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Interzone, February 2003

Interzone, February 2003
Interzone, Britain's leading science-fiction and fantasy magazine, founded in 1982, has now reached over 150 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 Alma A. Hromic

I'm a little too much of the old school, I think. Yes, stories depend on character -- but I also want them to have the usual beginning, a muddle (well, I guess you could say middle if you really wanted to but in this case I mean a-problem-to-be-solved so a muddle will do just fine), and an end.

The first story in the February issue of Interzone, "The Wisdom of the Dead" by Eric Brown, has a muddle -- the McGuffin is a murder. Well, no -- the real McGuffin is the fact that nobody dies on Earth any more, they are all reincarnated. Which negates the murder of the story. The entire bundle is a little bit of a "so-what" kind of package. Darrell Schweitzer contributes two things to the issue -- a short story which reads oddly 19th century (and also, as his non-fiction contribution, an interesting interview with Octavia Butler). There's one of those strange, strange Zoran Zivkovic stories (I'd actually love to get a chance to read some of his stuff in the original Serbo-Croat -- just to see if any of the inimitable weirdness of his stories was actually added in by the translation). In all of those, the "muddles" are rather secondary to the atmospherics. Martha Hood's "Just a Number" qualifies on a more meaty middle -- I loved the premise of the story -- but kind of petered out at the end. Claude Lalumière contributes "Dregs", a vivid dreamlike story set in the familiar territory of the bookshop called "The Lost Pages" (Love that name. Love the idea of that bookshop even more). As always, in a grab-bag of stories that is a magazine -- some that held me, some that left me cold. But this particular issue held something that I was particularly glad to read, and that's an intelligent discussion of The Lord of the Rings movies -- including an eerily exact summary of just why those movies failed to work for me. And yes, I know I am at odds with nine-tenths of the world's population on this matter. But Nick Lowe does what I've not seen done before -- he analyzes without either mindless adoration or the poisonous bile of those who have never got the point of Tolkien in the first place. This article alone is worth the price of admission. And then, of course, there's David Langford's Ansible. I skim the news in the column but always go first to the delicious Thog's Masterclass section, the classic collection of gems of literary lapses. Without giving any away, there's at least one four-star howler in this issue of Interzone.

There's a definite 'voice' to this magazine that's different from anything else out there, and this issue is faithful to it. Worth a read.

Copyright © 2003 Alma A. Hromic

Alma A. Hromic, addicted (in random order) to coffee, chocolate and books, has a constant and chronic problem of "too many books, not enough bookshelves". When not collecting more books and avidly reading them (with a cup of coffee at hand), she keeps busy writing her own. Following her successful two-volume fantasy series, Changer of Days, her latest novel, Jin-shei, is due out from Harper San Francisco in the spring of 2004.

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