My life in outer space

Interzone #249 – Andy Cox (Ed) (2013)

Interzone #249

Unknown Cities of America – Tim Lees
Paprika – Jason Sanford
Filaments – Lavie Tidhar
Haunts – Claire Humphrey
The Kindest Man in Stormland – John Shirley
Trans-Siberia, an account of a journey – Sarah Brooks

I have returned to Interzone after a period of many years (although I have read many a tale that was anthologised in Annual Best collections)
I am pleased to see that Andy Cox (for whom I once provided illustrations for both The Third Alternative – including the cover of one of the early issues – and his excellent ‘Crimewave’) has assumed the helm and that the quality of content remains strong, varied and of excellent quality.
If you’ve never read a copy of Interzone before, I urge you to do so. It’s available in digital format these days for the Kindle (and no doubt other formats). It was founded and edited for seemingly aeons by David Pringle, author of ‘Science Fiction : The 100 Greatest Novels’ and can be credited to a large degree with creating a British SF renaissance and introducing many authors who have forged successful careers.
I was a subscriber at least twenty-five years ago and am very pleased that it remains at the forefront of the SF short fiction world. It is, I can see, in good hands.

Unknown Cities of America – Tim Lees

This is a well-written piece in which ‘the map is not the territory’. A young man is searching for a girl who lives in one of the US towns that is not on the map. He met her once when she escaped but she was tracked, as she always knew she would be, by a man known as The Turk, who has some kind of psychic gift for hunting down the missing children of these strange hidden communities. It’s power lies in what it doesn’t say, allowing the reader to create their own ideas of what these communities may be.

Paprika – Jason Sanford

‘Paprika’ is a beautiful story of longevity, loss and the artificial creatures that are created to hold the consciousnesses of those who die.
It’s a gorgeously created self-contained world full of colour and detail.

Filaments – Lavie Tidhar

A robot priest-rabbi is infected with a virus by a young boy who seems not quite human. Again, a beautifully detailed tale. It seems that the post-Asimov robot has been reborn of late. the word went out of favour for quite a while, replaced by androids, replicants and other individual creations. The concept seems to have now been revived by various authors in some post-modern act of authorly synchronicity.

Haunts – Claire Humphrey

The Head of a school for duellists has to let go of her actual and metaphorical ghosts in a strikingly-imagined world where old duellists can sell their fingers to be grafted on to younger aspirants. This, they believe, will endow them with luck or skills.

The Kindest Man in Stormland – John Shirley

In a future USA, climate change has wracked the country with endless storms. A law enforcement officer has to traverse the storm to track down a serial killer. Although the weakest story of the bunch, it’s still a winner.

Trans-Siberia, an account of a journey – Sarah Brooks

Noir and Steampunk collide in a personal documentation of a journey from China to Siberia through a dangerous no man’s land where dangerous creatures are abroad, and indeed aboard.

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