Interzone, Number 151, January 2000

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Ravenbrand. Michael Moorcock.

Interzone enters the Millennium with a Michael Moorcock special issue, marking the 60th birthday of one of the key figures of the British New Wave of SF. The lengthy fiction from him is a tantalising teaser from a forthcoming novel: ‘The Dreamthief’s Daughter’.

Ulric, Graf von Beck, is a German nobleman, last in the line, cursed with the family albinism.

In the 1930s, as the Nazis rise to power, a family heirloom, the sword Ravenbrand, and a stranger-still relic, come to their attention. Ulric resists their claims for both, and suffers terribly in a concentration camp before a strange, powerful alter-ego enables him to flee, with the aid of one Captain Oswald Bastable. The extracts ends on a cliffhanger.

Furniture. Michael Moorcock.

A shorter story, which first appeared on BBC Radio. The setting is war-torn London, with a victim of the blitz grateful for the build quality of the furniture under which she awaits rescue, the house around her a pile of rubble.

The Tambourine Effect. David Garnett.

Interspersed with lurid headlines from the more tabloidical newspapers, Garnett provides several short cameos of London as she is now.

Balthazar’s Demon. Sarah Singleton.

A company are following the star the Bethlehem, the party including the young boy Kumar, and Balthazar, afflicted mortally by demons.

They find the infant, born to be King of the Jews, and attempt to buy him, as Kumar himself was bought. Taking more drastic action, Balthazar’s demonic possession rescues the infant.

The Unthinkables. Liz Williams

Ghiru, first of the clan, is concerned at his sister Hassia’s disappearance. He follows her into the city of the Unthinkables, and finds that he has been used to set up an infection in the thought-processes of this powerful race.

Puts a lot of ideas, cultures, races and names into a slightly too short a space.

Other Stuff

  • The Fictionmag Rants – extensive extracts from MM’s postings to an Internet discussion list set up to discuss the history of fiction magazines
  • David Langford’s Ansible Link
  • Nick Lowe’s Mutant Popcorn: reviewed – Sixth Sense, Blair Witch Project, John Carpenter’s Vampires, and Deep Blue Sea
  • Gary Westfahl ponders the nature of Christmas Films, putting forward It’s a Wonderful Life ahead of the sentimentality of A Christmas Carol
  • Tom Arden reviews William Gibson’s All Tomorrow’s Parties, Frank Tallis’s Killing Time, Peter S. Beagle’s The Magician of Karakosk and Other Stories, and Jack Cady’s The American Writer: Shaping a Nation’s Mind
  • David Mathew reviews Norman Spinrad’s Greenhouse Summer, Gene Wolfe’s On Blue’s Water, Brian STableford’s Architects of Emortality, and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House
  • Chris Gilmore reviews Darrell Schweitzer’s collection Refugees from an Imaginary Country, Charles Wilson’s Bios, Gill Alderman’s Lilith’s Castle, E.C. Tubb’s Death God’s Doom, and Michael Cosco’s The Divinity Student
  • Mike Ashley reviews S.T. Joshi and David E. Schultz’s Ambrose Bierce: an annotated bibliography of primary sources

Conclusion

The fiction is a little patchy, with a large proportion of the pages used by the novel extract from Michael Moorcock, and consequently not much room for anything else of length. The other short stories are fine in as far as they go, but they don’t go that far.

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