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Interzone 225

1/01/2010. Contributed by Gareth D Jones

Buy Interzone # 225 - Dec 2009 in the USA - or Buy Interzone # 225 - Dec 2009 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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Adam Tredowski's run of cover art comes to an end with issue #225 of 'Interzone'. Once again he portrays a scene of fabulous technology imbued with an aura of mystic grandeur. It's a picture of intricate detail and complexity that bears lengthy scrutiny. Inside the glossy covers, the fiction continues to live up to the high standard set in recent issues, with such perennial favourites as Jason Sanford and Lavie Tidhar making welcome appearances.

In Jason Sanford's opener 'Here We Are, Falling Through Shadows', a group of firemen brave the night to go about their duties while the general population cower indoors. Unexplained rifts have opened and Rippers - dark, evil, immaterial creatures - reach through to pull the unwary through to a fate worse than death. It's a chilling story of the unknown and its affect on one fireman and his family in particular. The emotional rollercoaster that he goes through is well described and effective.

Magnificent sailing ships plough through the clouds 'By Starlight' in Rebecca J Payne's wonderful tale that's like a futuristic version of Victorian SF or maybe like 'Waterworld' in the air. The society of sky-dwelling sailors has been thoughtfully created and the pair of young lovers living with the consequences of their elopement make an interesting focus for this pleasant tale.

In 'The Killing Streets', Colin Harvey portrays a future Britain of bio-weapons, all-pervasive surveillance and rampant education. An out-of-work man lives a life not dissimilar to today in terms of his daily worries, but with the added concern of artificially bred beasts that burst from the paving slabs to consume unwary passers-by. In this, the story is not dissimilar to Jason Sanford's, but the tone and the denouement makes it quite different though equally effective.

Lavie Tidhar provides the most entertaining story with 'Funny Pages'. It's a super-hero story set in Israel where values and attitudes are different to the standard American city where super-heroes usually dwell. This gives the tale an interesting angle, away from the expected angst-ridden characters or the black and white distinctions that help us know who to cheer for. I loved all of the characters and the anecdotes of their daily lives that add up to a fabulous plot.

The magazine's final story is 'Bone Island', in which Shannon Page & Jay Lake describe the mystical and mysterious happenings on a seemingly-backwards island. The description of the bleak island is an excellent counter-point to the unusual goings-on as ancient powers make themselves felt. There's good characterisation and a sense of pathos that give the tale a subtle power.

That's it for Interzone for 2009. There has been a good selection of stories this year, ever-improving internal artwork and fabulous cover illustrations. David Langford's 'Ansible Link' is always entertaining, too. Altogether a well-rounded magazine with a consistently high standard of fiction.

Gareth D. Jones

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