L.S. Johnson. The Pursuit of the Whole is Called Love.
A clever, dark urban fantasy, more of a Black Static than an Interzone for my money, but heigho. Jess and Cam are a strange alien duo in human form, the other half being very much their modus operandi as they chop and change role and genders, in the pursuit of love, carnality, and wholeness.
Philip Suggars. Automatic Diamante.
Clever story written through the eyes/lenses of an instantiated AI, undergoing, of all things, treatment for the AI equivalent of PTSD. The AI has some interesting observations of those observing it, and there are a couple of neat touches.
Jacob A. Boyd. Just As Good.
Interesting conceit – aliens have landed on Earth and have introduced an arbitrary programme of exchange. A knock on the door can herald a visit from an alien with a human ‘assistant’, and after that visit there will have been some exchange of property… or of people. A young girl finds her life increasingly disrupted as some exchanges, such as her mother’s old Lay Z Boy settee being exchange for some other furnishings, are ok to live with, but when her mother herself is swopped out….
V.H. Leslie. The Cloud Cartographer.
Leslie creates a setting that is strongly visual – a dense layer of cloud-like material has settled over the Earth. Ahren is a cartographer, on the surface of the clouds, attempting to map the malleable, changeable landscape. And it’s his inner landscape, his mind, occasionally playing tricks on him, which the story explores, as his solitude is finally broken…
Rebecca Schwarz. Futile the Winds.
The final struggles of a couple trying to settle on an inhospitable alien planet are seen, as one finally achieves success in botanic research, but at the ultimate cost to herself. It’s ok, but doesn’t break any new ground.
Russ Colson. The Frog King’s Daughter.
A modern fairytale, in which greed and jealously lead to the frogination of a CEO, who must, ribbit, overcome his somewhat reduced circumstances, ribbit, to look after his interests. Whizzes through quickly, with a reading age of about 9 by my reckoning, so some 44 years a bit too late for me to get full enjoyment. Ribbit.