A fantastic review of Abyss & Apex 1Q 2020

from the February SFrevu http://www.sfrevu.com/php/Review-id.php?id=18921

Abyss & Apex Issue 73: 1st Quarter 2020
Edited by Wendy S. Delmater
Review by Sam Tomaino
Abyss & Apex eMagazine  
Date: 25 January 2020

Links: Abyss & Apex / Patreon / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

Abyss & Apex #73 is here with stories by Derek Nason, B. Pladek, Andi C. Buchanan, Mike Adamson, and Mary E. Lowd, and a flash fiction by Nemma Wollenfang, poems, and small press reviews.

The newest issue of online magazine Abyss & Apex is #73 and it’s fantastic!

The fiction begins with “A Planet With a Lake” by Derek Nason. -+- When a spaceship looking for intelligent life crashes on a planet, all that survives is an octopus named Rapha and her siblings. With the help of the ship’s AI, she survives and evolves. She lives millions of that planet’s years and her family thrives. When ape-descended humans investigate, things do not go well. But Rapha’s children thrive. An interesting look at another form of life, Great story!

The second story is “The Valley of the Speaking Flames” by B. Pladek. -+- Rena is an exographer convinced the creatures called sparks that emerge from a planets magma have some intelligence. She studies the myth they tell their young. When her baby dies, she goes further in her studies. Another fascinating, poignant tale with a great ending.

The third story is “Where a Good Town Will Take Us” by Andi C. Buchanan. -+- Our narrator livs in a town that regularly moves itself at night. It starts deconstructing itself, they get out of bed and walk to the new location, chosen by the town. It might be a few meters. I might be miles. The last move is very different. Truly great new idea and just perfectly executed.

The fourth story is “Scans” by Mike Adamson. -+- One summer, Professor Murtry and his class of graduate students at the University of Edinburgh travel to the shores of Lake Assynt in southern Scotland to use laser scanning to make a 3D image of Ardvreck Castle by the shores of the loch. The castle was in ruins, “blasted to fragments by a lightning strike in 1795” and is rumoured to be haunted. When they start the scans, an anomaly appears, a humanoid form. When they print the largest copy they can, something surprising appears. Another great, really imaginative story for this issue. Truly amazing.

The fifth story is “My Magic, My Spell” by Mary E. Lowd. -+- Our narrator is looking back to when she and two others were learning magic under Mage Dawlins. She is accusing one of the other students of stealing a spell from her. We get the story and it is a great one.

The flash fiction story is “Lot No. #024: Intergalactic Death Ray” by Nemma Wollenfang. -+- On auction is: “a gen-u-ine Death Ray, folks. Titanium outer casing, Super Tungsten core shielding. Beautiful piece of artillery, simply beautiful. Exquisite! Commissioned by the Zarr of Ka’ar in circa 5559D, during the War of the Nine. Designed and supplied by the Voi Tertiary. Very reputable makers indeed. Trademark on the underside. This fine little piece of equipment destroyed an entire exoplanet, wiping out all 17 billion inhabitants. I know! Hard to believe, isn’t it? Considering the size. Note its portability.” We see the auction and its consequences. Hilarious! Perfect!

Their 73rd issue of Abyss and Apex is exceptional! No other magazine publishes such a truly imaginative magazine as this one. Check it out at their website (link a the top of this review). They fund themselves through Patreon Funding (link at top of this review).

Exact words matter

Actual conversation between hubby and myself regarding a place with epic bad customer service that we will no longer do business with.

Me: “We can’t call them rectums, because they need something to put their heads up. How about we call them… Moebius rectums?” As we all know, a Moebius strip is two dimensions twisted into one dimension, and it goes on infinitely. It has no front or back.

Brian responded with a grin, “No, they’re Klein rectums.”

Right. I had to laugh. Like a Klein bottle: three dimensions twisted into two. And although a Klein bottle looks like it is supposed to be a bottle capable of holding something it can’t hold anything; it has no inside or outside. Much better metaphor.

I love it that I married such a geek.

After two weeks of intensive revisions

The Sands of Mime is finally the novel I envisioned, back before I knew how to write the book that was in my head. Years of wanting to write but barely having the time to take care of crushing familial responsibilities got in the way. Abandonment, single parenthood plus working while going to college, single parenthood plus taking care of my elderly mother while my sister in the house was not well, mandatory overtime that led to 80-hr work weeks, crushing illness – I never lost the dream. I plugged away at it even though occasionally cruel, sneering writers called me a hobbyist…not a real writer.

Yes, I’ve editing Abyss & Apex most of this time, and yes, I’ve written non-fiction books but the idea was to get them off my hard drive and out of my way to write THIS. I cannot tell you how happy this novel being finished makes me.

your Friday moment of Zen

Every Friday I have a humor feature: your Friday moment of Zen. Here is this week’s: Writer fuel. Coffee stars in this Friday’s moment of Zen.


This applies to me even though I am now stupidly stuck on decaf. Doctor’s orders!

Spring planting

It seems the last frost of the winter in my region has passed.

Where I live, in subtropical South Carolina, the daffodils have been up for a week or two, and the cherry & apple blossoms has started blooming. Migratory robins came through last week. So when I looked at the 10 day forecast and discovered that there would be nothing but mild temperatures and spring rains I decided to start my gardening for the year.

Today I weeded one of the raised beds and planted two kinds of lettuce, beet greens, kale, and green onions. Due to the mild winter I had some “volunteer” carrots from the old seed that I had tried to use up last year, so I transplanted them into neat rows. There is still room for tomatoes, basil and nasturtiums which I will put in later today. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried nasturtiums, but not only do they keep insects off of your tomatoes and grow synergistically with them, but their leaves as well as their flowers are edible. The leaves have a peppery taste and add a nice zing to salads.


Next weekend I will have my husband Roto till the other raised bed so that I can plant parsley, fennel, cilantro, and three different kinds of peppers. In the back of those — an area I can’t reach very well to weed – I will be planting sunchokes. Sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes, will crowd out anything else that wants to grow back there to not only provide tall, beautiful multi-stem sunflowers but edible rhizomes if we feel like trying them. But the main reason the sunchokes are going in is that I’ve learned that the secret to gardening in this area is to find something sufficiently invasive that it will basically tell the rest of the weeds to go to hell.

It’s good to get back into gardening again. This is how I, as someone with a very sedentary job — writing and editing — get my fresh air, sunshine, and exercise.

Upgrading Dragon?

After a year of using Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home 13I’m seriously considering getting the newer version: Version 15. Being able to dictate what I write is increased my writing speed tenfold, as well as making me a much faster editor. And it makes my correspondence go much more quickly, especially when I’m reading slush for Abyss & Apex. It has been a real game-changer for me.

The new software is about $250, and I’ll save that much now that I no longer need to use the paid version of HootSuite. I will let you all know how it goes!