|The Book of Apex: Volume Four of Apex Magazine
Lynne M. Thomas, Editor
Apex Book Company (October 3013)
I received an electronic copy of The Book of Apex: Volume Four of Apex Magazine through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program in exchange for an honest review. Gotta say I was pleased.
The Book of Apex: Volume Four contains 33 speculative short stories previously published by Apex Magazine 2011-2013.* Science fiction, fantasy, horror, etc.: it’s an excellent blend of genres, topics, moods, and writing styles. Each story has something to make it worth reading.
Seriously. When I read anthologies for review, I rate every story and then take the average for my final rating (which is why this ended up being a strange 4.14/5–don’t blame me, blame the math!). So many 5-star ratings in this collection. The stories with the worst ratings are still decently written with aspects that stand out. Marie Brennan‘s “Waiting for Beauty,” for example: a bizarre twist on the beauty & the beast fable which didn’t do a lot for me, but the description of the beast scrambling the lark’s eggs is a beautiful thing. Richard Bowes‘ “A Member of the Wedding of Heaven and Hell” is another tale that didn’t rate that highly for me, but I loved the Fool of God anyway.
My favorite stories in this collection are many. Top of the list has to be Eugie Foster‘s “Trixie and the Pandas of Dread.” Yes, friends. This story lives up to that title. It’s hilarious and smart, and OMG, the pandas! I also loved Catherynne Valente‘s “The Bread We Eat In Dreams” (love the gingerbread and cakes), Elizabeth Bear‘s “The Leavings of the Wolf” (even better on a second read), Cat Rambo‘s “So Glad We Had This Time Together” (great twist at the end), the fable of the raven in Mari Ness‘ “Copper, Iron, Blood and Love,” Thoraiya Dyer‘s gorgeous writing in “The Second Card of the Major Arcana,” and “Always the Same, Till it is Not” by Cecil Castellucci (cool take on zombies). So many other good ones, though.
If you’re looking for a contemporary speculative short story collection, you would do worse than to give The Book of Apex: Volume Four of Apex Magazine a try. Thanks to Apex and LibraryThing for giving me the opportunity to share it with you.
*FYI: all of these stories are also available on Apex Magazine‘s website for free. Read a couple, but then why not support a good publisher with a subscription or an anthology purchase, eh?