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Interzone - Issue #236 - Sep/Oct 2011
Edited by Andy Cox
Cover Artist: Richard Wagner
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press Magazine  ISBN/ITEM#: 0264-3596
Date: 26 September 2011

Links: Interzone / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The Sep/Oct 2011 issue of Interzone, #236 is out with stories by Stephen Kotowych, Jason Sanford, Fiona Moore, Jon Ingold and Mercurio D. Rivera along with the usual articles and features.

Well, even before I start reading it, I know the Sep/Oct 2011 issue of Interzone is going to be a great one. It has a Jason Sanford story in it. Once I read the issue, I was even happier. The Sanford story is Hugo-worthy!

The fiction begins with "A Time for Raven" by Stephen Kotowych. Wilson Gwaeskun is a member of the Haida tribe. He has paddled in a kayak to the shores of Haida Gwaii, an island discovered by Captain Cook in the eighteenth century. When Cook arrived, a magnificent mutant spruce tree stood. Its needles were golden and it was called the Golden Spruce by the Anglos and Kiid K’iyaas by the Haida. Legend had it that the tree was formed by the Creator from a boy who disobeyed his command. The tree had stood for 500 years until a man named Hank Delaney had chopped it down in protest against the denuding of the forests. Delaney had been Wilson's friend and had disappeared and was presumed dead. Wilson is intent on ending his own life on the island but things turn out differently in a truly wonderful, touching ending to this great story

"The Ever-Dreaming Verdict of Plagues" by Jason Sanford is a sequel to his wonderful stpry, "Plague Birds" that appeared in issue #228 of Interzone. I put that story on my Hugo Nominations short list and this novelette will also be on my list for next year. Our heroine from the first story, Cristina de Ane, is now a plague bird, herself. That means she carries in her blood an AI that can wreak vengeance on those that have let the animal part of their DNA get out of control. All the towns have their own AI, a different type that is trying to root out the animal nature that genetic engineering has implanted in all. Christine herself is part wolf. Christine has come to judge a woman named Jennery who allegedly killed a child. She is about to let her AI, whose name is Red Day, loose on the woman when she stops it, because she realizes the woman is pregnant. Why hadn't Christine or Red Day realized that from the outset. Christine discovers something else is going on and that's where our story lies. It's a splendidly imaginative one and I'll be looking forward to the forthcoming stories about Christine that we are promised in the introduction.

"The Metaphor" by Fiona Moore is a short piece that consists of our unnamed narrator wandering a world with no other people in it. Our narrator wanders from tavern to tavern, arranging five cups in a pentangle, filling them a third of the way with a liquid. The ritual also involves setting out a loaf of bread and a dish of salt. Sometimes, this ritual needs to be done at only one tavern, sometimes more. Our narrator speculates why this is being done. We know from some short paragraphs about a topic that becomes clearer as we go on. His was a nicely done, imaginative little story.

"The Fall of the City of Silver" by Jon Ingold is actually a fantasy told by someone who was once a young girl in a city called Tartassos in an island she does not name at first. The island is just a rock in the city that cannot grow its own food but has something special, a mountain that spills forth silver like wine could spill from a jug. Phoenician traders come to the island and trade the food and other products that the people need in return for the silver. All is well until the girl's brother Olmos disappears. Them, her father disappears. She finds out that her brother was in debt to the Phoenician sailors and they had forced him to go into the mines and steal the silver. This all sets up a series of events that the title indicates. In gold creates some great myth here and a splendid fantasy.

The fiction concludes with "Tethered" by Mercurio D. Rivera, another of his stories about the interaction of humans and a race called the Wergen. The Wergen are a tremendously advanced race that has a weakness. There is something in the human physiognomy that causes them to love the humans and enslave themselves to them. This makes the humans uncomfortable and causes some Wergen to resent their servitude. Cara is human girl who befriends a young Wergen female named Beatrix. As the grow up, Cara wants to believe that their friendship goes beyond mere chemistry. She also learns something about the way the Wergen mate, a process called tethering in which a male and female link and eventually become just one person. What this means for Cara and Beatrix makes for another fine story.

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