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

Apex Magazine #96, May 2017

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Apex Magazine #96, May 2017

"How Lovely Is the Silence of Growing Things" by Evan Dicken

"The Three-Tongued Mummy" by E. Catherine Tobler

Reviewed by Jason McGregor

"How Lovely Is the Silence of Growing Things" by Evan Dicken

With a story opening, "We ate all the spiders we could find," and ending with an interesting change/twist, this should have been good but it didn't work for me. I could describe a lot of the surrealistic details about the sun turning green and poets hanging around like bats and centipedes fighting at Ohio Stadium but, basically, this is about a kid and one of her two mothers running around in a sort of nightmare trying not to be changed into plant-like things except that it's actually about something else (the change/twist part). Might appeal to some but seems too random to me, like it's trying too hard. Ironically, the protagonist talks bitterly about her mother trying to "shave away the parts of me that didn't fit" but the story could use a little shaving to fit better, I think, or perhaps it needs to be even more surreal. Also, it reminds me of many, many other slipstream nightmares I've read in the past few years about darkness, light, plants, shifting buildings, etc.

"The Three-Tongued Mummy" by E. Catherine Tobler

The three-tongued mummy is purchased by a showman and taken on tour with a strange circus. Interspersed with scenarios about what coins may be paid for what experiences, the mummy meets up with a couple of old acquaintances and few will be surprised by what unfolds.

This tale is plenty weird and creepy and that may appeal to many but it also seems to want us to accept the cryptic as the profound and really has very little plot, which may not appeal to others.


More of Jason McGregor's reviews can be found on his Featured Futures blog.