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Words for Thought (Short Fiction Review)
Hello, and welcome to Apex Magazine issue 134!
Fall is officially here and, in my corner of the world, many of us are snuggling down and staying home as the weather turns chillier. This month, Apex invites our readers to travel the world and the far reaches of space—all from the comfort of your own home.
Our original short fiction begins with “The Walking Mirror of the Soul” by Renan Bernardo. Isabela is a police investigator on Teresa Station, but she’s distracted from her current case because she knows her fiancée Vitória is keeping a secret. Her confused feelings are only made worse by the fact that living with the humans on the station is an alien species that projects the thoughts and feelings of those around them on their skin. Renan expertly uses the alien concept with police procedure and the messy feelings that come from a complicated relationship.
Jennifer Marie Brissett brings us back to Earth and into the close, almost claustrophobic, atmosphere of a home where something tragic has happened in her story “The Healer.” The main character is hopeless and lost because there is nothing he can do to help his little sister, so when a note arrives with a card for a healer, he makes the call. But what is he going to have to sacrifice to make his sister better? Is it a sacrifice he’s willing to make?
“The Words,” written by Clelia Farris and translated by Rachel Cordasco, is a wonderful story blending history with future technology. Miriam Hermann is dead, and her AI personal assistant is in a race against time to post the real story about what really happened all those years ago before Miriam’s son can get Miriam’s public profile shut down. This story reveals itself slowly as a story within a story, and the payout is so good.
Margaret Dunlap’s “Observations of a Small Object in Decaying Orbit” is a heartbreaking generation ship story about a boy who is punished by those around him for the actions of his parents. It’s a story that questions who carries the blame for others’ actions and beautifully depicts how a child sees his parents completely differently than those around them.
“Butirub” is the first story by Samit Basu that I’ve read, but it won’t be the last! This is a delightful tale of a writer working in Bollywood. As their career progresses, they gain access to more well-known directors and producers. Until one day they are invited to a meeting they have waited their entire career for.
Our final piece of original fiction this issue is a brutal tale by Scott Edelman called “Learning to Accept What’s to Come.” Scott takes us to the end of the world. Humanity has fallen and the robots that served—and possibly destroyed—them, are coming to the end of their lifespans. Desperate to find a way to keep its only friend functional, [email protected] is scouring the planet for the parts needed to restore them. The tale that unfolds is heartbreaking and disturbing, and absolutely wonderful.
Our classic fiction this month is “The Satellite Charmer” by Mame Bougouma Diene. The epic tale spans the lifetime of a man in Senegal from his childhood, into his adulthood, and ending with his final demise. Mame Bougouma paints a rich world in which corporations care little for the people and the places they are mining.
Our nonfiction pieces this month are by Jason Sanford and Joy Sanchez-Taylor. Associate editor Marissa van Uden interviews Renan Bernardo and Margaret Dunlap about their stories. Bradley Powers chats with cover artist Andrew McIntosh.
I truly hope that you all have a wonderful rest of 2022. We’ll see you in January.