November-Class 627A by 2016 cover artist Vincent Sammy
'Ten Confessions of Blue Mercury Addicts, by Anna Spencer' by Alexander Marsh Freed
illustrated by Jim Burns
A woman with tousled cherry-red hair and a barbed wire neck tattoo faces the camera as I take a snapshot. She waves at me in a big, broad arc, then laughs and drops her hand to the bench.
“I want to be the first American woman to cross the Atlantic on foot,” she says, smiling through crooked teeth dotted with bleach spots.
This is Julie. We’re talking after her third race of the season, outside a bar where her friends, fans, and eighty-six-year-old grandmother are celebrating. Today I’ve seen her beat three competitors to cross central Texas and back in the space of ninety real-time minutes. She hasn’t slept, hasn’t eaten and while she’s changed her clothes, I can still smell her body odor. There’s a chemical undertone to her sweat, like the scent of glass cleaner.
When she talks about her ambitions, I believe her.
'Spine' by Christopher Fowler
illustrated by Richard Wagner
Cody Astin had studied Marine Bio at CalTech partly because he identified with the character of Doc in John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, but something went wrong after that. He failed to get the position he wanted because the institute where he had been promised a job lost its funding. Instead he joined a unit monitoring changes in ocean temperature, an outsource owned by a chemical company south of San Diego. Around that time, a determined attack by anti-global warming lobbyists pushed the unit out of business, and when Cody tried to go it alone he was refused access to the coves beyond the oil derricks they owned. Eventually he lost faith and holed up in a shack performing his own experiments, and by doing so he subconsciously followed the pattern of his fictional counterpart.
'Not Recommended For Guests Of A Philosophically Uncertain Disposition' by Michelle Ann King
Damita managed The Fracture’s visitor centre and gift shop, while Jem took the guided tours. There was also a cafe, which always had fresh coffee and an inventive selection of hot sandwiches, although Damita had never met anyone who worked in the kitchens.
“They’re all very industrious, just highly introverted,” Jem said. “You should go and get one of today’s specials – Cajun pheasant and fried pickles on a toasted sesame seed bagel. Marvellous.”
“Sounds a little rich for breakfast,” Damita said. “Maybe later.”
'Motherboard' by Jeffrey Thomas
illustrated by Martin Hanford
Leep was playing a computer game when his two-year-old sister Fhu Fhu was killed.
The game was based on the adventures of Cholukan, the Holy Monkey, specifically focusing on his adventures in Hell rescuing the beautiful virgin who had become his obsession. But Cholukan could return to the mortal plane at various points in the gameplay, transported with the magical help of the Gold-Scaled Dragon, and visit the pretty little hamlet where the virgin Bhi Tu lived and from whence she had been kidnapped by demons.
'Lotto' by Rich Larson
illustrated by Richard Wagner
The hulking colony ship lumbered up into gray sky, first ugly and shuddering and then, as its engines burned ice blue and shed gravity all at once, turning into something ethereal. Beautiful, if you’d never seen it before.
William had seen it before. But, judging by the way the dark-haired girl was plastered up to the wire fence, fingers hooked in the holes, she hadn’t. William watched her head turn. Soft black tendrils falling into soft black eyes, a dermal glinting just off the corner of her lips. Modelesque bone structure. Perfect ass. Even better, as she spoke to her friend, similarly dark-haired, cafe-skinned, but pudgy and nervous, it was in French.
'Andromeda of the Skies' by E. Catherine Tobler
illustrated by Richard Wagner
Water enfolds me.
The lake closes over my head like a cloak, soft and dark, and the void whispers breathe through it, the sound of a thousand insect wings across my ears, down my back. I shouldn’t be able to breathe at all, but I take long slow breaths as I plummet through the absolute dark. I should be cold – I broke through ice – but in the dark there is an absence of everything and within this absence, an unexpected calm. I can only fall, there is no other choice.
Black Static 51 Out Now:
Black Static is published at the same time as Interzone. Issue 51 contains new novelettes and stories by Mark Morris, Stephen Graham Jones, Gary McMahon, Caren Gussoff, Stephen Hargadon, and Norman Prentiss, plus all the usual columns, reviews, and interviews. To take out a discounted subscription to both magazines please visit this website's shop.
Shattering Illusions in SFF
Juliet E. McKenna
Let’s talk about illusions and perspective. In particular, optical illusions. Specifically, those pictures which are quite clearly one thing, right up until someone shows you that it can be something else. The Science Fiction Foundation logo is an example. The most famous is a glamorous woman with her head turned away – until you see it’s an old crone. And once you’ve seen that crone, you cannot unsee her. But the glamorous woman doesn’t vanish. She’s still there as well. You can see her any time you want.
The Hospitality of Bafflement
Lisa L. Hannett’s long-form debut Lament for the Afterlife recalls Nina Allan’s The Race in so far as it is neither a conventional novel nor a conventional short story collection: Unlike a short story collection, the individual sections make a lot less sense when removed from the context provided by the rest of the book. Unlike a novel, there is no unifying plot and the sense of continuity provided by character and setting is tenuous to say the least.
Setting Off For The Mountains
One of the first television ‘events’ of 2016 was the broadcasting of Andrew Davies’s serial adaptation of Lev Tolstoy’s monumental epic War and Peace. Davies is only the most recent in a long line of scriptwriters to grapple with this behemoth, but his take on it was always going to arouse comment and perhaps controversy. Pride and Prejudice is one thing, but Tolstoy? For reasons of scale and cost alone the project seemed noteworthy. The BBC War and Peace also sparked a round of discussion, both online and off, about who had read the novel (and how long it had taken them), whether you had to have read the novel to know what the hell was going on in the TV series and, somewhat more interestingly, whether so-called classics like War and Peace still comprise a valuable and necessary part of a reader’s experience. Or a writer’s, come to that. Much noise was made.
News and obituaries
Jo Lindsay Walton, Duncan Lunan, Shaun Green, Ian Hunter, Jim Steel, Juliet E. McKenna, Maureen Kincaid Speller, Barbara Melville
Books reviewed include Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente, The Guns of Ivrea by Clifford Beal, Sockpuppet by Matthew Blakstad, The Thing Itself by Adam Roberts, Afro SF Volume 2 edited by Ivor W. Hartmann, Down Station by Simon Morden, Maresi by Maria Turschaninoff, All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders, The Stars Seem So Far Away by Margrét Helgadóttir
Cinema releases reviewed include Deadpool, Lazer Team, One and Two, The 5th Wave, Goosebumps, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Capture the Flag, The Survivaslist, The Mermaid
DVDs and Blu-rays reviewed include Air, Lost Girl Season Five, A Touch of Zen, Falling Skies Season Five, Pan, The Scopia Effect, Frankenstein, Last Stop, The Last Witch Hunter, The City of Lost Children, Game of Thrones Season Five, Doomwatch, From Other Worlds, Alienate, The Visit: An Alien Encounter
How To Buy Interzone:
Interzone is available in good shops in the UK and many other countries around the world, including the USA where it is stocked by Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and others. If your local store (in any country) doesn't stock the magazine they should be able to order it for you so please don't hesitate to ask them. You can also buy the magazine from a variety of online retailers, or a version for e-readers from places like Weightless Books, Amazon, Apple, Smashwords, etc.
The best thing though is to follow any of the Shop/Buy Now/Subscribe links on this page and take out a subscription direct with us. You'll receive issues much cheaper and much quicker, and the magazine will receive a much higher percentage of the revenue.
Please Help Spread the Word:
If you enjoy Interzone please blog about it, review it, or simply recommend it to your friends. Thank you!
Interzone 264 is out in May and contains a devastating new novelette by Tyler Keevil called 'Starlings', illustrated by Richard Wagner. Subscribe now!
Section items by date: