Interzone Number 171, September 2001

The Frankenberg Process. Eric Brown.

Shades of ‘Think Like a Dinosaur’, in that the Frankenberg Process is one which ‘translates’ copies of scientists off-Earth. However, the translation puts ‘copies’ of those scientists on planets far from Earth, leaving the originals to carry on.

In a militaristic future, Freeman (none too subtle a name!) has the opportunity to step up to Director of his magma production plant, the previous Director having passed secrets on to the East.

With promotion comes translation, and his copy is sent to Beta Hyrdi 5 aka Brightwell. ‘He’ finds life on the planet less than appealing, and becomes desperate to return home. Can his friend, Doug, offer a way back to Earth?

The ending sees Freeman come face to face with ‘himself’ – with the Earth/original Freeman guilty by association following the Brightwell/copy Freeman’s actions. Can one survive?

A rather melodramatic ending, but otherwise enjoyable without reaching the heights the issues in the story could have offered.

Wind Angels. Leigh Kennedy.

Post eco-disaster, with rising waters pushing a community further and further up the valley. The day to day drudgery is seen through the eyes of Colina, hurting from the death of her lover. Another man attempts to find a way to get close to her.

Nicely told vignette. although not really adding much to the body of literature on this topic.

The Fire. Zoran Zivkovic.

The Serbian writer returns with another series of short stories. The previous sequence of his hinged around ‘impossible encounters’. This series revolves around ‘Seven Touches of Music’. So in this first one we have a woman with a dream/premonition in which music plays a part.

Gregory Benford. Three Gods.

Alpha, Beta and Gamma undertake a challenge to create a world from basic elements. Their different approaches to creation have to struggle to succeed.

Junk Male. James Lovegrove.

Neat satire on the Readers Digest mass-mailing horrors, with Nigel Cunliffe bombarded by AI-controlled ‘personalised’ sales pitches. Absolutely correct, down to the unfortunate mis-spelling from one ad in which he is referred to as Nigel Cuntliffe.

Meeting the Relatives. Ruaridh Pringle.

Pringle appears with another story in the same idiosyncratic vein as his previous story (Surfers, Interzone 164). Better than that first story, nanotech ‘megabug’ nastiness threatens Dr. Steadman, who undergoes the not particularly pleasant process of being disassembled atom by atom. However, the story continues after that point, and entertainingly so.

Other stuff

  • Adam Roberts is interviewed by Nick Gevers
  • Nick Lowe reviews ‘Lara Croft: Tomb Raider’, ‘Shrek’ and ‘Evolution’
  • David Langford’s Ansible Link
  • Tim Robins cringes through BBC TVs ‘Space’
  • The letters page takes up more space than usual, most of it sticking the boot into critic Evelyn Lewes
  • Nick Gevers reviews David Zindell’s ‘The Lightstone’ at length
  • Iain Emsley reviews Storm Constantine’s ‘Way of Light’, Jacqueline CArey’s ‘Kushiel’s Dart’, and Jessica Rydill’s ‘Children of the Shaman’
  • Tim Robins reviews Kurt Lancaster and Tom Mikowicz’s ‘Performing the Force: Essasys on immersion into Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Environments’ and Daniel Mackay’s ‘The Fantasy Role-Playing Game: a New Performing Art’, and Tom Shippey’s ‘JRR Tolkien: Author of the Century’
  • Nigel Brown reviews Joe Russo etal’s ‘Planet of the Apes Revisited’

Conclusion.

Brown and Kennedy provide good fiction, Lovegrove and Pringle entertain, Benford and Zivkovic are so-so.

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