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Interzone #209
Edited by Andy Cox
Cover Artist: Jim Burns
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press Zine  ISBN/ITEM#: 0264-3596
Date: 1 March 2007

Links: Interzone Website / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The April 2007 issue if Interzone is their 25th anniversary issue and the editor uses the occasion to publish some very unusual stories. Unfortunately, not all of them work for me.

TOC: Interface (fiction): The Whenever at the City's Heart by Hal Duncan – Illustrator: Richard Marchand, Winter by Jamie Barras – Illustrator: Chris Nurse, The Good Detective by M. John Harrison – Illustrator: David Gentry, Big Cat by Gwyneth Jones – Illustrator: Stefan Olsen, The Sledge-Maker's Daughter by Alastair Reynolds – Illustrator: Jesse Speak, Tears for Godzilla by Daniel Kaysen – Illustrator: David Gentry * Download form the website: Journey to the Center of the Earth – Novella by Edward Morris -- Illustrator: Pamelina H * Interviews:Blood for Ink: Getting Serious with Hal Duncan – Interviewer: Neil Williamson, Science in the Capital: Kim Stanley Robinson – Interviewer: Rick Kleffel

The first story in the issue is "The Whenever at the City's Heart" by Hal Duncan. We get some future city in some sort of turmoil. The city is dominated by a huge clock tower which a Watchman maintains. Today, the tower is tolling "DOOM" for its inhabitants. It just tolled "DULL" for me. I liked "Winter" by Jamie Barras much better. Set in some alternate 1998 & 1952, Barras gives us a story of what first appears to be an invasion from space but turns out to be something very different. The next tale is another one of those "experimental" ones that fail for me. M. John Harrison's "The Good Detective" is about a searcher for lost persons who has trouble because of the way the world has become.

I liked "Big Cat" by Gwyneth Jones a bit better because we actually get some characters. Unfortunately, I didn't really care much about them. Set in a near future, a large cat is prowling the hinterlands, killing wolves. This is near the house of an old rock star and two people are sent to investigate. What they find is not really all that interesting. Next, comes the best story in the magazine, "The Sledge-Maker's Daughter" by Alastair Reynolds. This seems like a fantasy but is set in a future where there has been a Great Winter but which appears to be warming up again. A young girl visits an old woman, purported to be a witch and learns a lot from her. I can't say more without spoiling things but I would like to see more stories set in this world. The last story in the issue, "Tears for Godzilla" by Daniel Kaysen sounds like it could be fun but, again, it's one of those deliberately obscure ones that don't do anything for me at all.

As you can see from the table of contents, there is an online novella published with this magazine. You can get it by simply going to Interzone Website and downloading a pdf file. I recommend you do. "Journey to the Center of the Earth" by Edward Morris is inspired by the Verne novel. It's set in a very alternate 1963 in which World War II lasted into the 1950's and technology is more advanced. It also appears that June has 31 days, but I digress. Howard Hughes is funding drilling through the Moho and we get more historical characters in a different context, too. They include Rod Serling, Jacques Cousteau, Ursula K. Le Guin, two men associated with children's television in our world (I won't spoil that) and wait until you see who shows up as Secret Agent 008! This was an utter delight and I wish it had been published in the magazine.

This also has some nice features celebrating Interzone's 25th anniversary and, all in all, gets a qualified recommendation from me. Maybe some of those stories will work better for you than they did for me.


Our Readers Respond

From: Glen Hewson:
    "Tears for Godzilla" is obscure?! What's obscure about a story which is quite clearly about the writer's personal relationships and, in particular, a crush he had on a girl at school? Sure, large parts of his emotions are explored by fantasy and horror metaphors and you may come out of the story wondering which parts were "real" but the story is pretty clear in its intentions and their fulfillment.

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