Interzones 218 and 219

Aliette de Bodard provides fiction from France and reader poll winner Mercurio D. Rivera has a new story in this issue.
Upthread is a link to the cover art: a digital, colorized version of an original painting by Kenn Brown of Mondolithic Studio called The Traveler.

Fiction:

Everything That Matters by Jeff Spock
illustrated by Kenn Brown

When Thorns Are The Tips Of Trees by Jason Sanford who gave us "The Ships Like Clouds, Risen By Their Rain" two issues back. (217)
illustrated by Vincent Chong

The Shenu by Alexander Marsh Freed

The Fifth Zhi by Mercurio D. Rivera
illustrated by Paul Drummond

The Country Of The Young by Gord Sellar
illustrated by Daniel Bristow-Bailey

Butterfly, Falling At Dawn by Aliette de Bodard
illustrated by Paul Drummond

Features:

Editorial: Hope Springs Eternal
Ansible Link by David Langford: news, obituaries
Book Zone: book reviews, Tim Lebbon interview, competitions
Laser Fodder by Tony Lee: DVD reviews and competitions
Mutant Popcorn by Nick Lowe: film reviews
 
The welcome arrival of the December issue of the British news, reviews and short-story SFF mag. To cut to the chase – the short stories:

Everything That Matters by Jeff Spock (illustrated by Kenn Brown, who also did the cover): a traditional SF thriller about hunting for alien treasure in the oceans of another planet, humans adapted by surgery to breathe underwater, murderous 25 metre long sharks, and revenge. Great stuff!

When Thorns are the Tips of Trees by Jason Sanford (illustrated by Vincent Chong): a much stranger tale about a highly contagious virus which causes people to turn into trees which are still capable of communication. This one, like his earlier surreal story The Ships Like Clouds, Risen by Their Rain (Interzone 217) is likely to stick in the memory.

The Shenu by Alexander Marsh Freed: people surviving in a world full of superstition – or is it magic?

The Fifth Zhi by Mercurio D. Rivera (illustrated by Paul Drummond): disposable clones sent to rid the world of a vast alien growth which penetrates the planet.

The Country of the Young by Gord Sellar (illustrated by Daniel Bristow-Bailey): explores some of the problems of eternal life – and of not having it when you are surrounded by the forever young.

Butterfly, Falling at Dawn by Aliette De Bodard (illustrated by Paul Drummond): another story in the author's alternative world in which North America is shared with Chinese and Mexica (Aztec) nations, following The Lost Xuyan Bride in Interzone 213. Detective work amid clashes between strange cultures. I'm looking forward to future stories in this world, and eventually an anthology, please!

One of the films reviewed in the magazine is Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The first of the series, Raiders of the Lost Ark (which has become fixed in my mind as Riders of the Last Auk – I really should stop playing with words!) is one of my all-time favourite films. The series has inevitably become repetitive, since the plots are all about the resourceful archaeologist's trips to strange places to make exotic discoveries (with equally exotic dangers involving deadly creatures, lots of chases and fighting thrown in), and the sequels are not as good as the original. I recently got around to watching Crystal Skull, in which the plot is stretched to include the Area 51/Roswell/alien fantasy world, which does it no favours as it adds a further level of disbelief. However, it is still an entertaining couple of hours with some laugh-out-loud moments.

It seems that I liked the new Indiana Jones movie more than Interzone's reviewer did, but we changed places in our opinions of Lost in Austen, the ITV serial about a modern girl – a Jane Austen fan – who finds herself transported to the world of Austen's 'Pride & Prejudice'. I gave up part way through the second episode, for two reasons: first, the humour – in fact, the plot in general – was based around a series of embarrassing situations, the kind which make me cringe rather than laugh. Secondly, I simply didn't like the heroine. I do need to be able to empathise to at least some degree with the principal character if I am to enjoy any story (on screen or in print) and I just couldn't do it. Maybe it's a generational thing.

(an extract from my SFF blog)
 
Now you have Tony's review of IZ 219 you obviously want to get a copy for yourself. I can reveal that e book versions of both IZ 218 and 219 are now available from Fictionwise. They were a little late going up but they are there now and ready to download along with issues 211 to 217, Black Statics 1 - 6 Crimewaves 9 & 10 and TTA's first published novel; Andrew Humphrey's Alison.
 
Interzone 218 was the Chris Beckett special celebrating the publication of his collection of short stories The Turing Test and his new novel Marcher. Most of The Turing Test's content first appeared in Interzone and this month some good news for Chris Beckett and Andrew Hook of Elastic Press was that the 2009 Edge Hill Short Story Prize shortlist has been announced and comprises
Chris Beckett..........The Turing Test..........................Elastic Press

Gerard Donovan.........Country of the Grand....................Faber

Anne Enright.............Yesterday’s Weather.....................Random House

Shena Mackay..........The Atmospheric Railway................Random House

Ali Smith..................The First Person and Other Stories...Hamish Hamilton

James Walton, Chair of the judges, commented:
‘I'm delighted to be judging the Edge Hill Short Story Prize, especially at a time when short stories are making such a comeback - as you can see from all the distinguished writers on the shortlist.’

Ailsa Cox, Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University, commented:
‘We're thrilled by the range and quality of the shortlist. Some of these names are already familiar from the Booker and the Orange Prize, while others are newer discoveries. Not many prizes put a science fiction author from a small press alongside the literary heavyweights! I'm especially pleased that there's so much humour in the writing - another great year for the prize.’

The winning author will be presented with the £5,000 prize at the Bluecoat, Liverpool on 4 July.

The second prize winner and the readers’ prize will also receive £1,000 each. The readers’ prize is judged primarily by Get into Reading, an organisation that gives people who might not normally think of joining a reading group a chance to enjoy stories and poems together.

This year’s judges are James Walton, journalist and chair of BBC Radio 4’s The Write Stuff; Claire Keegan, last year’s winner of the Prize and Mark Flinn, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Edge Hill University.

The annual prize, which was launched by Edge Hill University three years ago, is the only competition in the UK for the best short story collection by a single author. The prize is co-sponsored by Blackwell bookshop. 372
Both publisher and author are in exalted company so well done Chris and Andrew; and IZ.
 
Interzone regular Chris Beckett won the 2009 Edge Hill Short Story Prize and the associated reader prize for his collection “The Turing Test”. Chris was in competition with established literary exponents of the short story such as Booker winner Anne Enright, who came second, and Ali Smith. Many congratulations to Chris on a well-deserved victory and Andrew Hook of Elastic Press who had Faber, Random House and Hamish Hamilton as opposition.

Short notice but the winner will do a reading at the Blue Coat in Liverpool between 12 noon and 2 pm later today, Sunday 5th July

2 hours, 2 readings, by 2 winners; this year's - Chris - and last year's - Claire Keegan. With an interval and a bar. 437

TTA re-published the interview from the Chris Beckett special issue of Interzone (#218, Oct/Nov 2008) at:
TTA Press - Interzone: Science Fiction & Fantasy - Congratulations to Chris Beckett
 

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The reader prize was based on one of the collection’s stories that originally appeared in Asimov’s SF Magazine; ‘We could be Sisters’ from Oct/Nov 2004.

The Reader prize is given by the Get Into Reading charity. Its member panel read aloud one story from each Edge Hill shortlisted collection with no knowledge of author or source and then vote for their favourite.462
 
The Short Review does Chris Beckett proud..

Tania Hershman reviews The Turing Test
Chris Beckett's award-winning short story collection is bursting with imagination, enough to fill ten books, and once you read it, you may never be content to read anything "realist" again. 519
.. and talks to Edge Hill Prize Winner Chris Beckett about his 20-year relationship with Interzone magazine.

and the second of two interviews all in the August edition of the Short Review. A website devoted to reviewing anthologies and collections.
 
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