Apex Magazine #37, June 2012

Sunday, 24 June 2012 07:06 Chuck Rothman

altApex Magazine #37, June 2012

“Winter Scheming” by Brit Mandelo
“In the Dark” by Ian Nichols

Reviewed by Chuck Rothman

Apex Magazine for June has a pair of quality stories dealing with the mysterious and unexplained.

Brit Mandelo's "Winter Scheming" is about Harvey, a woman who is followed by a mysterious owl that follows her to attack.  Harvey realizes this is some sort of spirit messenger -- and she has to take it seriously.  I don't usually care for this type of story, but I found myself getting drawn in as we saw more and more of Harvey, who we soon learn is not the person she seems on the surface.  The ending of the story is a strong surprise, which resolves things in a way that is logical, surprising, and satisfying.

"In the Dark" is set in Welsh mining country, where Morgan seethes as he sees his girl Myfanwy being entranced by the singing of a gypsy boy.  But the boy is also attracting the attention of the darker sort from the depths of the mines.  What seems to be a revenge story changes into one of redemption.  Ian Nichols' sense of setting and character makes the story work wonderfully.

There's also a third story, a reprint from Geoff Ryman. It's an impressive lineup that gives plenty of fine reading.

Chuck Rothman's most recent story was "The Princess's Kiss" in the May issue of Penumbra Online.  He blogs at http://greatbutforgotten.blogspot.com