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

Apex Magazine #113, October 2018

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Apex #113, October 2018

Bargains by the Slant-Light” by Cassandra Khaw

The Standard of Ur” by Hassan Abdulrazzak
With Lips Sewn Shut” by Kristi Demeester
For Sale: Fantasy Coffins” by Chesya Burke (reprint, not reviewed)

Reviewed by Kevin P Hallett

The 113th issue of Apex has three original stories and one reprint.

Bargains by the Slant-Light” by Cassandra Khaw

In this flash horror, a broken-hearted young lady has turned to the devil to solve her pain. Each night the devil visits. Each night he opens her willing body and goes to work on her broken heart. But what she wants is elusive and painful to receive.

This was an intriguing and nicely crafted story, well suited to the flash fiction format.

The Standard of Ur” by Hassan Abdulrazzak

The British Museum has sent Adam to Iraq in this near-future short horror tale. Adam must evaluate the now peaceful Iraqi government’s ability to protect antiquities held in London.

Adam finds himself attracted to Ishtar, a young archaeologist who is his liaison in Iraq. Adam convinces her to show him the mysterious temple at Ur, despite her own misgivings.

For more than twenty years, Iraq has ‘managed’ its sectarian violence through what it calls ‘The Solution’. Can this Solution survive the strange influences of the ancient temple?

The prose was acceptable, but not compelling, and the plot was predictable.

With Lips Sewn Shut” by Kristi Demeester

With her lips sewn shut, the sister sews lace with her mother in this short fantasy horror story. It is her social destiny to one day become someone else’s wife and continue the drudgery of sewing to earn a few coins. It isn’t her destiny to ever speak her mind.

Her mother has other hopes for her daughter, even as she tends to her sons who enforce society’s code. Saving up whatever she can spare, the mother gives her daughter some guidance. But can the sister escape her brothers’ murderous attentions?

Laced with social commentary, this story was hard to put down. The ending was uncertain as the author masterfully revealed the true nature of this fantasy’s unjust society.