Interzone #251

INTERZONE #251 Mar-Apr 2014
Received as part of my subscription to TTA PRESS

Stories by John Grant, Karl Bunker, Greg Kurzawa, Suzanne Palmer, Tracie Welser, Gareth L. Powell.

All my previous Reviews of TTA publications HERE.


11 thoughts on “Interzone #251

  1. Ghost Story by John Grant
    “With her pale clothing and pale skin, I feel I should be seeing her not here in the modern world but winged and androgenous in a Renaissance painting.”
    I am a sucker for this sort of limpid SF, with John Grant’s wonderful crisp prose & dialogue conveying the mood of a childhood love channelled along one of future’s paths, and combining elements of Priest’s ‘Dream of Wessex’ and of John Grant’s own never-to-be-forgotten closing paragraphs in his ‘Cone Zero’ story, Always More Than You Know. Poignant with loss, brimming with gain. With what was determined and what may have been.

  2. Ashes by Karl Bunker
    “But I wasn’t thinking about the view as much as I was thinking about the plane I was in becoming pilotless.”
    An intriguing pure SF theme-and-variations upon this magazine’s earlier forging or forking of identity as part of a love story now blended here with a Lockean development from ‘tabula rasa’ that eventually ends at wisdom overload called ‘wink out’…a metaphor derived from Artificial Intelligence for a humanity that is teetering on the edge of Ligottian anti-natalism…? An inevitable Paradise Lost, a return to ‘tabula rasa’, or an eternal Chasing of the Noumenon along with ARIEL?

  3. Old Bones by Greg Kurzawa
    “He’d abandoned everything for their safety. Surely he had.”
    This is a story that you must let flow over you like used bathwater in a garret. It is that good. Don’t worry if you don’t at first get its ultra-Dickensian tactility besieged by Mummers and its Samaritan Surgeon with a case of instruments to flense you clean – evacuate you – only for you to go back to the same or slightly variant body, to an identical garret if not the same one with the photograph of your supposed beloved wife and children – and if this magazine’s first story was the limpid version, as I then put it, or the IDEAL version, of this forking or forging of identity, and if its second story was this forking and forging’s philosophical version of MIND exponentially from tabula rasa to tabula rasa, here this third story is the version purely, yes purely, concerned with MATTER, thick and clotted. Not anti-natalist so much as a masochistic yearning to go back to one’s manky birth again and again, with treasured memories you probably never ever had reason to call memories because they’re not your memories.
    Or have I not got it yet, too?

  4. Pingback: Dreamcatchers | Panglossian Hubris

  5. Fly Away Home by Suzanne Palmer
    ”You better get all those cudders up there down into the bunker, just in case I crack it.”
    …or wink out?
    If this is this magazine’s second rite of passage toward eventual ‘winking out’ by wisdom overload, it is here by a futuristic economic system’s inevitable bursting frackbubble after a climactically torrid ‘honeymoon’-stalking through the gender-busting rocks of that believable mining system; it is ravelled here as a substantively absorbing story, in ”the nadir of the rockpile” of SF-outerspace interconnecting tunnel-visions of emotion as well as real tunnels and numbered rock-systems with ends justifying the means while means destroy the ends. A story of the human version of a ”ladybug” that is intensely enthralling about this wonderful female protagonist fracker or ‘fragmenter’ in a man’s world where women usually work in brothels, with lives being rebuilt or retracked piecemeal within that economic system’s various cynicisms of survival, including a refabrication of the future by our heroine vis-a-vis her Mum’s necklace and, in turn, her own daughter’s whodunit existence… A great story with many fateful paths of dawning comprehension of an accretive plotworld leading to despair…or hope?
    [My own brief throwaway story ‘Dear Mum’ first published in ‘Dream Science Fiction’ (1990) has slightly refabricated itself lately for a new book but with a different title: ‘The Weed Hatch’; it is an inadvertent inherited necklace SF tale, too: shown here. Password: interzone.]

  6. A Doll is not a Dumpling by Tracie Welser
    “Nothing is free, not in an exchange economy where a dumpling costs two credits.”
    This rarefying staccato sharply hurting twig-like text has a dumpling-selling bot’s connecting-points or jump-leads to the foregoing texts’ forking ideality, matter-clotted, rockhard, mind tabula rasa AI, here a talking dog, Bunker had a talking cat, and explicitly dirty people like those in Kurzawa’s garret, and this leads to a sort of polemical, graffiti-driven terrorism (destructive to this story’s adept genius loci) amid newcomer immigrants in alien form and business interests with bodyguards – and Locke is no doubt to blame, or YOU are, or YOPU is, – and a once synergous SYSTEM going wrong like that in the earlier fracking world: “…demographic analysis, credits, route, supply protocol” and PERFECTION as the new wisdom-overload word now as a form of erstwhile ‘wink-out’. The readers of this magazine’s fiction increasingly need to beware winking-out themselves amid rarefication by this textual-autonomous rare fiction.
    “So many words it hurts.”

  7. 66 This is How You Die by Gareth L. Powell
    “Yeah, cats.”
    I am not sure ’66’ is meant to be part of the title, but it is shown huge on the page near the story title, as if the magazine page number has swollen with some deadly plague. Greyed out. Just look at it and you will see what I mean. But then I thought: fiction is surely meant to be personal to each reader. And this review is my personal take on the magazine’s gestalt of fiction. I hope my review itself hasn’t sent you into your own personal ‘wink out’ (Bunker’s wonderful concept but not so wonderful repercussions, perhaps)! Anyway, 66 THIS IS HOW YOU DIE. You see, I was born in January 1948… Clickety click.
    This chilling brief coda itself to the foregoing gestalt is a numbered schema of a modern ‘wink out’ – entailing Welser’s dirty bombs of terrorism, plagues, zombies, childhood nostalgia and an old-fashioned record-player stuck and scratching out the same ‘phrase’ like an AI gone wrong. Words that hurt. Only a few this time. We have come a long way from Grant’s Dream of Wessex…A painful journey but paradoxically also exhilarating from its very perception of erstwhile ideality or PERFECTION.

    There is much else in INTERZONE for the SF enthusiast in addition to its fiction.

  8. PS: That recurrently scratching record also reminds me of the end of the film ‘Brighton Rock’ and what if you factor this romantic twist full circle into the Grant story…and Palmer’s rocks?

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