- “On the Day You Spend Forever with Your Dog” by Adam R. Shannon
- “Girls Who Do Not Drown” by A.C. Buchanan
- “Captain Midrise” by Jim Marino
All three stories in this issue of Apex are short (4/3/5K) and might as well be called fantasy. The metaphorical intent of the time travel motif in “Dog” overwhelms any scientific or even fantastic effect it might have. A man adopts a dog who’s been hit by a car but, three years later, has to put it to sleep, so keeps cycling through those years until something is revealed to us and something else comes clear to him. As with many cyclical stories, too little is done with too many cycles, straining the reader’s patience. (In other words, this did not hit me like Where the Red Fern Grows or J. T.) “Girls” uses a faintly pompous tone to tell us about Alice, who “looks every bit the boy she isn’t” and her inversion of a fairy tale (ironically, from the Isle of Man) involving a glashtyn (sea-creature which drowns girls). This wish-fulfillment lacks grit and drama.
A New York City reporter introduces us to “Captain Midrise.” Part of what the tale illustrates is how the miraculous becomes commonplace and how some people really do ask, “What have you done for me lately?” Whether due to age or some psychological blockage or some other problem, The Golden Crusader can only sort of slowly tack along at a sixth-floor level these days, though he still does his best to rescue people from burning 22nd floors and so on. A problem with this tale is that it doesn’t have much plot for its 5K length or has too much wordage for its plot. With a story like this, it’s more the latter, though all the incidents are interesting. The mixed reactions of people (from continued love to contempt) are portrayed well, the semi-superhero is striking, and the skewed view and tone make it notable.