Interzone – Issue #227 – Mar/Apr 2010
Edited by Andy Cox
Cover Artist: Warwick Fraser-Coombe
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press ISBN/ITEM#: 0264-3596
Date: 26 March 2010
Links: TTA Press / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
I love getting an issue of Interzone in the mail. I always know that I'm going to get stories very different than those in the other magazines. The Mar/Apr 2010 issue is another in a long line with stories truly unique in the genre.
The issue begins with "The History of Poly-V" by Jon Ingold. Will Sheppard is a scientist, part of a team developing a new drug called poly-vivo mnemenia, or poly-V, for short. The drug sends a person on a kind of trip in which he or she remembers, in detail, some event from his or her past life. To test this, the office staff have a session every Friday during which they administer the drug to each other. Besides Will, this group consists of Adam, Ian, Elize, Karen, and Adam, with Jamil staying free of the drug in case there is an emergency. The story continues with some of Will's memories and the eventual successful release of the drug to the public. As it develops, we begin to notice something which does not bode well and that's all I'll say. Ingold expertly builds this story in a slow, subtle way and leaves us feeling very uneasy.
"Dance of the Kawkawroons" by Mercurio D. Rivera starts out on a planet we only know as Kawkworld, named for the winged intelligent natives called Kawkawroons. We first get the point of view of our human narrator and Annie, his girlfriend. Our narrator had sipped a thimbleful of something called Inspiration, a few months previously and had been able to develop a cloaking device that allowed them to avoid the patrols that would have stopped them from landing on the planet. Annie, by way of Inspiration, had developed a translator which would allow then to speak to a Kawkawroon. We also get the point of view of a Kawkawroon who does not quite understand who these invaders are. We eventually find out what the humans are after and we also get a hint of the consequences of their actions. This was another well-crafted story.
"Chimbwi" by Jim Hawkins is set more than a hundred years in the future, when much of the world had been flooded by the melting of Antarctica, and Europe and America have degenerated into xenophobic chaos. Dr. Jason John has fled to Africa. In Zambia, scientists have discovered a solar fusion process that is 98% energy efficient and they have become the richest city in the world. They need Jason's expertise but he must prove something to himself first in this powerfully moving story.
"Flying in the Face of God" by Nina Allan is set in a nearer future. Anita Schleif is a filmmaker who has become close friends with a woman named Rachel Alvin. Rachel has submitted herself to something called the Kushnev process so that she can be part of a team making a long journey through space. There are drawbacks to this and Rachel becomes a little less human. Anita loves Rachel and not just because her mother had been an astronaut killed by a terrorist attack. This was a deeply moving very touching tale of love and sacrifice.
"Johnny's New Job" by Chris Beckett does not get revealed until the end. The story mostly relates Johnny's participation in a mob that wants justice for a little girl thrown down a well by her father to die. Someone in the Welfare Department had not prevented this tragedy and the crowd is out for blood. They get the name from a demagogue known only as the Public Accuser. You might see the end coming and the point of view of the author might be derived from his having worked as a social worker, but, nonetheless, this was a good look at the mob mentality.
One of my favorite authors is Steve Rasnic Tem and he gives us the concluding story in this issue with "The Glare and the Glow". The narrator begins the tale by quoting James Thurber, saying that there are two kinds of light, "the glow that illuminates and the glare that obscures". Our narrator quotes a lot of people in this exquisite, little two-pager. He comes across a box of strange light bulbs that he can't remember buying. He thinks there is something extra in the bulb, it seems heavier but he cannot put his finger on what's different. He decides to put it in an unimportant socket and is amazed at the brilliant illumination it gives. He immediately sets to replacing these strange bulbs into sockets all through the house. But maybe this results in a bit too much illumination. I found this story brilliant (excuse the pun) and it will be on my Hugo Short List for next year.
In the introduction, we are told about the upcoming April publication from Centipede Press of In Concert, a collection of all the collaborations between Steve and his wife, Melanie. She is also a talented writer and I have enjoyed the stories they’ve written together. I will be reviewing this in the near future..
Once more, I’ll recommend Interzone as having the best writing in the genre. Subscribe!