Interzone – Issue 217 – August 2008
Edited by Andy Cox
Cover Artist: Paul Drummond
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press ISBN/ITEM#: 0264-3596
Date: 25 August 2008
Links: Interzone Website / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The August 2008 issue Interzone is another collection of remarkable fiction, all of which got a Very Good from me.
The fiction begins with "Africa" by Karen Fishler, one of the grimmest looks at the future in recent times. Tomeer is a clone of a man who had been a "Guardian" of Earth for many years. He and his "father" guard Earth from the "Expelled", the rest of the human race that were herded on space ships and banned from ever making any planetfall by a race called the Talienns. One day a ship bearing only a young woman and her dying father approach. Tomeer must make a choice between his father's code and what he thinks is right. This is a provocative and effective tale that one won't soon forget.
Paul Tremblay's "The Two-Headed Girl" is a quiet little tale of a girl who has a second head that takes on different personalities, both real and fictional. The girl seeks wisdom from these characters, especially the most prevalent one, Anne Frank. This is another truly unique story.
The setting of "The Ships Like Clouds, Risen By Their Rain" by Jason Sanford is something I've never encountered before. It's is a planet that seems to be a giant mud ball that is constantly bombarded with material from spaceships from above. This bombardment causes disastrous weather and the narrator of the story is a woman who is a "weatherman" that warns people of possible catastrophe. Her little sister was lost in one, 40 years ago. She wonders how the material of her world keeps just compacting and why their houses are built on top of older ones that have been buried in the mud. She finds out and all is explained in this poignant tale of hope.
Suzanne Palmer's "Concession Girl" is a little lighter and fun. Our narrator runs a food concession on a world regularly visited by aliens. Two races come there to negotiate peace between themselves and one takes a liking to her pork and fried potatoes product. She becomes embroiled in intrigue and treachery but manages to find a way to win. This was a delightful one to read.
Paul McAuley writes a different little piece in "Little Lost Robot". This powerful robotic destroyer with several functional personalities, Librarian, Philosopher, Navigator, and Tactician, has destroyed world after world, wiping out all humans that live on them. It is in disrepair as it approaches what seem to be the last, the third planet from a G2 star. Philosopher has been damaged and is silent and its "friend" Librarian wonders about the mission. McAuley tells us that he wanted to tell the "killer space robot" story from a different point of view and he has succeeded very well.
Last of all, we have M.K. Hobson's "Comus of Central Park". Pamela is on a scavenger hunt run by a "friend" of hers named Magdalena that is always putting people through abusive stupid games. She finds a faun in New York City's Central Park and decides to bring it to show up Magdalena. The faun, named Comus, has plans of his own and things go differently from what Pamela thinks she wants. This was a clever little fantasy that closes out the issue in a satisfying way.
Once more Interzone serves up the kind of fiction that you don't get anywhere else. Highly recommended.