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Apex Magazine - Issue 18
Edited by Catherynne M. Valente
Cover Artist: Edward Dulac
Review by Sam Tomaino
Apex  ISBN/ITEM#: 2157-1406
Date: 25 November 2010

Links: Apex Magazine / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

Number 18 of Apex Magazine has new stories by Amal El-Motar, Pamela K. Taylor, Saladin Ahmed, a reprint of a story compiled by Dr. Ignácz Kúnos from the anthology Forty-four Turkish Fairy Tales) and poems by Samer Rabadi, Jawad Elhusuni, and Sara Saab.

Here we have the Eighteenth issue of Apex Magazine, and editor by Catherynne M. Valente. This issue has an Arabic theme and some wonderful stories.

The new fiction begins with "The Green Book" by Amal El-Motar. This was an unusual and fascinating story, with alternating hands writing it. It is a manuscript written by Dominic Merrowin who was an apprentice to Master Leuwin Orrerel. We are told in an accompanying note that they died in the same year. Merrowin has copied out what is written in a strange green book. The first writing is an invocation and had been written some 400 years in the past. Next, we have some writing from someone facing death. Next comes from a child who found it and will pass it along to her sisterhood. Then, there are some paragraphs written by an adult who recognizes strong magic in it and will pass it along to Master Leuwin. The rest is a conversation between Leuwin and a dead woman named Cynthia. Cynthia's spirit possesses the book and responds to Leuwin’s questions. This one was something really different and I just loved it.

"50 Fatwas for the Virtuous Vampire" by Pamela K. Taylor features an Islamic vampire named Ibrahim who is attracted to a virtuous woman named Lina. The story is interspersed by quotes from book about how Islamic vampires can still live virtuous lives. Ibrahim is trying to do that but is strongly attracted to Lina, who does not deserve death. This was a beautifully written tale.

In "The Faithful Soldier, Prompted" by Saladin Ahmed, Ali is traveling from Free Beirut to Cairo, in search of a cure for his sick wife, Lubna. He had been a soldier, a "Free Shi'ah Anti-Crediteer... the scourge of the Global Credit Crusaders". He has the remnants of an Operating System in him and receives the occasional prompt, which begins "Faithful Soldier". A prompt has sent him to Cairo and gives him further instructions. Are these messages from God? This was another very good story that I enjoyed immensely.

There is also a reprinted story, "Kamer-taj, the Moon Horse" compiled by Dr. Ignácz Kúnos which originally appeared in Forty-four Turkish Fairy Tales. This is a well-written, imaginative story about a Princess who is menaced by a fiend called a Dew. This fiend, apparently, eats people and has set his sights on the Princess. However, the Princess has a protector in Kamer-taj, the Moon Horse. It was interesting reading a fairy tale from a different culture.

So, once again, check on Apex Magazine. It exists on PayPal donations and I recommend you go their web-site at http://www.apexbookcompany.com/apex-online/ . They are worth supporting.

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