SFrevu review of 3Q 2019 A&A

Abyss & Apex Issue 71: 3rd Quarter 2019
Edited by Wendy S. Delmater
Review by Sam Tomaino
Abyss & Apex
Date: 29 July 2019
Links: Abyss & Apex / How to Support / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

Abyss & Apex #71 is here with stories by Calder Hutchinson, Richard Ford Burley, Sean Patrick Hazlett, and Elyse Kallen, flash fiction by F.J. Bergmann and Chris Batchelor, poems, and small press reviews.

The newest issue of online magazine Abyss & Apex is #71 and it’s another good one.

The fiction begins with “One Soul, Parchment Thin” by Calder Hutchinson. -+- Our narrator is a Folder who creates great works of art by folding paper. His greatest achievement is a true portrait of a rich man. But it leads him to abuse his talent and is his undoing. But can he make a final statement? Great little story!

The second story is “A Study in Pink and Gold” by Richard Ford Burley. -+- Two odd kinds of creatures have shown up in the skies of Earth: Drifters (“blimp-sized, tentacled doughnuts…(with) pale, iridescent skins adorned with pink and gold frills … (and) three gargantuan eyes”) and Darters (“smaller… smaller and quick as sparrows… moved in schools like fish … looking more like self-propelled umbrellas … with inflatable bladders and prehensile, whip-like tails”). They aren’t very aggressive. An artist starts drawing and makes a connection with them. He falls in love and marries a scientist studying them. But things take a sad turn and we get a beautiful bittersweet story.

The third story is “The Red Oleander Murders” by Sean Patrick Hazlett. -+- Detective Joseph D’Alessio has been put in charge of a strange, grisly murder. A rich man is found crucified to a tree with the image of a horned man etched into his chest. An autopsy reveals his brain to be abnormal. The case leads to an immense silver knife, the Celtic festival of Samhain, an organization called the Order of the Red Oleander, the detective teaming up with a man named Eli Rosen, a Doctor of Quantum Parapsychology, and other unearthly events. It all makes for a crackling good story. Would like to see more stories with D’Alessio and Rosen.

The fourth story is a novelette, “Homecoming” by Elyse Kallen. -+- Charley (short for Charlotte) can see ghosts but has tried to ignore that. But she is visited by Colleen, the ghost of her great-grandmother, who tells Charley that the ghost of her mother needs help moving on. Charley’s mother was not the best and she did not go to her funeral. What should she do? Beautifully told tale. Just perfect.

The first flash fiction story is “The White Foal” by F.J. Bergmann. -+- Our orphaned narrator lives with her grandmother “in the Camargue, the marshy delta where the Rhône river widens and opens into the Mediterranean sea”. She longs to capture one of the horses there. How is her wish granted? A beautiful, elegant, little, fairy tale.

The second flash fiction story is “1000M Synchronized Diving Finals” by Chris Batchelor. -+- A future tandem water event proves difficult. Sad.

Their 71st issue of Abyss and Apex is just perfect, the best! Check it out at their website (link at the top of this review). They fund themselves through Patreon Funding (see How to Support link at top of this review).