Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Review: Interzone

British science fiction publication Interzone is a magazine founded in 1982 and continues to maintain its position as one of the leading professional science fiction and fantasy publications. Recently, the magazine has gone through a renovation making it a fresh and exciting periodical to look at in Glossy A4 format as well as read.

Science fiction blended with inter-species romance; this is the harbinger for Mercurio D Rivera's 'Looking for Langalana'. It's a tale told as though the protagonist is put on a witness stand. Shimera, a Wergen, tells her story to an emissary - the son of the human named Phinny she once loved. Although a little too quixotic, I really enjoyed this one. With strange mating rituals on the Wergen's part, descriptive language of their beguiling anatomy's , and a pesky native of Langalana that cannot be tamed, this opener to the issue will be sure to stay with you long after the last sentence.

Haunting and lyrical, Tim Akers The Song is like a short poem for the soul. For me it speaks of metamorphosis, of transcendence. A gifted musician in a futuristic society where music is on the fringe, Jack has been struggling to capture the espial of a life's dream through his music; the ultimate melody that plays like a discordant baritone in his subconscious, but is impossible to capture with his current instrument and audience. He enlists the help of a complicated creature , one that could finally give birth to The Song -

A tale that inspires research - that's pretty much the most positive thing I can say about Martin J Gidron's 'Palestina'. If one is not familiar with the politics surrounding Middle East occurrences in the years after Hitler's death, then I doubt this tale will hold much allure. Earning a place here solely on the merit of being somewhat 'alternate history', Girdon's message (if there is supposed to be significance) is obscure and not easy to comprehend. Protagonist Palestina , a Jewish concentration camp inmate , is swept up in the intrigue revolving around a Russian infiltrator and a Rabbi who is more than he appears. With the world's current climate, it might inspire a few of us to dig through archive trenches and lather our brains with history. Otherwise, the message here is a non sequitar.

Whilst boasting the most imaginative illustration in this story collection, 'The Rising Tide' by Australia's C.A.L is a piece probably better suited to a novella or even something more grandiose. The beginning is a treat; tied with the art, it evokes a true ultramodern landscape:

Beneath the night-clad sky of a golden colonized globe, Raleigh Marsonnet walked the light-swept roads as any Free-born citizen might do -

After this (for me, at least) it kind of falls apart. That's not to say it's a bad story or un-readable in anyway. C.A.L has constructed a vast mythology, and it's hard to digest in such a small stanza without repeat readings. In this future, The United Starion Republic will activate a weapon which will see a rebellious world cut off from its infrastructure. The code has gone missing which will enable this and Raleigh Marsonnet must return to the world and woman he betrayed.

Another story that would shine in novel length is 'Summers End' by Jamie Barras. Jamie imagines a world where the whole population of earth wakes up simultaneously five months after a comatose period. Said period was caused by 'hijackers' , unknown entity's that decided to take up residence in humanity's collective skulls. It's a scary scenario; absolutely terrifying, if truth be told, as possession in the genre of science fiction has always given me the heebie-jeebies. The story is not global, however, and basically centers on a domestic issue. I get the feeling Jamie Barras is not done with this universe.

Lastly, we have the winner of the James White award: 'A short History of the Dream Library' by Elizabeth Hopkinson. No doubt about it, this one's a gem. Its fiction packaged as neatly as the title suggests, interspersed with laugh-out-load moments. Set in England, the tale of Milton Bissit and his addictive dream that involves a 'Hindi speaking goblin' is a genuine classic. If Elizabeth continues to work, I think her name could eventually be used in the same sentence as Douglas Adams.

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