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Interzone # 236 Sept-Oct 2011

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

Buy Interzone # 236 – Sept-Oct 2011 in the USA - or Buy Interzone # 236 – Sept-Oct 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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The first story of ‘Interzone # 236’ is ‘A Time for Raven’ by Stephen Kotowych. An interesting piece about a native American Indian at the end of his life, setting out on a dangerous kayak journey to find out what happened to the tree surgeon who in protest did a terrible crime to a sacred tree. The writing is clean and concise and the story is doled out at a nice tempo. A good way to start the issue.

Also in issue 236, ‘Interzone’ stalwart Jason Sanford is back with ‘The Ever-Dreaming Verdict Of Plagues’, a follow up to the excellent ‘Plague Birds’, which appeared in issue 228. In that story, Crista was cursed with the presence of an AI into her blood and the ability and mission given to her to travel from village to village of an Earth blighted by genetic mutation, killing those who the AI judges has committed crimes. In this story, Crista and the AI, Red Day, have reached a village of animal-headed people, where a pure human child was murdered. Although it first appears that they have the culprit, things aren’t as clear cut when AIs are involved. As ever with Sanford, the world is deep and intricately built and the plot is full of excitement and emotional tension. I look forward to seeing where he takes this series of stories next.

Fiona Moore’s ‘The Metaphor’ slowly reveals the fate of its protagonist, who is lost in a dying world that once was a vast on-line game to increase worker productivity. I really liked the writing in this and the story’s premise is a great one.

‘The Fall Of The City Of Silver’ by Jon Ingold is a fantasy story set in the time of ancient Greece, where a young girl’s brother and then father go missing from a city where much of the ancient world’s silver is mined. In her quest to find what happened to her family, she finds out a terrible truth about the origin of the city’s riches. Ingold captures the classic style of prose well and the story is mysterious but still able to provide a satisfying payoff. Recommended.

Mercurio D. Rivera finishes this issue with ‘Tethered’, another in the author’s series of Wergen stories, which also featured in issue 235. The Wergen are an alien creature that is enslaved against their will by the biological addiction to human pheromones so that they love to please humans, even against their better judgement. On the shores of Saturn’s moon Titan, a young girl befriends a young female Wergen and we are shown the peculiar way that the Wergen mate. Rivera has created a compelling series of stories and ‘Tethered’ is a potent new addition that fleshes it out further. I feel one of the Wergen stories could be a contender come awards time.

The book review section contains an interesting interview with Lavie Tidhar, author of ‘Osama’, a meta-novel about Osama Bin Laden that may or may not be alternative reality fiction. In Nick Lowe’s cinema reviews, he covers the new version of ‘Conan The Barbarian’, ‘Arriety’ and ‘Super 8’ among others, whilst Tony Lee’s DVD review column looks at a lot of television box set releases including ‘The Twilight Zone’ and ‘Stargate: Universe’.

I think this is a very strong issue, with the Sanford, Ingold and Rivera stories all being worthy of consideration come the time that the Best SF Of The Year collections are being selected. The recurrent series stories currently tend to be of the higher quality in ‘Interzone’ at the moment and as this issue contains several of these, happily it is a great read.

Tomas L. Martin

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