When I got an email from Andrea at Little Red Reviewer saying that she was organizing a blog tour for The Book of Apex, I readily agreed because it was on my list of books to purchase and it sounded like all the awesome.
Luckily, the publisher was willing to share a copy with me and I read it like the obsessed reader I can be. Except for when I got down to the last few stories, in which I drug my reading feet. Seriously, getting to the end was a joy but also sad because all the stories, which are so amazing, different, macabre, scary, creepy, and excellent were over. But the good news is that I now get to talk about them.
First, I’m going to share the full list of stories because there are some amazing writers in this anthology and all deserve a mention.
Table of Contents:
The Bread We Eat in Dreams by Catherynne M. Valente
The Leavings of the Wolf by Elizabeth Bear
The 24 Hour Brother by Christopher Barzak
Faithful City by Michael Pevzner
So Glad We Had This Time Together by Cat Rambo
Sweetheart Showdown by Sarah Dalton
Bear in Contradicting Landscape by David J. Schwartz
My Body, Her Canvas by A.C. Wise
A Member of the Wedding of Heaven and Hell by Richard Bowes
Copper, Iron, Blood and Love by Mari Ness
The Second Card of the Major Arcana by Thoraiya Dyer
Love is a Parasite Meme by Lavie Tidhar
Decomposition by Rachel Swirsky
Tomorrow’s Dictator by Rahul Kanakia
Winter Scheming by Brit Mandelo
In the Dark by Ian Nichols
The Silk Merchant by Ken Liu
Ironheart by Alec Austin
Coyote Gets His Own Back by Sarah Monette
Waiting for Beauty by Marie Brennan
Murdered Sleep by Kat Howard
Armless Maidens of the American West by Genevieve Valentine
Sexagesimal by Katharine E.K. Duckett
During the Pause by Adam-Troy Castro
Weaving Dreams by Mary Robinette Kowal
Always the Same. Till it is Not by Cecil Castellucci
Sprig by Alex Bledsoe
Splinter by Shira Lipkin
Erzulie Dantor by Tim Susman
Labyrinth by Mari Ness
Blood from Stone by Alethea Kontis
Trixie and the Pandas of Dread by Eugie Foster
The Performance Artist by Lettie Prell
I want to talk about every single story here because they were all that good but in terms of space, here are a few of my favorites.
The 24 Hour Brother by Christopher Barzak — This story will bring out all the feels. It traces the 24 hour life of boy as seen through the eyes of his older brother, who is only a child himself. The baby, then unruly teenager, and then old man, is so sad and absolutely amazing at the same time.
My Body, Her Canvas by A.C. Wise — A man gives his body, and his soul, to a woman he loves — an artist who doesn’t even see him as a person, only a canvas for her art. She calls on him when she needs to expel personal demons, and he answers her call each time.
The Silk Merchant by Ken Liu — A Young man wants to know the secret of the finest silk in all the world. He finds his answer, right next to his broken heart.
Always the Same. Till it is Not by Cecil Castellucci — A zombie story, but a zombie story where the zombies are, well, more than just zombies. They evolve.
During the Pause by Adam-Troy Castro — Your planet is about the be destroyed and we have a message for you. We are here to tell just how horrible your last few minutes of life will be. Aliens, please stay away.
Trixie and the Pandas of Dread by Eugie Foster — Trixie, a godmobile, and farting pandas. I laughed so hard at this one. A vengeful god, a self-doubting god, a god with farting pandas.
The Performance Artist by Lettie Prell — This is the last story in the anthology and it’s simply one of the most amazing. It’s also terrifying. A performance artist puts herself on display, downloads herself into a machine, and becomes the installation.
If you missed it, I posted a few thoughts from author Cecil Castellucci earlier this month. Take a look.
Final thoughts: buy this one.
The Book of Apex: Volume 4
Edited by Lynne M. Thomas
An Apex Publications Book