01/09/2009. Contributed by Gareth D. Jones
bi-monthly magazine: UK publisher/editor address: Andy Cox, TTA Press, 5 Martins Lane, Witcham, Ely, Cambridgeshire CB6 2LB. Price: £ 3.75 (UK) $ 7.00(US). ISSN: 0264-3596.
check out website: www.ttapress.com
Following on from the Chris Beckett Special a few issues back, issue # 223 of 'Interzone' focuses on long-serving contributor Dominic Green. He features in the editorial, an interview and bibliography along with three of his stories. I think this is a nice feature, focusing on authors who have become a part of 'Interzone' history and hope to see others featured in the future.
The opening story is Dominic Green's 'Butterfly Bomb', an enjoyable and touching story set in the far future. The setting is common to several of the author's stories, a galaxy where mankind has made use of pre-existing 'terminals' to travel the stars, encountering an advanced race for whom humans make convenient slaves.
On one desolate planet, slavers take away a young girl, leaving her grandfather as the sole inhabitant of the planet. He goes to extraordinary measures to track her down, revealing that she is far more than she seems. The concepts at work are ingenious, particularly the logic battle between the ship's AIs. The background to the story rounds this out to be a wonderful tale.
Dominic Green's second contribution is 'Coat Of Many Colours', in which a psychologist is assigned to test the intelligence of a genetically engineered, dinosaur-derived, food animal. The setting in a desertified Amazonia full of political intrigue and big-business interest makes the tale satisfyingly complex.
Thirdly, we have 'Glister', set against the same background as 'Butterfly Bomb' and offering yet more cleverly thought-out concepts. An entire planet whose ecosystem revolves around a gold cycle instead of a carbon cycle seems exceedingly far-fetched, yet Dominic Green explains the whole process convincingly. Reflections of imperialistic conquests from our own history make the motivations of the characters and the atrocities they commit all too convincing.
In 'The Transmigration Of Aishwarya Desai', Eric Gregory takes to a snow-bound colony world and an academic debate about an alien space-bound behemoth of a species. Maybe it was because I read this one late at night, but I found it difficult to keep track of the flashbacks. I couldn't really see a reason why the story wasn't told in chronological order, but I guess my mild confusion matched the post-jump disorientation and almost-mystical communing that suffused the story. Definitely interesting.
As is often the case, the best is last, this time in the form of Suzanne Palmer's 'Silence And Roses'. The innocence of the robot caretakers reminded me of Ted Chiang's BSFA-winning 'Exhalation'. The despair and desperation that follow in the wake of an unwanted intruder make this a captivating and touching tale.
Yet again I've been entertained and satisfied by this collection of stories. The usual of selection of reviews and interviews make 'Interzone' a nicely-rounded publication, while the illustrations continue to go from strength to strength.
Gareth D. Jones
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