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

Apex Magazine #32, January 2012

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Apex Magazine #32, January 2012

"So Glad We Had This Time Together" by Cat Rambo
"Sweetheart Showdown" by Sarah Dalton

Reviewed by Bob Leishman

"So Glad We Had This Time Together" by Cat Rambo implements that particular phrase from the old Carol Burnett show.  The story's narrator, a young woman named Angela, was raised on a steady diet of television and, when she reached adulthood, sought a career in that industry. But this story isn't about nostalgia; it's about the next big thing.

This turns out to be something called unreality television featuring the undead and so forth and the people who deal with them. It's also to be produced at the Winchester Mystery house in California.  Besides being a well known tourist attraction the Winchester House has often been referred to as an example of what happens when you build without a plan (you’ll have to read the story to find out why). In this story, however, the house is seen as a bridge between our world and the spirit world.

I liked this story and Cat Rambo is an author who can shift what we take for granted into another context.

Beauty pageants are contests that are not supposed to be contests in that everyone involved in them manages to make everything they do look easy and completely innocent.  "Sweetheart Showdown" by Sarah Dalton is a story from the point of view of one of the contestants.  The story begins with the technological enhancements that are being implemented by both the contestants and their handlers, but then later gets into other things about the contestants who are so committed to winning.

There’s a potential ‘what have I become’ scenario. But what makes it good is that it takes a pageant scenario to the next level.