Interzone #249


INTERZONE #249 Nov-Dec 2013


Stories by Tim Lees, Jason Sandford, Lavie Tidhar, Claire Humphrey, John Shirley, Sarah Brooks.

All my previous Reviews of TTA publications HERE.


6 thoughts on “Interzone #249

  1. Unknown Cities of America by Tim Lees
    “He’s like their go-fetch, see? Someone moves away, they want them bringing back, he brings. You get it now?”
    I once wondered about the difference between ‘fetch’ and ‘bring’ and this story has brought it all back to me, the nagging desire to fetch something but finding it is always being brought to me instead by others. Like fiction itself, and here we have a geographical conundrum, too, to complicate whither or whence we come or go, and we follow the path of not recognising parts from the map, then hunker down with someone who suits you only for her to be fetched back whence she came, to a mysterious place called Nagosha. No amount of de-anagrammatising the name of the place helps, not that the protagonist tries. A puckish, dead-pan quest of story to find something that is likely to come back at you one day, remembered without conscious volition, like all good stories that belong to everyone; go get yours here.

  2. image
    Paprika by Jason Sandford
    “Even though the planet was nearly deserted the avatars still chatted with one another, millions of them laughing and gossiping as the nets around them frayed and cracked in advance of their eventual collapse.”
    …but this substantive yet rarefied story is not so much an extrapolated treatment of the Internet but, rather, more conspicuously, one of Proustian selves and Proustian memory, ‘fetching or bringing’ nostalgia’s kites or triggers from some aeon-beyond-aeon matter-of-fact time-keeping and bolstered self without it (anxiously) being necessarily always the same self; it is a gossamer dance between two main characters, a symbiosis of sweet twirling pocket-universe Paprika and stolid Pinocchio-maker-type Satoshi, while an old’s childhood train circles them forever on its track, that old now being me as I have long been one such old, I feel, from within the fiction as a memory of truth; it’s still trundling even now. This work is both deeply poignant and gossamer sweet, no mean feat – with a touch of manga – involving competing time angels, desperate olds, chatter squirrels, memory chairs, pocket universes, ancient paper books, rejuvenation machines, nanos for my Nanna…. My whispering willows, too, I somehow sense.

  3. Filaments by Lavie Tidhar
    “Consensus reality is like a cloth,”
    …or a tapestry from a group effort as this story has it, which reminds me of my own techniques of gestalt real-time reviewing, publicly suggesting, as I have recently, that this is indeed a group effort, say, of triangulating coordinates of any work of fiction and of consequent communal book-making.
    ‘Filaments’ mind-stretchingly takes us into realms of Proustian selves set in train by this magazine’s previous story but, here, we are extrapolating various so-called human religions in this context, to the extent of, say, an actual robot Jew perhaps exercising Pascal’s Wager! It tells of a future that one can easily imagine about such chasing of noumena, but we can only easily imagine it with the priestly lead of a fiction-writer or new gospeller that such great SF enables. Such is another form of go-fetchdom, I suggest.
    Digitalised, reincarnated, sent out on Exodus spaceships or made into coffee.

  4. Haunts by Claire Humphrey
    “He drifts out from beneath the willow, trailing the point of his blade.”
    This accretive story is a ‘dragonfly’s touch’ or ‘a rosary of bruises’ and that is all you really need to know to entice you to read it but there is much more that will tantalise you. Alekra’s ‘haunts’ (supported in some way by another (whispering?) willow and its co-entwined fence) are reminiscent of Paprika’s time angels etc and the serial umbilical ghosts in the co-entwined Black Static magazine that arrived through my letterbox at the same time as this Interzone. Yet here we have the added twist of the sword – duels, serial regrafted fingers for money, colleges as if for these duelling Knights Templars, and much more that accreted and still accretes as I consider this excellent story’s aftertaste and eventual gestalt within a gestalt.

  5. The Kindest Man In Stormland by John Shirley
    “…as they wended past several sets of bunk beds containing bruised, whispering children.”
    This enthralling whodunnit crime fiction of a ‘used to be a cop’ protagonist travelling a brutally quickdraw characterised skybridge tollbooth keepers etc quest journey to a Charleston in our own future’s Stormland, a place of climatic change with permanent storms, seems aptly read today in the UK where we have been beset for weeks with serial storms of unusual strength and, with the buildings in Charleston being explicitly little more than ‘sumps’, I also feel it apt that this story in Interzone arrived through my letterbox along with Crimewave 12 from the same publishers. Those reading both publications should know what I mean…
    This story is brilliantly plotted and any clue as to the denouement would spoil it. Just one neat giveaway from me is with the nature of how the sought serial killer’s method of killing his victims returns in another form at the end. And the evocation of the genius loci of what Charleston has become in the future is equally satisfying to the envisioning mind of the reader. My mind boggled at the e-cigarette, though!
    “Where did you get an actual printed magazine?”

  6. Trans-Siberia: An Account Of A Journey by Sarah Brooks
    “…I tried to calm my breathing, to banish the movement and noise and lose myself in the familiar hush that seeing — really seeing — always brought;…”
    Oh, this is SO much up my reading train track! As well as an interesting contrast with the previous story’s journey, it’s also a perfect coda as well as a writerly gem in itself whereby, having mentioned Proust earlier in this review, I sense the male protagonist’s own sensitivity, inbuilt fear of life and unrequited love when he meets Elena on this seven day train journey, conveyed by the bunk beds, his pencil sketches, and what he sees through the window, and the sense of something insidious behind all of them, and the dancing, and the cattle truck end of the train, and the meticulous picking out of what I called earlier in this review a ‘dragonfly touch’ … And the mysterious ‘aunties’ who brought him up – are these akin to Paprika’s time angels? And much else.
    He is also Hans Castorp, I feel, from Mann’s Magic Mountain, this train community being akin to that in the sanatorium, and again the pencil sketches…
    It all fits in.
    “A woman who had lost the little finger on her left hand.”

    There is much else in addition to the fiction within Interzone to please the SF and literary enthusiast.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s