Your mission… Operation Fourth Story

My review today is for Apex Magazine and is part of Operation Fourth Story (details can be found over at the Little Red Reviewer).  Firstly, I will mention that I don’t tend to read a lot of short stories and in fact hardly ever read magazines – I don’t know whether I should feel ashamed of myself or not!  You tell me.  Anyway, I was given the opportunity to read the Book of Apex Vol 4 recently and I must say that some of the stories in there were pretty amazing – in fact I still have thoughts revolving around my bonce about some of them.  It made me realise that I’m definitely missing some incredibly good stories.  So, today I’m looking at Issue No.57 of Apex.  I confess I couldn’t resist this issue due to the cover.  I’m a sucker for good artwork and I love this one – I want to know about the girl in the picture.  Somebody write her story please.

Moving to the content.

The magazine starts with an introduction by the editor in chief which gives a brief outline of what to expect.  With this particular edition the stories and content revolve around post apocalyptic type stories focusing on the theme of family.  I particularly enjoyed the first two stories – Antumbra by Lucy A Snyder and Maria and the Pilgrim by Rich Larson.  As pointed out in the introduction both of these stories are about sisters, both very different, both quite startling (and where Antumbra is concerned – shocking) and both of them made me want more.  And that’s the main rub for me and short stories – when I find one I like, well, I just want more.  I’m a bit greedy like that.  Come on though – if you read these two stories you’ll want to know what happens next – in fact you’ll pretty much want to know what happened first.

However, the main eye opener for me reading issue No.57 was reading the article written by Wen Spencer entitled ‘So How Does it End’.  I never actually read non fiction.  Not really, well, apart from newspapers and instructions on how to assemble pieces of furniture!  And, I really enjoyed this.  I don’t know whether it’s because a lot of the examples written about felt very pertinent to me in that they seemed to be about things I’ve recently read about or feel strongly over but this article felt like it was actually written for me – like personally written to me!  This article dissects the human fascination with the end of the world. I recently read The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris which is a retelling from a different aspect of Norse mythology leading to Ragnarok – and the end of the world – mentioned here!  I also read The Song of Achilles about the downfall of Troy by Madeline Miller –  this piece talks about the original story the Iliad.  It moves on to Richard Matheson’s I am Legend – a book that I just can’t say enough good things about and most of my thoughts are written so much more eloquently in this piece than I could ever hope to achieve.  Really, Wen Spencer, it’s like you’ve been inside my brain!  Actually that’s a bit creepy – and actually it could make the beginnings of a story that would be perfect for Apex!

Anyway, this is definitely a unique review for me as I’ve never written anything about a magazine before and I confess I didn’t really know how to start or, for that matter, exactly what I would say.   I enjoyed this.  It was an eye opener.  It made me think that I shouldn’t make judgements about things without trying them and it made me think I could probably introduce a bit more non fiction into my reading which believe me I didn’t expect (I generally take my reading with a liberal dose of fantasy).  I think this is probably the real beauty of a magazine.  Maybe one of the stories won’t be for you or maybe the essay won’t capture your imagination – but there’s a choice and one of them might just surprise you like it did me!

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5 Responses to “Your mission… Operation Fourth Story”

  1. Delia (Postcards from Asia)

    That’s some gorgeous artwork. The white beast is beautiful.
    It does seem like humanity is fascinated with the end of the world stories, there have been so many movies/books lately on the subject. Maybe it’s our future we see.

    • lynnsbooks

      It’s funny because I was thinking about the books I’ve read recently and this author has definitely got a point Most of my books are about apocalypse!! I sincerely hope we’re not seeing our future 😀
      The artwork is lovely isn’t it – the only problem with me is I want a story to go with it.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Review of Apex Magazine, issue 58 March 2014 | the Little Red Reviewer

    […] Lynn’s Book Blog reviews issue 57 (Feb 2014) […]

  3. Andrea J

    I just read my first Lucy Snyder short story collection, so I’m interested in reading more short stories by her. Seems like we are all wow’d by our experiences with the non-fiction, we all start out thinking “um, okay?” and getting into the articles and really liking them. I ready hardly any non-fiction anymore other than the news or a lifestyle magazine. what a revelation, that I can read some non-fiction and yet I am still reading SF/F!

    • lynnsbooks

      I think that was a major revelation for me. I never read non fiction really. I enjoyed that piece and I really liked the way the magazine was themed so that all the stories and articles followed a central idea.
      Lynn 😀

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