My Name To You No More by 2016 cover artist Vincent Sammy
Breadcrumbs by Malcolm Devlin
illustrated by Richard Wagner
Ellie is alone in her bedroom on the fifteenth floor. She sits cross-legged on her bed, a brightly illustrated book in her lap that has been passed down from her mother, from her grandmother. Its cover has faded with age, its spine is creased and broken, but the pages are still vivid, their stories preserved. Her hands rest upon the illustration of a beautiful white cat, its head bowed and docile before a prince with a sword.
Starlings by Tyler Keevil
illustrated by Richard Wagner
They cut you out of me. That’s the first thing you should know. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. Everything had been so carefully planned, even preordained. For all of you. The doctors had dictated when you were conceived, and throughout my pregnancy they had been monitoring me obsessively: my calorie and nutrient intake, the amount of exercise I did, my stress and hormone levels. They had determined your size and weight, had calculated when I would go into labour, to within minutes. And they had intended your birth to be safe and natural. There are numerous health benefits to this; for all our technological advances, we still can’t match the human body when it comes to bearing our young. The other starling babies slipped out of their mothers on schedule, just as they’d been designed to do. But not you. Not you. I didn’t understand at the time. I do now. You must have known that it was the beginning of them separating me from you, the start of space being put between us.
Mars, Aphids, and Your Cheating Heart by James Van Pelt
Imagine that time, space and motion are contained in an ocean infinitely long, broad, and deep. And imagine further that you are God, and you know everything about your ocean. No part of it is unknown to you. The tiniest movement is known; the most minuscule detail is obvious. Beginnings and endings are equally known, and they have no difference. There is no cause and effect; there is only detail next to detail next to detail. Narrative, then, is an illusion created by ordering details in relation to each other chronologically, but the stories are illusions because they are already in the ocean. They don’t ‘happen’. They float, complete, unchanging, and within the context of the ocean’s all-encompassing existence.
Lifeboat by Rich Larson
illustrated by Martin Hanford
Synthetics encroaching on Lazy Susan, maybe they can smell her dying sun like blood in the water. Scattershot probes beam sharper images down every day and you see them in any supshop or café you visit: crystalline castles sliding through black space, parts turning like clockwork, all flanges and serrations. A whole fleet of them, though Stork says you can’t call it a fleet, not really, not any more than you’d call a bunch of birds flying together a fleet.
The Tower Princesses by Gwendolyn Kiste
Everybody knows a tower princess.
She might be the daughter of a friend of a friend. Or the girl next door who hides behind drawn blinds. Sometimes, she’s no more than an urban legend, like Bloody Mary, alive only when kids whisper about her late at night after their parents retire to bed.
Tower princesses aren’t as exotic as they sound. They aren’t really royalty. They aren’t really anything. Just girls living in regular neighborhoods with mothers and fathers and a sibling or two. Plain as can be, or at least as plain as every other girl in the world.
As plain as me.
Except for the tower.
Black Static 52 Out Now:
Black Static is published at the same time as Interzone. Issue 52 contains a 17,000-word noveltte by Carole Johnstone called 'Wetwork' (illustrated on the cover and inside by Ben Baldwin, with other art by Joachim Luetke, Warwick Fraser-Coombe, and Dave Senecal), new stories by Damien Angelica Walters, Ralph Robert Moore, Robert Levy, and Michelle Ann King, plus all the usual columns by Stephen Volk, Lynda E. Rucker, Gary Couzens and Peter Tennant, who also interviews Paul Meloy. To take out a discounted subscription to both magazines please visit this website's shop.
Imagine picking up books and never finding in them someone like you. Or if you’re in there, you’re in a subordinate role, a servant or a victim. In issue 261 Maureen Kincaid Speller wrote about diversity and about how important it is to be represented in stories for women, people of colour, queer people. But imagine this: what if the only people you find like you in fiction or fact are monsters? Criminals, serial killers, predators? So disgusting that when people find out about you their reactions range from shock to vomiting? So outrageous that newspaper editors hound you to suicide? This is how transgender people have been represented in popular culture, from Ace Ventura and The Boxtrolls to Silence of the Lambs; how they are still treated in the Daily Mail and in US legislation. This is where kids who are unsure of who they are and what their gender is, find the words to talk about themselves: freak; pervert; rapist. It’s not coincidence that the attempted suicide rate for trans people is over 50%.
Settling, Settled, Settlement
Back in the days when people saw reviewers as conversation-starters rather than an army of unpaid interns under the command of the publishing industry, it was often thought wise to check one’s fire when approaching the work of a first-time novelist. People argued that first-time novelists were still learning to work at novel length and that a drift of overly-harsh reviews would likely damage not only the writer’s confidence but also their chance of getting to write a second (and presumably less error-strewn) novel. While this may have been true ‘back in the day’ it seems like wildly inappropriate advice given that fewer and fewer people listen to reviewers and more and more authors put themselves through high-energy creative writing programmes before they get anywhere near publishing their first novel.
Rising High, or Most Prophets Are Madmen, Too
During the post-Empire of the Sun period of his career and especially in the years following his death, J.G. Ballard’s reputation as ‘the seer of Shepperton’ came to dominate most media coverage of his work. The mainstream literary press especially tended towards a view of his work that rhapsodised enthusiastically over Ballard’s supposed facility with explaining or even predicting the future, whilst neglecting pretty much entirely those aspects of his work – especially his earlier work – that resisted and continue to resist such facile analysis. Stick an image of Spaghetti Junction and a couple of tower blocks at the top of your article and call it ‘Ballardian’ – job done.
News and obituaries
John Howard, Jack Deighton, Jonathan McCalmont, Peter Loftus, Stephen Theaker, Ian Hunter, Maureen Kincaid Speller, Duncan Lunan
Books reviewed include Science Fiction Rebels: The Story of the Science-Fiction Magazines From 1981 to 1990 by Mike Ashley, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu, Central Station by Lavie Tidhar, Dreamsnake by Vonda N. Mc Intyre, The Capred Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture by Glen Weldon, Reality by Other Means by James Morrow, City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett, The Ship by Antonia Honeywell, The Medusa Chronicles by Stephen Baxter & Alastair Reynolds
Cinema releases reviewed include Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, Midnight Special, 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Huntsman: Winter's War, The Divergent Series: Allegiant, Zootropolis, Kung Fu Panda 3, Criminal, Hardcore Henry, Evolution, The Witch, High-Rise
DVDs and Blu-rays reviewed include Haven Season Five Volume Two, The Ninth Configurartion
How To Buy Interzone:
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