Nina Allan. The Silver Wind.
A near-future dystopian London is the setting for the story (I’m working on the basis that you aren’t a neo-fascist racist xenophobe brownshirt, in which case it would be a utopian story). Whilst Shooter’s Hill in London has been returned to the dense woodland of its past, in it lurks a dark secret.
The protagonist (who evidently appeared in an issue in Interzone’s sister magazine Black Static a couple of issues back) comes across a clock, and the story behind it suggests that the time piece could be a means of turning back the clock on his recent widowhood. A conversation with the clockmaker explains more about what is happening in the woods, and whilst time can not be turned back like the hands on a clock, it is more malleable than might appear, as he finds out.
The narrator’s perspective is handled well, and Allan has the good sense not to make it a happy-ever-after story, in a story that has an intriguing setting and leaves the reader wondering about what happens next.
Chris Butler. Tell Me Everything.
A short piece set in a society where pheromones are the primary means of interpersonal understanding, with facial expressions and body language no longer understood.
In this society, a policeman with suspicions over who was at faulty for his wife’s death, uses a man evidently incapable of producing pheromones in his subtle plan to unmask/unman his primary suspect.
Ray Cluley. Tethered to the Old and Dying.
Claustrophobic tension on an Earth struggling through a nuclear winter. One of the few survivors is given an opportunity to leave the scientific base where his has only one companion – a risky journey to a nearby space elevator. We follow him as he makes his space-suited journey across the irradiated grey wastelands, and the tension builds as he finds out more about the visitor who gave him the tip-off to make the journey.
Tim Lees. Crosstown Traffic.
A simple courier job – take package across New York in a cab and deliver it.
However, it’s a New York post-alien visitation, with strange Pafs to be negotiated, talking dogs, and dinosaurs. Worse still, the slightly untrustworthy courier gets a sight of what is in the package he’s carrying (think Arnold Schwarzenneger removing the tracking device through his nose in ‘Total Recall’ only much worse, and organic). However, he doesn’t make life easier for himself by deciding to save the cab fare he’s given, and going by public transport.
It’s a well observed story, with a likeably incompetent protagonist, in the same milieu as Lees’ ‘The Corner of the Circle’ from Interzone #218.
Four good stories in this issue.