A 20th Anniversary issue, with Guest Editors Nick Gevers and Keith Brooke of the InfinityPlus website.
Michael Swanwick. Five British Dinosaurs.
Swanwick at his gently humorous best, with five alternate-takes on dinosaurs and Victorian England, including a quite civilized chap (as illustrated) who finds the base characterizations of his species quite beyond the pale. Top hole.
Paul Park. If Lions Could Speak: Imagining the Alien.
The author has a quasi-autobiographical philosophical muse on the difficulties in taking an alien perspective.
Mark Roberts and Neil Williamson. Sins of the Father.
A jungle denoument, almost of Lucius Shepard milieu, in which a son has followed a trail which has led him to a heightened state of consciousness amid the steaming fronds. Is the darkness from which he has escaped an external or internal darkness?
Paul Di Filippo. What Goes Up A Chimney? Smoke!
As with Swanwick’s story, a slightly skewed take on scientific experimentation in which mice are being used to explore quantum telepathy. (Presumably Prof Schrodinger’s cat is safely locked up to prevent it chasing them).
Faced with a boss out to get him, Josh finds a solution to the threat of the plug being pulled on his experiments in the shapely shape of twin sisters living nearby. If he can only….
His experiment succeeds beyond his wildest dreams (perhaps living up to his wildest dreams!) as the twins thought-processes do work together, and the power that they thus have is put to good use (and in specific areas).
And they all live happily ever after. (Hmm, in the excellent ‘Babylon Sisters’ in Interzone last year, there were chimeric sisters whom provided an -ahem- ‘love interest’. In wonder just how deep this fascination for troilism goes with the author?)
Brian Stableford. Tread Softly.
A turn of the century horror story in which a carpet from the Indies does indeed prove to offer special powers to work with the dreams of the owner. But as you might expect, there is a price to pay.
James Lovegrove. The Head.
A mirror-image: mechanical beings surrounded by organic furniture, buildings and so forth. The latest craze: an organic ‘head’ with eyes, nose, mouth and lungs. Whatever next!
- Kim Stanley Robinson is interviewed by Nick Gevers
- David Langford’s Ansible Link
- Nick Lowe’s Mutant Popcorn film review column considers ‘Monsters Inc’, ‘Vanilla Sky’ and ‘Just Visiting’
- Peter D. Tillman’s provides a guide to SF on the Web
- David Langford’s Ansible Link (a second one!)
- John Grant reviews Greg Bear’s ‘Vitals’, Sheri S. Tepper’s ‘The Visitor’, and Alice Borchardt’s ‘The Dragon Queen’
- Nick Gevers reviews Matthew Hughe’s ‘Fools Errant’ and ‘Fool Me Twice’
- Randy M. Dannenfelser reviewed Dorothy Scarborough’s ‘The Supernatural in Modern English Fiction’, Tom Moylan’s ‘Scraps of the Untainted Sky’, and John Kenneth Muir’s ‘A Critical History of Doctor Who on Television’
- Stuart Carter reviews Paul Othwaite’s ‘Automatic Living’ / Josh Lacey reviews Douglas Copeland’s ‘All Families are Psychotic’, Lou Anders reviews Neil Gaiman’s ‘American Gods’
- Jeff VAnderMeer reviews Steve Aylett’s ‘Toxicology’
- Keith Brooke reviews Graham Joyce’s ‘Smoking Poppy’
An entertaining collection, if slightly lightweight due to the tone of three of the stories. Swanwick and Di Filippo are amusing, and Stableford and Lovegrove are well done without being exceptional, and the other stories are so-so.