Jim Hawkins. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark Matter. (Interzone #229, Jul-Aug 2010)

One of the strongest stories in IZ over recent issues, and one I can see being atop the Readers’ Poll for 2010.

An interstellar spaceship has an orchestra on board, who entertain the locals on planetfall. However, these musicians are genmod undercover government agents, doing the work of their bosses to achieve regime change, and interfering subtly, or not so subtly, in local politics.

The story is told from two perspectives, both members of the orchestra, and both vibrant characters full of vim and vigour and a taste for the opposite sex. There’s some wry humour which non-Brits will miss (not sure how well OMD are known outside of the UK!), some VR, some sex, swearing, action and drama. A good story, sez I.

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