7 thoughts on “Interzone #277

  1. INSCRIBED ON DARK WATER by Gregor Hartmann

    “It was a defect of the human brain: the tendency to see patterns in random data.”

    I was entranced by my own garnered gestalt here, even though I did not fully grasp it all during the process of reading including as to how God had dissolved into our DNA only to be distilled back as God. Swimsuit for swimsuit. Adjustable for sexual provocation, or bespoke for interns who could only differentiate different forms of birdshit. This is a complex but, eventually, absorbable tale of a floating refinery, its interconnecting scientific theories and practices, even the religion of some of its workers, a Pathway to a Guardian Angel. The rivalries of the forces involved, the threats from volcano or other dangers, and ambitions and connivance of bluff as espionage and jumping the pecking order. I found the central intern girl’s point of view feisty and engaging. The overweight woman as her boss had a thinner one inside her eager to escape every danger (even herself) at the cost of others around her, but she was sympathetic, someone with pragmatic advice. And the visiting woman with the swimsuits was a real tantaliser. A plot that still resonates in my mind even as I write this, still trying to choose the right couplet of Pathway poetry with which to summon full understanding. Best to keep it to myself, when chosen, in case it’s a spoiler. A spoiler not for you, but for me. “‘Don’t write anything down,’ she urged. ‘Keep it in your head.’”

  2. THE SEA MAKER OF DARMID BAY by Shauna O’Meara

    “Fish from thin air — thin water!”

    Seems strangely connected with the previous story, the machinations of hawling and dreamcatching water, the pros and cons, the quotas and the fully licensed, the uncorrupted basics and the more chemical intrusions as tokens of our times today, a hyper-imaginative fiction work deploying a world that I could imagine myself once imagining, while lying in bed at night as a young boy, put there too early, summoning up, if I had then the right words, if I had the right maturity beyond my years, amid autonomous dozing- or waking-dreams, yes, imagining an earth maker creature that acts in symbiosis with the boy fishers, upon their communal island of a craft, beneath the water’s surface, too, boys weighing dangers and drawbacks against what food they might catch for their kind. “I got suckers. At least I think they’re suckers!”
    A world that continues to haunt me now, somehow reminded of it in the mind-fazing entanglement of such forces, where body and prey interact like nettles and flesh, fins and fingers. Boneskin and story mats. Paying “tribute”; burred by sea-grapes. My brain swelling and pulsing each time I recall reading it and trying to tussle with it only a few minutes ago. Not remembering it in real-time at all. Desperately grappling to ground its gestalt.
    “Tadi watches their net — mended and re-mended time and again — swirl past, before grabbing for it.”

    My previous review of Shauna O’Meara: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/interzone-270-black-static-58/#comment-9840

  3. THE ANALOGUE OF EMPATHY by Joanna Berry

    “Correction will be ongoing. Composition is hard.”

    This essay in learning — not completely out of tune with the intern girl’s in the Hartmann and Tadi’s in the O’Meara — is a real-time diary by an AI bot or drone of war called Lena from our far future but in her present, as two possibly mad scientists fight their rivalries over her, created in the image, by one of these scientists, of his lover Eileen who was killed by the same landmine that lost him his foot, and now this bot glitches and burns off her own left hand. This mind-fazing story is full of growing empathy with this bot as she learns our own human empathy in parallel, sometimes by meteorological means. It also suddenly relates to and helps to solve, in my mind, Tobler’s EATR story reviewed here that now in turn helps to solve this one, EATR who I have just remembered was arguably a drone in a story I reviewed this same afternoon from Black Static that arrived through my door together with this Interzone. My own corrections of real-time towards some yet unknown autonomous gestalt will be ongoing, too. Reviewing is hard. Hard. I think. “Your decision pathway is correct.”

  4. TERRITORY: BLANK by Aliya Whiteley

    “Watkin had also been eaten.”

    …being a plot spoiler as the very first sentence of this story, so no real point in avoiding it here. But do you trust me? Do I myself trust me! I guess that many new works I review under my strange régime of reviewing are increasingly ganging up on me to divert me from my aims. Or to reveal my secret methods. They seem to be sussing me out – or writing fiction knowing that I am likely to review it. This one has changed the order of the diary entries, written by what I assume to be another intern, this one called Saffron Michaels, I guess. Given the physical journal to write in by someone called Ben, Ben encouraging Saffrons’s journey with Watkin and Barton — and the diary represents a tale of simulation or truth about exploring spaces for aliens via “domes” (sort of in assonance with ‘drones’?), questioning whether living creatures are born from ideas, ominously beset by a pervading force of ‘mouths’, cf EATR, and screaming and not-screaming, cf the gallery of silent screams earlier today here, sensing “unseen watchers” like me.

    I ‘enjoyed’ this immensely. Enlarged my paranoia or my misplaced sense of self-importance — but helped towards fulfilling a yearning for fiction truth, but not by my fitting back together the true gestalt as given by the linear time of day-numbered diary entries here in their wrong order, because that’s what they want me to do. I’d rather make it blank.

    “The infinity of space is not so large after all. It cannot offer endless places to hide from the things that hunt us.”

    My previous reviews of Aliya Whiteley: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/aliya-whiteley/ and https://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2013/07/28/horror-without-victims-an-editors-commentary/#comment-8504

  5. It now seems predestined that I made the second quote earlier above from the Whiteley…

    SINGLES’ DAY by Samantha Murray

    “Having children with room to play.”

    An engaging story as read with smiles playing. Smiles that are generous with the narrative voices they contain. Or those cinematic smiles and airy conversations that hide an aboriginal darkness? Perhaps you have to be a special reader to have asked that unworthy question. This is a series of ‘diaries’, shuttling by turns, as perceived by a would-be objective narrator effectively about more interns: four girls named and localised across a future Earth where space is at a premium, apartments are single units, and people are bribed by shopping lotteries to remain as non-generative Singles. Their backstories have been sad as well as potentially uplifting. Cosmopolitan, in Earth terms. Then truly Cosmopolitan by means of Greatships in Space. But are these Greatships with real smiles or false sociable ones? Or are they endless journeys for their owns sakes? Today’s refugees on leaky boats or tomorrow’s pilgrims of hope for more space? Maybe, that’s just me. Or is it true that — as is perhaps more likely as part of this mind-fazing, mind-phasing set of compositions — ‘correction is still ongoing’? Sea Makers now as Space Makers?

    My previous review of Samantha Murray: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2016/11/16/interzone-267/#comment-8567


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