Interzone #260 – Sep/Oct 2015
Edited by Andy Cox
Cover Artist: Martin Hanford
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press Magazine ISBN/ITEM#: 0264-3596
Date: 28 September 2015
Links: Interzone / How to Subscribe / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The Sep/Oct 2015 issue of Interzone, #260 has arrived and it's another good one from them.
The fiction begins with "Weedkiller" by John Shirley. -+- Two stories set in a near future Los Angeles in a world of "Nine billion, plus people, ...Climate change. Loss of arable land, billions of people displaced - endless food and housing emergencies" and a focus on two people, Charlie Venter and Sharon de los Santos form our tale. Charlie has a job of "weedkiller": locating people who have been judged by a certain algorithm as not sufficiently productive. He does not like his job. He has been assigned two targets, Sheldon Ivy and Dino Chou, one of which he must kill. Sharon is an at-home computer programmer who has been so addicted to virtual reality games that her apartment and her body have become filthy and smelly. These stories come together in another great story from an author who has been at this for a very long time.
"Blonde" by Priya Sharma -+- Our lead character is a young woman named Rapunzel. She has blonde hair which grows very fast, down to her knees every day. She is kept in a tower by a woman named Matilda who tells her that natural blonde hair is virtually extinct and that she would be killed if she ventured outside. Matilda cuts her hair every day. Rapunzel does eventually acquire a secret male visitor named Billy. This story is interspersed with Rapunzel working in a bar. The two stories eventually coalesce. Good modern day retelling.
"No Rez" by Jeff Noon -+- Simply a day in the life of Aiden in a future in which "the deal we made: that our city, our lives, our loves, our hates, our flesh, our faces are but projections on this endless blue screen that stretches around us, covering us" all done in a stream-of-consciousness as he goes through a bad day with a bad conclusion. I guess we could call this a kind of epistolary tale. Nicely done.
"Murder on the Laplacian Express" by C.A. Hawksmoor -+- Shai Laren is an assistant to Anselm in the organization known as the Syzygian Church. She has had a pneuma machine implanted into her that assists her in extraordinary movement that can be used to dance or for martial arts. Anselm and Shai are tasked with escorting Chief Executive Lascelles to a trade conference. She is in the board of a company that oversees prison ships, one of which has had a riot recently which may be connected to assassination attempts (3 out of 4 successful) on board members. Shai finds out that Lascelles may be trying to starve out the rioters of the prison ship. She tries to convince Anselm to use his influence with Lascelles to change her mind. He refuses but events follow that which might alter things. Good solid story.
The fiction concludes with "The Spin of Stars" by Christien Gholson -+- Our narrator tells us of an experience he had back in 1968, when he was hitchhiking near the Gulf Coast of Florida and encountered a drunk old man and a creature that looked like a manatee. This is interspersed with his modern day reflections about his connection to the stars. The 1968 story is pretty interesting.