Abyss & Apex Issue 39: 3rd Quarter 2011
Edited by Wendy S. Delmater
Review by Sam Tomaino
Abyss & Apex Online Magazine
Date: 24 July 2011
The newest issue of online magazine Abyss & Apex is #39 and the usual good stories from Wendy S. Delmater.
The issue begins with the novelette, "Death, Rebirth, An Heir, a Karakuri" by J.M. Sidorova. The title describes many of the elements in Sidorova's story. Sandra is an American, living in Japan, trying to find work as what she describes as a "private nose". Her sense of smell is extraordinarily developed. In college, she discovered she had a debilitating phobia, a dislike of human-like robots. She has fled to Japan where such things are hidden away. Then she is offered an enormous sum of money to find the karakuri (a Life-like robot) of a deceased powerful man, called only the Daimyo. This develops into quite an interesting piece.
Next up, is "Maria's Crossroads" by Richard Marsden. Maria is a young girl, living in an Italian village around the early sixteenth century. Her village is being terrorized by a beast called the Goat, which rips people to shreds. When English mercenaries visit and agree to slay the Goat, Maria becomes enamored of their leader. Marsden puts together a nice little fantasy here with a nice twist towards the end.
Then, another novelette, "The Windfarmer's Guest" by Lucas Ahlsen. Set in a future in which Earth has been devastated by something called Earth Rot, Charles tries to maintain the wind turbines that provide power for a town and take care of Kim, an orphan of the chaos. The ruling Agora Foundation would put her into a repressive camp. When he is visited by a man known as the Mechanist, Charles asks for his help and we get the beginning of what looks to be a grand adventure.
The scene shifts to England in 1966 for "Holes" by Rajan Khanna. Damon works for a division of MI5 called Unusual Circumstances. September 16, 1966 is his birthday, but all he thinks about is his twin sister Lucy who has been dead for nineteen years. He and his partner, a beautiful woman named Sinclair, are given an assignment. The organization's liaison with Parliament, Dexter Wembley, has gone missing along with an old Nazi weapon called the Bifrost device. This thing was supposed to be a bridge between worlds, but had unleashed such destruction when they tried to use it that the British had put it away for twenty years. All this is the beginning of an exciting, wild tale with, at least, one element that won't surprise you, but still comes together for a good read.
Then it is back to fantasy with "Black Horticulture" by David Tallerman. Our narrator wants to be an apprentice to the Royal Hortimancer of the Kingdpm of Pentigern, Porfus Alambic. He already has a talent for mixing gardening and sorcery. Nonetheless, Alambic doubts his talents. How our hero proves his worth makes for another grand fantasy.
The issue also has a flash fiction story, "Where's My Attitude?" by Conor Powers-Smith. This one follows a young girl on a day when she loses something called her G-7, a sort of stud that gives her an attitude she likes to project. Things turn out for the best in a nicely-done tale.
Abyss and Apex is an online magazine. They fund themselves with PayPal donations. Check them out at www.abyssandapex.com.