Your Own Undoing • 2021 • Fantasy short story by P. H. Lee

★★★+☆☆

Apex magazine had to pause for quite a while due to serious health issues of the editor. But a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2020 funded a whole year, and issue 121 just arrived today. This is the second story from it after Alix E. Harrow’s Mr Death.

Synopsis: A mage’s familiar is very anxious about its owner, trying to awake him from a fatal daydreaming. He was cursed by one of his students who managed to learn mind control. 

After some interactions over the course of several days, the mage seems to be more receptive and slowly come to his mind. But he’s far from defeating the student.

Review: The story is unconventional with a the familiar as the narrator’s perspective addressing the mage in second person. This narrative style isn’t used too often, but I’ve mostly found it interesting and engaging, bringing up a riddle: Does the author speak to the reader or do two protagonists just talk very intimately. 

In this case it is both, and the author found a great solution in a story twist which was well built-up; I don’t want to explain this too detailed as it would take away the fun.

I just loved the cute familiar coming up in different forms. It’s not often that the creation and bonding of a familiar to its mage is explained.

The plot is free of action, and narrated in a calm, nearly soothing voice. I only missed a regular showdown, but then the story would have been something else.

Recommended for Fantasy readers who don’t need sword swinging or magic wielding. 

Meta: Published in Apex 121.

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2 Responses to Your Own Undoing • 2021 • Fantasy short story by P. H. Lee

  1. I tend to really enjoy Lee’s short stories so I was glad to see one of their stories in this new issue of Apex (I’m so happy this magazine is back!!).
    I’m still trying to catch-up on my older issues of the magazine before reading this issue but I’m very excited for it. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andreas says:

      That would be 120 issues catch-up for me 🤣
      I‘m so glad that there are some Best Of anthologies, like the one from Tor.com (Worlds seen in Passing). I never managed to read the current issues of the top four magazines and just like someone to filter the better stories to annuals. RIP Dozois.

      Like

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