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Abyss & Apex Issue 56: 4th Quarter 2015 by Wendy S. Delmater
Edited by Wendy S. Delmater
Review by Sam Tomaino
Abyss & Apex eMagazine  
Date: 27 October 2015

Links: Abyss & Apex / How to Support / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

Abyss &Apex #56 is here with stories by Astrid S. Nielsen, Kelsey Snyder, Jennifer Campbell-Hicks, Alec Austin and Marissa Lingen, Craig Owen Jones, and M.E. Garber.

The newest issue of online magazine Abyss And Apex is #56 and it's a great one, with a Hugo-worthy story.

The fiction begins with "Out of Feyvale" by Astrid S. Nielsen. -+- Our narrator, Ash, tends the bar owned by his uncle in a town ruled by a cruel tyrant, Eurig, who has a demon, Ifleflax as an enforcer. A woman named Yrisa comes into the bar with dandelions and talks rebellion. When his uncle is killed by Ifleflax and he and Yrisa are ordered out of the town by Eurig, they meet a mysterious man named Roland who has a sack of gold he is taking to Feyvale, a place dangerous for humans where the Fey live. The story develops in surprising ways to become a very rich fantasy.

"Brown Eyes" by Kelsey Snyder -+- Our narrator, Amber, a fifteen-year-old girl, tells us she cannot remember her life before the Menagerie. The Menagerie is an orphanage (on Rikers Island, a hundred years after it had ceased to be the location of a prison) for children who have some defect, something their parents did not want, a rare failure of genetic engineering. It can be something as trivial as brown eyes instead of blue. Her name is Amber because of her brown eyes. She meets Jax, who has just come to the place, unusually old to do that as he is taller than her. He is an actual orphan whose parents had been killed in a shuttle crash. He says he knew someone who looked just like Amber, except with blue eyes. Jax is a Naturalist, born without genetic engineering. He takes Amber to meet Janie, her sister. The rest of the story is so beautiful, poignant and perfect that it will be on my Hugo Shortlist for Best Novelette next year.

"Street Rat" by Jennifer Campbell-Hicks -+- Chase is a street rat, orphaned when he was a boy. He is looking for his sister, who had been adopted by someone. He steals a microdrive, and a strange rock from the safe of a corrupt politician. The microdrive can tell him where his sister is. But the leader of his gang and the politician both want the rock, a valuable meteorite and things get dangerous. A good solid story with good characters.

"Human Trials" by Alec Austin and Marissa Lingen -+- Doctors Okoro and Lin are testing a drug called NGF-7 which is supposed to improve cognitive ability. Some people get the drug others get the placebo. We follow several of the test patients and find out how they fare. Another good story!

"Bute Street" by Craig Owen Jones -+- Gwen, a woman married to an abusive husband, is walking on the beach near her home in Wales. She finds a bottle in the ocean with a message in it. It's from a man named Caradog and dated the 14th of March 1911 and "off Graham Land" (Antartica). It's written to Cariad, a lady with black hair, who he has seen in his dreams. His ship is stuck in the ice. Gwen has had dreams herself, of walking with a man down Bute Street in her native Cardiff, but a Cardiff different from the one she knows. She hastily scribbles a reply, puts it back in the bottle and put it back into the sea. The scene shifts to 1911 and we see Caradog retrieve it. They begin the oddest of correspondences, resulting in improvements in both their lives. Classic love story, beautifully written.

The issue also a flash fiction story, "The Giveaway Box" by M.E. Garber. Samantha, recovering from what appears to have been an abusive relationship, has a life-altering experience at a garage sale. Nicely done!

The 56th issue of Abyss and Apex is one of their best! They fund themselves with PayPal donations and subscriptions. Check them out at their website (see link at the top of this review).

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