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Interzone Issue #225 - Nov/Dec 2009
Edited by Andy Cox
Cover Artist: Adam Tredowski
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press  ISBN/ITEM#: 0264-3596
Date: 26 November 2009

Links: TTA Press / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The Nov/Dec 2009 issue Interzone is here with stories by Jason Sanford, Rebecca J. Payne, Colin Harvey, Lavie Tidhar, and Shannon Page and Jay Lake along with the usual articles.

The Nov/Dec 2009 issue Interzone is here and it's got some fantastic stories, one of which will make my Hugo shortlist.

I have previously praised Jason Sanford before for his talent for invention and his ability to write a great story about what he has invented. With "Here We Are, Falling Through Shadows", he does it again. Our unnamed narrator is a fireman, answering a call one night. The difference here is that his world is one in which things they call rippers haunt any place that is in shadow. The rippers are beings that snatch people away into a dark dimensional portal, ripping them to shreds as they go. They won't enter houses that are sealed shut and can't enter places completely illuminated. They have taken many people, including our narrator's wife. At home, he finds out that his daughter, Sammy, has been communicating with one. She says it's her mother. Outside of his firehouse, he has a conversation with a something that says she's his wife. One night, when he is at the firehouse, his cell phone rings and it's his daughter saying goodbye before she is taken. This is the kind of story that would be difficult to end but Sanford nails it. Last year, Sanford had a story in the Nov/Dec 2008 issue of Interzone called "When Thorns Are the Tips of Trees" that I nominated for a Hugo. I haven't yet decided what I'll nominate next year but this story is going to be added to the short list from which I'll choose

"By Starlight", by Rebecca J. Payne, takes place in some version of Earth with similar names for stars, constellations and continents. Our unnamed narrator sails a ship in the sky with his wife, Adia. Their sails gain energy from the constellation Auriga the Charioteer. The energy they store powers the ship through the sky. They are alone but tied to a fleet called Aurigans and have enemies called Taurans as well as the Grounders on the surface below. As the story develops, we learn more of their lives and culture and, also, see them in peril. All this makes for a very good story.

In "The Killing Streets", by Colin Harvey, Thom lives in a future London and is unemployed. His marriage to Marian has become a loveless one and he has a mistress named Liv, who has two boys. He regularly takes care of his Auntie Beth who is old and senile. The story here is that this London has many perils, a plague called Blacktongue and genetically-engineered mole-like killer animals called Snarks. Such is the setting for a well-written, but grim, story of love and betrayal

Lavie Tidhar is a talented writer whose stories I've enjoyed and this one can definitely join the list. As its name might imply, "Funny Pages" could be a comic book (and I say that as a compliment). We are introduced to heroes (Scorpion, Ishtar, Goliath, and Orchestra, led by Solomon2) and villains (Chameleon, Tank, Speed, Eye-Patch, Shell, Shock, Shark, and Flyer, led my Doctor Meshugeh). They fight each other but sometimes meet in a friendly way. Doctor Meshugeh goes on television and says he has a quake machine that can flood the coastal regions of Tel Aviv and Haifa. His price is "Peace", specifically abandoning all West Bank settlements, formal acknowledgment of a Palestinian state, a return of the Golan Heights to Syria in exchange for a peace accord, release of all political prisoners and making Jerusalem a autonomous entity governed by many parties. The Israeli cabinet does not know what to do. The resolution to this delightful story is quite good and I enjoyed the whole thing thoroughly.

Lastly, there is "Bone Island" by Shannon Page and Jay Lake. The title refers to the location, an isolated island where people have lived for years and various forms of magic are common. The story is told from the point of view of Cary Palka, the scion of an ancient family with secrets of their own. Cary comes between two witches who are sisters, his lover Christina and a woman from the mainland named Sara Maarinen. Sara claims to own a cottage that belonged to a woman called the Bone Island Witch. Christina opposes her and Cary and his grandfather have some connection to it, too. The authors give us a fine atmospheric tale.

This was an excellent issue of Interzone, which I still say is the best in the genre. Subscribe!

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