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Interzone # 226 - Jan-Feb 2010

01/02/2010. Contributed by Gareth D Jones

Buy Interzone in the USA - or Buy Interzone in the UK

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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.

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Issue #226 of 'Interzone' presents the opportunity to vote for the favourite stories of last year. As if to remind you, three of last year's well-known contributors are back for this issue. It's another varied collection of Science Fiction and fantastical tales.

'Into The Depths Of Illuminated Seas' by Jason Sanford tells the story of a young woman whose skin bears the names of sailors doomed to perish at sea. The reason for this is not as important as the struggle she has against fear and prejudice in the small fishing town where she lives. Jason Sanford creates a rich background of an historical setting woven together with superstition and the unexplained to make an intriguing story.

After London is destroyed by a nuclear blast, the 'Hibakusha' are the only inhabitants left in Tyler Keevil's grim but moving story of the same name. One survivor joins a group of volunteers returning to clean up the city, determined to find his love's remains. It's a convincing description of the post-apocalyptic landscape and the scars both physical and emotional that are left behind.

The setting is the moon Triton for 'In The Harsh Glow Of Its Incandescent Beauty' by Mercurio D Rivera. Travelling across the solar system, a researcher attempts to track down his kidnapped wife in this realistically-rendered image of human colonisation. The alien Wergens provide an intriguing backdrop and some light relief along the way, balancing the story nicely between drama and humour.

Jay Lake's 'Human Error' is another picture of the gritty reality of the future of solar civilisation. A small group of asteroid miners battle against isolation, corruption and stress as well as the physical dangers of their environment. As with the best 'hard SF' stories, the realistic setting is merely a backdrop for the unfolding drama.

'Again And Again And Again' by Rachel Swirsky is unusual in that it's told from an omnipotent viewpoint. The shortness of the story means that it works well, briefly telling the story of changing fashions and attitudes through generations of one family. There are some neat little ideas strung together to make an enjoyable short.

We travel to the planet 'Aquestria' in Stephen Gaskell's far-future tale of colonisation. Man takes mistrust, sectarianism and violence with him even to this new world where environmental catastrophe fails to bring peace. The interaction between the characters adds to the unfolding drama and leads to an absorbing tale.

There is the usual selection of reviews and columns to go with the fiction, adding up to an enjoyable issue as usual. I'm looking forward to seeing what shot fiction this year brings.

Gareth D. Jones

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