Interzone Number 167, May 2001

Flickering. Ayerdhal.

Credit to Interzone for including yet more non-English SF, in this case a story from the French author who goes by the single name of Ayerdhal, and who evidently concentrates primarily on novels.

A far future, galaxy spanning war with the human side facing a seemingly intransigent race, the Batiques, virtually nothing of whom is known. An academic xenologist is brought in to help shed light on a most peculiar, and ghastly response to an ultimatum following a successful seige.

The brief Interzone bio suggests Ayerdhal’s work has been compared to Iain M. Banks, and this does feel like a boiled-down version of a Banks’ novel in many respects. Most enjoyable.

More, please.

A Connecticut Welshman at Artognov’s Court. Peter T. Garratt.

Hmmmm. Time travelling fare – long in the telling, short in the entertainment. Major point of interest – the illustration on page 21, which is quite possibly the worst illustration in a SF magazine I have *ever* seen – it looks like something out of a children’s story book. Eugh. And in an issue with an interview with legendary illustrator Frank Kelly Freas! For shame!

Self-portait, with Melanoma, Final Draft. Paul Park.

A story within a story within a story. Short in the telling, long in the entertainment.

Restoring the Balance. Tony Ballantyne.

Gaia fights back. To say more would be to risk spoiling this excellent eco-thriller(?) which really could only be improved by being longer.

Ascent of Man. Eric Brown.

Another short but perfectly well-formed story – unlike the characters therein, post-humans who are most definitely not well-formed. Effectively written and packs a punch.

Other Stuff.

  • Frank Kelly Freas, interviewed by Stan Nicholls
  • Nick Lowe ‘Mutant Popcorn’ column reviews the movies ‘Dungeons and Dragons’, and Sam Raimi’s ‘The Gift’
  • David Langford’s Ansible Link
  • Lisanne Norman interviewed by Pauline Morgan
  • Nick Gevers reviews Gene Wolfe’s ‘Return ot the Whorl’, Richard Paul Russo’s ‘Ship of Fools’, Tim Powers’ first collection ‘Night Moves’
  • Liz Williams reviews Jack Womack’s ‘Going, Going, Gone’, Linda Nagata’s ‘Limit of Vision’, Michael Moorcock’s ‘The Dreamthief’s Daughter’, Jack Haldeman’s ‘The Coming’
  • Paul Beardley reviews some Dr Who tapes (poor sod) and some tapes more suitable for grownups (Stephen King and a new audio magazine, Frequency – www.frequencypublishing.com)
  • Chris Gilmore reviews Tanith Lee’s ‘White as Snow’, Tom Arden’s ‘Sisterhood of the Blue Storm’, Lance Olsen’s ‘Freaknest’, and ‘Everyone Has Somebody in Heaven’

Conclusion.

With the exception of the somewhat pedestrian Peter T. Garratt an excellent range of stories. If you aren’t familiar with Interzone, try getting a hold of a copy.

I’ve mentioned the naff illustration on p21, and perhaps a mention of the covers. The letters page includes one contribution from a reader objecting to the lightly-clad woman on the cover of Interzone 166. This issue has (see above) a blonde babe in a figure-hugging outfit (this has the advantage over the previous issue of being considerably better executed). However, the back cover contains a full page ad for David Garnett’s ‘Space Wasters’ which is taken from the front cover. Now this illustration is downright offensive both in terms of being sub-mediocre artwork and damaging to SF (the cover shot on the Amazon.co.uk website doesn’t quite show it in sufficiently high resolution to make out the offensive female stereotype). ‘Don’t Miss This Class Act’, Michael Moorcock is quoted with regard to the book. Evidently the content of the book is far, far, far better than the cover. Orbit Books who published the book really ought to be ashamed.

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