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Interzone # 235 July-August 2011

01/03/2012. Contributed by Tomas L. Martin

Buy Interzone # 235 – July-August 2011 in the USA - or Buy Interzone # 235 – July-August 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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‘Insha’Allah’ by Matthew Cook is the first story in issue 235 of ‘Interzone’ magazine. It brings us to a future world where Islamic law rules and spaceships battle across the sky. When a human pilot crashes near Shaomi’s village, she must break through taboo and use the medical knowledge she picked up before the Islamic revolution, despite the rules that it is not a woman’s place. This is a powerful story that deals with a contentious modern day moral quandary and does it with grace and style.

Mercurio D. Rivera brings us ‘For Love’s Delirium Haunts The Fractured Mind’, another of the author’s ‘Wergen’ series of stories that have appeared several times in the magazine, about a race of indentured aliens kept as slaves to humans because of their chemical addiction to human pheromones. This story tells of the first twinklings of rebellion amongst the Wergen and, as ever with these stories, the emotion of the conflicted alien creatures is what makes the story compelling.

Jon Wallace’s ‘The Walrus And The Icebreaker’ is an excellent short story, with the kind of compelling and deep world-building that I wish we saw more of in ‘Interzone’. A marine biologist and her trained walrus have joined an expedition on an icebreaker to the North Pole, where the last reserves of oil on a dying Earth are being fought over by the world’s super-powers. In an Arctic conflict of terrible technologies, the walrus is a low-tech stealthy way to deliver bombs to the enemy. Cold and brutal, the premise suits the setting perfectly and the ending is just right.

‘Eleven Minutes’ by Gareth L. Powell is a witty shorter piece about a couple of technicians at NASA controlling a rover on Mars, which begins to see shadows that it shouldn’t. This is a story that would struggle at longer lengths but in this short three-page story tells a satisfying tale with a neat little twist at the end.

‘Of Dawn’, written by Al Robertson, is the longest piece in this issue and feels oddly lacking for such a long piece. It’s a story about a woman who becomes obsessed with an obscure piece of music cut from a documentary, after the death of her brother in Iraq. Whilst the mood and tone of the piece is nicely brooding, the speculative aspect of the story feels very limited and I feel this would have been a better fit for ‘Interzone’s sister publication, ‘Black Static’.

As ever, the issue contains the usual excellent book review section including an interview with Lisa Goldstein and the two film review sections, ‘Laser Fodder’ by Tony Lee and ‘Mutant Popcorn’ by Nick Lowe, which looks at films such as ‘Attack the Block’, ‘X-Men: First Class’ and ‘Never Let Me Go’. There’s also a substantial overview of recent anime releases including the first ‘Eden Of The East’ movie and the re-release of the classic ‘Akira’.

This is a decent issue. I didn’t much care for the Al Robertson piece, both for its tone which felt more like dark fantasy or horror, but also for its lack of drama. The remaining stories however were all very good, particularly ‘The Walrus And The Icebreaker’, which really felt like a new world with a unique perspective.

Tomas L. Martin

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