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

Apex Magazine #61, June 2014

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Apex #61, June 2014

Cape to Cairo” by Eden Robins
Soul of Soup Bones” by Crystal Lynn Hilbert
The Salt Path” by Marissa Lingen

Reviewed by Harlen Bayh

Cape to Cairo” by Eden Robins joins a traveler on a solitary tour of Africa, a woman who has found nothing new under the sun, but cannot stop looking, nonetheless. While eavesdropping on fellow travelers, she hears of a dark, new experience that promises to deliver her from her self-imposed doldrums, and so she fast-tracks her travels to Cape Town.

Despite appearing to be a hoax, she searches out and finds the source of these rumors, hoping it could be real. Willing to do anything for a brief thrill, she plunges in and gets more than she bargained for, with a bitter twist.

Soul of Soup Bones” by Crystal Lynn Hilbert brews up a tasty stew of necromancy, culinary artistry, and dedication to the dream of living forever. When taken out of context, many individual components in this story about a budding necromancer trying to scry the clues to life after death from an ancient ghost that compulsively bakes and cooks appear gross. Yet, once mixed and kneaded, it reads like a cooking story and that makes it normal. Normal then rises to magical, and, in the same way we can buy vacuum-sealed bison flesh at the market and think nothing of it, normal also becomes bizarre and humorous, from an skewed point of view.

Foodies and fans of fatal fantasy should enjoy this tasty dish. Nom nom nom.

A group of four deserters follow “The Salt Path” in Marissa Lingen’s short story. These bioengineered post-humans hole up in an empty home on a beach, unsure of where they’re headed, guided by dreams, knowing only that they want to get as far away from a culture of constant world-war as possible. The deserters salted the fields behind them as they came, guaranteeing the deaths of their families and risking their own lives to find a future free from conflict. The world they want to live in may not exist, and there are too few of them to create it, but they take comfort in sharing a home for a little while, and eventually they’re faced with a choice. Unfortunately, in their world, choices are rarely fair.

Harlen Bayha lies on the ground with fluffy yellow birds and sparkly stars orbiting his head, which probably explains the things he writes.