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Apex Science Fiction & Horror Digest – Volume 1, Number 12
Edited by Jason Sizemore
Cover Artist: Osvaldo Gonzalez
Review by Sam Tomaino
Apex  ISBN/ITEM#: 1553-7269
Date: 24 April 2008

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

Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest produces its 12th issue with stories by Brian Keene & Steven L. Shrewsbury, Cherie Priest, Michael West, Jim Stewart, Paul Jessup, Lavie Tidhar, Maurice Broaddus, Ryck Neube, the ubiquitous Joy Marchand, Brandy Schwan, Durand Welsh, Sara Genge and the conclusion of a grisly serial by Geoffrey Girard.

Issue #12 of Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest is called a "double issue" and is much thicker than previous issues. The increased pages are well used and all the stories got a Very Good from me.

First, let's take care of some old business. This issue concludes a four-part serial novella by Geoffrey Girard collectively called "Cain XP11." The story opened in an unusual facility run by the Defense Department. It seems, for one of those reasons only bad scientists come up with, that the government has been cloning serial and spree killers and exposing them to certain stimuli to see what would happen. As things usually happen, some of these clones escape. Their "originals" are infamous: Ted Bundy, Henry Lee Lucas, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, David Berkowitz and others. Becker is a professional commando whose job it is to track down these "boys." In the four parts, the story gets pretty grisly but it has a heart, too. The end of the story was well worth the wait.

The self-contained stories in this issue begin with "Death Comes For All" by Brian Keene and Steven L. Shrewsbury. After a battle at sea, survivors Rogan and Jovan find themselves on an unfamiliar beach. The deformed inhabitants of the land warn them of the dead returning and the two men realize their fight is not yet over. In Cherie Priest's "The Heavy," someone is killing Mark's goats. He hires Kilgore Jones, called The Heavy, to find out what's doing it and to kill whatever it is. In a thrilling story, Kilgore faces a most unusual monster. "To Know How to See" by Michael West is set on a ship in deep space. Sean becomes convinced the rest of the crew are aliens. Is this a pressure-induced psychosis… or the truth?

Next up is Jim Stewart's "I Can't Look at the City." Years earlier, a space probe had found ziggurats on another world and beamed pictures back to Earth. The probe soon is destroyed but has a profound effect on humanity. In a world where knowledge is discouraged, an artist is producing miniatures of these ziggurats. Is this just art, or is something else going on? Paul Jessup contributes "PostFlesh" about a ship stranded on "Shadrim…a grave of space," where things are not as dead as they appear. Lavie Tidhar, a frequent contributor to the small press, weighs in with "Covenant." On a planet settled by "Israelis from Mars," Miriam has an argument with her lover, Ya'el, who leaves to find something about the original inhabitants of the world. Why do the people smoke cigarettes made from a fungus? What are these strange yarmulkes they wear? Miriam finds out something about her world.

In "Broken Strand" by Maurice Broaddus, Wendal Tolliver visits his old professor and his daughter. He finds that their experiments seek to eliminate an "original sin" gene. Wendal, unwittingly, becomes involved with their studies. Ryck Neube's "Feverish Solutions" is a grim tale of Delta, a woman aboard a "grainship" that does what she has to in order to survive. She comes across some nasty characters but how will she deal with them?

This month, I get to read three stories by Joy Marchand. The one in this issue is called "Clementine." Jones is a night nurse to a seemingly comatose woman named Clementine. She has the unusual quality of being able to produce words on her skin. What message is she sending Jones and how will he react? The issue concludes with the usual Apex Parting Shot, "Dear Diary" by Sara Genge, featuring an unusual entry from a young girl about a very strange collection she has.

Apex deftly blends science fiction and horror and is well worth subscribing to.

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