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

Apex Magazine #49, June 2013

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Apex #49, June 2013

“Karina Who Kissed Spacetime” by Indrapramit Das
“Titanic!” by Lavie Tidhar
“Call Girl” by Tang Fei (translated by Ken Lui)

Reviewed by Bob Blough

Indrapramit Das is one of my favorite new authors. He writes with a heart for characters and the ability to look beyond the normal strictures of SF. That said, his story here, “Karina Who Kissed Spacetime” did not work for me, though it's a cool idea. Karina kisses the narrator on a cold street at a college in Pennsylvania. This kiss cracks open the timelines so that the unnamed narrator can see them all. Through the story we see him looking at the various futures with this girl whom he desperately loves. He makes his choice as to which line to follow and it ends on a very poignant note. It should work, but there is a little too much overdone prose. The style unfortunately overwhelms the lovely story buried beneath it.

But read it, flawed as it is, and read all the Indrapramit Das stories you can find. I feel we are seeing the birth of a future giant in the field.

The next story is a slight one by the amazingly talented Lavie Tidhar. He is prolific and already one of the best short fiction writers in the field. “Titanic!” however is a trifle. He conflates the ship of the title with Dr. Jekyll and other disastrous events in an alternate story of the Titanic’s big night. It's a bagatelle but a fun one.

“Call Girl” by Tang Fei (translated by Ken Lui) contains another interesting idea. Xiaoyi is a high school student who has the ability to create stories for people. Not write them, but actually create a story that they live with or perhaps in – it's not clear. She sees each story in the shape of various dogs that buyers purchase from her. This is an interesting and very unusual story line, however, the prose is too ephemeral, too light to engage the reader in order to make it memorable.