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Interzone Issue #240 May/Jun 2012
Edited by Andy Cox & Andy Hedgecock
Cover Artist: Ben Baldwin
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press Magazine  ISBN/ITEM#: 0264-3596
Date: 25 June 2012

Links: Interzone / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The May/Jun 2012 issue of Interzone, #240 is here with stories by Elizabeth Bourne, Lavie Tidhar, Vylar Kaftan, Ray Cluley, and Tracie Welse, along with the usual articles and features.

The May/Jun 2012 issue of Interzone, once again, has a group of good science fiction stories.

The fiction begins with "Beasts" by Elizabeth Rourne. For Nanon, it is the worst of times - Revolutionary France. The Jacobins, Robespierre, Marat, and Madame La Guillotine hold sway. She had been a revolutionary but had been rejected by them because of her three-year old son, Jean, born out of wedlock. She is living with her family in Arras, in fear of the revolutionaries. There is a knock on the door. They open it to find a faceless man in old-time servants garb. He points to a rose her father had picked from an old estate for her sister. Nanon takes the blame and she and her son are taken to the estate from whence the rose came. In the estate's chateau, They are given good food to eat and taken good care of for two years. Then, the Beast makes himself known. Yes, this is a "tale as old as time" but it goes off in a different direction than Cocteau and Disney. Bourne gives us a fine fantasy all on its own.

Lavie Tidhar contributes another of his unique stories in "The Indignity of Rain". In a city that used to be Tel Aviv, in a country that used to be called Israel, a woman calling herself Mama Jones cares for a boy, not her own, called Kranki. The boy has special blue eyes and extraordinary powers. She takes him to the base of the spaceport every week looking for his father. She finds someone else in this bittersweet, lyrical tale.

In "Seeking Captain Random" by Vylar Kaftan, Alice has a close, platonic friend named Darren. They get together on Monday afternoons for coffee. Darren, who writes comic books for a living, always tells her his strange dreams. One of the strangest parts of the dreams is a guy who just shows up, briefly, and leaves. He doesn't belong in the dreams and Darren calls him Captain Random. In one dream, Captain Random gives him a standard six-sided die which Darren retains when he wakes and gives to Alice. She is a skeptic and does not believe in anything she cannot see. Something happens that makes her seek out Captain Random in this beautifully told, well-characterized story.

Next up is "Bloodcloth" by Ray Cluley. Tanya lives in a world in which people must pay blood tribute to something called bloodcloth that hangs in their homes. When people touch the bloodcloth, it absorbs their blood as long as they are in contact with it. Women who are of menstruating age are exempt. When people get old, they wrap themselves in bloodcloth, ending their lives so they can pay a large credit for their families. Tanya is a young girl who doesn't quite understand how things work and little is explained. This was an interesting look at a culture coping with fear and finding a way to work with a horrifying situation.

The fiction concludes with "A Body Without Fur" by Tracie Welser. A ship from Earth has arrived on a cold and snowy planet. It is also cold and snowy on Earth after a nuclear war. Our story is told by both the Terrans and the natives. It's not told in a strictly chronological way but that actually makes the story better. The first section tells of a Terran woman savagely killed by a wild beast. As things unfold, we find out why this happened. This one was very effectively told with well-drawn characters, a good solid story.

As usual, Interzone gives us some great stories! Subscribe!

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