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Interzone # 234 - May-June 2011

01/11/2011. Contributed by Tomas L. Martin

Buy Interzone # 234 May-June 2011 in the USA - or Buy Interzone # 234 May-June 2011 in the UK

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bi-monthly 66 page magazine: UK publisher/editor address: Andy Cox, TTA Press, 5 Martins Lane, Witcham, Ely, Cambridgeshire CB6 2LB. Price: GBP 3.95 (UK) $ 7.00(US). ISSN: 0264-3596).

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‘Sleepers’ by Jon Ingold kicks off issue 234 of ‘Interzone’. It’s a slightly dense story of the oldest man in the world being visited by a curious younger man, amidst the intrigue of a planetary expedition gone quiet. I found this hard to read and despite multiple readings couldn’t quite get what it was trying to say.

Lavie Tidhar returns to ‘Interzone’ with ‘In The Season Of The Mango Rains’, a short and wonderfully written piece with flowing language and a nice fulfilling ending. A couple in future Laos come together in a whirl of passion and then are moved apart again in a moving and thoughtful manner. I thought this one worked rather well for the length of the piece. The heavy use of stylistic language and metaphor would grate in a longer piece, but here it works rather well.

Suzanne Palmer brings us ‘The Ceiling Is Sky’, in which Phill, an engineer, is plucked from a dystopian hive of tiny homes and restricted birthrights to work on an exciting new project which turns out to be less than ethically sound and compels Phill to make a choice between his new-found economic freedom and his moral conscience. This is a well-written, story-driven novelette that uses its character’s dilemma well.

Having won or tied the best story of the year poll three times in the past few years and with an entire issue devoted to him last year, Jason Sanford is rapidly making ‘Interzone’ his own personal domain. With good reason, mind you, for his short fiction work is rarely less than excellent. His story in issue 234 is the mind-bogglingly named ‘Her Scientifiction, Far Future, Medieval Fantasy’, a fairly long story set in an AI led alternate reality where people go to live out their Arthurian legend fantasies. It’s a whirlwind of a story that bashes together every trope of speculative fiction into a big chaotic adventure and it is tremendous fun to go along for the ride.

Recent Nebula winner Will McIntosh finishes up the fiction in this issue with ‘Incompatible’. This is an insidiously creepy story that could easily have found itself in ‘Interzone’s dark horror sister magazine, ‘Black Static’. Leia is a young girl plagued by what appears to be a mental illness, where thick black dots haunt her vision and thoughts if she doesn’t go to her ‘power places’. The story plays with the idea of mental illness nicely, although I felt the ending was perhaps a little convenient.

As well as the stories, we have the usual raft of interesting reviews, including DVDs by Tony Lee and recent cinema releases by Nick Lowe, featuring reviews of ‘Thor’ and ‘Source Code’, amongst others. There’s also a good selection of book reviews with an interview with ‘Son Of Heaven’ author David Wingrove, who has returned to his classic Chinese far future to re-write the series into a stunning twenty book sequence instead of the previous eight.

I thought this was another fine issue of ‘Interzone’. I’d pass on the ‘Ingold’ story, but the contributions from Palmer, Tidhar, Sanford and McIntosh are well worth the entry price.

Tomas L. Martin

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