Interzone 231 (Nov-Dec) Out Now
This is the sixth and final of Warwick Fraser-Coombe's 'Playground (Hide and Seek)', the completed version of which you will soon be able to buy as a high quality limited edition (signed and numbered) print direct from the artist (link to his website below). We'll also be posting an online exclusive interview with Warwick, conducted by James Worrad, in the Special Features section. Check back often!
The Shoe Factory by Matthew Cook
illustrated by Ben Baldwin
The smell of oranges. Cat’s tongue rough on his fingertips, licking cream. He blinks – now Emily is smiling up at him through beams of sunshine sparkling with dust. Her black hair spreads across the pillow. • She sighs over the rumble of cars out on the street, the sound of brakes squealing, of angry honking. Oranges fade to the stink of exhaust and damp and rotting concrete. The comforting smell of the shoe factory. The smell of Guangzhou, China in summer. The smell of home. • He blinks again. Now he’s at the river. Ten years old and invincible. Fearless. He jumps out, into space, into the sensation of falling. The rope between his thighs pulls tight. The tire swing sweeps over the water. • He wonders, just for an instant, where the shoe factory has gone, but it’s a fleeting worry. He abandons himself to the moment and laughs, toes carving a wake through the brown surface, before he arcs back up, up, legs thrown forward, toes pointed at the sky. Drops of water prisming; diamonds flying into the hard, blue summer sky. • The blue goes black. The diamonds freeze into pinpoints of light, hard and cruel and uncaring. He hangs at the zenith, floating for true now, looking at the uncounted multitude of stars. The suit is old, smelling of sweat and stale breath and the odor of the hab module: fried vegetables, oil, and endlessly recycled air. He tongues the switch that routes power to the EV-pack on his back.
The Shipmaker by Aliette de Bodard
illustrated by Richard Wagner
Ships were living, breathing beings. Dac Kien had known this even before she’d reached the engineering habitat, even before she’d seen the great mass in orbit outside, being slowly assembled by the bots. • Her ancestors had once carved jade, in the bygone days of the Lê Dynasty on Old Earth: not hacking the green blocks into the shape they wanted, but rather whittling down the stone until its true nature was revealed. And as with jade, so with ships. The sections outside couldn’t be forced together. They had to flow into a seamless whole – to be, in the end, inhabited by a Mind who was as much a part of the ship as every rivet and every seal.
Peacemaker, Peacemaker, Little Bo Peep by Jason Sanford
illustrated by Warwick Fraser-Coombe
The sheep led the sheepdogs and wolves to pasture, and prepared to gun us down. • They lined us up for execution in an old soybean field as the night clouds above built to rains which never fell, and the wind gusted to burnings we smelled but couldn’t see. I stood handcuffed to Victor Braun, a trucker I’d arrested three days before for the murder of a young hitchhiker. I’d caught Victor near the crime scene as he worked on his truck’s broken-down engine with bloody hands.
Memoria by Jason Sanford
illustrated by Richard Wagner
Slap Jack Pie shrieks with delight as, between gossamer-spanned worlds, the Marquis de Sade’s ghost grabs him by the balls. Sally Moon Eyes snickers – her nipples erect to the crucified soul of Saint Wilgefortis – and rips her blue smock before falling to her knees in prayer, chanting how endless dimensions are the universe’s orgasm unto itself. And me? I ignore my friends’ ghost-headed nonsense and mime a banana cream pie, which I throw to the laughter of an obscure 20th century comedian named Andy Kaufman.
Millisent Ka Plays in Realtime by Jason Sanford
illustrated by Dave Senecal
This isn’t the way the future should be. But still, here it is. And here’s Millisent Ka, born to a doting mother and father in a neo-feudal musical fiefdom, their cement-dusted house perfectly balanced between the cracked asphalt plains of L.A. la la land and the rich-fool castles on the Pacific Palisades. Never mind that those castles rise so far above everything else – hopes, dreams, reality – it’s hard to remember only dirt and rock exist beneath their gilded skies, same as anywhere else.
Jason Sanford: Confronting the Unfamilar
interview by Andy Hedgecock
“One of the reasons I write fiction is as a literary experiment to understand life – not only for the reader but also for myself. Even though I usually have a destination in mind with my stories, I continually discover that where I thought I was going isn’t where I should be going. • That discovery of new destinations and understandings while I write is what I love about fiction. Only by allowing stories to find their own destination can authors truly explore both their own selves and the greater world around them.”
Ansible Link by David Langford
news and obituaries
Book Zone by Jim Steel, Maureen Kincaid Speller, Andy Hedgecock, Lawrence Osborn, Sandy Auden, John Howard, Paul F. Cockburn, Ian Sales, Paul Kincaid, Jack Deighton
book reviews including The Secret History of Fantasy edited by Peter S. Beagle, Music For Another World edited by Mark Harding, The Very Best of Charles de Lint, The Ragged Man by Tom Lloyd, The Evolutionary Void by Peter F. Hamilton, The Nemesis List by R.J. Frith, Empress of Eternity by LE Modesitt Jr, Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks, Look at the Birdie by Kurt Vonnegut
Mutant Popcorn by Nick Lowe
film reviews including Metropolis, Devil, The Death and Life of Charlie St Cloud, Enter the Void, Jonah Hex, Scott Pilgrim vs The World, Despicable Me, The Secret of Kells, Resident Evil: Afterlife
Laser Fodder by Tony Lee
DVD and Blu-ray reviews including The Avengers Series Five, The Brothers Bloom, Fanboys, Heroes Season Four, Dollhouse Season Two, Black Death, V Season One, Nausicaä of The Valley of the Wind, plus win Inception
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