The latest issue of Apex Magazine is a special issue exclusively dedicated to “Asian and Pacific Islander voices from the homelands and the diaspora.” The fiction is generally high quality and the perspectives are unique and wonderful.
The issue opens with “Loving Bone Girl” by Tehnuka. In it, a young girl who can create new places out of nothing asks her friend to keep her bones when she dies. It is a touching story of two girls finding and defining their affection for each other. (My rating: 3/5)
“Your Wings a Bridge Across the Stars” by Michelle Denham is a myth about magpies and crows making a bridge one day a year so lovers can meet on it and cry, starting the monsoon season. Another touching story but nothing out of the ordinary for me. (My rating: 3/5)
A woman scorned by her Indian village returns as a representative of an alien race in “The Flowering of Peace” by Murtaza Mohsin. She takes the opportunity to get her revenge. (My rating: 3/5)
Here the stories start to get better. “Liwani” by Sydney Paige Guerrero is the story of gods who are slowly dying out because there are fewer and fewer people believing in them. The goddess of light makes her way into the world to seek out more believers to stay alive. A wonderful story that connects the past to the present. (My rating: 4/5)
“The Matriarchs” by Lois Mei-en Kwa is a tale that twists through time. One woman attempts to send a message through time while another in a different time attempts to invent the tool that will allow her to receive it. A tale of dedication and illumination. (My rating: 4/5)
The best story of the issue is “The Toll of the Snake” by Grace P. Fong. It takes place in Hollywood during the heyday of the studio system. A Chinese woman seeks to make it big, but others with prejudice have different plans for her. I really felt immersed in the era and the struggles of the main character. A fantastic melding of myth and history. (My rating: 5/5)
One story had an extremely unique proposition. What if someone cloned themselves as a weapon but the clone had no choice in this? “Rhizomatic Diplomacy” by Vajra Chandrasekera gives me the feeling that I think they were going for regarding personal autonomy and agency, but it didn’t quite land for me. (My rating: 2/5)
The last entry is a creepy tale of a girl seeking assistance from an enchanted one-eyed koi. She gets what she seeks but at a steep price in “The Fish Bowl” by Zen Cho. The author connected me to this girl’s desperation and desire. (My rating: 4/5)
I loved seeing speculative fiction from a viewpoint wholly different from my own in this issue. With a story rating average of 3.5, this is time well-spent.