Tag: Interzone

Interzone 226: Jay Lake, ‘Human Error’

Again, I find myself thinking: nearly there, but not quite. ‘Human Error’ is about three miners on a distant asteroid who chance upon an artefact which is apparently the product of non-human intelligences. Reporting such a  find will make the ‘rockheads’ fabulously wealthy — if they can only settle their differences first. The relationships are the core of Lake’s tale, and I appreciate what he’s aiming to portray (as summed up by the ironic pun in the story’s title); but I don’t tink he manages fully to capture the claustrophobic intensity of the situation.

Jay Lake’s website

Interzone 226: Mercurio D. Rivera, ‘In the Harsh Glow of Its Incandescent Beauty’

The solar system has been made inhabitable to huamns, thanks to the technology of the alien Wergens — and all they asked for in return was our time and cooperation, because the Wergens are simply infatuated with us. Covert experiments with Wergen DNA by Maxwell and Rossi produced a drug — a love potion in all but name — which was stolen by Rossi, who used it on Max’s wife, Miranda, before fleeing with her to a colony on Triton. And Now Max has travelled there to find his love and bring her home.

One of the interesting things about blogging Interzone in this way has been that it’s made me reflect on what makes a story good, or better than good. Take Mercurio Rivera’s piece, for example. I like it — which is not hard, as it’s a very likeable story — but have ended up with reserations about it nonetheless.

There are many things about the story which are good — it combines thrills, appropriately exotic aliens and scenery, and philosophical questions. But, still, I needed it to do more. If the descriptive prose had been that bit more evocative, or the action sequences that bit more thrilling; if the aliens and their technology had been that bit more remarkable, or the examination of love that bit more developed… Even one of those would have taken the story up a notch. As it is, Rivera’s tale is good enough — but, somehow, ‘good enough’ still doesn’t feel quite enough.

Mercurio Rivera’s website

Interzone 226: Tyler Keevil, ‘Hibakusha’

‘Hibakusha’ tells of Kellman, who is returning for one last time to a London ruined by a nuclear explosion; he’s going ostensibly as part of a salvage team, but actually has his own agenda. This is the kind of story which is particularly frustrating to write about, because it’s just okay – not bad, but not great, either. The deeper relevance of the title comes across (the word ‘hibakusha’ translates, says the text, as ‘explosion-affected people’; and the story shows how Kellman was affected by the blast in more than just physical ways); but, at the same time, nothing about the tale feels particularly remarkable or new. It’s a case of, yes, it was decent enough; now, on to the next story.

Tyler Keevil’s website

Interzone 226: Jason Sanford, ‘Into the Depths of Illuminated Seas’

Well, we’re off to a good start with this. In the port of Windspur lives Amber Tolester, who knows which sailors are fated to die at sea, because their names appear on her body – and she knows when they’ve died, because then the names disappear, causing her great pain. One day, a mysterious name appears on Amber’s skin – David Sahr, who apparently left Windspur many years ago, as a child. Amber soon finds out who Sahr is, though, when he turns up in Windspur repeating her name – and, when she refuses to come away with him, Sahr takes revenge…

I enjoyed this story. The idea feels fresh to me; there’s a wonderful atmosphere of strangeness; and I appreciate the elegant symmetry of the ending. If the rest of Interzone 226 is as good as Sanford’s piece, it’ll be a treat.

Jason Sanford’s website

Interzone 226: Jan-Feb 2010

Taking a leaf out of Niall Harrison’s book. I’m going to try to do  a better job of keeping up with Interzone. I’ll do it by blogging about the stories here; the write-ups will probably turn out to be notes rather than full reviews, but we’ll see. For now, here is the contents list, with links to my story posts as they appear:

Jason Sanford, ‘Into the Depths of Illuminated Seas’

Tyler Keevil, ‘Hibakusha’

Mercurio D. Rivera, ‘In the Harsh Glow of Its Incandescent Beauty’

Jay Lake, ‘Human Error’

Rachel Swirksy, ‘Again and Again and Again’

Stephen Gaskell, ‘Aquestria’

EDIT 23/2/10 — So, that’s the issue finished. The Swirsky is my pick of the bunch, with the Sanford coming in second.

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