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Apex Magazine - Issue 23
Edited by Catherynne M. Valente
Cover Artist: Justin Stewart
Review by Sam Tomaino
Apex  ISBN/ITEM#: 2157-1406
Date: 26 April 2011

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

Number 23 of Apex Magazine has new stories by Eugie Foster and Michael J. Deluca, reprints of stories by Mike Allen and Jennifer Pelland and a poem by Rose Lemburg.

Here we have the Twenty-Third issue of Apex Magazine, and editor Catherynne M. Valente.

The new fiction begins with "The Eater" by Michael J. DeLuca. Our narrator is part of a primitive tribe that is still learning about its surroundings. A woman called the Speaker names things and gives them language. A man named the Eater discovers things about the forest outside of their village. People who look like the tribe members but do not speak are called shamblers and come at night to take away members of the tribe. Our narrator wants to become the Eater and her brother wants to become the Speaker. All this makes for an interesting look at this primitive culture.

The other new story is "Biba Jibun" by Eugie Foster. Rinako is a young girl whose mother has abandoned the family and father has died. She is sent to live with an uncle and aunt, a place where she gets no love from her aunt and cousin, but is warmly embraced by her uncle, who seems ineffectual. At school, the rich girls give her a rough time. On the train going home, she makes a friend, Yumi, whose slogan is "Biba Jibun" or "Viva the self". She teaches her to get men to buy her things without getting anything back. All along, Rinako has said her mother was one of the obate, spirit folk, and she has dreams of becoming a rabbit and roaming free. This one has a bit of a surprise at the end, but I doubt you'll like the characters.

There are also two reprinted stories. The first is "The Button Bin" by Mike Allen (originally appeared in Helix: Speculative Fiction Quarterly , 2007) is quite the horror story. Our narrator is after a man named Lenahan who has taken his niece, his half-sister's daughter and done something horrible with her. He confronts the man with a gun but things take an unexpected turn and we find out why Lenahan is called the "Button Man". We also find out some nasty things about our narrator. All in all, quite an effective piece.

The other reprinted story is "Ghosts of New York" by Jennifer Pelland (originally appeared in the anthology Dark Faith by Apex Publications in 2010 and is a Nebula Award nominee. Our narrator died when she jumped from the burning North Tower, before it fell on September 11, 2001. Her ghost lingers near the site as do the other jumpers. She encounters other ghosts from different time periods who jumped from the Empire State Building, the Slocum or other disasters. She must find a way to make peace with herself in this very touching story.

Apex Magazine has changed the way it works, if you are a subscriber, you get your issue when it's published. Otherwise, you wait a month. They are worth supporting, so check them out at http://www.apexbookcompany.com/apex-store/subscriptions/.

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