Interzone #209 is my very first issue of Interzone to read and it also happens to be the 25th Anniversary Issue. And since it also contains a short story by SF Signal favorite Alastair Reynolds, you can imagine my excitement over obtaining a copy.
First, I have to say that I like the three-column layout of the magazine, which they use throughout. It makes the stories and columns very easy to read and they can pack in a bit more stuff into the same page count. This being the 25th Anniversary issue, the first few pages are authors and other field related people’s reminisces about their involvment with IZ. Not having read IZ before, this was a nice way to get some flavor of the history behind IZ. The next section, 25 TV, is Stephen Volk’s listing of the top 10 TV shows from last 25 years. Since IZ is based in the UK, you can imagine why this list has several shows I’ve never seen, which makes it hard for me to argue against the list (Ultraviolet is #1?, no Babylon 5? Shudder).
Next up is an interview with Hal Duncan, author of Vellum, wherein Hal discusses many things authorial and otherwise, including comparing writers to musicians. Which seems appropriate since the first short story in this issue is “The Whenever At The City’s Heart”, by Hal. In it, we return to the city at the center of the Vellum and we see the effects the rebellious tome Book Of All Hours has on the Vellum. Not so much a story as a tone poem, Hal uses an incredible mastery of language to paint a picture of chaos slowly encroaching on the Vellum. Relatively short, but striking.
The other standout shorts here are “Winter” by Jamie Barras and “The Sledge-Maker’s Daughter” by Alastair Reynolds. Both stuck with me and I think there is enough in Reynold’s setting to make a stand-alone novel.
An interview with Kim Stanley Robinson and the obligatory book, film and manga reviews round out the rest of the issue. Oh, and my mailperson doesn’t seem to know what Interzone is, as I have no issues receiving it…
All in all, a very enjoyable experience, and I’d like to thank Andy Cox for making it possible! I just received issue 210 and I will be reading through that shortly.