Review of Silvia Moreno-Garcia, “Cemetery Man”, Apex Magazine 103: Read Online. Reviewed by Joanna Z. Weston.
“Cemetery Man” is my favorite kind of story; it’s exciting and fun, but has ample depth in both the plot and the characters. The historical setting (Mexican Revolution, circa 1910, I think?) and presence of female fighters are icing on the cake.
Catalina lies bleeding on the battlefield. When she wakes up she is in the lair of the Cemetery Man, a known resurrectionist for the opposing side. She’s fought many of his creations, but for now, she figures she is just lucky to be alive. The story proceeds with brief, disjointed scenes – moments of lucidity and pain, each ending with morphine. As Catalina’s strength increases, so does the length and coherence of the scenes, and what flows from there is a nicely paced story, rich in both internal and external development.
“Cemetery Man” pairs genuine creepiness with serious questions. Are the resurrected really alive? Conscious? Human? Catalina never asks this question directly, but the narrative asks it obliquely through situation and action. There are no easy answers, yet I found the ending satisfying.