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Interzone #231, November-December 2010

Interzone #231, November-December 2010
Interzone, Britain's leading science-fiction and fantasy magazine, founded in 1982, has now reached 200 issues. Short-listed for the Hugo Award many years running, and a Hugo winner in 1995, it has a high reputation around the world.

Interzone has published short stories by many of the big names of the field, from Brian Aldiss and J.G. Ballard to Ian Watson and Gene Wolfe, but its particular strength has been in the nurturing of newer writers.

Interzone Website

Past Feature Reviews
A review by D. Douglas Fratz

  Over the decades that I have been reading science fiction, there have been occasions when a new writer with a singular new style and vision appears whose fiction seems destined to have lasting impact on the field. Jason Sanford is one such a new writer. He writes with a confidence and skill that makes it difficult to believe that he burst onto the scene only in the past few years.

The November-December issue of Interzone is a special Jason Sanford issue, with three excellent short stories plus an interview. Add two other fine stories by Matthew Cook and Aliette de Bodard, plus the usual excellent non-fiction features, and this is perhaps the best issue of Interzone in recent memory.

The Fiction

The three Jason Sanford stories continue his two-year spree of brilliant stories, all very different, but all starkly imaginative, intensely envisioned, and effectively conveyed. "Peacemaker, Peacemaker, Little Bo-Peep" is set in a future where some inexplicable force has converted groups of people into "trillers" who attack anyone using violence, whether criminals or police. The protagonist is a police woman who must team with a violent criminal to protect themselves from the trillers. "Memoria" is set in a future where travel between alternative dimensions must be accomplished on space ships that have criminal volunteers to shield the minds of the crew as they are attacked by the mental "ghosts" of the dead. "Millisent Pa Plays in Realtime" is set in a feudal future where decadent lords hold their vassals in indentured servitude through genetic controls. All three stories feature very different settings, but all of these stories are intense character-driven morality plays looking at the effects on these diverse situations on the sympathetic characters involved. Sanford's work epitomizes the best of the type of surrealistic science fiction stories now prevalent in Interzone.

The two non-Sanford stories in this issue, however, are similarly well executed. Aliette de Bodard's "The Shipmaker" is set in her Xuya alternate future where China, not Europe, discovered America, and is the story of a female Chinese designer of organic starships who is in crisis due to the premature birth of the pilot that will become a part of the ship. It is a surprisingly touching story. "The Shoe Factory" by Matthew Cook is the similarly compelling story of a young pilot in a doomed asteroid mining ship who remembers his youth as a scavenger in a dilapidated future China. All five stories this issue are approaching best-of-the-year award quality.

The Non-Fiction

The interview with Jason Sanford by editor Andy Hedgecock provides valuable insights into his singular talents. David Langford contributes his usual enjoyable mix of news and humor, and Interzone's stable of fine book reviewers is always informative, and Nick Lowe's movie reviews are always enjoyable. Last, but not least, it always bears repeating that the artwork and layout of Interzone remains excellent, by far the best in the SF genre.

Copyright © 2012 D. Douglas Fratz

D. Douglas Fratz has more than forty years experience as editor and publisher of literary review magazines in the science fiction and fantasy field, and author of commentary and critiques on science fiction and fantasy literature and media.

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