Interzone #251

Andy Cox et al.

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The March–April issue of the 2013 British Fantasy Award winning magazine contains new stories by Greg Kurzawa, John Grant, Suzanne Palmer, Karl Bunker, Tracie Welser, Gareth L. Powell. The cover art (“Levitation”) is by Wayne Haag, and interior colour illustrations are by Richard Wagner, Martin Hanford, Jim Burns. All the usual features are present: Ansible Link by David Langford (news and obits); Mutant Popcorn by Nick Lowe (film reviews); Laser Fodder by Tony Lee (DVD/Blu-ray reviews); Book Zone: reviews of many latest releases plus Paul Kincaid interviewing Simon Ings and Jonathan McCalmont’s Future Interrupted column.


Ghost Story by John Grant

“Who was it on the phone?” says Dverna.

It’s the middle of a Sunday morning and she’s reading the paper at the breakfast table, still in her robe, the one with the pink-cauliflowers design. She has her legs up under the table so her feet are on my chair. I move them to one side and perch next to them.

Ashes by Karl Bunker
illustrated by Jim Burns

The little box was heavy. The word “ashes” makes us think of wood ash, paper ash: light, fluffy, black and gray flakes that can float on a breeze. Human ashes aren’t like that. My apportioned share of Lucia’s ashes was a few tablespoons of gray-white powder that sat leaden in my hand, in a little plastic bag that was in a little cardboard box. Through the clear plastic of the bag it looked like stone dust, though I didn’t look at it much. I didn’t want to look at it, but I couldn’t help feeling its weight. It was heavy.

Old Bones by Greg Kurzawa
illustrated by Jim Burns

A sudden knocking at the door of his garret shocked Simon out of his chair by the portal window. The chair – older even than Simon – tipped backwards and banged against the warped gray floorboards, cracking two of its brittle slats. That sound, so loud in the empty room, and so soon following the first shock, caused Simon to flinch. The knocking had  come without warning – no creak of stair from the landing, no veiled whispers or stifled coughs. Simon had been watching the desolate street beneath his little window all day. From time to time he’d seen mummers moving through the perpetual smog, wrapped tight in drab cloaks, but nothing friendly – never anything friendly. But now here was light – probably from a lantern – showing in the gaps around the frame of his door. What kind of fool ventured out with such light?

Fly Away Home by Suzanne Palmer
illustrated by Martin Hanford

Sweat trickled down through the worn seals of the goggles, getting into her eyes and screwing up her line of sight on the impact head. She squinted, blinking furiously to clear her vision, and cursed those same traitorous goggles for keeping her thick-gloved hand from being able to wipe the irritation away. A hand that shook, she noted, as she placed it casually back on the control yoke.

A Doll is Not a Dumpling by Tracie Welser
illustrated by Richard Wagner

“Thank you, come again,” Yopu’s voicebox says, a dutiful, automatic monotone.

The customer grunts in response and hurries to an unoccupied section of brick wall near the street. Turning her face to the wall, she stuffs the immaculate white dumpling into her mouth with fingers that look like they’ve never seen the inside of a bathhouse. Her face is filthy, too, grimy under a shock of orange and green hair, and pale against her black  unitard.

On slow days, like when stinging rain falls in sheets over the sooty alleys and crowded thoroughfares of the prefecture, Yopu might sell forty dumplings. Then he’ll spend the rest of his day lumbering from corner to corner on his daily route, and thinking. Not really thinking, just collating data according to program.

This is How You Die by Gareth L. Powell

First, there’s the news. But you don’t pay a great deal of attention to it, do you? You have other things to do. Eventually, though, you see the headlines on your timeline, reposted by friends. Another high school slaying in the States; a civil war in some godforsaken country somewhere in Africa or the Middle East; drone strikes in Central America; and those first, worrying reports from Angola, of a flu-like infection that’s already killed eleven farmers and seems to have jumped from human to human…


Looking for Real Ones: Editorial by Tony Lee

Ansible Link by David Langford

News and obituaries

Book Zone by Paul Kincaid, Maureen Kincaid Speller, Duncan Lunan, Matthew S. Dent, Jim Steel, John Howard, Barbara Melville, Elaine Gallagher, Ian Hunter, Jo L. Walton, Jack Deighton, Jonathan McCalmont

Book reviews including Wolves by Simon Ings (with author interview conducted by Paul Kincaid), The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris, Empress of the Sun by Ian McDonald, News From Unknown Countries by Tim Lees, The Black Dog Eats the City by Chris Kelso, The Arrows of Time by Greg Egan, Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh, Fiddlehead by Cherie Priest, Hive Monkey by Gareth L. Powell, Beyond the Rift by Peter Watts, The Copper Promise by Jen Williams, plus Jonathan McCalmont’s Future Interrupted column

Mutant Popcorn by Nick Lowe

Cinema releases including Her, RoboCop, A New York Winter’s Tale, I Frankenstein, 47 Ronin, Only Lovers Left Alive, Mr Peabody & Sherman, The Lego Movie

Laser Fodder by Tony Lee

DVD and Blu-ray reviews including Frankenstein, Bangkok Assassins, Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Thor: The Dark World, Ender’s Game, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Machine, Doctor Mordrid, Robot Wars

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