Review: The Book of Apex Volume 4 edited by Lynne M. Thomas

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Title: The Book of Apex: Volume 4 of Apex Magazine

Author: Various, edited by Lynne M. Thomas

Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from the publisher as part of the Book of Apex blog tour. 

It can be tough to keep up with short story magazines. There are a ton  of venues publishing great fiction out there, and it is impossible to read everything. That is why I love anthologies, and why I was so excited to take part in the Book of Apex blog tour.

Confession time: before this compilation of Apex, comprising the issues published under Lynne M. Thomas from November 2011 to January 2013, I had never read Apex magazine. It’s been on my radar for years, but I just never got around to it.

The Book of Apex Volume 4 showed me exactly what I was missing. There are 33 stories here, and they are designed to appeal to almost any interest. There is science fiction, there is fantasy, there is horror. Dystopias, fairy tales, zombies, aliens, war stories. The thirty three authors here are some of the best names in speculative fiction there are. And while not every story appealed to me (that would be impossible in a magazine with such diversity of voices), they were all incredibly well crafted.

Favorites will be different for everyone, and I’m not sure it matters much what my favorites were. If you read speculative fiction, you will find more then one story to love in this book. But one particular standout for me was “Armless Maidens of the American West” by Genevieve Valentine, the only story I went into the collection knowing (I believe I read it on I have had a borderline obsession with handless/armless maiden stories for a decade now, and this is one of the best I’ve read.

There are too many stories I enjoyed in The Book of Apex Volume 4 to call them all out, though. You’ll just have to check it out yourself, and then, if you are like me, scamper off and get that subscription you’ve been avoiding for too long.

Next week, I’ll be featuring a post and interview with David J. Schwartz, author of the clever and moving “Bear in Contradicting Landscape.” Get ready to welcome him to the blog.

And thanks once more to the organizers of this tour for letting me join in!



Filed under Book Review, Book Talk

2 responses to “Review: The Book of Apex Volume 4 edited by Lynne M. Thomas

  1. Are there so many armless maiden stories out there as to warrant a borderline obsession?
    Looking forward to that interview. Schwartz’s story was one of my favorites.

    • hlmorris85

      More than you would think, really. It’s actually got it’s own Aarne-Thompson type. Although perhaps I should have clarified that I’m interested in it a lot academically. I like to explore the different cultural variations. It’s a folktale I see as very adaptable to modern feminist storytelling, even if the “handlessness” is not literal, because it’s all about taking away female power and agency in the face of the perceived threat of female sexuality.

      …and, that all sounds terribly pretentious. Whoops. Anyway, I think it’s a trope that a lot can be done with and that it’s more interesting than the usual fairy tales that get retold to death.

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