Thursday, December 29, 2022

Sizemore and Connor, Apex Magazine 2021

Jason Sizemore and Lesley Connor (eds.), Apex Magazine 2021: The Companion Anthology. Apex Book Company, 2022. Pp. 544. ISBN 978-1-955765-06-0. $27.95 pb/$8.99 e.

Reviewed by Christina De La Rocha

Apex Magazine 2021: The Companion Anthology serves up 48 stories originally published in Apex Magazine in issues 121–128, representing the year the publication bounced back from a brief hiatus. Buying a copy, in either paperback or digital form, is a great way to support an award-winning speculative fiction magazine whose issues are otherwise free to read at the magazine’s website. On the upside, the stories are of generally high quality and come from authors from a variety of places around the world. One entire issue included in the anthology was devoted to Indigenous authors telling speculative fiction stories with Indigenous protagonists—a definite breath of fresh air. But, reader, I warn you, at 544 pages (or 626 if you include front and back matter), the anthology is a long slog through darkness. It's definitely not an anthology built for binge-reading.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Rosen, Cascade (2022)

Rachel A. Rosen, Cascade: The Sleep of Reason Book 1. Bumblepuppy Press, 2022. Pp. 410. ISBN 978-1-7770944-5-4. $19.95.

Reviewed by Don Riggs

Rachel Rosen’s Cascade is the first book of a trilogy, The Sleep of Reason, alluding to Goya’s etching of the same title, in which a young man is sleeping on his desk and swarms of bats, owls, and other denizens of the dark flock towards him—or is it from his dreaming brain? The titular Cascade refers to the major cataclysmic shift that has occurred an indefinite period before the novel’s start, resulting in weird occurrences, like cracks appearing in the surface of the earth, people being transformed into demons, the sprouting of “shriekgrass” to replace edible crops, and the general appearance of magic. As one major character, a wizard, puts it, the question is not what can we do to preserve our way of life, but what does magic want?

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Strange Horizons (November 2022)

Strange Horizons, ed. Gautam Bhatia (et al.). November 2022 (four issues). Free online at

Reviewed by Storm Blakley

Strange Horizons’ November issues have a lot to say, and in them, I saw a reflection of much happening in the world today, from the climate crisis to the digital world, monsters and magic and far-away planets. Stories and poems about communities standing together, of breaking free of what chains us, of creating a better world for those to come (including ourselves); these issues really resonated with me.