Interzone, Number 155, May 2000

H.M.S. Habbakuk. Eugene Byrne.

Alternate History, with an aircraft carrier made of ‘pykrete’ turning the tide of war in the Atlantic against the u-boats. Cameron is on board to interrogate submariners plucked from the sea, and too keep an eye on an officer who has been passing information on to the soviets.

The A.H. elements are fairly minimal (if you exclude the massive bulk of the Bakkakuk) without which you have a bog standard nautical tale – one which rather forgets about the interrogation of the German u-boat commander with which the story started.

Singing Each to Each. Paul di Filippo.

A retired teacher, a postcard collector, is yearning for the beautiful mermaid whose photograph adorns one card. He heads for a small town near Rhode Island, the origin of the card.

He finds the beautiful mermaid, after a fashion, but as you might guess, the reality is not the same as the dream.

We all saw it. Matt Coward.

Five college students on an alcohol and drug-fuelled trip, see a U.F.O. Their reactions, both initial and over a period of years as they mostly drift apart, are explored in a heartfelt and accurately observed tale.

The Cone. Zoran Zivkovic.

Another shortish short along similar lines to others in this series. A man visits a remote mountain peak on a daily basis, until he meets on that peak an Elderly Stranger who relates how when younger he too visited the peak….

Dream of Rain. Judith Berman.

Well wrought fantasy, quite possibly very close to the native North American reality which the author points to as inspiration.

Anthropological fantasy, as opposed to Tolkien/Robert E. Howard fusion fantasy: not an orc nor a bulging bicep in sight, nor either a Le Guinian lesbian/gender reversal, which makes a nice change.

Young Crow comes into womanhood (ok, a bit of a cliché there) as her uncle dies and the threat of revenge is in the air. The gods, the forces of nature, in particular the Storm God, make it difficult for Crow to weave the cloak for her father which will mark her rite of passage.

Also

  • Letters and David Langford’s Ansible Link, as usual
  • Nick Gevers interviews Paul Di Filippo
  • Gary Westfahl ponders ‘What is a science fiction magazine? And why on Earth are they still around?’
  • David Mathew reviews the BBC’s Gormenghast and Channel 5’s post-apocalyptic The Tribe
  • Tom Arden reviews Cina Meiville’s hobbit-free fantasy Perdido Street Station, David Ambrose’s sf thriller The Discrete Charm of Charlie Monk, A.D. Harvey’s Warriors of the Rainbow and Frank Tallis’s Sensing Others
  • Chris Gilmore reviews the translated Portugese collection Sinning in Sevens, Paul Feval’s Stableford-translated Vampire City, E.C. Tubbs The Sleeping City, and Darrell Schweitzer’s We are All Legends and Necromancies and Netherworlds
  • David Mathew reviews Brian Aldiss and Roger Penrose’s White Mars, Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter’s The Light of Other Days, a new edition of Ted Hughes’ The Iron Man entitled The Iron Giant to tie in with the movie of the same name, and David Garnett’s Bikini Planet
  • Tim Robins reviews John Kenneth Muir’s A Critical History of Doctor Who on Television, and Kurt Lancaster’s Warlocks and Warpdrive: Contemporary Fantasy Entertainments with Interactive and Virtual Environments
  • Books Received listing

Conclusion

Byrne’s HMS Habakkuk is an interesting Alternate History of a sort (the story could be a straight WWII tale with only 2 minutes editing in Word), Paul Di Filippo’s mermaid tail isn’t as different to other mermaid tails as you might expect from him, and new-to-Interzone writers Mat Coward and Judith Berman are the pick up the bunch.

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