Interzone #265

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My previous reviews of fiction in TTA PRESS publications are linked from HERE.

This issue has fiction by John Schoffstall, Robert Reed, Suzanne Palmer, Dan Reade, Andrew Kozma and Ken Hinckley.

When I real-time review this fiction, my comments will appear in the thought stream of this post below…

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A short extract from Nina Allan’s article in INTERZONE #265:-

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My previous reviews of works by Nina Allan linked from HERE.

7 thoughts on “Interzone #265

  1. ALL YOUR CITIES I WILL BURN by John Schoffstall

    “Even France can’t make solid-state any more.”

    An accretively hilarious tale of swashbuckling miscegenation. Mongrel or hybrid, who cares when you’ve got liquor even in extinction events. This is a well-characterised French minstrelsy, a pink oozing roundelay, a far future campaign against meteor gods who seem to have replaced the meteors themselves in impact SF. There is even a romance between a man in permanent armour and a woman whose finger flirts upon and between his plate and joins. And soft bombs like marshmallows optimising the fact that one meteor god’s DNA is inimical to another’s DNA. I could go on and on. But this seems like a quite original dose of joyful Lovecraftianism in gargantuan proportions. Men become the new gods to defeat the old ones.

  2. THE EYE OF JOB by Dan Reade

    “Once you get close enough, the Eye takes up everything you see.”

    This is a patient story where the narrator is his own version of Job, a transliteration of FOB.
    FOB as First Order of Business, Forward Operating Base, Free on Board, Foreign Object, Freight on Board, Fresh Off the Boat, Fibre Optic Bronchoscope, Fuel on Board, Fresh Over the Border, Forward Observer Bombardment &c &c?
    If you are not awe-struck by this text’s depiction of slowly accretive awe and sublimity or subliminality, I’d say go off and watch Close Encounters of the Third Kind and then come back here and see how much more awesome this text becomes in your mind’s eye. It is that good.
    It is also sort of its own drone upon things.
    The vision of the Eye, a slow-motion vista, aspiring to culminate as Impact SF, where a Meteor God from the previous story seems to have become a stasis of watching, watching our narrator watching it. We gradually gain a vista, too, of the narrator, his role, his deviousness in his slowly revealed job of work as well as his loyalty to truth and to a need to transcend the assumed mid-holocaust-caused departure of his wife, his building of his own version of the ‘mountain-encounters’ obsession by amassing strangers’ keepsakes and family photos as part of Job’s onward drone towards … towards what?
    I have been deeply affected by this story, but I don’t exactly know why. It has old-fashioned SF awe as well as new-fashioned psycho-selfies. Maybe it was the compelling knowledge conveyed by its text upon how the well-characterised houses beneath the Eye’s shadow – in which the narrator scavenges – are known to be occupied or not. This story is one such house, without a car parked outside. And that worries me, too.

  3. belong by Suzanne Palmer

    Team-building is central to gestalt real-time reviewing. And the confidence boosting of the previous stories allowed me to defeat my fears that I might not know how my slavish understanding of the text would fit in with its own expression of it.
    In itself, an incisive, unquestioning portrait of corporate team-building exercises, this one accreting towards a confident culmination of becoming completely accepted as part of the team.
    This work, on an as objective a level as possible, is a very powerful story about such compulsive training, here by bots and colour codes, neatly featuring a mentoring drone tellingly echoing the previous story’s drone. But what went wrong when it went from sim to live? To answer that question would be a spoiler. To ask it at all, an even worse one.

  4. on the techno-erotic potential of Donald Trump under conditions of partially induced psychosis by Ken Hinckley

    “…the cavernous nasal septum of Mr Trump brought on intense feelings of hopelessness and despair…”

    Yet, the revolting can be positive, while the attractive its opposite, as revealed by the permutations of sophisticated statistics and experiments, via the psychoses and visions (alongside his sexy assistant called Tamara, and a rag iconised after an immigrant fell to his death after window-cleaning, and much else I can’t cover here) of the protagonist Adshel (although his name keeps changing but not to this one I have just used which is a form of advertising here in Britain, and, inter alia, Brexit is mentioned in Mr Hinckley’s ‘bio’ for this ‘story’ and maybe Corbyn is our Trump and I think this author’s our Hinckley Point, too!) and I can’t keep up with myself, the sheer bravado of this text BEING the Trump phenomenon itself (DONALD TRUMP as all search engines hopefully will find here because it is seminal to what is actually happening in USA at the moment, and with Hillary, too, and what is referred to here as the triumvirate of Trump, his audience and the media)….also mention of Orlando, and more, but not the Olympics currently in Rio, as it should…
    BUT, it is much more. It taps into the Palmer team-building gestalt of this set of Interzone fictions so far, the Meteor God as impact SF, and the collective unconscious working both with and against such gargantuan archetypes to further them, a French minstrelsy with Hinckley also mentioning Charlie Hebdo. Trump is also Reade’s ‘Eye’, with all Americans sending their keepsakes by drone toward Trump’s eyes. The Eyesis State.
    But, above all, for me, and perhaps me alone, it ties together synchronously with a classic story by Katherine MacLean I read for the first time and reviewed YESTERDAY HERE, (where I mentioned Trump!), a tontine in mutual transcendence over the decades between these two stories being published: that snowball effect by dint of brainstorming. That Iceis State.

  5. THE INSIDE-OUT by Andrew Kozma

    “Then Roam’s body twisted on itself like a wet rag. It separated into a man-shaped cloud of bloodless fragments of bone and flesh and cloth,”

    ….which perhaps is that iconic rag from the previous story… as well as this story depicting a version of Reade’s Eye (being fed human keepsakes and souvenirs and aide-memoires) and now here is returned the favour with the aliens on IO (Inside-Out) creating such memorabilia or mock artefacts and places as a home-from-home for humans whisked here light-years away from Earth. This story’s experience is, for me, like walking through an adapted Bosch painting, and whilst humans became new gods to defeat old ones in Schoffstall, here humans are taught “not to die”, not to ‘abandon’, so that they cannot become equal gods to the alien suicide-martyr gods…?
    A provocative panoply that is mind-bogglingly imaginative. The human characters and their names are engaging, as is the companion alien, a sort of metal spider.

  6. “…if you could rule the world for a day? I suppose I would have no choice but to abolish reality.”
    ― Robert Musil, ‘The Man Without Qualities’
    ———————————-

    A MAN OF MODEST MEANS by Robert Reed

    “Terrible events found your world,”

    SF Impact’s stylish thoughtful coda for this symphony of stories. Two alternating narrative viewpoints of a man and woman in sexual interface. But is one an alien, the other not? Or one who is nobody, the other not? One who has built a world of memories for the other – with Reade’s earlier craft of aimed keepsakes here as part of Reed’s? One of the foreplaying couple is due to utilise the other in creating a new history using those memories. The creation of that history from what humanity thinks it is, a race without qualities. But now seeking modestly for some optimum of what qualities humanity could have been given, or what humanity could have given to others…
    A new history – or Nina Allan’s ‘secret history’?
    And was impact from without or within?

    ———————-

    There is much else in Interzone to entertain the SF enthusiast in addition to the above fiction.

    end

  7. Pingback: Short Story: On the Techno-Erotic Potential of Donald Trump under Conditions of Partially Induced Psychosis | The Past and Present Future

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