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Apex Magazine Issue 105, February 2018

(Apex Magazine #105)

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  154 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Apex Magazine is a monthly science fiction, fantasy, and horror magazine featuring original, mind-bending short fiction from many of the top pros of the field. New issues are released on the first Tuesday of every month.

Words from the Editor-in-Chief—Jason Sizemore

A Witch's Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies — Alix Harrow

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4.36  · 
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 ·  154 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"A Witch's Guide to Escape" is my favorite 2018 Nebula nominated story so far! It's free online here at Apex magazine. Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

Our narrator is both a librarian and a witch (all good librarians are, she claims), and one of her joys is giving library patrons the book they “need most.” So when the black teenager with the red backpack comes into the Maysville Public Library, located somewhere in the deep South, and latches onto a portal fantasy, she breathes
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to carol. by: Miriam
A boy who needs escape meets a librarian. As we all do.

"Because I am a librarian of the second sort, I almost always know what kind of book a person wants. It’s like a very particular smell rising off them which is instantly recognizable as Murder mystery or Political biography or Something kind of trashy but ultimately life-affirming, preferably with lesbians."

I love the mix of humor and sadness here. Harrow also has some lovely worth-smithing.

His caseworker was one of those people who say the
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I REALLY HATE how Goodreads doesn't allow pages for short stories. When I wrote this review, the short story was listed on its own, not as part of some magazine I know nothing about. *sighs* The title of the story I'm reviewing here is A Witch's Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies and it's by Alix Harrow.

As is usual with short stories and/or novellas, I only found out about this when a friend of mine read and reviewed it because it is nominated for an award th
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-shelf, fantasy
Delightful short story!

But then, I'm always a sucker for libraries, librarians, book discussions, and anything that throws the yoke off our necks. :)

Want some Harry Potter? How about some The Count of Monte Cristo? How about we just live there a bit, shall we?

Ah, well, we only have a short story here, but at least the feels are here. :)

Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
***A Witch’s Guide To Escape: A Practical Compendium Of Portal Fantasies by Alix E. Harrow***

Anyone could see that kid needed to run and keep running until he shed his own skin, until he clawed out of the choking darkness and unfurled his wings, precious and prisming in the light of some other world.


A nice little story about the escapism books can provide.

Nominated for this year's Nebula and Hugo Awards for Best Short Story.

The story is told from the perspective of a librarian that also happen
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
"A Witch’s Guide To Escape: A Practical Compendium Of Portal Fantasies" by Alix E. Harrow
Apex 105
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Review for A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies

Wow. Just so good.

His caseworker was one of those people who say the word “escapism” as if it’s a moral failing, a regrettable hobby, a mental-health diagnosis. As if escape is not, in itself, one of the highest order of magics they’ll ever see in their miserable mortal lives, right up there with true love and prophetic dreams and fireflies blinking in synchrony on a June evening.

Read it for free here: https://www.ap
Cathy (cathepsut)
Review for A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies, 4.900 words, ~11 pages, ★★★★★

You’d think it would make us happy when a kid checks out the same book a zillion times in a row, but actually it just keeps us up at night.

Oh, I love that the books have feelings! A smug book, how great is that?

“oh, Tolkien, you have so much to account for“

This was absolutely delightful. I love it! Fabulous! I cried! All the stars!

Can be read for free here: https://www.apex-magazine
3.7 printed stars

Keepers of the worlds, or just justified escapism?

I don’t bother with the people who have call numbers scribbled on their palms and titles rattling around in their skulls like bingo cards. They don’t need me. And you really can’t do anything for the people who only read Award-Winning Literature, who wear elbow patches and equate the popularity of Twilight with the death of the American intellect; their hearts are too closed-up for the new or secret or undiscovered.

Relato corto
Review only for A Witch's Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” by Alix E. Harrow:

Everything I ever want in a (short) story. Well-written, concise, fun, but immersive enough within the space of 7,499 words.
Anyone who likes books/reading/library must read this. Especially those who think that your local librarian is hiding something yet somehow always able to recommend books that suit you 😏
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I wish I had the words to adequately describe how utterly perfect this story is. It reached right down into the deepest corners of my self.
Kerri Duff
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this! 📚
Oleksandr Zholud
Mar 11, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a short story, which was nominated for Nebula in 2019 and can also become a Hugo 2019 Award nominee. It was initially published in Uncanny Magazine.

The genre is maybe modern fantasy. There are two types of librarians: the prudish, bitter ones with lipstick running into the cracks around their lips who believe the books are their personal property and patrons are dangerous delinquents come to steal them; and witches. Our narrator of the second type. When a black poor boy comes to the li
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-freebie
Absolutely. Perfect. 5, library love, stars.
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-fiction
A very fresh voice with a hint of Bradbury and Le Guin.
Miss Susan
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
"I sat at the circulation desk, running returns beneath the blinky red scanner light, and breathed him in. I was expecting something like generic Arthurian retelling or maybe teen romance with sword-fighting, but instead I found a howling, clamoring mess of need.

He smelled of a thousand secret worlds, of rabbit-holes and hidden doorways and platforms nine-and-three-quarters, of Wonderland and Oz and Narnia, of anyplace-but-here. He smelled of yearning.

God save me from the yearners. The insatiabl
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-story, free
"There are Books potent enough to save any mortal soul: books of witchery, augury, alchemy; books with wand-wood in their spines and moon-dust on their pages; books older than stones and wily as dragons. We give people the books they need most, except when we don’t."

An fun, quickly read free short story about a librarian who can tell what patrons want without a word. Although it's against her sisterhood to lend books of real power, when a troubled foster kid comes to the library she can't help
A witchy librarian meets a young boy from a rough background who desperately needs to escape.

I think your enjoyment of this will be dependent on a) whether you've worked in a library before and b) if you have, how you feel about that job. There's a lot of magic in the books feeling in this story and I really liked the idea of books knowing who their readers are or being smug about getting read vs getting dusty on the shelf. But I found myself getting annoyed, as someone who's working in librari
So many great stories in this. I loved how diverse they were. I'm new to reading Apex, but I'll definitely keep reading after this.
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This short story is amazing and about the power of libraries and books
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A charming short story - pure wish fulfillment for both librarians and readers!
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely little short story with magic and books and a couple of library fines.
Nimrod Rapaport
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful story, by a person who loves books and reading, but not necessarily ment only to those who consider themselves avid book readers. I loved the idea of a librarian as the narrator who looks at the different visitors of the library while trying to decide what will be the best book for them.
What a gorgeous story. I loved it for all the hope inherent in the story.
Alexander Pyles
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful little tale about the inherent magic of reading and a fun homage to libraries the source of that magic.

Really enjoyed this one.
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Definitely worth a read.
Anne Cavanagh
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Witches and libraries, what could be better? Excellent short story worth reading.
Pritesh Patil
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An ode to books, libraries and the magic of hope they offer to weary souls and despairing travellers.
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous short story about the power of librarians and the books they lend.
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
“In grad school, they called it “ensuring readers have access to texts/materials that are engaging and emotionally rewarding,” and in my other kind of schooling, they called it ‘divining the unfilled spaces in their souls and filling them with stories and starshine,’ but it comes to the same thing.”

Wanted to like this, but couldn’t get past the self-satisfied hubris of the protagonist. She seems to feel that having a heart makes up for having no brains. At least she has a heart. Expect great wri
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I was born the son of an unemployed coal miner in a tiny Kentucky Appalachian villa named Big Creek (population 400). It’s an isolated area with beautiful rolling hills, thick forests, and country folk. I lived in Big Creek until I went to college, spending my weekends cruising the Winn Dixie parking lot of ladies, partying in my cousin’s run-down three room trailer, and being a member of the bad- ...more

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