Apex #102, November 2017

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Apex #102, November 2017

“An Unexpected Boon” by S. B. Divya

“Untilted” by K. A. Teryna (translated by Alex Shvartsman)

Reviewed by Victoria Silverwolf

Two stories about children with extraordinary powers appear in the latest issue of this on-line magazine.

A twelve-year-old girl is the protagonist of “An Unexpected Boon” by S. B. Divya. She does not like to be touched, has trouble relating to emotions, and is obsessed with counting. One day a sage comes to her home. In exchange for a meal, he gives her a beetle. The insect gives her the ability to understand feelings, as well as other magical gifts. She uses her skills to lead her brother to safety when danger threatens. This story begins like an allegory of autism, but later becomes a mythical folk tale. It offers an interesting look at Hindu culture. The girl eventually becomes so much like a goddess that there is little suspense near the end.

“Untilted” by K. A. Teryna (translated from Russian by Alex Shvartsman) features a young boy who gives a strange handwritten note to a woman contemplating suicide. Flashbacks show us the reason for the woman’s despair and explain the child’s actions, which involve a magical music box. This is an unusual story dealing with the pain and necessity of mourning. It is sometimes opaque and sometimes sentimental.

Victoria Silverwolf doesn’t speak Russian.