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Interzone 233 - Mar-Apr 2011

1/07/2011. Contributed by Tomas L. Martin

Buy Interzone 233 in the USA - or Buy Interzone 233 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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The 233rd issue of ‘Interzone’ begins with Nina Allen’s novella ‘The Silver Wind’. Steeped in the architecture and geography of South East London, this is a tale of time, realities and the age old subject matter of trying to return to a dead loved one. Martin is a widower in another Earth, a racist world of enforced deportations and soldiers on the streets, when he hears of Owen Andrews, a dwarf who designs clocks that supposedly bridge the space-time between realities. Despite Andrews being a political non-person, Martin is intrigued by the rumour and spends time with the dwarf, leading to a series of strange events at the army hospital at Shooter’s Hill. This lengthy story is told at a satisfying pace with a lovely literary style and is a rewarding read.

‘Tell Me Everything’ by Chris Butler, the second story in this issue, is my favourite story here. This rich, compelling fantasy short story is set in a world where people exude spores and pheromones that betray their feelings. When a man visits the Summer Duke who doesn’t release any spores, the Duke orders Detective Mack to investigate him, as the Duke cannot bear having someone not produce the correct pheromones of deference in his presence. For a relatively short piece, this story packs a great nuanced twist into Mack’s character and the ending is satisfyingly visceral.

Ray Cluley’s ‘Tethered To The Cold And Dying’ is a space based story of paranoia reminiscent of the recent film ‘Moon’. Jackson lives and works on a station on a dangerous moon, together with the unhinged woman he calls mother, who isn’t his mother. When a man, Connor, appears in their sector for the first time in a long time, Jackson helps him, but soon learns to regret it. When Connor steals their food, Jackson is forced to retrace the man’s steps to find medicine, but instead finds the man that Connor left behind. There’s some nice dialogue in this one and the atmosphere is great, but I didn’t really connect with the characters.

Tim Lees has the last of the four stories in this issue, the wacky Manhattan road trip ‘Crosstown Traffic’. The main character is a young errand boy who is paid to take an alien wriggling thing in a jar across New York for dodgy businessman Reuben. The boy takes the bus uptown, but finds his path disrupted by a series of ever more bizarre creatures, up to the appearance of dinosaurs in Harlem. This is a story that relies on packing as much weirdness into familiar locations as possible and although there were a few amusing moments and the overall plot is nicely structured, I never really bought into it.

As well as the fiction, this issue of ‘Interzone’ has a great interview with Paolo Bacigalupi, author of ‘The Windup Girl’ and one of the best new writers of recent times, as well as a series of solid book reviews and huge volumes of DVD and film reviews by Tony Lee and Nick Lowe. I felt like I would have preferred an extra short story at the expense of one of the review columns which rather dominate the latter part of the magazine, but the first two stories in particular made this issue a rewarding read.

Tomas L. Martin

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