Apex Magazine #84, May 2016

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Apex #84, May 2016

“1957” by Stephen Cox

“Cottage Country” by David K. Yeh
“The Behemoth Beaches” by Maggie Slater

Reviewed by Jody Dorsett

The 84th issue of Apex has three original short stories.

“1957” by Stephen Cox

1957” opens in the Headmaster’s office of an all boys school. It’s a place we’ll revisit several times in the story, but with a slightly different outcome each visit. We meet Danny Henderson who is to act as tour guide around the grounds to a mother with two prospective students. He is quite the student, lead bowler of the cricket team and a candidate for Head Boy.

When he sees the mother he realizes she’s his wife. Then we meet Paul Parslow, Danny’s friend, who is queer. They have rather descriptive sex. That sets the tone for the tale, jump-cuts to different times and different realities in the Headmaster’s office. There is no reason given for these leaps except that they always return to the question of sex with Paul. It’s confusing to sort out the message that the author is trying to give because of the constant question “Why is Danny jumping from place to place and time to time?”. It’s probably that Danny is returning to his true sexual identity, that his hetero life was a lie, but it’s hard to tell.

“Cottage Country” by David K. Yeh

This story is set in the bush country outside of Sudbury, Ontario. Whenever I go there, the natural beauty is magical and the author describes it perfectly. The story develops the scene so well that one is not surprised to find the protagonist suddenly talking about sidhe. Nor is the reader surprised when a fox talks.

The story quickly develops as to why the protagonist is knowledgeable about the fey life, and as a compelling narrative about the relationship between a grandfather and grandson is told.

The Behemoth Beaches” by Maggie Slater

When times are tough you will accept almost any protector or provider offering you a chance to survive. In this story, a fishing town invites a monster to help them catch enough fish to live. As time goes on the cost for that protection gets higher and higher. Sometimes the cost is even higher than you imagined.