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Interzone #228, May-June 2010

Interzone #228, May-June 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

The May-June 2010 issue of the UK's best science fiction magazine contains five imaginative and well-written short stories, along with the usual extensive non-fiction on both books and films. Also as usual, the magazine is beautifully and colorfully designed with splendid art and layout.

The best fiction this issue is Jason Sanford's "Plague Birds," set in a strangely degraded far future that has a strong fantasy feel, but set in a hard-SF foundation. Failed genetic manipulations has left remaining humanity struggling to control their animal natures, aided by AIs seeking to help the scattered humans survive, and others, the Plague Birds of the title, who seek only to enforce justice. This could have been written as a fantasy story, without its SF underpinnings. The story is imaginative, powerful and effective, and made more so by its science-fiction verisimilitude.

Mario Milosevic's "Untied States of America," on the other hand, set in a future where all of the continental United States has been sent drifting randomly through the ocean, might have been stronger if written as a surreal fantasy. Milosevic's attempt at providing rational explanation to this bizarre situation merely provide a distraction from the touching story of a Washington state woman who watched the shore to spot potential collisions with other states, and the occasional visitor. What at first seems to be a metaphor for U.S. political and cultural disunity becomes a somewhat effective metaphor for the emotional traumas of the protagonist.

"Iron Monk" by Melissa Yuan-Innes is an intriguing story of a group of Chinese dissidents sent on a treacherous space mission to contact aliens in the outer Solar System, a long vignette that ended leaving me wanting to know what happens next. David D. Levine's "A Passion for Art" is an effective supernatural mystery story that could have been written for Rod Serling's Twilight Zone. The final story this issue is "Over Water," by John Ingold, a powerful story set in a future where the remnants of humanity are spread among a single archipelago of islands, and one island is plagued by the aggressive inhabitants of its neighbor.

"Book Zone" this issue features a fine review of Gene Wolfe's new novel, The Sorcerer's House, along with an interview with the author where he exhibits his curmudgeonly side. There are also many other well-written and insightful book and movie reviews this issue, culminating with Nick Lowe's always excellent "Mutant Popcorn" film reviews, where he gives an eclectic look at Repo Men, Kick-Ass, Alice in Wonderland, Legion, How to Train Your Dragon, The Lovely Bones, and Solomon Kane. The issue begins as usual with David Langford's short, often enigmatic, but always entertaining "Ansible Link."

Interzone continues to be mix well-written and imaginative fiction, often set in dystopian futures, with pointed, well-informed commentary, in a colorful package. It is well worth the trouble and expense to obtain, and worthy of support by SF fans in North America as well as the UK.

Copyright © 2010 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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