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

Apex Magazine #42, November 2012

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Apex Magazine #42, November 2012


“Erzulie Dantor” by Tim Susman
“Splinter” by Shira Lipkin
“The Glutton: A Goxhat Accounting Chant” by Eleanor Arnason
“Sprig” by Alex Bledsoe

Reviewed by Cyd Athens

“Erzulie Dantor” by Tim Susman is set in a post-disaster Haiti. It tells the tale of two sisters, Maisie, and Sirène. Whatever cataclysmic event destroyed this town left one shabby house, Maisie’s, standing. Her younger sister, Sirène is jealous enough, and wants it badly enough, to resort to character defamation and dark magic to get it. With the help of her husband, a Voodoo Priest, Sirène turns the tent town into an angry mob and sets them against Maisie. In the final moments of her life, Maisie entreats Erzulie Dantor’s help.


Shira Lipkin’s “Splinter” evokes fear without ever showing the actual source. Rather, it relates what happens after a group of travelers step off the edge of the world. Whether what they encounter is alien, magical, or paranormal is left to the imagination. Beginning with an intrepid group of five best friends, each section of the story focuses on a single member. One by one, we learn of the aftereffects of an experience so horrible as to make consideration of a return trip unthinkable. The tale is narrated by the last one standing. This fast read is strong, evocative, and disturbing in a way that makes one want to read it again.

“The Glutton: A Goxhat Accounting Chant” by Eleanor Arnason is mythopoeia that includes not only prose, but also poetry and endnotes. The story begins with a translator’s note that explains the alien Goxhat culture and discusses the difficulties of literary translation in light of the differences between Goxhats and humans. Then we are treated to the mythological poem, and a treat it is even though, in proper narrative style, sections of the poem are “missing.” There is enough left, however, to tell a story, a parable perhaps, about Gluttony, Goxhat style.

“Sprig” by Alex Bledsoe tosses a fairy, some technology, a young boy, and a Ren faire together, then sets the resultant mix to dry in the sun for between fifteen and thirty minutes. It’s a cute tale about the things we assume or take for granted.

To four-year-old Cyrus, Sprig Petalbottom is just a sparkly girl on a tree stump with a guitar. After telling him how she flew to the fair on the night winds, Sprig sings to him and gives him fairy dust. Cyrus is lovely, and one of the funniest bits in the story is when he is explaining his father’s employment status. This delightful urban fantasy is another fast read.

Cyd Athens indulges a speculative fiction addiction from 45ø 29 30.65 N, 122ø 35 30.91 W.