This magazine was received as part of my subscription to TTA Press.
Stories by E. Catherine Tobler, Chris Butler, Sara Saab, Richard W. Strachan, Rich Larson, Mack Leonard
My previous reviews of TTA Press publications HERE.
If I real-time review the fiction section of this magazine, my comments will be found in the thought stream below or by clicking on this post’s title above…
SILENCER – HEAD LIKE A HOLE REMIX by E. Catherine Tobler
“How do we quantify impossibility given what we see, what we do?”
This is a shocking story replete with a drip-free mind-linoleum style with strikingly rich turns of phrase, a style that sifts shocks into an inevitability that is almost comforting. At least school massacres are impossible to avoid, and the use of ‘iris’ as a verb melds with the enforced gun-toting time travel, a hologram or glasser eyeball – a sort of inverse Ishiguro that can indeed never let us go. With flutes, tubas and toblerone Chopin.
“I never say don’t.
I never say stop.”
THE DEEP OF WINTER by Chris Butler
“A holographic glade whose every blade of grass glistened in the sunlight of a perfect summer afternoon.”
…echoing Tobler’s Glasser inevitability as a möbius section of the multiverse.
This substantive story, at first, struck me as predictable, more telling than showing, not allowing my usual enjoyment in a flight of inferences, but, soon, I was absorbed by the two parallel headed narratives, the first trying to synchromesh into one of the gears of the multiverse as a cavalier experiment to suit that of the experimenter’s current world and the second an exploration by various characters under the snowy ground exploring a dead city as that actual sought gear coming into place, backstory versus backstory in attempted synchromesh, while using the concept of Butler’s trope of ‘telepathic spores’ that I have come across before. All said and done, however, this remained not exactly my sort of story and maybe I did not understand it fully? A head like a hole.
RUSH DOWN, ROAR GENTLY by Sara Saab
“One-hundred-and-two days of rain is the only way to wash the blood from under Beirut’s fingernails.”
An alternate world Beirut overlapping our own time, depending when and where you are reading this evocatively stylistic and highly satisfying story. Reminds me at first of Butler’s synchromesh into a whole panoply of alternate world gears, especially with Saab’s main female protagonist (a proactive widowed celebrity from past history) being nicknamed Lady Spartacus, with each Spartacus standing up as a separate claim to the identity of a candidate alternate world?
Beirut’s ambiance here is water-‘sludgy’ as well as bloody in truth as well as metaphor. The history and politics are intriguing. Above all, the protagonist’s search for her lost friend is an exercise in high poignancy…
A snuff film and a walking stick. Text as Bitcoin. Just one more Toblerone inevitability?
“– a treatise on the price of house robotics, the unravelling of the pathetic Lebanese cryptocurrency exchange. It was a sort of flirtation, an intellectual primping.”
Text as Botcoin?
AFTER HIS KIND by Richard W. Strachan
“You cannot predict the course of a river.”
…like this particular river of Interzone stories, as it flows and furcates.
This is a fulsome rhapsody of planarian replication upon an alien world where the male protagonist survives the crash of his craft…. An ability of this world’s tapped instincts to fructify as well as furcate the crash’s accidental amputation of his arm as well as later deliberate ones, all described so that you can truly feel the scalpel’s cutting, then the physical as well as spiritual growth, for yourselves. The actual text as mulch. A “dream-like coherence.”
(And each ‘child’ stands up and shouts ‘I am Spartacus’, I sense, as part of this river of fiction.)
EDITED by Rich Larson
“Wyatt is laughing and seems fully normal, even though I wikied all this shit about post-Edit malaise.”
Compared to some of the other story titles in this edition’s river of fiction, THAT title is sure sweet edited itself! And when I said there is no way one can predict the course of a river, not here nor in Joyce.
I normally dislike stories in dialect or elision or fabricated pidgin, but the unexpected exegesis of the English language here also sits sweet on the page as Finnegans Wake, even if not quite to the same degree! And that is a Lewisian compliment to nurse.
In the light of the previous stories’ wormcuts, these are tapped into that Spartacus scenario while being more like lobotomies – how different must you be before you become a different person? is the question it asks. And the laddish pranks and nuzzly gay tangles are up for grabs following one particular ‘edit’ of one of the lads. An ‘edit’ that is intended to excise – exorcise? – the bad points but sometimes cuts off the good ones, not only by cutting off bits but also by more subtle nano. Cutting the moon of love from the sky, I guess, akin to the poignancy of Saab and the mass(acre) cuttings of Tobler…
Each of our Proustian selves its own separate excised alternate world – or each of us a veritable multiverse of selves?
“…and he pressgangs Wyatt and me to go mack on the girls with him.”
MIDNIGHT FUNK ASSOCIATION by Mack Leonard
“The black light sound could be heard distinctly; a sound that could not be unheard.”
….with that, I immediately thought of black static while I read this story about white boy noise.
You know, I love electronic music (I started life with the Edgar Varese electronic poem) and I love stories about classical music, and now I’ve got a story about electronic music! And I love it. I can’t pretend to understand it all but I truly love it. It does things to my brain, on the back of the Rich Larson ‘with the beats up’ Edit, the Strachan scalpel Edit, and Larson’s ‘macking on the girls’….
I know meanwhile the Leonard is about a rogue signal that plays havoc (a multiverse synchromesh of pure sound from many channels, I gather), and it needs to be tracked down and quenched or edited, an industrial accident waiting to happen, to edit or wormcut the midnight funk, the electronica of the otherwise TV-wasted world waiting to be made into music. Still, I’m gabbling on. I’m on a sound cloud with Cousin Silas or a TQF type story. This is simply the perfect coda, the perfect river’s end. I know this story wasn’t intended to do that, but it won its right prize in the end!
There is much else in Interzone to interest the SF and Fantasy enthusiast in addition to the above fiction.