Abyss & Apex, issue 14: Second Quarter 2005

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"Next" by Patrick Samphire
"The Station With No Name" by Justin Stanchfield
"Flensing Detritus" by Steve Vernon
"Mother’s Condition: A Caustic Experiment" by Laura Cooper
"What They Wanted" by M.K. Hobson
Easily accessible, Abyss & Apex is a user-friendly e-zine, regularly and crisply presented.  The submission guidelines are worth looking at if you are a writer wishing to submit to them.  But then, you should be looking anyway!


"Next" by Patrick Samphire
Told from the perspective of a psych patient, "Next" is a great tale.  Presented in short, punchy lines, the protagonist is brilliantly portrayed, and the leaps between hallucination and reality make this story special. The suspense is maintained from start to finish, and true sympathy is generated for the tormented protagonist.  A masterful tale and the pick of this issue.

"The Station With No Name" by Justin Stanchfield
Sadly, this story isn’t of the highest standard.  While the protagonist speaks with a plausible voice, and the concept is interesting (racing a car to a junction to change his destiny), the delivery is fouled by a sluggish start.  Big blocks of introspective text don’t do this story any favours.  Interesting enough, but needs to be trimmed back.

"Flensing" by Steve Vernon
Fantastic!  The word pictures presented in this flash-piece are vivid, yet terrifying.  A very good example of short-short fiction, and Vernon proves he is adept at doing more with less.

"Mother’s Condition: A Caustic Experiment" by Laura Cooper
A novel concept, with an honest-to-god twist at the end of it.  I won’t ruin the surprise. Well worth five minutes of your time!  Cooper delivers what seems an ordinary piece of fiction, but twists things around with flair.  Very clever, but not so cute as to spoil the ending either.

"What They Wanted" by M.K. Hobson
Take a dip in the slipstream with this alternative fare.  Weird, weird, weird.  Yet amusing.  Short for a short-short, it still manages to be let down by long-winded narrative, but only slightly.