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The Best of Abyss & Apex, Volume One
edited by Wendy S. Delmater
Hadley Rille, 295 pages

The Best of Abyss & Apex, Volume One
Abyss & Apex
Abyss & Apex has set their mission to publish the finest in speculative and imaginative fiction and poetry, with special attention to character-driven stories that examine the depths and heights of emotion and motivation from a broad variety of cultural and social perspectives. They want to publish powerful stories with emotion that resonates long after the first reading. They look for the unique: stories that stand out in a genre that pushes the envelope of unusual.

Abyss & Apex Website

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rich Horton

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It has become trite to mention the increasing importance of online short fiction in the SF world -- but there you are -- it's true! And one of the longer running, and higher quality, online sources of SF is Abyss & Apex. As I write they have just completed 7 years of continuous publication. They have always had a good mix of SF and Fantasy (and a wide range of styles of both), and some very fine poetry as well.

This book is a generous selection of the editor's favorite stories and poems through 2008. I will note upfront that a couple of my favorite stories don't appear here (I might mention Mercurio D. Rivera's "Snatch Me Another," Ralph Sevush's "Emmett, Joey, and the Beelz," and Larry Hammer's poem "Her First Affair."). That's not really a complaint -- it's a good thing to be rich enough to have even more to offer than one book's selection.

Some of my favorites are here, however. For example, Will McIntosh's "New Spectacles," strong speculative SF about glasses with a sort of lie-detector, or emotional state detector, built in. Tony Pi's "Metamorphoses in Amber" is colorful and different, about immortal shape-changing rivals who have duelled (often as thieves) over the centuries."The Man Behind the Curtain" by Joseph Paul Haines is moving and emotionally believable, about a man trying to reconcile with his beloved older sister after their mother's death. "Hour by Hour" by Lindsey Duncan is rather original fantasy in which Priestess of the Hours (with powers involving time) investigate a royal murder -- that hasn't yet happened. Simon Kewin's "Museum Beetles" is a nicely turned parable about people who seem to live in a huge museum, content to catalogue the contents. Manek Mistry's "Stories from the Alien Invasion" mixes a story about a divorced couple adjusting to life apart with the effects of strange aliens come to Earth for inscrutable reasons. "Unicorn's Rest" by Jill Knowles is an enjoyable romantic fantasy. Tim Pratt's "The Sea a Deeper Black" is quite sweet, about a sad man given a chance to buy a god. Gods show up too in Lisa Mantchev's "Interfaith," another story about families and love -- and the Greek gods.

A strong selection of poems is also included. I have tended to quite enjoy Abyss & Apex's poetry over the years, and these are a good sampling of what they feature, sometimes lyrical, sometimes clever. Poems here by Rachel Swirsky, Yoon Ha Lee, and Christopher Vera were among my favorites.

Abyss & Apex is definitely a site worth checking out quarterly. And this book is well worth a look to see what they have done in the past.

Copyright © 2010 Rich Horton

Rich Horton is an eclectic reader in and out of the SF and fantasy genres. He's been reading SF since before the Golden Age (that is, since before he was 13). Born in Naperville, IL, he lives and works (as a Software Engineer for the proverbial Major Aerospace Company) in St. Louis area and is a regular contributor to Tangent. Stop by his website at http://www.sff.net/people/richard.horton.


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