Wednesday, November 11, 2009
As a new subscriber to Interzone, I have to say that I am very pleased with my first delivered issue. #224, while certainly not perfect, is definitely a prime example of why Interzone gets as much hype as it does from those who have been with the magazine for a while. From its beautifully illustrated cover to its illustrated interior and delicious content, #224 is certainly a good start for a new subscriber. #224 contains five short stories, a handful of book reviews, and a relentlessly critical movie and TV review section. The stories are, for the most part, quite good, with “Sublimation Angels” by Jason Sanford, “Shucked” by Adrian Joyce, and “The Festival of Tethselem” by Chris Butler taking the cake for most enjoyable. “No Longer You” by Katherine Sparrow and Rachel Swirsky and “The Godfall’s Chemsong” by Jeremiah Tolbert are both interesting stories, but were not my favorites here. Fiction Sanford’s tale, while not as weird as some of his other shorts, is unique in that it continues his tradition of secluding the reader (and characters) from a definitive past; “Sublimation Angels” is also a prime example of what happens when you mix interesting SF concepts with a dash of weird. “Shucked” by Adrian Joyce will likely keep cyberpunk fans grinning. What stuck with me about Joyce’s piece was its nod to those annoying email advertisements we all get, only in a far more futuristic setting; I don’t know if anything has been done like this before, and if not, well, kudos to Joyce. “The Festival of Tethselem” is a strange, but unique story that disrupts any notion of linear history. It’s hard to describe Butler’s piece without ruining it. There are a lot of interesting concepts running through “The Festival of Tethselem,” and the way things end up was not only a surprise, but pretty cool (in my book). “No Longer You,” was, to me, the weakest of the stories in this issue. Half the story is spent setting up the character, but, for me, I need that flash of something fantastic in the first page or so before I get bored. The result? I was bored until the end, when the fantastic elements started to come together and give me something more. “The Godfall’s Chemsong,” however, was an imperfect, but intriguing story that had a really interesting idea; I’d like to see Tolbert write more in this world, because I think there are more stories to tell. The Rest My favorite non-fiction section would have to be the movie and TV reviews by Nick Lowe and Tony Lee. Both are phenomenal at making reviews entertaining. They’re not just reviews, but little stories told through criticism. Both Lowe and Lee have unique review styles and I had a lot of fun reading through their biting remarks. I can’t say this is true of any other review section in any magazine. I rarely read the reviews in Realms of Fantasy or Analog (or any others I happen to get from time to time), but I know that I will always go to this section first when reading Interzone. Overall, Interzone #224 is a damn good set of stories and other goodies. I have to admit that I was surprised that I would enjoy it as much as I did. I am a picky reader, so the fact that I finished this issue in a couple days amidst all my other duties as a graduate student should indicate how good the magazine is. I suppose it helped that my first issue contained a story by Jason Sanford, who had earlier become one of my favorite short-form authors. We’ll see what happens with the next issue! For now, if you’d like to learn more about Interzone, head on over to their website. Subscriptions are actually quite reasonable and you should definitely give them a good look!