Interzone 230 (Sep-Oct) Out Now
This is the fifth panel of six connected images by Warwick Fraser-Coombe which at the end of the year will complete a new, much larger image called 'Playground (Hide and Seek)'.
Love and War by Tim Lees
illustrated by Richard Wagner
Part One: Arrangements • “Your papers,” he says, and the room shrinks down around me. “It seems there’s a…discrepancy.” He perches on the desk-edge. His nose juts and his head bobs up and down. He’s like some big, unpleasant, scruffy bird – a vulture or a marabou stork, perhaps. He licks his lips. “I’ve got a friend,” he says at last. “A…well, acquaintance.” His hands are knotted in his lap. “It may be I could talk to him? On your behalf ? If we could come to some sort of…arrangement, say? Between ourselves?” He glances at the door. “Arrangement, yes? You understand?" And then, in case I haven’t got it yet, he reaches out and palps my left breast like a bath-sponge. And so it is, during the second year of war, I start my life with Derek Measdon: research consultant, Party member, one-time lecturer and full-time creep. I giggle, nervously. He scares me half to death.
Age of Miracles, Age of Wonders by Aliette de Bodard
illustrated by Darren Winter
The God • The weals on Coztic’s back have begun to heal by the time they reach Axahuacan. The marks of the chains on his ankles and wrists – the deep burn lines rimmed with red, puffed skin, encrusted with scabs – haven’t. At night, when the moon rises over the desert, its light as pale as the faces of corpses, he shifts in the copper cage and feels pain lance through his limbs, as familiar and as welcome as an old enemy. The hierarch walks ahead of the cage and its guards, the metal of its face turned straight ahead. If it thinks of anything – if metal and cogs and wheels can have thoughts – it doesn’t say. Even when wielding the salted knives, or the barbed whip, or the branding irons, it’s never displayed any emotion. Perhaps what they say is true, and it is nothing more than an extension of the god-machine, a hunk of copper shaped in mockery of flesh and bone, just as mankind was once shaped of maize and blood.
The Insurance Agent by Lavie Tidhar
illustrated by Richard Wagner
The bar was packed and everyone was watching the Nixon-Reagan match. The fighters were reflected off the bar’s grainy wood countertop and the tables’ gleaming surfaces and seemed to melt as they flickered down the legs of the scattered chairs. The bar was called the Godhead, which had a lot to do with why I was there. It was a bit of an unfair fight as Reagan was young, pre-presidency, circa-World War Two, while Nixon was heavy-set, older: people were exchanging odds and betting with the bar’s internal gaming system and the general opinion seemed to be that though Reagan was in better shape Nixon was meaner.
Camelot by Patrick Samphire
illustrated by Ben Baldwin
When she finds me, I’m half-sitting, half-slouched, butt propped against the bonnet of my chunky old Volvo estate, shoulders hunched, flicking away madly at my fifty pence lighter, roll-up hanging from my mouth, boots still unlaced. Dignified, right? But sometimes the need takes you, and it doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
The Upstairs Window by Nina Allan
illustrated by Ben Baldwin
I remember a conversation I had with him once, at the private view for his first major commercial show. “What would you say was the difference between a spy and a secret agent?” “What are you talking about?” I said. “There is no difference, surely?” “Perhaps not,” he said. “But did you ever hear of anyone being shot as a secret agent?” He had this idea that although in theory the words shared a meaning, in practice the term secret agent made you think glamour and heroics whereas spy was a dirty word with connotations of treachery. He reckoned it was a put-up job, that your role was decided for you by whoever got to write the history books.
Ansible Link by David Langford
news and obituaries
Book Zone by Jim Steel and the team
book reviews including Conflicts ed Ian Whates, The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi, The Black Lung Captain by Chris Wooding, The Japanese Devil Fish Girl by Robert Rankin, The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell, Silversands by Gareth Powell, The Stainless Steel Rat Returns by Harry Harrison, Fritz Leiber: Selected Stories eds Jonathan Strahan & Charles N Brown, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu
Laser Fodder by Tony Lee
DVD and Blu-ray reviews including Stargate Universe, After.Life, Hunter Prey, Kick-Ass, Fringe season 2, Delicatessen, Mulholland Drive, Death Note 1 & 2, Mega Piranha, Centurion, Basement, The Last Seven, Beyond the Rave, Cherry Tree Lane, Death Tube, Mega Shark of the Malibu
25 Years of Nick Lowe's Mutant Popcorn film reviews:
- The very first Mutant Popcorn from #13 (Autumn 1985): Brazil, Night of the Comet, Trancers, Ghoulies
- Nick Lowe: In the Future, We'll Have Summer All Year Round by Jonathan McCalmont (including interview with Nick Lowe)
- The latest Mutant Popcorn: Inception, The Last Airbender, Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Predators, Splice, Toy Story 3, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore
- Contributions from Kim Newman, Christopher Fowler, Gary Couzens
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