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

Apex Magazine #82, March 2016

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Apex #82, March 2016

Agent of V.A.L.I.S.” by Lavie Tidhar

Screaming Without a Mouth” by Travis Heermann
Death Flowers of a Never-Forgotten Love” by Jason Sanford

Reviewed by Kevin P Hallett

The 82nd issue of Apex has three original stories. There was just one story that I felt was a little weak, the others were good or excellent reads.

Agent of V.A.L.I.S.” by Lavie Tidhar

This tale has a historic element. It is the story of Thomas, a man obsessed with the idea that we all live back in the Roman Empire and the modern world is but an illusion. Haunted by visions of the past, he believes he’s an agent of V.A.L.I.S. charged with discovering the truth. But he has no idea what he’s looking for.

The story’s ideas were interesting but the long narrative passages made it drag. The end was unusual, but given the context of the story, it was not a major surprise and it left no feelings of empathy for Thomas.

Screaming Without a Mouth” by Travis Heermann

Travis Heermann has given us the horror story of Kasumi, a shy girl victimized by a boy she admired. From the grave, she seeks her revenge, but once on that path it proves hard to stop, as any past slight becomes justification for revenge.

Told through a series of social media postings, this story worked well. I found the style of writing drew me in, slowly revealing the plot, and piquing the imagination. This was a worthwhile read.

Death Flowers of a Never-Forgotten Love” by Jason Sanford

Sanford gives a different take on a future shaped by neuro-science in this flash science fiction story. What if we could adjust people’s memories to make them happier? Is this a benefit, would everyone gain, or would it be one of those so-called victimless crimes? An intriguing story.

The story telling immersed me and was altogether over too soon, leaving this reader with several questions about what it means to be human.