Interzone # 240 – May-Jun 2012 (magazine review).


This is the May-June 2012 edition of the magazine with a cover depicting a figure with a human head but robotic human body suspended upside down above a pool. It has the well-established format of an interview, a selection of short stories and some reviews. From the cover artwork my expectations were to expect a healthy dose of SF and in that regard I was a little disappointed.

The first story ‘Beasts’ by Elizabeth Bourne is a fantasy tale that is a re-working of the ‘Beauty And The Beast’ fable. It is initially set in revolutionary France before the main character and her young boy are whisked away in a horse-drawn carriage. This is quite a long story spanning 9 pages, 11 if you include the title page and accompanying full-page artwork. I had to think about the ending and what it actually means. While considering the ending, I did wonder if the tale might have been better off being a bit shorter.

We have some good solid SF in the next story, ‘The Indignity Of Rain’ by Lavie Tidhar. The story is set in the Space Port built on what was once Tel Aviv. There’s some good ideas here such as ripping patented DNA and putting out open source versions and building children to order. The story opens with a woman who is a reluctant adoptive mother taking the young boy Kranki out to the Spaceport. It’s a regular trip where the boy is forever hopeful he will meet his father returning from Space. One day, they do meet someone who seems to have played a part in engineering the young boy and was also an old boyfriend of the young woman. Unfortunately, that’s the extent of the story. There are some wonderful descriptive text in here but ultimately it can be distilled as a girl meets old boyfriend story that is set in the future. Unfortunately, that’s about it as far as the story content goes.

‘Seeking Captain Random’ by Vylar Kaftan is an odd story set in current times and relates the story of one girl’s efforts to track down said captain. This figure first appeared in the dreams of a close friend of hers before he was killed. While it’s not a bad story, it’s not Science Fiction, while ‘Bloodcloth’ by Ray Cluley is a dark alternative reality set about 100 years ago. Every household and every school had a bloodcloth – a cloth that drank the blood of anyone unfortunate to touch it. People were required to pay tribute to the cloth in the form of blood. It’s a dark story but without any real meaning and so ultimately disappointing.

The highlight for stories was ‘A Body Without Fur’ by Tracie Welser. It’s a short piece being five and a half pages long but it packs in quite a lot. It tells the tale of a group of human surveyors as they conduct their work on a distant world inhabited by a native race who call themselves the People. The story is told in sections from the viewpoints of various humans and aliens. While there is a human death to spice up the plot, the real story is about the culture difference and the effects each culture has on various members of the other species. This was really an excellent read and I will look out for more work by Tracie Welser.

Magazines are more or less obliged to carry reviews and ‘Interzone’ does well with them. There’s a wide range of genres in both the books and the DVD section but what I really liked was the reviews of TV shows which have just been released. These included ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’ and ‘Space: Above And Beyond’. There was of course a health load of recent films being reviewed.

At the end of the day, there were some good things in ‘Interzone’ but not enough SF content (at least in this issue) to make me want to pick up the next issue.

Andy MacDonald

January 2013

(bi-monthly 66 page magazine: UK publisher/editor address: Andy Cox, TTA Press, 5 Martins Lane, Witcham, Ely, Cambridgeshire CB6 2LB. Price: £ 3.95 (UK) $ 7.00(US). ISSN: 0264-3596)

check out website: www.ttapress.com


I live in deepest darkest Essex where I enjoy photography, real ales, walking my dog, cooking and a really good book. I own an e-book reader which goes with me everywhere but still enjoy the traditional paper based varieties. My oriental studies have earned me a black belt in Suduko and I'm considered a master in deadly Bonsai (there are very few survivors).

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