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Interzone Issue #241 Jul/Aug 2012
Edited by Andy Cox & Andy Hedgecock
Cover Artist: Ben Baldwin
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press Magazine  ISBN/ITEM#: 0264-3596
Date: 26 August 2012

Links: Interzone / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The Jul/Aug 2012 issue of Interzone #241 is here with stories by Sean McMullen, Aliette de Bodard, David Ira Cleary, Gareth L. Powell, and C.J. Paget, along with the usual articles and features.

The fiction begins with the novelette "Steamgothic" by Sean McMullen. This is a delightful steampunk tale set in so near a future it might as well be modern day. Leon Chandler is a modern steam engine enthusiast who affects a Goth style. He is approached by a young woman named Louise Penderan who shows him pictures of what seems to be the remains of an old steam-powered aircraft. She tells him that it was built in 1852. He is immediately interested. It had been built by an ancestor of hers named William Penderan who was killed when trying to fly it. It seems the reason it crashed was because he was too heavy for it. Could it fly with a lighter pilot? This sets off a wonderful adventure with colorful characters and a really surprising conclusion.

"Ship's Brother" by Aliette de Bodard is another story set on her Xuya continuity. Like all of her stories, the prose is beautiful and so is what she tells. A mother is speaking to her son who left the family years ago out of bitterness. He had witnessed the birth of his sister whose mind has become part of the space ship on which they travel. The birth process is especially horrifying and the son has never recovered from what he witnessed when the was only eight-years old. He is especially resentful of his sister, the ship. This was a sad, tale of the type at which de Bodard excels.

"One Day in Time City" by David Ira Cleary takes place in some future where people get older or younger as they travel up and down the streets of the city. The higher the street (as in 80th street), the older they get. People from the lower streets are called Downsters and people from the upper streets are called Uppies. Joey is a bike boy who wants to steal the model of the newest sport utility car called the Genhis Khar. It has deadly blades in its hubcaps that could kill bikers, and it needs to be stopped from going into production. He has one hell of an adventure doing all this and we get a wild ride of a story.

"Railroad Angel" by Gareth L. Powell doesn't need much explanation. It seems to look at the last hour or so of the life of Neal Cassady of the Beat Generation. At the moment of death, he meets a special visitor in this brief, evocative tale.

The fiction concludes with "Invocation of the Lurker" by C.J. Paget which is the winner of James White Award for nonprofessional writers. Tara has committed some heinous crime and has had to flee the Kingdom, the upper strata of the world which consists of humans (like Tara) who have extended life spans and beings who are virtual personalities. If caught, she will be put to death, so she has gone to the lower class to seek help. The story is laden-down with a lot of future speak and just doesn't read smoothly. That's something James White always managed to do. We also don't really get to care much about Tara.

Except for the last one, more great science fiction from Interzone. Subscribe!

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