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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Apex Magazine #97, June 2017

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Apex #97, June 2017

Elena’s Angel” by Aimee Ogden

Welcome to Astuna” by Pip Coen
Black Hole Heart” by K. A. Teryna (trans. by Alex Shvartsman)

Reviewed by Laura Gobourn

Elena’s Angel” by Aimee Ogden is a fascinating look at what divine inspiration could really mean. The titular Elena has been lifted apart from normal life by the presence of an angel who inspires her to create great artistic masterpieces. Whilst this might sound like a dream, the reality of the situation leaves Elena longing for freedom. Her plight is beautifully detailed and highlighted when she goes to the birthday party of a friend. Her subsequent struggle and decision resonates and you feel as lost for a solution as she is. This story is elegantly written and will perhaps give new insight into the struggle between using a gift and having a fulfilling normal life.

Welcome to Astuna” by Pip Coen starts with a classic opening gambit, the ever intriguing where am I? We become immediately aware that the world our protagonist Jane wakes up in is set at some point in our future. A future where having your memories removed to cover a gambling debt is common practice. The desperate search to recall what she has lost is compelling and fascinating with a surprise twist that made me wish for more.

Black Hole Heart” by K. A. Teryna has been translated for the first time into English by Alex Shvartsman. This story deals with the idea of a single choice leading to different futures, with the paths laid out instantly and minutely, with everything depending on whether or not to wait for a piece of the pie. The unusual use of the second person point of view gives this story an oddly personal touch and each possible future feels real. The idea that such a crossroads of life could be made clear before hand is an intoxicating notion that leaves one thinking about all the small choices we make each day.