Abyss & Apex Issue 32: 4th Quarter 2009
by Wendy S. Delmater
Edited by Wendy S. Delmater
Review by Sam Tomaino
Abyss & Apex ISBN/ITEM#: ABYSSANDAPEX200
Date: 29 October 2009
The newest issue of online magazine Abyss & Apex is #32 and features a quintet of wonderful stories, all of which I enjoyed thoroughly.
The fiction in the issue begins with "Mirror Girl" by Paul Carlson. Desdemona Pringle, called Desi by everyone is a typical 11-year old girl in an ideal Mayberry-like town. She begins to notice inconsistencies in minor facts about life. She asks about them and they disappear. Then, someone starts talking to her from somewhere unknown. A book of Sherlock Holmes stories is left in her desk. She eventually discovers more about herself and her world in this well-written tale.
In "Lake of Dreams" by Christopher Lockhart, the narrator is Inspector Cavendish, an uptight, rigid conformist sent to investigate the disappearance of a man named Daniel Hennessey, the son of a senator, at Lazlo, a domed lunar base that mines something called ilmenite. We are gradually shown how different Lazlo is from the rest of humanity living on the Moon. We hear references to 'the Accident' and things that are banned. All is eventually revealed in this interesting look at a possible future.
"Epitaph in Oak" by Craig Watson is set in some future Civil War between North and South, Ben Wheaton is with one of the Southern forces and seems to be the sole survivor of a battle when a robot finds him. The robot helps him a bit and they wind up having a conversation about dying. Watson has given us a poignant, touching story.
"Out of the Blue" by Lavie Tidhar starts with an exploding galaxy that causes an anomaly called the Blue. More than 200 years in the future, Moshe is a rabbi in interstellar space. He gets word that his daughter Miriam has died and he contacts an old friend, Aharon, who had become a scientist and sent Miriam on an expedition to the Blue. She had died because they had approached too close. Tidhar is a very talented storyteller and does a good job illuminating the differences Moshe and Aharon have over the Blue. This was a beautifully-written tale.
"The Wrong Basement" by David J. Sakmyster is the kind of story a comic book fan (like me) just loves. One day, our unnamed narrator and his wife discover that their basement has changed. Somehow, there is another basement, filled with some things that appear to be old but not showing their age. Our narrator opens a box and finds a collection of Action Comics, with #101 on top and going down in number the deeper into to the three piles he gets...ending with #1--in mint condition. Thus is set in motion a series of events that changes their lives. Sakmyster has written a perfect little story.
The issue also has two flash fiction stories. The first is "A Recipe for Broke-Heart Bread" by K. Bird Lincoln. Émilie is using her grandmother's recipe for broke-heart bread to serve to her sister who has betrayed her. This isn't a recipe you'll see in Betty Crocker in this delicious little morsel. In "The Chinese Chef Was a Hologram" by Max Salnikov, Falco is wired into the Internet through his hair and is always connected. This is of no use to him when he needs to design a new piece of furniture and he just can't get inspired. When he tries a new service called INSPIRE ME NOW, things change for him in this cleverly written piece.