Interzone #263


Published by TTA Press – Mar-Apr 2016

Fiction by
Alexander Marsh Freed, Christopher Fowler, Michelle Ann King, Jeffrey Thomas, Rich Larson, E. Catherine Tobler.

My comments upon this fiction will eventually appear in the thought stream to this post as I read each work.

There is much else in this magazine in addition to the fiction

7 thoughts on “Interzone #263

    by Alexander Marsh Freed

    “(real magazines, print magazines, because the web is too slow)”

    An intriguing narrative quilt of Anna’s account of several takers of blue mercury, making me think I must have taken it when I decided to do real-time book reviewing, rather than reading the whole of a novel, collection or anthology, then subsequently reporting on the gestalt in one fell crystallisation. I’ve often called my version slow-motion reviewing as well as real-time, whereby a lifetime of a complete publication’s text is dealt with piecemeal, step by step (“you can stretch it out; make it feel like a minute between lifting your foot and putting it down.”) before sensing the whole process and recording its gestalt or its lifetime as if you have spent your own lifetime watching summary programmes of what happened during the much longer period covered by the summary and what happened therein to the contestants of a TV reality show. But is real-time and reality the same thing? Thought provoking or thought widening? Reality of reaction changed because you decided to do it one way and not another?
    But that only gets me so far towards the ‘lifetime’ of this particular thought-widening time-Freed story which arrives at a fascinating gestalt and nagging question as to whether life should be as you live it or whether you should be tempted into some other elastic timeline of the same life? Depends if anybody’s watching you, I guess, and can synchronise.

  2. SPINE by Christopher Fowler

    “All species of jellies connecting?”

    I know the feeling as I am embraced by this science-slick or bloom of 1950s tale of Nature taking over the world as tactile adventure, now as this text has it, “speculative fiction”, in these warming-conscious, Zika Virus type days, but with jellies needing spines to become a knowing swarm and I contend that this text is ironically one of those very spines! The language is slick, too, biting and amorphous, and the characters beautifully Steinbecked into being upon this spine of text, who once read that speculative fiction… Swirling, sluggish, almost a spiky, spiny Blue Mercury from the previous story, spreading spine to spine? Word by word slowly, jellily, through the slickness and undertow, taking over your reading engine and bilge pump.


    “At the last minute, she’d added a snowglobe and a left-over beetroot and banana sandwich.”

    In charge of The Fracture’s tourist accoutrements in the apparent wilds near Vegas, the two women seem to accept, in a deadpan manner, further accoutrements such as snowglobes, a changing colour scheme of the visitor centre and gift shop, and the rules needed for, say, visitors like a stag party how to conduct themselves near the Fracture…be it another divination device like scrying vulture feathers or just a chasm created by erstwhile aliens.
    Following the earlier Spine in this magazine’s text, it seems appropriate that we now have this entertainingly disarming fictionette of the Fracture as a further threat to our existential integrity or the continuity needs of any multi-authored text’s gestalt. Or the need to be yourself when on a reality show?

  4. MOTHERBOARD by Jeffrey Thomas

    “In his unhurried meandering Leep came to a park where little robotic ducks waddled ridiculously, cutely, by the edge of a pond of languid liquid mercury.”

    Sometimes you read a story, and you eventually realise, that it has been a perfect story. This is one of those. Touching, heartfelt, combining computerifics with virtual space travel and a resolving / healing retrocausally of one’s tragic mistakes or at least of things you were blamed for. It needs to be read and anything I say about its plot may deter some from reading it. So just hints. Aspergic Leep leaps toward a giant blue robot with the aid of this magazine’s earlier Blue Mercury, or thus it seems without it being possibly intended, a difficult family life intermitted by flirting love life involving a type of people called Leep, Ran, Fhu Fhu… And a tedious circuit-board workadays with malleable lavatory breaks, and tiny mites slowly melding with the softly soporific as well as with sharp observation. Melding, too, a shapeless tumour with the joys of child-rearing. A motherboard in more senses than one.
    Jelly blooms and fracture hives. And a circuit-arching plot that completes itself with supreme readerly satisfaction (or at least mine), a satisfaction that only a dreamcaught item of highest quality hyper-imaginative literature can possibly provide.

  5. LOTTO by Rich Larson

    “…as its engines burned ice blue and shed gravity all at once, turning into something ethereal.”

    You need to let this work be absorbed into the reading veins slowly, not worrying whether you understand it, as it will eventually turn into something ethereal at the back of your mind, a slick or bloom or slow mercury of today, today with our world’s migrant camps teeming, a lottery of symbolic shuttling numbers of where one of them goes or where one of them might arbitrarily be sent back – here in a future or alternate world where tweaking and redoing gender as well as your passage through are part of this deadly game of flirtations with fate as well as with sex, but only deadly if you don’t lie back and will yourself into being the optimum.

    “He took the silence as a tacit agreement. They drifted, they talked, they sometimes splashed each other, slippery bodies colliding only briefly…”

  6. ANDROMEDA OF THE SKIES by E. Catherine Tobler

    “I believe that I can be light, that I can be condensed to a point, that I am stretched across the whole of the night sky and beyond.”

    Starting as a seven year girl, the ever rarefied narrator, changing age in vision as well as a continued separate backstory, rhapsodises sumptuously (like, I feel, an eternity of Arvo Part music) about sinking into a hole in an icy lake, leaving her father and brother building a snowman beside it.
    Always, they whisper: an incantatory refrain “–breathe through it” as the perfect coda to this magazine’s stretched set of fiction, “I could only liken to oil slicks”, “the clouds bloomed”, a text so much like theosophical jelly but with a spine of mythology or literature, a chained Andromeda or foolhardy Alice, and a knight come either to save a damsel in distress or to cause her distress…a rite of passage “ribbon-streaming”… And a backstory of monsters under the bed and a mother who read her books (“so ran through pages instead of fields.”) EVEN more powerful within the context of this magazine’s own fiction pages.

    “– I stare now too, from this crack in the doorway,…”

    Could it be Jade Goody whose image I have likened elsewhere to the face of person on the cover of this magazine, a brilliant picture by Vincent Sammy.


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