INTERZONE #214

Reviewed by Gareth D Jones

What a fabulous set of stories the Interzone team have come up with again! The presentation is nice and clean--none of the overly-coloured and obscurely laid out pages that have made reading somewhat difficult on past occasions. The magazine looks smart from start to finish, with prose to match.

We're treated to a grand, sweeping story of nanotechnology, terraforming and space elevators in Jason Stoddard's Far Horizon. It touches on questions of what it means to be human and how much control on society corporations really have. All of these various themes are woven together by the story of the super-rich inventor of nanotechnology, a genetically engineered angel-like creature and the other woman in his life. It's both touching and in places profound, while at the same time a great piece of entertainment.

Pseudo Tokyo is an enjoyable story by Jennifer Linnaea, in which a weekend trip to Tokyo via teleport ends up somewhere slightly different. The plight of the unfortunate tourist as he stumbles around the almost-familiar city is full of brilliant little set pieces and fantastical creatures. It's a completely crazy story in which we share the protagonist's bewilderment; like him, I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to go home again.

Christopher Priest's The Trace of Him is the whimsical tale of long-lost love as an enigmatic woman travels to the funeral of her one-time lover. The sense of loss and melancholy lie heavy on the page as she hopes for something wonderful to happen, just one last time.

Jennifer Harwood-Smith gives us The Faces of My Friends, a tragic story frighteningly close to real life. It could be the persecution of any minority group that she describes, a persecution with added technological dimensions, but the victims she has chosen make it a particularly poignant ending.

I was blown away by Mercurio D. Rivera's The Scent of Their Arrival; it's the finest story I've read for some time. A pair of alien scientists are attempting to decode a transmission from an orbiting spacecraft. The nuances of their culture and details of their physiology make them an intriguing pair and a story about them would have been interesting by itself. The transmission, which they can't understand, is from a human, telling of the invasion and decimation of Earth by a trans-dimensional species called the Reviled. It's a harrowing tale and again could have stood on its own. The culmination of the two tales, although I guessed the ending before it arrived, was stunning in its emotional impact. I shall have to read it again.

Interzone, edited by Andy Cox and team. Published bi-monthly by TTA Press, 5 Martins Lane, Witcham, Ely, Cambs CB6 2LB, UK. A4, 68pp, £3.75/$7US or £21/$42US for 6 issues (for other countries see ordering details on website).

Website: - www.ttapress.com


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