds nothing (but legitimate AI modules) on his ship and lets him go. The second time the ship comes through, the inspector inspects again, finding only Costnerite that are so sharp they are untouchable. The third time its medical equipment (tissue synthesizers). Nest time, it's grain. This continues for two years and eventually we find out what is happening and it's pretty clever. I'm sure you'll like this story as much as I did.
"The Monks of Udom Xhai" by Lavie Tidhar takes place in modern day and starts with a black-robed monk, coming to Udom Xhai. He doesn't stay long, but being a foreigner elicits some attention. More foreigners come over the next month. Whatever is happening ends in 64 days and people's lives are changed. Lavie Tidhar, once more, gives us one of his unusual but fascinating stories.
The issue also has a flash fiction story. "I Expect There Will Be a Reason Soon" by Mark Cole. A Mr. Johnson is riding a camel through the Gobi desert and leaps out of the way just as it is crushed by a 1970s era Cadillac Fleetwood Custom Limousine. More strange things happen until we get an explanation in this wild, fun tale.
Abyss and Apex is an online magazine. They fund themselves with PayPal donations. Check them out at www.abyssandapex.com.