Interzone – Issue #226 – Jan/Feb 2010
Edited by Andy Cox
Cover Artist: Warwick Fraser-Coombe
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press ISBN/ITEM#: 0264-3596
Date: 21 January 2010
Links: TTA Press - Interzone / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The Jan/Feb 2010 issue Interzone is here and all the stories are of the best quality.
Interzone is really spoiling me when it publishes Jason Sanford so regularly. As far as I'm concerned, they couldn't publish too much of this author if the named it Jason Sanford's Science Fiction Magazine. His contribution to this issue, "Into the Depths of Illuminated Seas" would be more properly be described as dark fantasy. Amber Tolester lives in the port town of Windspur and has a unique ability that could be described as a curse. The names of sailors who would die at sea appeared on her skin. If no one was in immediate danger, the names were cold and blue. During a gale, they blazed red. When a sailor died, the name would blaze hot. She wore clothes to cover her skin as best she could. Once a month, she'd disrobe for the town's oldest widow, who would compare the names on her skin and see of any more were added. This would affect how people would live their lives. One day, the name David Sahr appeared on her skin and no one knew who that was, Sanford tells us a wonderful story here, filling in details of her life and how she is regarded in the town. Once again he shows how he can come up with an entirely new idea, and write a good story about it. Well, it's a new year and this one will be the first 2010 story that will make my Hugo short list when I nominate in 2011.
The title "Hibakusha", in the story by Tyler Keevil, literally means "explosion-affected people." It's applied to those that were in Hiroshima or Nagasaki when those cities were destroyed by atomic bombs. Here it applies to people who were in London when it was hit by a suitcase nuke, combined with a dirty bomb. Most of the city has been destroyed and there is still radiation. People called Hibs have refused to leave the affected areas and are dangerous to those sent in, with protective clothing, to clean up and retrieve what they can. Our narrator is a man named Kellman, whos is quite sick from the initial fallout. Nonetheless, he regular ventures in towards Ground Zero. Keevil let us know why he is doing this and who he is talking to and gives us a very good read.
Mercurio D. Rivera's "In the Harsh Glow of Incandescent Beauty" is told from the viewpoint of Max, a man looking for his wife, Miranda, who has run off with his former friend, Rossi. He has come to Titan to look for her and is aided by an alien race, the Wergens. They have given a lot of alien tech to humanity (wormholes for intergalactic travel, force fields that help them colonize places like Titan, etc) all in exchange for their companionship. Max and Rossi had been studying Wergen DNA and found that they could synthesize a neuromone, that would affect the amygdala and cause humans to fall in love. Max is convinced that Rossi used this on Miranda. Rivera has shown great invention here and written something that will touch you deeply.
"Human Error" by Jay Lake is set in a future in which people mine asteroids. Lappet is one such miner, who has had difficulty with her co-workers since another co-worker was lost to the vastness of space when he had been out with her. While digging through rock, she comes across something metal that could not have been made by humans. This could be very valuable, but collecting on it could be dangerous in, yet another, good little story.
Rachel Swirksy starts her short-short "Again and Again and Again" with a man named Lionel Caldwell, born in 1900, who rejects his Mennonite parents and goes to the city for a life of sin. He makes money by selling jewelry but leaves fathering children too late in life. His son, Art, grows up in the Sixties and rejects his father's old-fashioned values, grows his hair long and marries a woman who is Jewish. Their two daughters aren't born until the mid-eighties and live lives even more different from their parents than their parents were from their grandparents. Such begins a pattern as each generation becomes even more radical. All this is told in a wonderfully satirical way.
The issue concludes with "Aquerrtia" by Stephen Gaskell. Our narrator is a woman who part of the Senastrian faction that has colonized a planet called Aquestria. The other faction is called Loyalists, but their differences are not important here. The real peril is a poison that is affecting everything on the planet, Senastrian and Loyalist, alike. Our narrator finds an androgynous, young man whose tongue has been cut out and becomes fascinated by him. We get some answers as to what is happening in this fine conclusion to this issue.
Once more, Interzone, shows us some of the best writing in the genre. Subscribe!