Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Interzone 216 - Andy Cox

Cox and company were likely to require the use of the Heart Of Gold (or at least its Drive) to be able to top the last issue, even moreso given the possibility limiting mundane theme of this issue. Makes it slightly amusing they interview Alastair Reynolds here, too. Also Greg Egan talks in a lengthier, excellent interview.

As it is, they made it to the 3.50 mark for stories, so not too bad.

Reading Nick Lowe's writing about the botching of fantasy film after fantasy film, mostly for kids, you wonder if Peter Jackson is sitting around chortling into his Steinlager. I imagine quite a few readers of The Dark Is Rising running into the people responsible for that in a flammable state, would be thinking 'pass the oil', not 'I need a leak.''

Book reviews include Solaris New Science Fiction 2, Harry Harrison's Make Room! Make Room! and Chris Roberson's Dragon's Nine Sons.

Ryman talks in his introductory piece about the whole mundane thing, and how the best sf should be original. Sure, but if that is all that gets published, originality, then only a small percentage of people currently having their work put out there will be in the future. Having some science stuff is good, too, as he points out. However, if you want to write Scanners Live In Vain? Fine by me, too. The Yarbro story here is quite possibly as close to unoriginal as you can get, but that doesn't make it bad. Whereas Aul and Angell manage a filip or two.

The hardcore mundane-only types are more than likely to be casualties of that sort of regime, in the main. Most SF readers (which doesn't include Interzone readers, presumably) aren't going to notice if the majority of SF writers disappear off the publishing face of the earth overnight, as they only read stuff by a few favorites, and at several hundred books and several thousand stories a year, plenty of trimming to be done of the non-original if we want to go all razor-gang.

One curious fact about SF writer types, even though they keep up with technology, or trends, or news, etc., their musical tastes may stay stuck in their formative years era, much like a lot of people. This can be reflected in their writing, where, given writers are an older crowd, you can get Elvis, Beatles, or, say, Charlie Parker in a recent Asimov's. Very little sign of even Radiohead, Green Day or anything more recent to pick examples at pseudo-random, let alone Kiss, the Smiths, the Clash, or Sonic Youth. That sort of ties into Billie Aul's story and what Ryman is talking about when the future should be different - although of course you may be able to carry around immense amounts of the musical past. Another egregious example of that sort of thing comes from Scott Westerfeld's Ass-Mat Magic Spider in Jonathan Strahan's excellent Starry Rift anthology. A good story, except for this: A teenage boy, going on an interstellar trip in cryosleep to a new colony takes a paper version of Charlotte's Web with him as his weight allowance. Now maybe this particular author learned to read late, matured late, or was a girly little boy or something, but the number of teenage boys wanting to be caught dead with a little kid's book like that? None that I ever knew (be plenty lining up to kill the spider, to shoot, barbecue and eat the pig, the chicken, the cow, etc., though). Many years in the future? Not too likely.

For this to believably happen, you would also need the Infinite Improbability Drive. Likewise for Jack McDevitt's journalist character to be working in a similar fashion to 1972 as seen in a recent novel.

I think Mundane Man's point is certainly valid there. He says "If a story says it's about the future, it should make an effort in good faith to show a future. That won't be our world with one small change. The culture, economy, and technology will all have shifted."

The best sf should be good. Anything else probably matters about as much as a busted petabyte mp3 player, a dodgy holo of a Conjoiner drive, or a stale tribble's fart.

Not that any of that rambling and crapping on has anything to do with Interzone. The team there has produced a good issue this time out.

INTERZONE216 : ENDRA -- FROM MEMORY - Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
INTERZONE216 : THE INVISIBLES - Elisabeth Vonarburg

Could use this for one.

3 out of 5

Circumcaptain legend.

3 out of 5

All Along the Manhattan Wall..wild cats did prowl. Possibly armed with explosives.

4 out of 5

Border Patrol gun game lapse.

4 out of 5

Dome life entertainment.

3 out of 5

Vegie dog.

3.5 out of 5

4 out of 5

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