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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:59 am 
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Location: Sussex Coast
Paul Raven wrote:
I think the recent postal strikes have had their usual knock-on effect; I'm still getting stuff two to three days later than it should be arriving. As a child of the Thatcher era, I never thought I'd hear myself say (or type) this, but the sooner the postal service is privatised, the happier anyone whose business involves using it will be.

Hmmm, not if my experience of courier companies is anything to go by!

By the way - Andy, you won your bet. IZ212 Arrived here in Sussex this morning - and damn fine it looks too.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:32 am 
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Got mine too, in Norfolk. It just smells so nice :)


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 12:58 pm 
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Mike A wrote:
Hmmm, not if my experience of courier companies is anything to go by!


Seconded. I despise the use of private courier services for personal/home deliveries. If they miss you, which they will do if like many people you work 9 to 5, they probably won't offer redelivery, expecting you instead to come to their one depot in the county, again during working hours. Often these depots are in industrial estates far outside of town, which is useless to someone without access to a car, or who can't get time off work. I've had issues with this nearly every time I've had something delivered by a courier.

What makes it worse is they won't even approximate a delivery time, so if you have to take time off work to wait for something, you might be stuck waiting all day. RM, for all their issues, at least deliver items at a fairly consistent time, regularly, and are very helpful with both collection and redelivery: holding items for longer, being more open to redelivery and even address changes, tending to have more depots in easily accessible places...

As far as business is concerned, I've had no major issues with either couriers or RM, apart from one very late "guaranteed 9am" delivery from RM, and one case where a courier put the wrong parcel in a bag (receiving a huge stack of sheet music was quite entertaining, however).

Soz for the rant, I just REALLY hate courier "services"... no doubt others have had completely contrary experiences!

...

Erm, no IZ as yet, but I'm sure it'll appear soon - it's usually quick.

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Last edited by friendlygun on Thu Sep 20, 2007 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 12:58 pm 
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And it arrived here in Cumbria this morning, as well...

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:57 pm 
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Quote:
I just REALLY hate courier "services"... no doubt others have had completely contrary experiences!

Not really...
DHL and FedEx both attempted to deliver packages to my home and miserably failed--thank God my mother isn't working so she can receive them, otherwise I'm not sure what I'd do (to be fair, they did offer to redeliver to my workplace, but since the packages are fairly heavy and I don't have a car, it would have made things harder for me).

/end of off-topic :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 3:46 pm 
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friendlygun wrote:
Mike A wrote:
Hmmm, not if my experience of courier companies is anything to go by!


Seconded. I despise the use of private courier services for personal/home deliveries. If they miss you, which they will do if like many people you work 9 to 5, they probably won't offer redelivery, expecting you instead to come to their one depot in the county, again during working hours. Often these depots are in industrial estates far outside of town, which is useless to someone without access to a car, or who can't get time off work. I've had issues with this nearly every time I've had something delivered by a courier.

What makes it worse is they won't even approximate a delivery time, so if you have to take time off work to wait for something, you might be stuck waiting all day. RM, for all their issues, at least deliver items at a fairly consistent time, regularly, and are very helpful with both collection and redelivery: holding items for longer, being more open to redelivery and even address changes, tending to have more depots in easily accessible places...

As far as business is concerned, I've had no major issues with either couriers or RM, apart from one very late "guaranteed 9am" delivery from RM, and one case where a courier put the wrong parcel in a bag (receiving a huge stack of sheet music was quite entertaining, however).

Soz for the rant, I just REALLY hate courier "services"... no doubt others have had completely contrary experiences!


No, quite agree with you re: couriers, they are utterly useless if you're a person who does anything other than sit on your sofa seven days a week - but they can only get away with that sort of service because they're geared toward high volume business users - their concern isn't for the satisfaction of the parcel's recipient, but its sender. Big difference. Opening up the industry to proper competition is the only way its going to improve, IMHO ... but we should probably take this socialist v. anarchocapitalist argument elsewhere!

Quote:
Erm, no IZ as yet, but I'm sure it'll appear soon - it's usually quick.


Mine arrived this morning, pleased to say. w00t!

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:24 pm 
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Yippee! Mine's arrived.

That's my reading on the train to FantasyCon taken care of.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:09 pm 
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212 arrived here in Bristol this morning.

This issue marks my second appearance in Interzone - and it's still as much of a thrill to see my name on the cover as it was first time around.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 5:26 pm 
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Wow - the black and white interiors gave me flashbackls to the old-school Interzone! :)

Anyway - some quick thoughts on the issue itself which I read this morning:

(Warning - includes story spoilers!)

*FEELINGS OF THE FLESH - Probably the most enjoyable story of the issue for me, the concept of the 'sense-stealers' was intruiging and the twist regarding the 'hero' was satisfying.

*ACK-ACK MACAQUE - Pleasant enough I guess, but rather slight and forgettable. The scenario seemed a fairly bog-standard SF idea and the story ended with more of a 'so what?' whimper than a bang.

*A HANDFUL OF PEARLS - Hmm - this is interesting and a potentially highly controversial story by daring to feature a paedophile rapist who doesn't get his comeuppance at the end of the tale - I can see this getting some angry letters! Personally I don't really care about any of that, just if the story is good or not - I thought this a reasonable character piece though I'm not really sure where the author was going with this.

*DADA JIHAD - A decent readable piece with some interesting colourful characters, but I never really got my head around the background setting - I guess I am missing out as this appears to be a sequel to a previous story I haven't read, something I'm not generally keen on in Interzone.

*THE ALGORITHM - Another 'story in a series', so again I feel as if I am possibly missing out on some background info which would help me enjoy this more. As it went this was a pleasant but slight story.

So, all in all the only story this issue I was completely satisfied with was 'Feelings of the Flesh' - but on the upside none of the other tales were complete stinkers! :D


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 8:36 pm 
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Thank you very much for the kind words about my story.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 12:07 am 
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Location: Georgia, U.S.
Dave,

To the extent the background setting of "Dada Jihad" is unclear, it's due to my shortcomings as a writer, rather than something you missed from not having read "Soft Apocalypse." Dada Jihad is set in the same world as "Soft Apocalypse," but takes place a bit earlier in time and is meant to stand alone.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 8:21 pm 
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A review of Interzone 212 here:

http://www.sfdiplomat.net/sf_diplomat/2 ... nterz.html

My story is unquestionably the stinker in this review. Oh, well. Actually, since this is my first published story, it comes as a relief to get my first panning out of the way. I could argue with some of the stuff he wrote, but why bother? Andy & crew liked it enough to publish it. That's what counts. :D


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2007 1:43 am 
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Here's one that will cheer you up in a hurry, Doug:

http://scififantasyfiction.suite101.com ... erzone_212

However this review is very hard on Beth's story. Sounds like this is a story that evokes strong reactions from people one way or the other. I'm looking forward to reading it.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2007 3:42 pm 
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Another strong issue. Here are my impressions:-

** Some spoilers ahead! **

I think my favourite story was 'The Algorithm' by Tim Akers. A fine, well-imagined piece, set in his odd (yet oddly familiar) alternative-world city of Veridon. I read this as a parable about dogmatic religious systems and the people that build them. The attempt to build the clockwork 'algorithm' which is, in a sense, the image of God, reminded me (in a vague, thematic way) of the stained-glass window in KW Jeter's "The Glass Hammer" - which his character Bischofsky (based on Philip K Dick) is trying to reconstruct. Whereas Bischofsky is forced to conclude he'll never know the correct configuration for certain, Akers' religious fanatics are ruthless in defending their particular vision of the Divine.

I found Beth Bernobich's 'A Handful of Pearls' oddly compelling; it wouldn't normally be my sort of thing - especially as it could really have been told in a non-genre world. It's a brave move to choose such an unsympathetic (read: sociopathic) viewpoint character, but for me it worked as a powerful revelation of a callous man, riddled with self-deceit and lacking all remorse. Strong stuff.

'Ack-Ack Macaque' (Gareth Lyn Powell) is, at bottom, a revamp of a very old SF trope (the AI that destroys the world) - yet the neat idea of the cartoon monkey that 'everybody loves' somehow gives it an added ironic dimension. Destruction is so much scarier when it comes from a naive entity with an adorable grin!

'Dada Jihad' (Will McIntosh) depicts a world on the brink of eco-collapse, where civil society is falling apart and no-one seems to have a solution. The government pursues a 'business as usual' policy, ignoring the disaster this brings; the counter-culture seems more focused on disruption than doing anything constructive. The most destructive - indeed, nihilistic - force is the 'jumpy-jumps', who combine the surreal, disruptive antics of the 1960s Yippies with a brutal disregard for human life. At the core of the story is a bio-engineered virus that makes its victims permanently contented (echoes of Huxley's 'soma'?). The obvious question is whether, in a chaotic world, you'd choose a vacuous, blissful oblivion over a brutal, and possibly hopeless, existence. Or maybe the point is more about contentedness as opposed to the state of permanent desire that fuels consumerism. Whichever way you look at it, it's certainly a thought-provoking piece.

Douglas Cohen's 'Feelings of the Flesh', the longest piece here, is hard to get a handle on. Superficially it's a revenge-plot action-adventure, with oodles of splatter-gore violence. The initial viewpoint character is a mutant-killing bounty-hunter, a sort of Clint Eastwood/Mad Max lone-warrior type. So far, so not really my thing! But the central idea of mutants that can steal a particular sensory ability from humans is a striking one. Since this conceit is not highly scientifically plausible, it's tempting to look for a metaphorical significance. So should we read this as an allegory about desensitisation? Well, perhaps. Contrasting the revenge plot, there's a redemption one that seems to be all about empathy, and understanding that pleasure often comes at a cost to others. However, this strand of the story seems a tad underdeveloped to my mind - a bit of an afterthought, even. I also found the shift in viewpoint from the bounty-hunter to the female character a bit sudden, and late in the day. Overall, some interesting ideas, but as anything deeper than a straightforward action story, it didn't quite gel for me.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2007 10:06 pm 
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Will, I just read this review a few minutes ago, thanks. Beth, of all people, brought it to my attention. Looking forward to reading everyone's stories very much!

Mike, sorry my story didn't quite come together for you, but I'm glad there was stuff in there you could appreciate.


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