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Interzone

Science Fiction & Fantasy INTERZONE ISSUE 273 OUT NOW!

Interzone 221 (March/April)

1st Mar, 2009

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Item image: Interzone 221

Item image: A Clown Escapes From Circus Town

Item image: Black Swan

Item image: Bruce Sterling

Cover art is by Adam Tredowski

 

Editorial:

Radical Postures and a Real Change by Andrew Hedgecock

There’s more to great stories than entertainment and aesthetics: they foster greater understanding of ourselves and the world we inhabit, and they challenge the way we think.

I discovered anarchism at the same time I dipped my toes in the turbid waters of sf&f. I encountered Christie and Meltzer’s The Floodgates of Anarchy while I was reading Spinrad’s novel of media manipulation Bug Jack Barron, Sladek’s satire of corporate servitude ‘Masterson and the Clerks’ and Moorcock’s ironic and anti-authoritarian Jerry Cornelius books. 

It was an epiphany. The fiction clarified the anarchists’ assault on the deadening repression of our society. And the anarchist polemic reinforced an enjoyment of sf&f – a literature that took me beyond the life I led, the places I inhabited and the assumptions that limited my own possibilities.

I hope others are making a similarly serendipitous, frightening and enjoyable voyage of discovery – wherever it takes them – but believe it’s less likely to happen today. This isn’t nostalgia for a ‘golden age’ of radical sf&f, but an appalled realisation that artistic dissent has been absorbed and commodified by the cultural mainstream: genuinely mutinous work is increasingly rare. 

The clamour of sanitised and bogus outlaws – pre-packaged by the music business – and the hypocritical campaigns of tax-minimising, self-indulgent rock icons drown out the voices of original and passionate musicians. 

The soi-disant ‘Young British Artists’ claim they explore the morality of art and money, but grab top dollar for their lucrative mock provocations. Their anaemic repetitions of the Dadaist experiments of 1916 aren’t merely banal and senseless in a contemporary context – they make it harder for genuinely challenging work to find an audience. 

It’s the same in film, TV, theatre and literature: the cultural landscape has never looked shallower or more derivative. But if, as Jung asserted, the psyche creates reality every day, the genuinely resonant and original stories we receive at Interzone constitute a shield against this barrage of mass media crap. Independent publishing must survive the current crisis: any hope our culture can escape its corrupting obsessions with money and celebrity lies in writers like ours, and readers like ours.

 

Stories:

A Clown Escapes From Circus Town by Will McIntosh
illustrated by Warwick Fraser-Coombe

Beaners tied the pillowcase to the end of a fiberglass rod he’d cut from his cot, then slid the rod down the neck of his crepe-collared shirt and into the waistband of his patched, baggy pants, careful not to scrape his ass with the splintered end. The pillowcase held a change of clothes and some clown chow. 

Fishermen by Al Robertson
illustrated by Geoffrey Grisso

They came at dawn. The sun had flared on the horizon and made the still sea beaten gold. I was drawing Christ on the Maria’s foredeck, mindful of the Lord as I looked out on the water. 

Saving Diego by Matthew Kressel
illustrated by David Gentry

had traveled twelve thousand, seven hundred and sixty light-years to see my friend, but the hardest part of the trip was the last seventy one flights of stairs. Goddamn the Nefanesh and their ass-backwards ways! I struggled to catch my breath as I moved down a dim hallway covered with dust. Oil lamps flickered from high places, and the doors sported knobs and hinges, like some virt park for kiddies, a rehash of a dead era. But, no, the Nefanesh preferred their realtime antique, the fucks. Why Diego had come all the way out here, to this world at the edge of the galaxy where the planet-munching numens roam, I could only guess. I hadn’t seen my friend in six years. 

Far and Deep by Alaya Dawn Johnson
illustrated by Lisa Konrad

Her mother had never cried, but always closed her eyes when she laughed. Only in death did Pineki seem to weep, her cheeks wet from the ocean. Her eyes joyously closed. The killer had left Pineki belly-down in the sand. A mottled crab scuttled from the cavity in the back of her head, imperfectly obscured by clumps of dark, bloody hair. Its tiny claw held a gobbet of red flesh. 

Home Again by Paul M. Berger

Julia was the first one to realize Father’s ship had jumped home. She had been reaching to help herself to a piece of fruit just as it happened – one moment she was extending her arm to snatch a nice heavy pear from the basket in the kitchen, and the next her hand closed around a bunch of plum-grapes. Without that little schism between intent and sensation, she wouldn’t have noticed at all, no more than anyone else. The basket was a silver latticework made to look as if it had been woven of living rushes. Father had brought it back from the other end of his trade route, which was a world called Arkilla where they had three moons and the people were marvelously clever with their hands. He loved that basket. He also loved plum-grapes. There were no pears in it now.

Black Swan by Bruce Sterling
illustrated by Paul Drummond

The ethical journalist protects a confidential source. So I protected ‘Massimo Montaldo’, although I knew that wasn’t his name. 

 

Features:

Ansible Link by David Langford
news, obituaries

Book Zone by Jim Steel and the team
book reviews including The Caryatids by Bruce Sterling (review and interview by Ian Sales), Escape From Hell by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle + Escape From Hell! by Hal Duncan (reviewed by Paul Cockburn), The Best of Gene Wolfe (reviewed by Paul Kincaid), The Mystery of Grace by Charles de Lint (reviewed by Lawrence Osbourn), One Second After by William Forschen (reviewed by John Howard), Seeds of Earth by Michael Cobley (reviewed by Peter Loftus), Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts (reviewed by Kevin Stone), Journey Into Space by Toby Litt (reviewed by Paul Kincaid), UFO in Her Eyes by Xiaolu Guo (reviewed by Rick Kleffel), 1942 by James Conroy (reviewed by Jim Steel)

Laser Fodder by Tony Lee
DVD/Blu-ray reviews including The Fall, Monkey Magic, Futurama, Repo! The Genetic Opera, Famous Monster: Forrest J Ackerman, Eagle Eye, Daphne in the Brilliant Blue, The Cloning of Joanna May, The Midnight Meat Train, Dinotopia

Mutant Popcorn by Nick Lowe
film reviews including The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Twilight, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Dean Spanley, Bedtime Stories, The Secret of Moonacre, Inkheart, The Tale of Despereaux, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, The Spirit

 

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