Chris Butler. The Animator. (Interzone #245, Mar-Apr 2013)

interzone245Autumn City is pretty similar to cities in Europe in Victorian times, with the exception of the fact that people emit ‘spores’ that give an indication of their emotions. And due to this, those in power seeking to limit groupings of people in public, the better to maintain authority. Young Powell, in love with the Duke of Autumn’s daughter, is a struggling apprentice clockmaker, who believes his invention can give him the status that he needs to win her hand. However, the moving lantern he invents is perilously akin to that of the theatre, a perversion long banned.

The story sets up quite nicely, but rather ends with a whimper, with the issuing of spores being a Chekhov’s Gun which you want to play a key role in the denouement, but which doesn’t happen.

Plus two agents of the Duke follow Powell and his love discretely tsk, one of my least favourite typos…

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