Interzone 224; Mythago Wood's 25th anniversary

plus we a first timer/first publication anywhere in Adrian Joyce, he describes his story, entitled Shucked, as "...a geeked-out comic horror story about unsolicited e-mail, homicidal kitchen appliances, a demonic hound and the abuse of petrol-station Cornish pasties."
Adrian told his contemporaries on Manchester University's MA in Creative Writing he was "hugely encouraged" by the acceptance of a story he wrote as part of the course.

Out now and we have a new overseas distributor so if you see the issue beyond Europe let us know and at what price please. Whether this continues depends on sales.

Cover art is by Adam Tredowski

Fiction is
Sublimation Angels by Jason Sanford

illustrated by Paul Drummond

No Longer You by Katherine Sparrow & Rachel Swirsky

illustrated by Mark Pexton

Shucked by Adrian Joyce
illustrated by Dave Senecal

The Godfall's Chemsong by Jeremiah Tolbert
illustrated by Martin Bland

The Festival of Tethselem by Chris Butler
illustrated by Martin Bland

Ansible Link by David Langford
Book Zone by Jim Steel and the team
book reviews including Avilion by Robert Holdstock (review and interview by Sandy Auden, including a chance to win this book plus the 25th anniversary edition of Mythago Wood), Burn Me Deadly by Alex Bledsoe (reviewed by Ian Hunter), Mistaking the Nature of the Posthuman by Steve Sneyd (reviewed by Paul Graham Raven), In Ashes Lie by Marie Brennan (reviewed by Iain Emsley), Starcombing by David Langford (reviewed by Ian Sales), Ravensoul by James Barclay (reviewed by Sandy Auden), Moxyland by Lauren Beukes (reviewed by John Howard), Nine Gates by Jane Lindskold (reviewed by Vikki Green)
Mutant Popcorn by Nick Lowe
film reviews including The Time Traveler's Wife, Moon, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, GI Joe, G-Force, Ice Age 3, Land of the Lost, Aliens in the Attic
Laser Fodder by Tony Lee
DVD and Blu-ray reviews including Stargate Atlantis Season Five, Outlander, Dollhouse Season One, Dragonball Evolution, Push, Man in the Moon, Watchmen Director's Cut, Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus 98
The September-October issue of this British SF magazine contains a departure from normal practice; instead of six short stories, there is one novella and four others.

The novella is Sublimation Angels by Jason Sandford, who has previously had a couple of well-liked, intriguing and rather weird short stories published in Interzone. This one is set in a distant, star-travelling future when humanity is largely managed by its AIs. The Aurals, incorporeal but powerful beings of light and energy, have been discovered but have refused to communicate except to a small group of explorers sent to occupy a remote planet in which the atmosphere has been frozen into solid form. Over the generations, the explorers revert to a primitive existence, always short of air (which has to be sublimated from its frozen state) and of warmth. The story focuses on the lives of some of these explorers and their relationship with the Aurals.

I was strongly reminded of Fritz Leiber's short story A Pail of Air which Sanford acknowledges in his dedication. This is set on a frozen Earth which has become detached from the Sun and despatched into interstellar space. The survivors, living underground, are forced to don spacesuits and venture onto the surface to scoop up buckets of frozen air to take back inside. Sublimation Angels is a well-written and involving tale, although I suspect that Leiber's much simpler but visceral and gritty story of survival will stay with me for longer.

No Longer You by Katherine Sparrow & Rachel Swirsky concerns a relationship in which the woman has a far more than singular interest in the man…a strange tale of multiple personalities.

Shucked by Adrian Joyce is a surreal horror story about the spirit of a demonic hound able to absorb and animate people – and even a coffee machine (that explains a lot…).

The Godfall's Chemsong by Jeremiah Tolbert is set on a planet among intelligent aliens who live on the seabed, communicating by scent – "chemsong" – and living off "godfall"; bodies which fall from above. Surely the first time that humans have featured in a story solely as carrion.

The Festival of Tethselem by Chris Butler initially has what appears to be a traditional plot in which a pair of thieves visit a planet to steal a sacred statue, only to discover that the statue has some very peculiar properties indeed, providing an unexpected ending.

Illustrations are by Adam Tredowski with an atmospheric cover of a landscape full of alien structures (I like that sort of thing – it reminds me of what first drew me to SF), with Paul Drummond, Mark Pexton, Dave Senecal and Martin Bland illustrating the stories.

Other features include an interview with Robert Holdstock focusing on his new book, Avilion. I must get this one as it is a sequel to Mythago Wood, the eerie tale of ancient wood magic which made a strong impression on me when I read it a couple of decades ago. There are several other book reviews as well as the usual emphasis on recent films and TV programmes. In the news section, I was sorry to hear of the death of Paul O. Williams (no relation – as far as I know) an academic who published the impressive seven-book Pelbar Cycle in the early 1980s, a complex tale set in a far-future USA which has reverted to a more primitive level of existence. I still have my set to re-read sometime.

(An extract from my SFF blog)
Hi Chris, nice of you to drop in here. I can only repeat Tethselem was superb and I hope to read more of your work in the near future.
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