Apex Magazine Short Fiction Podcasts #11-15

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Apex Magazine regularly puts out a podcast that features short science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories. Below are my reviews more of the podcasts. You can find all their podcasts HERE. Podcast #11 was narrated by Windy Bowlsby, Lolly Foy, Tim Wick. Windy also narrated #12,13, and 15. Chikodili Emelumadu narrated #14. Apex Magazine is currently doing a Subscription Drive through April 17, 2017 and they have plenty of interesting bookish things up for grabs – autographed books, postcards, the entire Apex Magazine ever, even knitted hats. Yes. I bought a signed copy of The Buried Life by Carrie Patel and it’s already here! Knitted. Podcasts 1-5 are reviewed over HERE. Podcasts 6-10 are reviewed over HERE.

Podcast #11: Not Smart, Not Clever by E. Saxey

This was a clever little piece, being about 30 minutes long. Four university students spend a lot of time and effort on faking their essays instead of writing them. There’s some neat cyberpunkish tech too. The main character, Lynn, tells most of the story. Barb freaks out often, scared she’ll get caught. Zack, Lynn’s nerdy boyfriend, is a nice addition to the mix. A few sound effects were mixed in though I wasn’t sure about this particular one – was it to indicate chatting over a phone or was there suppose to be rain in the background? The mixed narration (3 narrators) was smoothly done. I felt they were all in the same room during the recording.

Podcast # 12: Soul of Soup Bones by Crystal Lynn Hilbert

Wow! Just simply wow! This was a fascinating and elegantly written short story about necromancers. It made me hungry. Yep. That’s right. I wanted to be cooking right alongside the two main characters. I love how the story wound me up just as Adrienne was winding herself up. She’s so frustrated that she cant find the key to the spell. She put a lot of effort into finding the bones of that necromancer and still no answers were forthcoming. At least until later in the story. But I will leave that for you to discover. The narration was very good on this production. I think the narrator also enjoyed the tale. ~20 minutes long.

Podcast #13: The Food in the Basement by Laura Davy

This is a deliciously creepy story about a vampire and the human he feeds on. I love the way the vampire is described in this story. Kaden is something otherworldly when he’s feeding. It was a good ending too. I’m all for the chinchilla having a good home. The narration was excellent. ~16 minutes long.

Podcast #14: Juniper and Gentian by Erik Amundsen

This was a complex bit of science fiction. I liked it but I think I would have appreciated it more if I had eyeball read it, or perhaps I should listen to it twice to catch all the nuances. Gentian (Gen) is a spaceship, I think, and is sentient to a point; or, rather, she is sentient in a way that we can barely comprehend. Anyways, there’s lots of beautiful prose and imagery in this little tale. The narration was also good even though I don’t think English was the first language of the narrator. Her voice lent an foreignness to Gentian which definitely added to the story. ~18 minutes long.

Podcast #15: Economies of Force by Seth Dickinson

~37 minutes long. It’s an interesting piece. In a world where everyone’s tendencies, words, and mannerisms are monitored by a much removed automated system, there are those that strive to break out of the normal mode and be individuals. However, this often results in catastrophe for those individuals and small groups. Even so, there are a few brave souls that document the drone raids and the random executions. This is a food for thought story. The narration was also quite good for this tale.

Naamah’s Kiss by Jacqueline Carey

Narrator: Anne Flosnik

Publisher:  Tantor Audio (2009)

Length:  26 hours 57 minutes

Series: Book 1 Naamah Trilogy

Author’s Page

Note: This is the first book in the third trilogy set in the Kushiel’s Legacy series. However, this last trilogy is set a few generations later and stands on it’s own so don’t be afraid to start here if this book intrigues you.

The Bear Witches of Alba are all but extinct but for those few that remain, they do possess small magics and the Great Bear does look out for her own. Moirin grows up in a cave in the depths of a forest and from these humble beginnings she will be tasked by her divine Bear to fulfill a destiny that lies over seas. First she travels to Terre D’Ange to find her D’Angeline relatives, including her father. A D’Angeline lord and healer is intrigued by her small gifts and she’s soon wrapped up in a semi-secret demon summoning circle. She also meets a Chi’in Master and his student/body guard Bao. Perhaps her destiny lies even further than she could imagine.

I read this for the second time as part of a group read and there were weekly discussions which hold plenty of detail on what I think of the book. Once again, I was wrapped up in Carey’s world building. I fell in love with the D’Angelines when I read Kushiel’s Dart so many years ago. I recall my first time reading this book and how it didn’t wow me as much as the first 6 books. However, knowing this round that this is Moirin’s tale, I gave it a better chance. Indeed, I did like this book quite a bit more the second time through. I think with the first read through, I was constantly looking for reflections of the characters I had come to know and love from the first 2 trilogies. Now with the second reading I was focused on Moirin.

I loved Moirin’s small magics. She’s inherited a few from her D’Angeline side as well as her Alban side. Each individual one is rather small, but as we see Moirin grow from a child to a young lady to a woman, she learns to use her powers to great effect. Carey does a most excellent job of showing the reader this growth as the story unfolds.

Moirin is of the Maghuin Dhonn, the Bear Witch people, which we learned a little about in earlier books in the series. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the Maghuin Dhonn directly through Moirin. While much of Maghuin Dhonn live in near isolation, they are still a connected people and will come together in larger groups for certain occasions, such as Moirin’s coming of age ceremony. Moirin has to work hard to be acknowledged by the Bear Witch herself, but that acknowledgement comes at a steep price, one that I think we won’t fully understand until the end of this trilogy.

As usual with this series, there are several lovely sex scenes. Carey doesn’t skimp but she also doesn’t toss in throwaway love scenes. These interactions always reveal something more about the characters involved. I found this especially true in the later part of the book where there is a princess and a dragon. I won’t say anything further as I don’t want to be spoilery. Just know that it’s worthy.

I do have one quibble for this book. At the end, there is some drama and death and I did feel there was some deus ex machina involved. It involves the ultimate bad guy and why he wasn’t properly trussed up. Even with this one small criticism, I did enjoy how the ending leaves our heroes in a complicated place, setting us up for the next adventure.

The Narration: Anne Flosnik is a joy to listen to. She does such an excellent job with the multitude of accents needed for this book. She’s also great with a voice for Moirin that ages as she comes of age throughout the story. Her male voices are quite believable.

What I Liked: The cover art; great narration; Moirin in her own right; the quest to find one’s heritage; the desire to fulfill the Great Bear’s wishes; Bao as the main love interest; the dragon; from humble beginnings to world traveler!

What I Disliked: There was a bit of deus ex machina at the end.

What Others Think:

Eyrie

Book Smugglers

Dear Author

Fantasy Book Critic

A. V. Club

Fantasy Cafe

Strange Horizons

The Bibliosanctum

Books Without Any Pictures