The September–October issue of Britain’s longest running science fiction and fantasy magazine contains new long and short stories by Tade Thompson, Georgina Bruce, Ray Cluley, Aliya Whiteley, and Malcolm Devlin.
The 2016 cover artist is Vincent Sammy, and interior colour illustrations are by Richard Wagner, Martin Hanford, and Vince Haig. Features: Guest Editorial by Stephen Theaker; 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 (book reviews); Jonathan McCalmont’s Future Interrupted (comment); Nina Allan’s Time Pieces (comment).
The Apologists by Tade Thompson
illustrated by Martin Hanford
Today, I decide to go to a bar. I’m not dressed for it. My clothes are torn in places and although the darkness of my jeans hides grime, my shirt should be negotiating a spin cycle rather than warming my skin. Nobody notices, though. They haven’t bothered to name this establishment but there’s a neon sign with weird symbols that don’t, as far as I can tell, mean anything. Though there is a ribbon and stanchion arrangement, bouncer, and queue, I walk right up to the door and walk in. The bouncer is a stocky sort, fat-over-muscle build with a skin-colour approximating black. He smiles at me like I’m a celebrity. None of the punters in the twelve-person queue yells expletives. New world.
Extraterrestrial Folk Metal Fusion by Georgina Bruce
illustrated by Vince Haig
Professor Jane Lovage imagined that she might walk into the Astrophysics building, free her hair from its neat bun, and shake it loose in gingerish waves over her shoulders. She might slip off her corduroy business jacket and twirl it around her head a few times before slinging it into a corner (missing any vital pieces of lab equipment in its path, of course) then she might stride – yes, stride – through a throng of mesmerised spectators, stride right up to Mariel Hewitt – and kiss her. In Jane’s imagination, Mariel would be dazzled by this unexpected display of sexual glamour. Professor Jane! But…but you’re beautiful! And of course, Mariel would swoon into her kiss. The much-hyped kissing with tongues that was all the rage these days.
Sideways by Ray Cluley
illustrated by Richard Wagner
Captain Sam Harding was a great pilot, a patriot, and a very close friend, so when I tell you I’m glad he died, know that I don’t say it lightly. He augered in on November 4th, 1951, leaving behind a beautiful wife plus one. Sandra eventually remarried, and the child Sam never met grew up to be a good man, like his father. Tom was just a few months in Sandra’s belly the day Sam came staggering out of that wreck like some flaming scarecrow in a field of fire. Sandy named the boy Tom because of how I was always there for her but says it was something she and Sam had already discussed. I don’t know. I’m still not sure how Sam would feel about it now. When he made me promise to take care of his family if ever anything happened, I don’t think he meant for me to marry his wife and raise his kid like my own.
Three Love Letters From An Unrepeatable Garden by Aliya Whiteley
You asked me in your last letter, my darling, to name my favourite bloom in the Garden. I think perhaps it is the only flower that produces a scent I am not permitted to smell.
The End Of Hope Street by Malcolm Devlin
illustrated by Richard Wagner
The Potterton house became unliveable at a quarter past three on Saturday afternoon. Lewis Potterton had been sitting in the lounge reading the business section of the Daily Telegraph when he first recognised the symptoms, but when he got to the hallway to call his wife and daughter, he saw they were already hurrying downstairs, his wife Lydia fresh from the shower and still wrapped in a towel.
Black Static 54 Out Now:
Black Static is published at the same time as Interzone. Issue 54 contains four long stories by Steven J. Dines, Ralph Robert Moore, Julie C. Day, and Malcolm Devlin. Cover art is by Richard Wagner and interior illustrations are by Richard again, Joachim Luetke, and Ben Baldwin. Features and reviews are supplied by Stephen Volk, Lynda E. Rucker, Gary Couzens (films) and Peter Tennant (books plus interviewe with Damien Angelica Walters). To take out a discounted subscription to Black Static, or Black Static + Interzone combined, please visit this website’s shop.
Potential subscribers outside the UK should note that six issues of 12-issue subscriptions have absolutely no postage added: you’ll pay exactly the same as a UK subscriber.
New subscribers can get this issue free by using “BS54” as their Shopper’s Reference during checkout.
Editorial: Love and Spreadsheets
Interzone is nominated for best magazine in this year’s British Fantasy Awards, as it has been every year save one since the category was introduced. TTA Press stablemate Black Static goes one better: it has been a nominee every single year. That remarkable run reflects the esteem in which these magazines are held by British fans of fantasy, science fiction and horror. I’ve organised those awards for the last four years, and the chance to help fans thus express their appreciation was a big part of why I got involved.
Future Interrupted: The Animal-Narcotic Complex
Few films have influenced my thinking as much as Werner Herzog’s 2011 documentary Into the Abyss. The film begins with the story of two young men who broke into a gated community at gunpoint and murdered a 51-year-old woman in order to take her car for a joyride. Rather than obsessing over the facts of the case, Herzog explores both the emotional consequences of the crime and the psychological conditions that inspired it. What he finds is that the survivors of the crime wind up living in a world very similar to that of the murderers, a world where trauma passes from parent to child and stranger to stranger in a never-ending torrent of cruelty and sadness. In Herzog’s view, to be human is not just to suffer but to pass the consequences of that suffering on to those we claim to love. Sure…we try to re-invent ourselves and to draw a line under the past but no shop-bought persona or social media gang colours can separate us from the histories that shaped our thoughts and emotional reactions.
Time Pieces: Wired in the Weird
In July I was in Cambridge for the fifty-second annual folk festival. Crowds make me uncomfortable normally, but being a part of the gathering in the grounds of Cherry Hinton Hall was an experience of another order. I came away inspired, not just by what I’d seen and heard but by the sense of inclusivity and tolerance the festival seemed to encapsulate. Never have fourteen thousand people seemed so like members of a single family. The weather was great, too – not a green wellie in sight…
Ansible®! My application to register Ansible as a UK trademark was approved on 8 July, so watch it.
Ian Hunter, Lawrence Osborn, Maureen Kincaid Speller, Jack Deighton, Elaine Gallagher, Stephen Theaker, Wendy Bradley, Andy Hedgecock
Books (and other media) reviewed include Strange Monsters by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam & Peter Brewer, The Wolf in the Attic by Paul Kearney, Bodies of Water by V.H. Leslie, Revenger by Alastair Reynolds, Summerlong by Peter S. Beagle, Sparrow Falling by Gaie Sebold, The Rise of Io by Wesley Chu, The Root by Na’amen Gobert Tilahun, Decade 1: The Best of Albedo One edited by John Kenny
Cinema releases reviewed include The Girl With All the Gifts, Cell, The Legend of Tarzan, Star Trek Beyond, Ice Age: Collision Course, Suicide Squad, Ghostbusters, Pete’s Dragon, The BFG, Nine Lives
DVDs and Blu-rays reviewed include The Brand New Testament, Solaris, Stalker, 11.22.63, Identicals, Terrahawks