Fadzlishah Johanabas. Songbird. (Interzone #257, Mar-Apr 2015)

interzone257An author new to me, and a story that bodes well for seeing more from him.

It’s set in a near-future Malaysia, acid-rain in the cities, some hi-tech owned by the haves, and not by the have-nots. The focus of the story is a young woman, who we soon find is the songbird of the title, held captive in a lab, which chemicals being pumped into her, which cause her sing, and which enable her captors to create powerful drugs based on the emotions she is feeling.

The story progresses through episodes in her captivity, as different emotions are drawn from her, and from other scenes in what we realise must have been her life before/after capture, and the story builds to a climax for both story arcs, in a story that marks out Johanabas as someone who can handle both plot, science and character.

More from this issue here.

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