Interzone 245 - with a Jim Burns cover.


Roy G
Oct 19, 2006
Cheshire, UK

The Animator by Chris Butler
illustrated by Ben Badlwin

Mr Jackson’s studio nestled in the northwest sector of Autumn City, in an area known for its jewellers and clothing emporiums. The streets outside buzzed with hectic activity, the clatter of cycles and rickshaws, street sellers calling, all through the daylight hours, while we laboured quietly inside.

Hypermnemonic by Melanie Tem
illustrated by David Gentry

“I remember every single thing about you,” I said to your father as planned.
“Is that so?” His voice still smelled gamey, like venison roasted rare.
Deer meat. Of course you wouldn’t know that smell. Wild, dark, bloody. Barely done being part of one life force before being appropriated for another one.

The International Studbook of the Giant Panda by Carlos Hernandez
illustrated by Martin Hanford

It’s a cool Pacific-coast morning when I pull up to the gate of the American Panda Mission’s campus. Security is tight: two guards cradling M-16s and girdled in kevlar ask me what I am doing here.

Paskutinis Iliuzija (The Last Illusion) by Damien Walters Grintalis
illustrated by Dave Senecal

Andrius Kavalauskas, the last magician of Lithuania, closed the door and rested his head against the wood as the nurse’s footsteps faded away. He smelled cabbage and pork cooking from the apartment across the hallway and knew that in a few hours he would find a plate of food sitting by his door. Daina was a good neighbor. A good friend.

The Face Tree by Antony Mann
illustrated by Martin Hanford

[FONT=&quot] It was spring, the time of new growth, and the leaves on the trees were pushing out from the axils, tight rolls of green waiting to unfurl. Davison had stopped at The Prince of Wales on his way back from the city, sitting on his own in the corner, reading the paper and glancing at the crossword while he sipped on his pint and let the quiet soak into him. It had been another crappy morning. Business was slow. He was getting so little money now from the walking tours that soon he would be forced back into teaching English to the foreigners. Something was keeping the tourists away. Maybe it was the downturn, or maybe it was just him.

[/FONT]plus the usual book and film reviews [FONT=&quot]
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The interview in this issue of the magazine is with Paul Cornell, previously noted for writing Doctor Who novels. This is accompanied by a review of his new novel, London Falling, concerning detectives operating in an alternative London in which the supernatural exists. I love alternative London stories and have a range of them already: Christopher Fowler's Roofworld, Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, China Miéville's Un Lun Dun, and also Miéville's Kraken which is on my reading pile. So I have ordered Cornell's book and also Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch, which was mentioned in the review. Lots to look forward to.

The film and DVD reviews feature Cloud Atlas which I am still in two minds about adding to my rental list (general conclusion: strange and difficult, but worth it), and also include generally favourable reviews of Skyfall, Neverland and Looper among others.

Five stories this time, but no fewer than three of them are novelettes:

The Animator by Chris Butler, novelette illustrated by Ben Baldwin. This is the second story set in his strange alternative Earth to be published in Interzone (the first being in issue 233). It is a world 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. In this story, a young man is trying to make his fortune by developing a light projector for entertainment - but there are risks in introducing a new technology in a restrictive society with a vaguely steampunk feel.

Hypermnemonic by Melanie Tem, illustrated by David Gentry. A strange tale about a woman whose brain has been modified to give her an intense recall of events, sent to confront a man she once had an affair with. Atmospheric, but confusing and with a rather gothic conclusion.

The International Studbook of the Giant Panda by Carlos Hernandez, novelette illustrated by Richard Wagner. We all know that giant pandas have problems with mating, so in this story there's a hi-tech but controversial solution; remotely-controlled animatronic pandas to help things along. Put like that it sounds bizarre, but I found it intriguing and entertaining.

Paskutinis Iliuzija (The Last Illusion) by Damien Walters Grintalis, illustrated by Dave Senecal. The last magician in Lithuania is under constant threat after the invasion by the Soviet Union, but needs to help his sick daughter. A sad, bittersweet tale.

The Face Tree by Anthony Mann, novelette illustrated by Martin Hanford. What appear to be carved wooden faces are found protruding from tree-trunks around present day Oxford. A man who lives a pointless, drifting existence meets a mysterious woman who seems to have some connection with them.

A good selection this time, all of them worth reading. My favourite is Hernandez' story about the giant pandas.

Finally, I was sad to read in the R.I.P. section that Charles Chilton has died. I wrote about him in my review of Interzone 235 in July 2011, as follows:

"A blast from the past in David Langford's Ansible Link column in the July/August issue of this magazine: at the British Library's Out of This World SF exhibition he met 93-year-old Charles Chilton. I well remember listening to his exciting Journey into Space radio drama series in the 1950s - probably my first introduction to SF - and I still have an ancient copy of his novel The World in Peril on my shelf. I see from Wiki (which has a very informative entry) that Journey into Space was the last radio programme in the UK to attract a bigger audience than television and was translated into seventeen languages. It is apparently available on CD and internet download. It will have very little merit by modern SF standards but the sheer nostalgia value is huge!"

(An extract from my SFF blog:
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