If you’re a regular SFF reader, Apex needs no introduction – they publish an amazing award-winner magazine in which every writer would kill to appear and that’s a delight to read. But even if you’re not, chances are that you have already come across their anthology series of international speculative fiction, which represents under many aspects a benchmark in the field, for the variety and the latitude of the stories included.
Here I am going to share my thoughts about their latest volume (number 4), edited by Mahvesh Murad.
First things to notice is a reassuring consistency with previous volumes – that richesse and variety of content I have mentioned. In Murad’s selection you find all possible brands of speculative fiction you can dream of, including authors and countries statistically less present in today’s SFF world – like, say, Italy, Spain, Nigeria – and others that are more niche, like Japan.
Second, the quality of the stories and the authors, known and less known, is what you can expect from Apex, and, again, this is something you appreciate in an anthology, where often a choice is made to feature only famous contributors and fill the rest with stories at uneven level. Not the case here – have a look by yourself:
- Kuzhali Manickavel — Six Thing We Found During The Autopsy
- Yukimi Ogawa — In Her Head, In Her Eyes
- Rocío Rincón Fernández — The Lady of the Soler Colony (Translated from the Spanish by James and Marian Womack.)
- Chinelo Onwualu — The Gift of Touch
- Deepak Unnikrishnan — Sarama
- Elana Gomel — The Farm
- Saad Z. Hossain — Djinns Live by the Sea
- Haralambi Markov — The Language of Knives
- Nene Ormes — The Good Matter (Translated from the Swedish by Lisa J Isaksson and Nene Ormes.)
- Samuel Marolla — Black Tea (Translated from the Italian by Andrew Tanzi.)
- Prathibha Nadeeshani Dissanayake — Jinki & the Paradox
- Sese Yane — The Corpse
- Dilman Dila — How My Father a Became God
- Isabel Yap — A Cup of Salt Tears
- Swabir Silayi — Colour Me Grey
- Sabrina Huang — Setting Up Home (Translated from the Chinese by Jeremy Tiang.)
- Vajra Chandrasekera — Pockets Full of Stones
- Zen Cho — The Four Generations of Chang E
- Tang Fei — Pepe (Translated from the Chinese by John Chu.)
- Julie Novakova — The Symphony of Ice and Dust
- JY Yang — Tiger Baby
- Natalia Theodoridou — The Eleven Holy Numbers of the Mechanical Soul
- Thomas Olde Heuvelt — The Boy Who Cast No Shadow (Translated from the Dutch by Laura Vroomen.)
- Shimon Adaf — Like A Coin Entrusted in Faith (Translated from Hebrew by the Author.)
- Usman T. Malik — The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family
- Johann Thorsson — First, Bite Just a Finger
- Bernardo Fernández — The Last Hours of The Final Days (Translated from the Spanish by the author.)
- Celeste Rita Baker — Single Entry
As anything in life, there are things you like more than others -and in my case, like people that follow this blog know, I’m generally more drawn to SF and Horror than pure Fantasy (even though I do like a historical brand of fantasy / alternate history / slipstream). Here I found plenty to suit my tastes – including authors I follow (and I appreciate) since a while, like Isabelle Yap, JY Yang, and of course Yukimi Ogawa. Others have been a pleasant discovery, like Bernardo Fernandez, Shimon Adaf and Zen Cho, while I’m rather annoyed not to have found out about Samuel Marolla before (I should have known better, given I’m also Italian).
For a more detailed analysis of The Apex Book of World SF – 4, see blog entries (1, 2) by Andrea Johnson (the Little Red Reviewer). Andrea also posted an interview with Murad. Finally, if you want to know more about how Apex became what is today and about his founder, Jason Sizemore, I recommend you his book, For Exposure, about which I’ll write a review at some later moment. Not only it’s informative, it’s entertaining to read (as far as I know, Jason has not written a novel yet. After For Exposure, I’ll probably preorder whatever he decides to go for).
The Apex Book of World SF – 4 Vol, ed. by Mahvesh Murad, Apex Book, 2015. Where I got it: from the publisher, in exchange for a honest review (thank you!)