Interzone 233 A Nina Allan novella


Roy G
Oct 19, 2006
Cheshire, UK
Here's the link to the current issue with cover art from Richard Morgan and fiction:
The Silver Wind by Nina Allan illustrated by Ben Baldwin
Tell Me Everything by Chris Butler
Tethered to the Cold and Dying by Ray Cluley illustrated by Paul Drummond
Crosstown Traffic by Tim Lees illustrated by Russell Morgan
Mutant Popcorn has film reviews for Never Let me Go, I Am Number Four, Paul, The Green Hornet, Gulliver's Travels, Arthur and the Great Adventure, Hereafter, Season of the Witch, Drive Angry

The Windup Girl is one of the books reviewed and its author, Paolo Bacigalupi, is interviewed by Jim Steel
The issue will be out soon so don't miss it.
The March-April 2011 issue of the British SFF magazine hit my doormat recently. The review section is as informative as ever, this time featuring an interview by Jim Steel of Paolo Bacigalupi, whose first novel The Windup Girl has been steadily collecting awards. The review of the novel which accompanied this left me somewhat unconvinced as to whether I would read it, though - I have no enthusiasm for future dystopias, they seem all too likely to happen. Among the other book reviews, The Hammer by K.J. Parker caught my eye. I've not read any of her books, but the description of her writing in general and this work in particular is enough to put it on my (long) shopping list.

The film and DVD releases section also had me reaching for my notepad. Too soon for the failed but intriguing BBC TV serial Outcasts to feature here (the reviewers wait until the DVDs are on sale), but the film Skyline sounds promising, as does a DVD release of a 2002 British film, The Gathering. The film Never Let Me Go has generated a lot of publicity but the plot summary doesn't appeal to me.

There are only four instead of the usual six short stories this time, since the first one is a novella by Nina Allen, accompanied by a column describing her impressively varied work.

The Silver Wind, by Nina Allen (illustrated by Ben Baldwin). A future in which Britain has elected a right-wing government, resulting in the formation of a police state and the ejection of all non-whites from the country. This is the kind of depressing scenario which doesn't appeal to me and usually sets up a "brave defiance by principled hero" plot, but this author handles it in a more subtle and intriguing fashion. She focuses on a conformist property agent who doesn't question the status quo (it all happened long ago) but who becomes fascinated by the history of a clock made by a talented dwarf, Owen Andrews. He manages to locate and visit Andrews in a remote part of London, separated by a new and dangerously inhabited forest from the main city, and learns of experiments concerning time which are taking place in an old hospital nearby, and their sometimes horrific results. He is captured after becoming lost in the forest and is taken to the hospital, where he finds that there is an alternative to the existing paradigm. An engaging story.

Tell Me Everything by Chris Butler. An alternative Earth in which everyone constantly emits clouds of spores which can be detected by other people nearby and allows them to assess each other's status and mood; effectively not unlike telepathy. A police detective trying to solve a difficult case finds a use for a man suffering from a rare affliction: he emits no spores at all.

Tethered to the Cold and Dying by Ray Cluley (illustrated by Paul Drummond). Two survivors on an almost deserted station on a frozen world are surprised by the arrival of a stranger with a story to tell. This prompts one of them to go on a cross-country hike to find the space elevator which is said to be still functioning, in an attempt to escape their isolation.

Crosstown Traffic by Tim Lees (illustrated by Russell Morgan). Various different alien races live alongside humans on Earth. The story features a young human employed by an alien to to take a valuable package across town; one which attracts a great deal of attention on the way, with a surprising outcome.

Nina Allen's story is certainly the stand-out one from this group, I enjoyed her fantastical take on an unpromising scenario.

(An extract from my SFF blog)
I enjoyed this issue a good deal, thanks, especially the Nina Allan and Chris Butler entries.

The Silver Wind felt like a distillation of a much longer piece, but the story as it stood was fascinating, the characters well-drawn, particularly Owen Andrews. What was frightening for me was that I recognised parts of the housing estate where I used to live in the story, especially the army appropriating country estates for missions of weirdness.

Tell Me Everything had a deceptively muted quality which Mr Butler tore inside out in a visceral and emotional moment that left me reeling. That one would make a great podcast.

@anthony. I've watched Skyline and can recommend it, though it has its faults, particularly some ropey acting. But the ending is very, very effective and overall it's hugely enjoyable. Not sure if it was this issue of Interzone that reviewed Cargo, but I'd recommend that one too.

I was also quite intrigued by the review of The Hammer, which I've added to my pickup list. There seems to be a little too much hype around The WindUp Girl, so it's now on my avoid list.
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