Edited by Gareth Jelley

Interzone #294 features writing by Daniel Bennett, Gautam Bhatia, Georgina Bruce, Kat Clay, R.T. Ester, Philip Fracassi, Alexander Glass, Louise Hughes, Kelly Jennings, David Langford, Nick Lowe, Laura Mauro, Val Nolan, Mike O’Driscoll, Marisca Pichette, J.F. Sebastian, Liviu Surugiu, and Aliya Whiteley; and art by Martin Hanford, Dante Luiz, Alex Maniezo, Dave Senecal, and Vinayak Varma.

My previous reviews of Interzone:

An earlier publication by MYY PRESS:

When I read the fiction, my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below….

11 thoughts on “INTERZONE 294

    J.F. Sebastian

    “Well they’re still saying we might be carrying variants, but now that there’s a war in Eastern Europe…”

    I empathised with this compelling story from chapter 10 to chapter 0, that, when you die, you never existed at all. Coupled with the poignancy of this aborted trip by refugees in a boat that becomes my own leaky vessel of non-existence…. If I actually tell you anything about the characters in it, it would spoil it. The reader is the only constant, I trust. And maybe not even that. Variants, all.

    Philip Fracassi

    “An old man in a black beret leans over the counter, a creepy mug in the shape of a mouse head sits at his elbow, steaming, while he stares into a tablet.”

    I felt like that was me in it! In this slickety-slick crime fracassied-I fiction featuring bodily explosions and a rogue AI and all manner of dire digitality versus tangible analogue toyshop horrors, beyond Ligotti, amazingly , horrifyingly, glibly tec speak, tech speak, but killingly wordy enough for me as text, in miraculous inadvertent gestalt synergetics with the Satyamurthy TOYS ARE MOVING that I (or part of me) read only yesterday here. “Flesh versus tech”, as the Fracassi has its High Noon. Who can do it like this author? And who is stalking whom? And for what reason of detection . Even crime pays to brainstorm, to crack down on, I will not look at my Alexa in the same way again. Reading by proxy.

    “I note the protrusion of a mystery bone pushing the skin at the base of his neck into a teepee, and know he’s a goner.
    I get an elbow beneath me,…”


    My early reading journeys through Fracassi, including, unless my memory has imploded as badly as I sometimes think it has, his novel last century about The Egotist as a gestalt accompaniment to such a slick narrator! —

    Daniel Bennett

    “Gradually, the Emma Zonian I thought I had been watching – the one of colour and vivacity – seemed to fade away, replaced by her greyed-out doppelgänger.”

    Spoilers? This is an exciting – for me – collusion or collision with what I read yesterday here: ‘Veres’ Fogtown, Zelenyj’s Deathray Bradburys, Satyamurthy’s Axes of Discordance,…’ and now Bennett’s The Extroverts as a music band with drumbot et al, in the Bennett world (from here) of avian flu, vines and death bloggers. Lunars and Martians. In such a dystopia is who I imagine, from my cloistered mind, to be a tall Goldfrapp lady vocalist called Emma Zonian (say her name aloud) whereby her band called the Extroverts are aliens — and one of their Earthly co-acts called Moog redacts them with ‘mad science’, after Moog’s earlier smarting at their cosmic influence over the disco-cellar’s Monastery moshers beyond the Quarantine Zone, a crowd that had been zoned out by The Extroverts. As we all are by the lying extroverts of today some, I guess, calling themselves politicians, a battle against them hereby won, at least for the nonce! Hope is in the introversion of mad fiction, I say. The Skies the limit. (When you come to read this Bennett you may find it quite a different plot from the one I just adumbrated above as concocted from within my own monastic introversion, so hopefully none of what I said about it can possibly be spoilers.)

    My previous reviews of Daniel Bennett:

    Marisca Pichette

    “Ayce holds her left elbow, rings on his fingers and painted toes. ”

    An elbow trigger to the biggest drug and sex high one can ever experience simply by the power of words. This is the ultimate literary trip and it is in the dance club called EVOLUTION! Under surveillance from bots whom you can cheat by prior implantations. No way can I do justice to it here. Nor to its various character participants whom I follow into it. It is a reading experience you need to come down from gradually, and I’m writing this review of it halfway down, not that I have been high before with such word drugs or any other drugs other than alcohol, but now I simply know what it is like at this late old age stage of my life. Yes, I now simply KNOW that my discovery of connections and synchronicities and triangulations when gestalt-seeking literature has at last borne fruit, in the jiggers of this story! Genuinely so.

    My previous review of this author:

    R.T. Ester

    “Q’ra a-lem/a q’ba.”

    This is a fine consuming SF story that really works through levels of intrigue and gradual gathering of leitmotifs towards a gestalt of meaning. With tags for the homeless and surveillance drones, and meeting an agent lady with a tag ready for implanting in our homeless hero, meeting her across the street from the building where he works as cleaner, a building as a reflection of the city or of himself, and there are bits of SF writings, the sort his lost sister once read, and now he has to read them aloud from a recurrent fax in the building across the road onto a flipphone about cosmic diaspora… until all themes come together in a beauty of itself.
    I loved it.

    Louise Hughes

    “Dressed simply, in a long green coat, torn at the pockets and elbows, and a headscarf of rainbows, she seemed to cling to the revolutionary identity she lived with for so many years. ”

    I’m afraid I could not really get into this story. My fault, not the story’s. It is well-written, and seemingly an interview with a revolutionary woman suffering from a Pyrrhic Victory? With adumbrations of her trials of righteous battling and an amour with another woman amid the purple of the people, against a government or a commercial company. With bots and a spaceport venue for the interview, from the licking of her wounds to the prospect of a new fulfilling challenge by the end.
    I’d be interested to hear the views of others on this work.

    My previous review of this author:

    Liviu Surugiu

    Translated by Teodora Vidrean, Ana Maria Bancea, Alexandru Maniu, Irina Mocanu, William Ledbetter, and Jason Sizemore

    “A coincidence, just about enough for everything to unfold as it did, for history to flow toward me and for me to be myself.”

    This is the moving story of a Romanian man born in the 1960s who became a famous writer, formed by Romanian history from the Tidal Wave bombing in the 1940s wherefrom his father as a first-footing toddler was miraculously saved and via the overthrow of Ceausescu onward towards emails et al. Above fate. And his own mother’s ‘enchantments’. His destiny is the coincidences of history. The carpentry of his father housing windows and his mother preferring the core to the rest of the apple, notwithstanding. An instinctively fine coda cohering this eclectic selection of Interzone stories.

    “In fact, walking is nothing more than a series of controlled falls.”

    This edition also contains articles in addition to the above fiction:

    Nothing But Beautiful Things: An Interview with Cassandra Khaw by Laura Mauro

    Semi-Playful Metaphors: An Interview with Christopher Priest by Paul Kincaid

    Climbing Stories by Aliya Whiteley

    Mutant Popcorn by Nick Lowe

    Ansible Link by David Langford

    Zelazny, from A to Z by Alexander Glass

    Folded Spaces by Val Nolan

    Book reviews by Gautam Bhatia, Georgina Bruce, Kat Clay, Alexander Glass, Kelly Jennings, Paul Kincaid, Laura Mauro, and Mike O’Driscoll.

    And a special link to a free digital story by Daniel Bennett, which I hope to review below, in due course.

      Daniel Bennett

      “Marvell understood that he was making a mistake by engaging the killbot in conversation.”

      An ingenious short story in Bennett world, that if I told you too much about its plot would spoil it. A man with a blot on his CV, in a world of killbots and much else of this believable future, a crazy enough future from the evolving craziness today to be eventually true. I particularly liked the moveable box apartments, one of which he lived in until he could revive his career…. Suspenseful and, yes, breathtakingly nuttable, in the purely mental sense. Worth the price of entry.

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