Interzone in ‘The Naked Lunch’ (1959)
In terms of simple longevity, ‘Interzone’ must be credited as Britain’s most successful SF magazine ever. In January 1991 it comfortably coasted past the forty-one issue limit achieved by ‘Nebula’. Then by August 1994, it surpassed the eighty-five editions of ‘Authentic Science Fiction’. Leaving ‘Science Fantasy’ in its wake, until eventually, by the July-August 2009 issue, through stealth and persistence, it finally outdistanced the 222 incarnations of ‘New Worlds’. Nothing can now compete with that total. And throughout that regularly-spaced life-span, unlike the bizarre array of relaunches, rebirths and reconfigurations that characterized its predecessors, ‘Interzone’ has retained its recognizable appearance on the newsagent’s shelf as a reassuringly attractive glossy A4 magazine. Since the emergence of the first issue from the Burley area of Leeds in Spring 1982, it has consistently published through an unpromising period of the genre’s evolution. A time when SF concepts had transferred seamlessly into mainstream media to be commodified as the setting for iconic much-loved TV franchises, while contrastingly the High Street bookshops fused their SF section in with fantasy trilogies, Sci-Fi spin-offery, Graphic Novels and horror titles.
I’ve been reading my way through a collection of stories taken from ‘Interzone’ (‘The Best Of Interzone’, Voyager 1997). Editor David Pringle’s introduction tells how the idea started out in Leeds in 1981. ‘Having grown tired of waiting for someone else to do it, we aimed to create a new British Science Fiction magazine virtually out of thin air.’ After organising the thirty-second SF Convention – the Leeds Easter ‘Yorcon II’ weekend, the activists concerned unexpectedly discovered they had a £1,300 surplus. ‘There was no British SF magazine in existence in 1981’ continues Pringle, ‘nowhere for a new writer to publish his or her short stories and receive fair payment for them.’ Looking back at precedents, ‘New Worlds’ had been created by a co-operative of enthusiasts in long-ago time-lost 1946. Now, with a consortium including Simon Ounsley, the Leeds group start out plotting blueprints for a perfect-bound digest-size magazine. Meanwhile – in London, there was a simultaneous project being hatched around Malcolm Edwards, who brought in John Clute, Colin Greenland and others in the support role as assistant editors for a parallel as-yet theoretical A4 magazine. Links through the SF Foundation and the British SF Association, resulted in the logical decision to pool resources, instead of competing against each other. The decision results in an unwieldy collective of eight equal but unpaid co-editors. The real SF 1980s start here!
Culture Club and Frankie Goes To Hollywood were in the charts, but Lionel Ritchie’s “Hello” sits comfortably astride the no.1, promoted through a high-rotation video on new-fangled MTV. There was still a Soviet Union in 1984, presided over by an ageing Konstantin Chernenko. The AIDS virus had only recently been identified, and there were advance warnings concerning the Greenhouse Effect contribution to Global Warming. President Reagan was snoozing through his first term in the White House, while in the U.K. Mrs Thatcher was about to unleash the full force of the State against striking mine-workers. It was not a promising time to launch a new SF magazine. The last genre newsstand title – the big gaudy ‘Science Fiction Monthly’, had petered out over a decade earlier when publishers New English Library arbitrarily pulled the rug away beneath it.
Those termed ‘millennials’ are born with an awareness that the International Space Station is a visible fixture in the skies above them, and that the Moon landing is some irrelevant distant history that occasionally flickers in grainy black-and-white on old TV documentaries. How are speculative writers expected to react in the post-Space Age era? Unlike a thousand first-footprint-on-Mars tales that precede it, for JG Ballard in “The Message From Mars” (‘Interzone’ no.58) the actual landing on the red planet takes up a mere three pedestrian mid-point paragraphs, that is not his focus, instead it’s the teasingly playful media and political satire, and the whimsical enigmatic events that follow the ship’s return to Earth that is Ballard’s concern. He has moved on, navigating around shifting expectations.
An advert-panel for ‘Interzone’ starts off from that point. Taking that presumption on board. ‘Science Fiction Is Not Dead! Life’s too short for the mindless spectacle of most modern visual SF. The chances are you got interested in Science Fiction because you like the mind-stretch you get from new ideas – and you only find that in the written word. Long Live SF! Science Fiction is alive and kicking in the UK.’ The snipe at Graphic Novels, or maybe at ‘2000AD’ was a recognition of the market changes that were shifting all around them.
In the long history of SF, ‘Interzone’ was the first title to be launched after the end of the Space Race. Since the genre’s inception, a major speculative strand had concerned the first human into space, the first human on the Moon, the inexorable human expansion into the solar system. Possibly the James Bond movie ‘Moonraker’ (1979) was the first to feature Space Shuttles and an orbital Space Station, not as SF – because NASA was using real Shuttles, but as plot-elements in an espionage drama. When talking about the 1995 Tom Hanks movie ‘Apollo 13’ skeptics complain that ‘I don’t like SF films’ without realizing that this is not a SF movie, it is a historical costume drama. The events portrayed happened. ‘Gravity’ (2013) is a film set in space featuring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, but that doesn’t make it a SF movie, it is more a hazard-thriller utilizing the existing Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station as settings. To shove the point further, even ‘The Martian’ (2015) directed by Ridley Scott from the successful Andy Weir novel, is set on Mars, but barely strays from current levels of space technology. There are no lost Martian cities hidden in the Acidalia Planitia, no hidden caves with dripping water and edible fungus. It nudges speculative elements, but barely strays far.
To qualify as Science Fiction, the approach must now be accordingly different. Writer Charles Stross approaches the conundrum head-on, ‘at the time of those visits (the Apollo astronauts to the Moon) it was believed that the only room left for expansion was outwards into space… this outlandishly misguided idea was the result of sloppy reasoning that repeated the classic error of all predictions: that what has already happened will set the pattern for the future’ (“In The Dream Time”, ‘Interzone’ no.26). From the start, the material identified for the new magazine venture must deliberately stray beyond traditional limits, targeting markets at a tangent away from expectations. ‘We were now thinking in terms of a literary magazine’ suggests David Pringle, ‘open to imaginative fiction in general as well as Science Fiction in particular.’
But the first issue rests reassuringly on known and familiar names, almost as a conscious carry-over from the A4 issues of ‘New Worlds’. There’s an extract from Michael Moorcock’s ornate sexually-explicit memoir “The Brothel In Rosenstrasse”, edited to serviceable length by Malcolm Edwards, which centres around ‘that most orderly of disorderly houses’ as Colin Greenland comments. “The New Rays” from M John Harrison, is a dourly enigmatic piece written as by a woman undergoing experimental radiation-treatment for a tumor, with uniformed conscripts as austerity suggestions of a background war, and blue figures seemingly produced as a side-effect of Dr Alexandre’s unorthodox methods. A mesmerizing mood piece. Keith Roberts’ “Kitemaster” is a fantasy with all the obsessively detailed nature in which he specialized, describing the elaborate technology involved in the observational Cody rigs, the way he’d documented the steam-powered devices in his ‘Pavane’ alternate history, while never once setting the world beyond. As his inspector observes ‘reality is the strangest thing any of us will ever encounter; the one thing, certainly, that we’ll never understand. Wriggle though we may.’
Angela Carter’s “The Cabinet Of Edgar Allan Poe” fictionally interprets the early life of the ‘Imp of the Perverse’, his theatrical mother who plays Ophelia – ‘all her burials were premature,’ and his resolve ‘to live by his disordered wits.’ John Sladek’s “Guesting” takes the regular SF idea of the survivor of a UFO crash, with amnesia and antennae – resembling Ray Walston in 1960s TV sitcom ‘My Favourite Martian’, but Sladek swiftly bypasses his brutal interrogation preferring a mild media satire where the alien’s appearance on the ‘Jeb Mason’ chat-show is pulled in favour of interviewing a serial killer who escaped jail on a legal technicality. His meeting with the US President, and a surreal interview with the Pope adds to the comedic elements, although much of the humour does not stand up well to the passage of time. Sladek’s novel ‘Roderick, Or The Education Of A Young Machine’ is briefly reviewed on page 31, alongside books by JG Ballard, Russell Hoban (‘Riddley Walker’) and DM Thomas (‘The White Hotel’).
The magazine declares a flexible slipstream approach. ‘Imaginative Fiction’ as it is strap-lined on the cover of no.5. ‘This is emphatically a new magazine for a new decade’ Pringle editorializes, with more of a literary Magical Realist element than it has Bug-Eyed Monsters. Hence the title selected – lifted from William Burroughs’ genre-defying novel ‘The Naked Lunch’. The back-page panel for no.4 – advertising Peter Nicholls’ book ‘The Science In Science Fiction’, lists the ingredients of SF as ‘starships, aliens, cyborgs, clones, space cities, time travel, hyperspace, cryonic suspended animation, matter transmitters, telekinesis’ – all the things that will emphatically NOT be part of the ‘Interzone’ agenda. Of course, in some areas Space Opera continues operating within its own logics and conventions, frequently right-wing militaristic in ways that Charles Platt decries as ‘The War Bores’ (‘Interzone’ no.26). But that form of ossification locates itself outside the equation. ‘There is no such thing as ‘science fiction’,’ rationalizes Christopher Priest, ‘there are only individual books written by individual writers’ (in ‘IZ no.2).
Well, time travel, and the alternate time-streams it can produce, remains open as subject-material, with a variety of takes on both the Cold War outcomes and World War II variants. But no.5 also includes “Novelty” by author John Crowley, a self-indulgent literary exercise, in which a novelist rambles through themes for his proposed next book, selecting the contradictory human impulses for ‘novelty versus security’, he toys with religious ideas in a way that may at one time have seemed amusingly blasphemous, there’s no plot development, no fantastical element, no resolution. As an art-literary text it probably has merits, but leaves the reader wondering what exactly is the point. The point is, there doesn’t have to be a point. It simply is.
There was a period during the early pulp years when SF had all the brash vitality and bratty energy of an outsider art-form, when it was considered a garish disreputable fiction, a ghetto within which writers strove to achieve a grudged literary legitimacy. In today’s less-judgmental time that fight has been won, yet there seems a reluctance to contaminate the resulting prose with SF’s distinguishing tropes, except as tools of mild satire or spoof. Until its very definition, what made it unique in the first place, is sacrificed in favour of what one respondent terms ‘self-consciously moderne fiction’ where ‘ambiguity and obscurantism rule OK’ (quoted in editorial of no.6). There’s an undeniable frisson to transgressive works that shake the foundations of tradition in confrontational and densely incomprehensible ways, even if we don’t always fully understand what’s going on. As in some of the more extreme New Wave items. We can reconcile the post-modern deconstruction of texts, and cut-up games of clashing fonts. We can enjoy the shock of new energies. But tedium is unforgivable.
The print-run for the launch issue was 3,500, with distribution boosted through Titan who owned the Forbidden Planet Bookshop. It was welcomed by a full back-page Gollancz advert showcasing their new books by Bob Shaw, Thomas M Disch and Michael Bishop. There was an ad for the BSFA, a small panel for ‘Arena SF’ magazine, and a half-page for Flicknife Records’ new release by Michael Moorcocks’s Deep Fix. That initial circulation number declined to 2,500 by issue five, and it was only by 1988 that they were able to advance beyond their initial print-run. As David Pringle recounts ‘after issue four, in 1983, Malcolm Edwards resigned, due to pressure of other publishing work. There were strange lifelines thrown, including a donation by entrepreneur/ inventor Clive Sinclair, as well as Yorkshire Arts and the Arts Council of Great Britain. Other co-editors gradually fell by the wayside until, by 1985, the magazine was edited jointly by Simon Ounsley and me.’
Geoff Ryman’s “The Unconquered Country” occupies a full sixteen pages of issue no.7 (Spring 1984). In the accompanying essay Ryman explains how the idea evolved from a photo snatched from the war-torn agony of Cambodia, which is expanded into a wild metaphorical fantasy with the dim-witted slow-moving houses of the People climbing one upon the other into towers, attacked by the predatory flying sharks of the enemy Neighbours A third child, called Third is caught up in the vagaries of conflict, in which her initially ugly partner, Crow: Nourisher of the East dies but seemingly returns as an actual crow, burns, but in turn speaks to her through the body of a corpse. It’s a wonderfully inventive grotesque dimension of ghost visitations where singing coca-cola adverts blend with the collapse of an ancient temple culture. Its exaggerated reality achieves one strategy-balance that fully inhabits the spirit of what ‘Interzone’ aspires to be. Bruce Sterling’s hyper-fiction is in the same issue, already wearing ‘mirrorshades’. For while ‘New Worlds’ will always be associated with piloting the ‘New Wave’ insurrection, ‘Interzone’ rides the convulsions of Cyberpunk to emerge energized with new relevances.
Another strategy is the one Stephen Baxter adopts. His “Darkness” (no.102, December 1995) revists the poetic 1816 Lake Geneva tryst already visited by Brian Aldiss in ‘Frankenstein Unbound’ (1973), albeit with a greater emphasis on the Byron poem that provides his title. While he explains how ‘many reviewers have commented on similarities between’ his story “Traces” (in no.45, March 1991), and Arthur C Clarke’s great 1955 story “The Star”, in that an entire civilization was destroyed by the primordial nova from which the solar system accreted. That the similarities are incidental and unintended does not detract from that Baxter has a unique slant on sampling traditional SF elements and recasting them through renewing distortions, most explicitly through his HG Wells sequels. He not only retains but polishes that sense of billion-year eternities and sense of infinite wonder that fired SF from its very origins. He provides continuity as well as innovation, in near-perfect equilibrium.
By 1988 it moved from the initial quarterly to bi-monthly schedule, as Simon relinquished his half-ownership. The full-colour covers make the magazine a more attractive proposition on newsagents display shelves, rather than the earlier art-collages, taking advantage of the popularity of Terry Pratchett to boost the print-run to 10,000, with a tie-in distribution deal with Diamond-Europress expanding its availability (announced in no.26, November/December 1988). In 1990 ‘Interzone’ became a monthly. Through times of vast social and technological changes, the list of established writers it has showcased is encyclopedic, and the new names it has vaulted into prominence, even more impressively so. While providing the invaluable function of forming a focus for discussion, news and reviews, notifications of new titles and fanzines, as well as a window for new names, with a deliberate gender-equality agenda of promoting rising female writers. Inevitably there were further changes. When David Pringle stepped down with no.193 (Spring 2004), Andy Cox – of ‘The Third Alternative’, assumed ownership which involved a visual redesign splash. Although more negatively, it was deleted from the list of professional magazines by the Science Fiction Writers of America in 2006, on the grounds of low payment rates and low circulation. Yet it continues.
The project had begun with the precept that ‘Science Fiction Is Not Dead!’ Merely that it had to evolve new strategies. In issue no.31 CJ Cherryh neatly sums up the equation. ‘I have a belief that Homer wrote SF. It reads like it to me. I think that where the split really began was at the beginning of the industrial age when academics, who had no education in technology, started to say the romantic novel was passé. That nobody could write romantic fiction in the machine age. Science fiction ended up being the whipping boy of the academicians because of the very fact that by definition it is romantic literature. Not only in the machine age, but about the machine age.’ That situation continues, as long as technology continues.
Well, to state a personal interest – I was around at that launch-time and place, in Leeds 1981. I certainly bought the first issues, and purchased them sporadically afterwards. I was writing and getting fiction published. Every time I came up with what I considered to be a reasonably good new story I dutifully sent it into ‘Interzone’ first, where they equally regularly reject it, and I go on to place the story elsewhere. But I always tried to get into ‘Interzone’ first. And I always failed. I’ve never actually been in ‘Interzone’. Never, not once. So at least there can be no personal bias when I glance through the magazine’s history.
‘Nebula’, ‘Authentic SF’, ‘New Worlds’ and the rest had all evolved when the Space Age was the future. When the First Human In Space and The First Footstep On The Moon still lay within a luminous future of awe and wonder. Then suddenly, the Space Age had come and gone. Those events had happened, and we’d moved on. The Space Age was history. ‘Interzone’ was deposited in a more pragmatic era that had to deal with new reality. Yet, as well as being the U.K’s longest-running title, ‘Interzone’ is also the world’s eighth longest-running English-language SF magazine. That is no small achievement.
‘You will find Interzone now on every conceivable route,
like a major intersection where everybody has to change,
if only their minds. A place where the unknown past and
the emergent future meet in a vibrating soundless hum’
(Colin Greenland in no.1)
SELECT ZONES: SF FROM THE TWENTIETH
INTO THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
1982 – ‘INTERZONE no.1’ (Spring, March 1982) with David Pringle editorial and essay by Colin Greenland. Edited and produced collectively by John Clute, Alan Dorey, Malcolm Edwards, Colin Greenland, Graham James, Roz Kaveney, Simon Ounsley and David Pringle, designed and cover-art by Philippa Bramson. Short stories “The New Rays” by M John Harrison (his ‘In Viriconium’ is reviewed in no.4), “Kitemaster” by Keith Roberts – voted ‘clear leader’ popular story in the subsequent poll, “The Cabinet Of Edgar Allan Poe” by Angela Carter, “Guesting” by John Sladek, and extract from the novel “The Brothel In Rosenstrasse” by Michael Moorcock. To entice potential subscribers there was a special edition twenty-six chapbook of JG Ballard’s “News From The Sun” with Mark Foreman cover-art, available exclusively to Interzone charter subscribers.
1982 – ‘INTERZONE no.2’ (Summer, June 1982) with “Memories Of The Space Age” by JG Ballard, ‘a novella in which spaceflight has punctured the continuum and inflicted a profound global narcolepsy’ (reprinted in Penguin anthology ‘Firebird 3’), “Cantata ’82: An Ode To The Death Of Philip K Dick” poem by Thomas M Disch, ‘Seasons Out Of Time’ by Alex Stewart, plus review of Brian Aldiss ‘Helliconia Spring’ by Fritz Leiber (as by Fritz R Leiber), Philip K Dick’s ‘The Divine Invasion’ reviewed by Colin Greenland.
1982 – ‘INTERZONE no.3’ (Autumn, September 1982), first interior artwork by Ian Miller, with “The Dissemblers” by Garry Kilworth, “Saving The Universe” by David Garnett in which ‘a time bomb causes fragmentations of time zones,’ the sexually explicit “Cheek To Cheek” by Nicholas Allan which causes controversy in the letters in no.4, with letters from Michael Moorcock and Charles Platt, and reviews of JG Ballard’s ‘Myths Of The Near Future’ by Colin Greenland, Thomas M Disch’s ‘The Man Who Had No Idea’ plus John Sladek’s ‘Alien Accounts’ and Robert Holdstock’s ‘In The Valley Of Statues’ all by David Pringle.
1983 – ‘INTERZONE no.4’ (Spring 1983), art editor Ian Miller (cover), Georg Parkin and Pete Lyon. With “After-Images” by Malcolm Edwards, with artwork by David O’Connor. A slow JG Ballardian piece in which three simultaneous nuclear blasts on north London create a ‘local fracture in space-time,’ a time-frozen zone where life goes on under a pretense of normality, as the ‘small urban island’ gradually shrinks towards implosion. Marlborough Street and High Road, Café Hellenika where Greeks play chess and argue about cards, Carver who investigates the thin barrier with narrator Norton… and the McDonalds who add the final touches to their fall-out shelter. Also “The Ur-Plant” by Barrington J Bayley, which exhibits all of his writerly traits, rammed with theories and ideas about the nature of perception and machine-perception, the construction of a macroscope, and Goethe’s theory of the primal urpflanze or Ur-plant from which all else devolved. The characters are little more than names, Senor Galtieri (the name of the Argentine Dictator), Doctor Mengele (son of the Nazi ‘genetic manipulator’) and Professor Borges (a reference to Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges). Are they subjected to the hallucinogenic perfume exuded by the plant, then Galtieri returns to extend the frontiers of Greater Argentina. Plus “Calling All Gumdrops” by John Sladek – a kind of role-reversal in which kids are serious and responsible, guided by TVs and computers, while adults are playful ‘gumdrops’ striving for extended childhood naughtiness. Also Alex Stewart’s second tale, following his debut in no.2, born in Southend-on-Sea he also writes as ‘Sandy Mitchell’. In his “The Caulder Requiem” a child who wants to be a spaceman grows up to be eliminated for health reasons, but gets to ride a suicide mission to divert a can of nuclear waste in a decaying orbit. David Redd’s “On The Deck Of The Flying Bomb” is told by a stowaway investigating a giant four-miles-long flying weapon that’s on course towards an unspecified enemy, he intends to escape in a lifeboat until he realizes he’s trapped onboard as the enemy approaches. Andy Soutter’s “The Quiet King Of The Green South-West” is a decorous folly with pre-Raphaelite Gormenghast touches that doesn’t actually go anywhere.
1983 – ‘INTERZONE no.5’ (Autumn 1983, there was no Summer issue!), ‘More Pages’ says the cover, art by St John Child. With “Strange Great Sins” by M John Harrison illustrated by Chris Jones, immaculately-structured poetic prose in which the sin-eater tells the story of his Uncle Prinsep’s unrequited fascination for dancer Vera Ghillera, set in the fantasy-medievalism of ‘Viriconium’. A haunting “The Tithonian Factor” by Richard Cowper (aka Colin Murry, author of the 1974 novel ‘The Twilight Of Briareus’) in which Sarah Jackson has a sapphic encounter with the ghostly Sempitern Mrs Margaret Cassel in the boathouse. “The Flash! Kid” is the first published story by Californian Scott Bradfield about young Rudy McDermott torturing termites for fun, then finding a buried ‘cosmic treasure’ statue in the woods which has strange behavioral effects. In “What Cindy Saw” by John Shirley she is checked out of the clinic, only to discover her parents home is organic and out to eat her, using a can-opener she escapes into a subworld of tunnels and strange underplace entities, only to re-emerge into a restaurant where sisters and parents detonate. It is both effectively inexplicable and bizarre. “Vitamin Memories Of B-12” and “Advertisements For The Suicide Museum” both surreal-collage art by Colin Greenland, plus reviews of Colin’s ‘The Entropy Exhibition: Michael Moorcock & The British New Wave In SF’, ‘The Affirmation’ by Christopher Priest, and ‘Chekhov’s Journey’ by Ian Watson.
1983/1984 – ‘INTERZONE no.6’ (Winter 1983/84) with Ian Sanderson photo-cover and centre art-spread ‘Radical Architecture’ by Prog-Rock album-artist Roger Dean, with Colin Greenland commentary. Cherry Wilder “Something Coming Through”, in the African city of Deskar Wheeler’s stepdaughter is being held and facing execution for tobacco and alcohol offences, while she’s suspected of being a Separatist terrorist opposed to Canada’s integration into the United States of North America. The theme of swallows, and the soft hallucinogenic effect of New Green (neo-vert) are recurring motifs. She acknowledges Philip K Dick and ‘Anna Karenina’ as inspiration. Neil Ferguson “The Monroe Doctrine” is a silly frivolity in which US President Marilyn Monroe first discusses the London miniskirts worn by Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton, with Bobby Kennedy and General Westmorland in the Conference Room, then she flies to Czechoslovakia to discuss the Soviet response to the 1968 ‘Prague Spring’ with Comrade Leonid Brezhnev, and sleeps with him. Another debut, John Hendry “The Views Of Mohammed el Hassif” deciphers the 1393 final writing of the medieval Egyptian scholar, in order to acquire new modes of perception. Lorraine ‘L Hluchan’ Sintetos “Angela’s Father” is a pointless foray into social stratification, when Prince Rupert and the representative from Panthia arrive in the courtyard, Angela’s father can’t locate the Baron, neither Science or original Fantasy. Keith Roberts “Kitecadet” a sequel to the story in no.1, which expands the world of the Cody rigs, the elevation afforded during ‘Uptime’ allows the observers in the manlifter baskets to see over the boundary fence into the desolate Badlands beyond ‘twinkling on darkness with their own blue fire’ where there are fish that fly and hostile Demons (the radio-active post-war wasteland?). On leave, cadet Raoul is part of a group taken through the Salient to ‘Middlemarch, greatest city in the Realms’ for the Festival where he gets into a drunken tavern brawl, and loses his virginity to a serving maid, then has a traumatic first ascent where he shoots a female mutant. The memory haunts him. This is one of the tales that makes up his ‘Kiteworld’ (1985) novel, reviewed by Mary Gentle in ‘Interzone no.14’.
1984 – ‘INTERZONE no.7’ (Spring 1984) editorial essay by Colin Greenland and David Pringle. ‘A stunning story, set in a hyper-real South Easy Asia – “The Unconquered Country” by Geoff Ryman. This is the longest and most important story we have published to date’ with Michael Gabriel art. It will be expanded into his 1986 stand-alone novel. Also “Kept Women” an enchanted art-comicstrip by Margaret Welbank, plus ‘a piece by rising young US writer Bruce Sterling’ “Life In The Mechanist/Shaper Era: Twenty Evocations”, twenty concentrated text-bursts with cybernetic systems, Mechanist prostheticians, Nikolai Leng and the Kluster. Michael Blumlein’s “Tissue Ablation And Variant Regeneration: A Case Report” describes the surgical dismembering and evisceration without anesthetic of patient Mr Reagan in excruciating detail in order to extract his body-material as detailed in the appendix. Book review of ‘New Worlds: An Anthology’ by Michael Moorcock reviewed by Pringle, ‘Ararat’ by DM Thomas by Clute. Letters from Nic Howard, JG Ballard and Terry Carr.
1984 – ‘INTERZONE no.8’ (Summer 1984) with surreal Richard Kadrey and Chris Jones interior art. ‘Interzone’s acting American agent Scott Bradfield’s “Unmistakably The Finest”, Sandra Mitchelson’s loser life turns around when she discovers Reverend Fanny Bright and the radio Worldwide Church of Prosperity, even when exploitive live-in seducer Matthew uses her. A surreal dream close in which she meets her dead Mother. Debut fiction by Kim Newman – “Dreamers” illustrated by Ian Sanderson, Elvis Kurtz fashions and sells his dreams of JFK and Marilyn in ‘their spectacular copulation’ in the Oval Room through Futura. Rival dreamer John Yeovil kills him with a needle-gun, although the death transfers to the dream-tape and mind-wipes critic Richard Horton who reviews it. Newman has Elvis… Andy Soutter (from IZ no.4) “McGonagall’s Lear” has Sergeant (Aaron) Presley stopping off at Scotland’s Prestwick’s airport as Soviet forces invade Western Europe. ‘Poet and Tragedian’ William McGonagall of Dundee advises the Queen to come out for proportional representation, embrace space exploration, then abdicate. They escape in Hess’s Heinkel, which crashes into a Loch. Also “Strange Memories Of Death” by Philip K Dick with Roger Dean artwork. Dick died 2 March 1982, this story was due to be published in ‘I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon’ (1985). His Orange County apartment block has been acquired by South Orange Investments, he has bought his apartment but crazy Lysol Lady downstairs is due to be evicted. He muses about how to help her, about how to reconcile with ‘the woman I once loved and last night dreamed about,’ and about the mass school shooting carried out by Brenda Spenser – which also inspired Boomtown Rats hit single “I Don’t Like Mondays”! Also JG Ballard’s “What I Believe”, ‘I believe in the power of the imagination to remake the world, to release the truth within us, to hold back the night…’ a declarative prose-poem that first appeared in the French magazine ‘Science Fiction no.1’ (January 1984), written in response to editor Daniel Riche’s request for a ‘Ce Que Je Crois’, this is a first publication in English, reproduced as three typescript pages, with references to Margaret Thatcher, Max Ernst, Ronald Reagan and Princess Di. Powerful and surreal. ‘I believe in nothing.’ Maria ‘MJ Fitzgerald’ “Experiment With Time” punningly pursues the personification of Time. Mary Gentle reviews new books. There’s a challenge competition for radical new ‘hard SF’.
1984 – ‘INTERZONE no.9’ (Autumn 1984), a further increase up to 52-pages. Editors John Clute, Alan Dorey, Colin Greenland, Simon Ounsley and David Pringle. Art editor Ian Miller. West-coast Richard Kadrey cover and ‘Synaptic Intrigue’ collage, Edwin Dorff frontispiece. An ‘all-star’ line-up of JG Ballard “The Object Of The Attack”, a 1982 hang-glider attack on Windsor Castle is assumed to be an assassination attempt on either President Reagan or the Royal Family. Home Office Chief Psychiatrist Dr Richard Greville visits Matthew Young, the disturbed ‘The Boy’ responsible, and deduces the real target is evangelical anti-Communist former Apollo astronaut Colonel Tom Stamford. ‘The Boy’ escapes, Greville tracks him down, but appears to allow his planned attack on ‘The First Church Of The Divine Astronaut’ to go ahead. Beautifully detailed story of fake news and conspiracy theory woven into hyper-current news and media themes, ads for ‘Empire Of The Sun’ and back-page ‘To Boldly Go Where Fiction Has Rarely Gone Before’ Ballard too. Brian Aldiss “The Gods In Flight”, young Kilat and brother Dempo on remote Indian Ocean island Sipora off Sumatra, with hippie George learn that after nuclear war between the Warsaw Pact and the NATO Alliance, ‘the entire northern hemisphere was blanketed in radioactive dust-clouds.’ As a plane-load of US Chiefs of Staff crashlands and armed troops shoot George, the long-dead legendary King Sidabutar wakes, ‘science was dead: now he was free to wreak destruction on his enemies.’ In Kilat’s phrase, ‘excitingly beautiful.’ Thomas M Disch “Canned Goods”, after an unspecified economic crash Mr Weyman barters artwork with art-dealer Shroder, for food, Motherwell is devalued, with a brief gag about trading Warhol for a can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup. M John Harrison “The Luck In The Head”, later collected into ‘Viriconium Nights’, florid and decorous, dream, dance and painting, writer Ardwick Crome is tasked by ‘the woman with the insect’s head’ with killing Mammy Vooley using an ancient blade from the Great Waste, other characters include Kristodulos Fleece and Ansel Verdigris. William Gibson “Fragments Of A Hologram Rose”, to coincide with the publication of his ‘Neuromancer’, this is his first story from ‘Unearth no.3’ magazine in Summer 1977, and later in ‘Burning Chrome’. Early cyberpunk imagery with riot-torn California’s secession from USA, and ASP (Apparent Sensory Perception) cassettes ‘programming the eye-movements of the industry’s human cameras.’ Garry Kilworth “Spiral Winds” an enigmatic quest by a failed poet to seek the elusive Bedu poet Al-Qata across the South Yemen desert for years, drawn by companion Carey. He kills the poet, and becomes the pursued poet himself. ‘The Outer Zone’ on ‘Feminist SF’ by Sarah Lefanu & Jen Green on The Women’s Press, reviews (‘Savoy Dreams’ and Philip K Dick ‘The Man Whose Teeth Were All Exactly Alike’) and letters (from Simon D Ings, Andrew J Wilson, Neil Ferguson).
1984-1985 – ‘INTERZONE no.10’ (Winter 1984/85) edited by Colin Greenland, Simon Ounsley & David Pringle (advisory editors, John Clute, Alan Dorey & Roz Kaveney). Art editor, Ian Miller. Assistant editors Paul Annis, Judith Hanna, Lin Morris & Andy Robertson. John Lennon cover by Iris Smith illustrating “John’s Return To Liverpool” by Christopher Burns, a touchingly sensitive tale of a post-death Lennon welcomed and cared-for by original fan Dorothy. “Green Hearts” by Lee Montgomerie, her first sale, opens on a Mars being terraformed by BI (Bionics Interplanetary) when the clone-son of biogenics-messiah Nole Whard is discovered on Ganymede. ‘Beanshoot’ and alienated Jeni evolve a relationship, married on voyage back to an Earth transfigured by biogenics, her uterus carries his clone embryo. Dense with imagery. “Soulmates” by Alex Stewart, time-travellers Darryl Endicott and Mira return to administer ‘Justice’ for Jack the Ripper, but the plot loses cohesion with the idea that they’re the same reincarnated ‘soul’. “Love, Among The Corridors” by Gene Wolfe, a brief frivolity about Amor – ‘chivalry was my father, and poetry my mother,’ whose touch animates the Harlequin. “The Malignant One” by Rachel Pollack, Susanna takes her portfolio of art for a job interview at Creative Comics, but a religious Revolution has enabled malignant Bright Beings to obstruct her. Will she reach her interview or is the cab driver a Ferocious One too? “The Dream Of The Wolf” by Scott Bradfield, who employs his skilful use of dialogue and conversation as Larry Chambers’ dreams of being a wolf consume his waking hours. He’s fired from his job, his wife leaves him taking their daughter, and he descends into neglected ill-health. Wife Sherryl returns and helps him to normality, then she begins to get wolf dreams. Photo feature by Ian Sanderson. ‘The Outer Zone’, Jenny Butler on Conventions, ‘On The Edge’ Mary Gentle reviews, John Clute reviews William Gibson ‘Neuromancer’. Letters from Bruce Sterling Charles Platt.
1985 – ‘INTERZONE no.11’ (Spring 1985) ‘Europe’s English-Language SF Fantasy Magazine’, billed ‘The Nuclear Issue?’ with first three nuclear-themed or post-holocaust, with “War And/Or Peace” by Lee Montgomerie, “Cube Root” by David Langford, “Fogged Plates” Christopher Burns with Judith Clute art, “Kitemistress” ‘Kiteworld tale by Keith Roberts, the cover-illustrated “The Unfolding” by John Shirley with Bruce Sterling. Art by Roger Dean, Jim Burns, Pete Lyon, Ian Miller. Mary Gentle reviews Robert Holdstock’s ‘Mythago Wood’ and Robert A Heinlein’s ‘Job: A Comedy Of Justice’. Brief uncredited review of ‘The Zen Gun’ by Barrington J Bayley.
1985 – ‘INTERZONE: THE FIRST ANTHOLOGY’ (March 1985) edited by John Clute, Colin Greenland and David Pringle (JM Dent, ISBN: 978-0-460-02294-1), republished by St Martin’s Press (1986), gathers “O Happy Day!” by Geoff Ryman, “The Cabinet Of Edgar Allan Poe” by Angela Carter, “The Flash! Kid” by Scott Bradfield, “After-Image” by Malcolm Edwards, “Kitemaster” by Keith Roberts, “The Monroe Doctrine” by Neil Ferguson, “Angel Baby” by Rachel Pollack, “On The Deck Of The Flying Bomb” by David Redd, “What Cindy Saw” by John Shirley, “The Object Of The Attack” by JG Ballard, “Something Coming Through” by Cherry Wilder, “Dreamers” by Kim Newman, “Tissue Ablation And Variant Regeneration: A Case Report” by Michael Blumlein.
1985 – ‘INTERZONE no.12’ (Summer 1985), £1.25, 52pp, with “The Bob Dylan Tambourine Software & Satori Support Services Consortium Ltd” by Michael Bishop, “Little Ilya And Spider And Box” by Paul J McAuley, cover-illustrated “The Fire Catcher” by Richard Kadrey, “Instructions For Exiting This Building In Case Of Fire” by Pamela Zoline, and “A Young Man’s Journey to Viriconium” by M John Harrison. Comic Art ‘Laser Smith’s Space Academy’ by George Parkin. Essay by Lee Montgomerie ‘Enterprise Allowance Scheme’. ‘On The Edge’ reviews. Letters from Andy Sawyer, Lisa Tuttle and Darrell Schweitze.
1985 – ‘INTERZONE no.13’ (Autumn 1985), 52pp, cover by Les Edwards, with William Gibson interview, “The Man Who Walked On The Moon” by JG Ballard, “Escapist Literature” by Barrington J Bayley, “Randy And Alexei Go Jaw Jaw” by Neil Ferguson, “If The Driver Vanishes” by Peter T Garratt, “The People On The Precipice” by Ian Watson, “Rhinestone Manifesto” by Don Webb, plus ‘Mutant Popcord’ film reviews by Nick Lowe, ‘The Outer Zone’ book reviews by Mary Gentle, David Pringle etc.
1985 – ‘INTERZONE no.14’ (Winter 1985/86) full-colour Pete Lyon cover in a switch from the earlier experimental surreal collages into more mainstream SF imagery, with “When The Timegate Failed” by Ian Watson, “The Compassionate, The Digital” by Bruce Sterling, “Finn” by Sue Thomason, “Patricia’s Profession” by Kim Newman, Mary Gentle book reviews of Keith Roberts’ ‘Kiteworld’, Simon Ounsley reviews Jack Vance’s ‘Culgel’s Saga’, plus David Pringle reviews of Philip K Dick, Clifford D Simak and Robert A Heinlein.
1986 – ‘INTERZONE no.15’ (Spring 1986) full-colour Pete Lyon cover. “The Winter Market” by William Gibson with Jim Burns art, “The One And Only Tale From The White Heart” by John Brosnan, “The Vivarium” by Garry Kilworth, “A Multiplication Of Lives” by Diana Reed, “The Ibis Experiment” by SW Widdowson. Mary Gentle reviews Jack Vance (‘Rhialto The Marvellous’) and Ramsey Campbell (‘The Nameless’).
1986 – ‘INTERZONE no.16’ (Summer 1986) cover by Jim Burns. “And He Not Busy Being Born” by Brian Stableford, quoting Bob Dylan. “The Protector” by Rachel Pollack. “The Brains Of Rats” by Michael Blumlein. “His Vegetable Wife” by Pat Murphy with Richard Kadrey art. “The Final Episode” by Shirley Weinland. “The Cup Is The Wine” by Josephine Saxton. Kim Newman interviews Iain Banks. John Clute reviews Robert A Heinlein’s ‘The Cat Who Walks Through Walls’.
1986 – ‘INTERZONE no.17’ (Autumn 1986) cover art by John Avon. “Freezeframe” by Gregory Benford. “Jingling Geordie’s Hole” by Ian Watson with Ian Sanderson artwork. “Soundspinner” by DC Haynes. “Hard Work Or, The Secrets Of Success” by Thomas M Disch. “Future Fish” by Barbara Hills with her own artwork. “Adam Found” by Simon Ounsley. Nick Lowe’s Mutant Popcorn. Richard Kadrey interviews John Shirley. Book reviews by John Clute, Judith Hanna and Lee Montgomerie.
1986 – ‘INTERZONE no.18’ (Winter 1986), Pete Lyon cover art, Simon Ounsley editorial and “Paths Of Dying” fiction, “As Big As The Ritz” by Gregory Benford with Paul Rickwood art, “Boiled Alive” by Ramsey Campbell, “Fountain Of Time” by Peter Lamborn Wilson, “Mind Vampires” by Greg Egan, “When Jesus Comes Down The Chimney” by Ian Watson. Paul Kincaid interviews M John Harrison.
1987 – ‘INTERZONE: THE SECOND ANTHOLOGY’ (February 1987) edited by John Clute, Simon Ounsley and David Pringle (Simon & Schuster, ISBN: 0-671-65450-0) with “The Second Third Of C’ by Neil Ferguson, “Freezeframe” by Gregory Benford, “The Man Who Walked On The Moon” by JG Ballard, “The Brains Of Rats” by Michael Blumlein, “Patricia’s Profession” by Kim Newman, “Unmistakably The Finest” by Scott Bradfield, “And He Not Busy Being Born” by Brian Stableford, “The Protector” by Rachel Pollack, “If The Driver Vanishes” by Peter T Garratt, “The Unfolding” by John Shirley & Bruce Sterling, “The King Of The Hill” by Paul J McAuley, “Canned Goods” by Thomas M Disch, “Spiral Sands” by Garry Kilworth, “When The Timegate Failled” by Ian Watson, “War and/or Peace” by Lee Montgomerie.
1987 – ‘INTERZONE no.19’ (Spring 1987), Paul Rickwood cover art, “The Second Third Of C” by Neil Ferguson with Tina Horner art, “A Dragon For Seymour Chan” by Paul J McAuley, “The Next-But-One Man” by Kim Newman, “Assyria” by Christina Lake, “Goodbye Houston Street, Goodbye” by Richard Kadrey, “The Xeelee Flower” by Stephen Baxter (as SM Baxter), Mutant Popcorn, extensive reviews including James Tiptree Jr (‘Brightness Falls From The Air’) and Michael Bishop (‘Close Encounters With The Deity’).
1987 – ‘INTERZONE no.20’ (Summer 1987) with Paul Rickwood cover art, “A Gift From The Culture” by Iain M Banks, with artwork by ‘SMS’. An early example of Banks ‘Culture’ cycle, following her re-gendering Wrobik Sennkil, as a Vreccile citizen ‘still felt drawn to men’ and so was in a seeming Gay relationship, but he has bad gambling debts and is coerced and pressured by Cruizell and Kaddus to use a deadly computerized Light Plasma Projector handgun to destroy an incoming Starship. He tries to escape, but is compromised when they hold his partner Maust. And he goes through with the killing. Story collected into ‘Cyber-Killers’ edited by Ric Alexander (Orion, 1997). Also John Clute review of Banks’ ‘Consider Phlebas’, and a lengthy feature in ‘IZ no.26’. Part one (of two) of serial “Love Sickness” by Geoff Ryman. “Sexual Chemistry” by Brian Stableford, “Foresight” by Michael Swanwick. David Pringle reviews ‘JT McIntosh: Memoir & Bibliography’ by Ian Covell.
1987 – ‘INTERZONE no.21’ (Autumn 1987) with Ian Miller cover art, David Pringle editorial, “Krash-Bangg Joe And The Pineal-Zen Equation” – an ‘Engineman’ novelette by Eric Brown with SMS art, “Dop*elgan*er” by Garry Kilworth, “The Philosophical Stone” by Ken Wisman, “Layers Of Meaning” by Brian Stableford, part two of serial “Love Sickness” by Geoff Ryman. Lee Montgomerie reviews HG Wells (‘The First Men In The Moon’), Joseph O’Neill (‘Land Under England’), Robert Sheckley (‘Victim Prime’), Frederik Pohl (‘The Coming Of The Quantum Cats’), Ian Watson (‘Evil Water’) and Keith Roberts (‘Grainne’).
1987 – ‘INTERZONE no.22’ (Winter 1987) with Pete Lyon cover art, Lee Montgomerie Editorial, “The Only One” by David Garnett (as David S Garnett) with Paul Rickwood art, “The Decline Of Sunshine” by Cherry Wilder, “The Boys” by Charles Stross, “Memories Of The Body” by Lisa Tuttle, “The Girl Who Died For Art And Lived” – and ‘Engineman’ story by Eric Brown. ‘The Good Robot’ comic-strip by SMS. David Pringle interview JG Ballard. Extensive reviews including David Pringle on Michael Moorcock’s ‘Wizardry & Wild Romance’.
1988 – ‘INTERZONE no.23’ (Spring 1988) Edited by Simon Ounsley & David Pringle with David A Hardy cover-art. 68pp priced at £1.95. With ‘Alfred Bester 1913-1987’ essay by Charles Platt, “The Giving Plague” by David Brin, “Artefacts” by Christopher Evans – the first published story from his series about master-artist ‘Vendavo’. And Stephen Baxter’s second professional publication “Something For Nothing” – as by SM Baxter, later collected into ‘Traces’. A three-man crew investigate a billions-of-years-old alien ship travelling across galaxies apparently towards the Big Crunch end-of-time quasar. Are they morally justified in removing technology for personal profit? Harris says yes. George says no, and he’s prepared to use the micro-teleportation device to kill Harris in order to safeguard the alien’s mission.
1988 – ‘INTERZONE no.24’ (Summer 1988) with Pete Lyon cover art, Simon Ounsley editorial, “The Growth Of The House Of Usher” by Brian Stableford with Duncan Fegredo art plus Brian’s ‘The Sociology Of Science Fiction’ reviewed by David Pringle, “Heartland” by Karen Joy Fowler, “The Time-Lapsed Man” ‘Engineman’ tale by Eric Brown, “Animator” by Alex Stewart, “Lux In Tenebris” by Phillip Mann, “Salvage” by Jolio Buck Abrera. Gregory Feeley interviews Thomas M Disch. ‘Destination: Gloom’ essay by Charles Platt – which will be answered in ‘IZ no.26’ by Christopher Priest. Extensive reviews including Frederik Pohl (‘The Annals Of The Heechee’), Stephen King (‘Misery’), L Sprague de Camp (‘The Goblin Tower’).
1988 – ‘INTERZONE no.25’ (September/October 1988) 68pp. Editor & publisher: David Pringle. Deputy editor: Simon Ounsley. Associate editor: Lee Montgomerie. Assistant editors: Paul Annis & Andy Robertson. Advisory editors: John Clute, Malcolm Edwards & Judith Hanna. Editorial announces ‘greatly increased print-run, new distributers and some internal changes.’ “The Long Fall Home” by Paul Preusse, traditional hard-science technical problem resolved by technical solution tale as Travis attempts to dock with Euclid orbital station during a solar flare storm. An extract from his ‘Starfire’ novel, reviewed in ‘IZ no.26’. “Lost Bodies” by Ian Watson, two materialistic Yuppie couples meet up in a country retreat – Jon & Lucy, Irish red-head Kirstie and narrator Peter, but their wife-swapping flirtations are interrupted – first by the local hunt, then by the weird appearance of the fox’s severed but still living head in their garden. Is it some weird bio-experiment, alien surveillance? Theories are offered about the survival of heads after death, but no real explanation. During their night swaps Pete, who has never seen his wife naked, discovers that her reticence is due to her red birthmark ‘resembling the map of some unknown island once owned by the British and coloured accordingly.’ “Babel” by Christopher Burns, in which he excavates into the endless ruins of a collapsed tower in order to unearth relics, with myth-speculations about the tower’s origins and future evolution. “Our Lady Of Springtime” by Peter T Garratt, a well-intentioned eco-fable with eco-protest, May Queen, Dolmen Stones and Ley lines, Marshall attempts a ‘The Good Life’ sustainable farm with more extremist-vegan wife Petra, when he kills her his crops prosper, ‘Wicker Man’ style. “Blit” by David Langford, a hyper-compressed techno-slide into disaffected right-wing Robbo using Berryman Logical Image Technique (BLIT) goggles as subversive Parrot graffiti. “Mirrors And Burnstone” by Nicola Griffith, a soft-core female-centric ‘Avatar’ with wise nature-sensitive natives warning hard rapacious Terrans of the dangers of awakening volcanic Burnstone. Terry Pratchett Interview. “The Village Alien” by Thomas M Disch, reprinted from ‘The Nation’, Disch investigates the ‘True Story’ of real-life author Whitley Strieber’s ‘Communion: Encounters With The Unknown’, superficially convinced of his claims of alien abduction and anal-probe, even though it was expanded from short-story “Pain” (published in Dennis Etchison’s anthology ‘Cutting Edge’, 1986). There’s an exchange of phone calls, then Disch recounts his own alien abduction via a shrink-blaster into the Frisbee-sized saucer of the alien Winipi who warn him of Xlom money-making plans to take control of Earth, and that Strieber has already been transformed! Charles Platt ‘Comment On Censorship’ centres on his Savoy Books experience of police harassment, then devotes analysis to Samuel R Delany books boycott by US distributer-chains due Gay content. John Clute reviews Bob Shaw’s ‘The Wooden Spaceships’. For SF this is a time of changes, editorial tributes to Clifford D Simak and Robert A Heinlein who had died, with notices or ads for ‘Works no.1’, ‘Maelstrom no.1’, ‘Back Brain Recluse no.10’, the launch issue of ‘Fear’ and ‘Fantasy Tales’ expansion. Garry Kilworth letter, Joseph Nicholas takes issue with Charles Platt’s article (‘IZ no.24’).
1988 – ‘INTERZONE: THE THIRD ANTHOLOGY’ (September 1988, Simon & Shuster ISBN: 0-671-69944-X) edited by John Clute, Simon Ounsley & David Pringle. Introduction by John Clute, “The Giving Plague” by David Brin, “The Next-But-One Man” by Kim Newman, “Heartland” by Karen Joy Fowler, “The Only One” by David S Garnett, “The Decline Of Sunshine” by Cherry Wilder, “Goodbye Houston Street, Goodbye” by Richard Kadrey, “Memories Of The Body” by Lisa Tuttle, “Sexual Chemistry” by Brian Stableford, “Foresight” by Michael Swanick, “Krash-Bangg Joe And The Pineal-Zen Equation” by Eric Brown, “His Vegetable Wife” by Pat Murphy, “Cube Root” by David Langford, “Fountain Of Time” by Peter Lamborn Wilson, “Karl And The Ogre” by Paul J McAuley
1988 – ‘INTERZONE no.26’ (November/December 1988), cover by Josh Kirby for story “Wyrd Sisters” by Terry Pratchett. “Dark Night In Toyland” by Bob Shaw, an achingly sensitive exploration of married priest John Kirkham facing the cancer death of their child Timmy, he suspects wife Dora has wavering faith as he seeks to reconcile his own belief, as the Xmas gift of animate Biodoh seems to imply that ‘life itself is a chemical impurity.’ After Timmy’s death he deactivates a small animate Biodoh replicate, ‘a purely mechanical operation…’ “Face Lift” by Susan Beetlestone, people wear chromataphore faces and fear to reveal their true selves, is beauty more than skin-deep for Abigail and Jess? “Big Trouble Upstairs” by Eric Brown, fast-action Techno-shocker, Ruandan Watusi telepath Isabella Manchester, who has a dubious taste in mind-controlling underage lovers, is called to orbital Carnival L5 – in Minnie Mouse outfit, where a psycho is massacring random victims. Is it an ‘Andy’ android? No, in a Frankenstein mock-up, it’s cryo-damaged Walt Disney! “The Agony Of Suburban Knowledge” by Johnny Black, gifted the ability of absolute knowledge of anything he touches, Slattery sees all of time, but also foresees and arranges his own death. “In The Dream Time” by Charles Stross is located in the virtual cyberspace realm of the Expansion with chronomancer Dr Zodiac, the narrator grave-robber, and Terry the cyber-whore, at Terminal Inn on the edge of ‘DreamTime, a desert of degraded information that extended for a subjective infinity.’ “Stop Evolution In Its Tracks!” by John Sladek, a spoof interview with Professor Abner Z Gurns of the Institute For Advanced Creationist Studies with appropriately surreal art by Tina Horner. ‘Peoria My Destination!’ Christopher Priest argues with Charles Platt’s ‘Destination Gloom’ in ‘IZ no.24’, and Charles Platt’s ‘The War Bores’ attacks American militaristic right-wing SF, but defends Frederik Pohl. Pages of reviews by John Clute (Iain M Banks), Paul J McAuley and Simon Ounsley (Ian Watson’ ‘The Fire Worm’ and ‘Whores Of Babylon’), David Pringle (JG Ballard). ‘Interaction’ extract from reader’s letters.
1989 – ‘INTERZONE no.27’ (January/ February 1989), Brian Salmon’s cover illustrates ‘The Empire Of Fear’, to match Roz Kaveney’s profile of Brian Stableford. With “Tommy Atkins” by Barrington J Bayley, for those who claim Bayley’s writing is all high-concept ideas-based prose, here is the perfect balance of character and incident, with only poet Parcival’s analysis of social adjustment to warfare as lecturing theory. The European war-theatre has been deadlocked for twenty-five years, as though World War I dragged on, not destroying civilisation – as in HG Wells’ ‘Things To Come’, but enduring, adapting. Factory-engineer Harry does ‘Essential War Work’ in munitions, but meets his brother Terence, supposedly killed at the front, who is part of ‘Tommy Atkins Movement’ intent on ending the war through uniting with ‘Fritz’ in mutiny against the ‘toffee-noses’. Despite Terence’s reasoning Harry signs up for the Donation Service, which transplants limbs and organs, allowing mutilated soldiers to return to the front over and over. An excellent story. “To The Letter” by Bob Shaw, a brief ‘strange little shop’ quip, in which Hillowen sells his soul to Zurek to become ‘irresistible to women,’ only to regress to babyhood. “Before I Wake” By Kim Stanley Robinson, the Earth drifts into a strong electro-magnetic field which effects consciousness by scrambling wakefulness, sleep and dreams, Abernathy attempts to construct a helmet to counter the effect, or is it the next evolutionary step in awareness? “Driving Through Korea” by Ian Lee, who describes how he writes the story of four men driving in a Ford Cortina towards the DMZ, and how one of them is an alien, but which one? A clever narrative technique, and surprise reveal, the alien is the car itself! “An Eye In Paradise” by John Brosnan, a foray into cyber-Paradise in a game of who is real and who a simulation, wealthy Edwin Millington, his girl-toy Kris, wife Gloria, or the assassin? “Soft Clocks” by Yoshio Aramaki, an extravagant surreal fantasy with the narrator selecting potential marriage-partners for Vivi, anorexic technophobic daughter of gluttonous DALI of Mars, although he loves her himself. When DALI eats the rheoprotein Soft Clocks Mars itself begins to transform into a Dali painting. JG Ballard wrote an introduction for the Salvador Dali book ‘Diary Of A Genius’. Nick Lowe film reviews. JG Ballard lists ‘My Ten Best SF Movies’ (‘Forbidden Planet’, ‘Dr Strangelove’, ‘Alphaville’, ‘Barbarella’…), ‘the collective dreams and nightmares of the twentieth century have found their most vivid expression in this often disparaged but ever popular genre,’ reprinted from ‘American Film October 1987’. Stan Nicholls interviews Kathy Acker. ‘The Triumph Of Whimsy’ essay by Charles Platt, protesting the amount of fantasy nominated for the Philip K Dick Award, of which he is a judge. Ads for ‘Fantasy Tales’, ‘Interzone: Third Anthology’ and ‘The Scanner no.3’. John Clute and Paul McAuley book reviews
1989 – ‘INTERZONE no.28’ (March-April 1989), Ian Miller cover-art, with “The Jonah Man” by Stephen Baxter (as by SM Baxter) with Chris Brasted artwork – later collected into his ‘Traces’. A ‘The Cold Equations’ variant (Tom Godwin’s August 1954 ‘Astounding SF’ story), in which three nine-space wreck survivors are confined in a two-person escape pod, the narrator Doctor Moore, thick-set solid reliable Pack from engineering, and taunting household bot service engineer Windle. The pod drifts into the Tauri disc of ‘a very young star, surrounded by that disc of red-hot debris’ where whale-like creatures graze on its organic material. Windle lures Pack to his death in the jaws of one, while he survives passage through its intestines. Also Ramsey Campbell interview and story “Meeting The Author”. “Twitch Popcorn” by Kim Newman, “The Outside Door” by Lyle Hopwood. “Visiting The Dead” by William King. Novelette by Marc Laidlaw & Rudy Rucker “Chaos Surfari”. Essays ‘The Way To Write Science Fiction’ by Brian Stableford and ‘Taking Liberties’ by Charles Platt. Nick Lowe’s Mutant Popcorn. David Pringle reviews JG Ballard ‘Hello America’ and ‘Memories Of The Space Age’, plus reviews of Harry Harrison’s ‘Return To Eden’, John Brunner’s ‘The Days Of March’, Isaac Asimov’s ‘Prelude To Foundation’.
1989 – ‘INTERZONE no.29’ (May-June 1989) David Pringle editor and publisher, with editor Simon Ounsley, with “The Cutie” by Greg Egan, “Game Night At The Fox And Goose” by Karen Joy Fowler, “An Old-Fashioned Story” by Phillip Mann, “Cronus” by Jonathan Coleclough, “The Men’s Room” by Garry Kilworth, “The Magic Bullet’ by Brian Stableford, “The Green-Eyed Monstera” by Andrew Ferguson. Michael Moorcock interview by Colin Greenland, Lisa Tuttle interview by Stan Nicholls. Essay ‘The Vanishing Midlist’ by Charles Platt. John Clute reviews Robert Holdstock’s ‘Journey To An Unknown Region’, Brian Aldiss’s ‘Forgotten Life’, Michael Moorcock’s ‘Mother London’ plus other reviews by Ken Brown, Paul J McAuley and others.
1989 – ‘INTERZONE no.30’ (July-August 1989), cover by Keith Scaife (from ‘The Gold Coast’), with David Pringle ‘Interface’ editorial, “Once Upon A Time In The Park” by Ian Lee, “The Enormous Space” by JG Ballard, “City Of Peace” by Simon Russell, “Adrentropic Man” by Keith Brooke, “The Storeroom Of Lost Desire” by Josef Nesvadba, “Kingfisher” by Sylvia M Siddall, “Through” by Ian R MacLeod. Brian Stableford ‘The Big Sellers no.1’ on Douglas Adams, Nick Lowe’s Mutant Popcorn, John Sladek interview by Gregory Feeley, ‘In Purely Commercial Terms’ essay by Charles Platt. Reviews of Samuel R Delany’s ‘Tales Of Nevèrÿon’ and many more.
1989 – ‘INTERZONE: THE FOURTH ANTHOLOGY’ (August 1989, Simon & Schuster ISBN: 0-671-69707-2) edited by John Clute, Simon Ounsley & David Pringle. Introduction by John Clute. “The Growth Of The House Of Usher” by Brian Stableford, “City Of Peace” by Lisa Goldstein, “The Cutie” by Greg Egan, “The Time-Lapsed Man” by Eric Brown, “The Bead Woman’ by Rachel Pollack, “The Enormous Space” by JG Ballard, “Tommy Atkins” by Barrington J Bayley, “Stop Evolution In Its Tracks” by John Sladek, “Toxine” ‘an original item’ by Richard Calder, “Before I Wake” by Kim Stanley Robinson, “Blit” by David Langford, “Mirror And Burnstone” by Nicola Griffith, “Famous Monsters” by Kim Newman, “Driving Through Korea” by Ian Lee, “The Quagma Datum” by Stephen ‘SM’ Baxter.
1989 – ‘INTERZONE no.31’ (September-October 1989), an ‘All-Space Issue’ with a David A Hardy spaceship cover-art that would suit ‘Analog’, with “Star-Crystals And Karmel” by Eric Brown which would have suited Carnell-era ‘New Worlds’, Ben Henderson meets Lorraine Lomax on planet Addenbrooke, she is machine from waist-down, but daughter Karmel is interested in the star-crystals he finds on the beach and carves into shape. The warm stones are souls to the mystic Say-nath who follow the planet’s Ring of Tharssos, so he agrees to stop carving them, and learns that her disability was caused by giving explosive birth to resented half-native Ashentay Karmel. “Gravegoods” by Gwyneth Jones, five mentally-damaged people projected via Cheops to idyllic planet Ma’at, go native. How do they ‘materialise’? Who cares? “Raft” by Stephen Baxter (as SM Baxter), reads like a compressed novel – and will be expanded into Baxter’s debut novel ‘Raft’ (1991). Rees’s childish prank results in him being punished by serving Scientist Hollerbach, from whom he learns the true nature of the ‘absurd place’ alternate continuum they inhabit. Although it sometimes reads as an outrageous experiment in conceptual physics, where gravitation is stronger, where stars that are a mile across fall from the sky to drop into the ‘blood-red sphere wreathed in mist’, a black hole ‘Core’ at the centre of the dying nebula they’re suspended within. Rees matures, until he and childhood friend Glover ‘orbit this Raft round the Core… bounce off the Core’s gravity well like a rubber ball, soar back up and out of this nebula to our new home.’ A breathtaking extravagance. “Generation Gap” by Charles Stross, using Nadsat-style future-speak which has become curiously dated, five juveniles on Armstrong Luna-city plot ‘intentional genocide’. “Other Edens” by John Gribbin, a brief fiction in which Javid hunts for Gaia planets, then exterminates their native life-forms for future Terran colonisation, there are references to ‘running a full Lovelock’, and the ‘Turing’ device that purposely destroys the planet’s ozone layer. “Not Even Ashes” by Jamil Nasir, fast-action thriller with visionary climax, when Karmade rescues a nude girl from the garbage bay of the Titan III transport out from Callisto to Earth, it sets off a chain of hazards. Is she really part of the Zaghreb terrorist sect who want independence for Callisto? From sleazy Death-Hole Warren to the transfiguration of mega-wealthy Rexon Augustus Steele, he learns of the beings of flame who grant eternal life. A strong tale, reconfiguring mainstream SF concepts. CJ Cherryh interview by Stan Nicholls and Stephen Gallagher interview by David V Barrett, ‘Homage To Narcissism’ by Charles Platt, about future-trends indicated by Californian life-styles. Interaction reader’s letters from Garry Kilworth and Andy Sawyer. Reviews of ‘Dream SF no.19’ and ‘Works no.3’.
1989 – ‘INTERZONE no.32’ (November-December 1989) with Mark Salwowski cover-art, “Mosquito” by Richard Calder – ‘perhaps the best new British author we have discovered all decade.’ A techno-decadence where gender is choice and the ‘hardware-wetware’ interface between human and automata-doll, real and fake, dissolve. Mosquito’s schemes to escape Bangkok with Mr James ends up killing him with his-her toxic bite. “The Sculptor’s Hand” by Nicholas Royle, the sculptor is trapped in two train crashes within 48-hours, then a third which leaves him ‘with only one arm and half a mind,’ while he has an one-off relationship with Helen and his comments to the press are misinterpreted in the face of the government’s Thatcherite agenda. He loses his leg in a plane crash to Belfast but connives to assassinate the female premier in his next and final air disaster. A startingly original tale with a socialist conscience. “The Death Of Arlett” by Barrington J Bayley, a bucolic future England of rolling fields and country pubs has been sentenced to death for its use of the Yellow Peril weapon. Meik, Tiskel and Gram drink beer and discuss if the World Judiciary will grant a reprieve. It doesn’t, the Yellow Peril is used to extinguish ‘Arlett’. A midpoint dialogue discusses how a world government can only function by treating nations is individuals, collectively responsible for its actions. “The New Jerusalem PLC” by Lee Montgomerie, hard concentrated-prose as the GODS (Geostationary Orbital Dataprocessing Satellites) offer salvation to the socially devastated chaos of Earth, but only the wealthy will inherit. There’s is no central character, although ‘one rejoices that one has lived to see the day!’ and an atheist speaker fills in the back-story, before he’s incinerated. “Green And Pleasant Land” by David Redd, the Greenshirts are an eco-hit-squad who rescue the worthy before the ‘criminals, drug addicts, dole scroungers, heavy metal fans, general disposable scumbags’ are exterminated. “Listen” a first for IZ by Ian McDonald, empathic Brother Innocence (in-a-sense) on his island at the end of the world, nurtures Daniel, his thirteenth survivor-child, in a world overrun by the nano-Shining Plague, is Daniel the one to turn inflection into ‘a symbiosis of man and machine…human and nanomachine, neuron and viron’ as ‘an evolutionary step towards the humanity of the future’?, a poetic-spiritual tale with head-spinning Olaf Stapledon properties. Michael G Coney interview by David V Barrett, Brian Stableford’s ‘The Big Sellers no.2’ Stephen R Donaldson, ‘Popular Literature?’ by Charles Platt. Three John Brunner novels reviewed by Peter T Garratt, reviews of Kim Stanley Robinson’s ‘The Gold Coast’, Robert Silverberg’s ‘To The Land Of The Living’ and lots more.
1990 – ‘INTERZONE no.33’ (January-February 1990), with “Piecework” by David Brin, “Gargantuabots vs The Nice Mice” by Kim Newman, “The Panic Hand” by Jonathan Carroll, “The Last Game” by Sharon M Hall, “The Eye Of The Ayatollah” by Ian Watson, “Familiars” by Stuart Falconer. John Clute essay ‘The Big Sellers no.3’ Terry Pratchett, Geoff Ryman interview by Stan Nicholls, ‘Report From Utopia’ essay by Charles Platt. Review of David Britton’s ‘Lord Horror’, David Wingrove’s ‘The Middle Kingdom and many more.
1990 – ‘INTERZONE no.34’ (March-April 1990) edited by Simon Ounsley & David Pringle, cover-art by Ian Miller, 76pp. With “The Lilim” by Richard Calder, “Well-Loved” by Ian R MacLeod, “An Artificial Life” by Susan Beetlestone, “The Greatest Game Of All” by Keith Brooke, “Memetic Drift” by Glenn Grant, “Down The Path Of The Sun” by Nicola Griffith, “Great Chain Of Being” by Matthew Dickens. Wendy Bradley writes ‘The Big Sellers 4: Anne McCaffrey’, Wendy Counsil interviews Lucius Shephard, plus Nick Lowe’s Mutant Popcorn, and Charles Platt on ‘Participative Fiction’. Reviews of Michael Moorcock’s ‘The Fortress Of The Pearl’, Keith Roberts’ ‘Winterwood And Other Hauntings’, anthology ‘Other Edens III’ edited by Christopher Evans & Robert Holdstock, and many more.
1990 – ‘INTERZONE no.35’ (May 1990), first issue on new monthly publication schedule (which will continue unbroken until no.180 dated June-July 2002), edited by Simon Ounsley & David Pringle, cover-art by David A Hardy, with Stephen Baxter’s “Vacuum Diagrams” Xeelee story with Ken Cullen art, Thomas M Disch’s “Celebrity Love”, Neil Ferguson’s “One-Way To Wap Wap”, Nicholas Royle’s “Negatives”, Brian Stableford’s “The Fury That Hell Withheld”, David Pringle & Andy Robertson interview Barrington J Bayley, with his “Culture Shock” story, Lee Montgomerie writes ‘The Big Sellers 5: L Ron Hubbard’, David Langford’s ‘Best Foot Forward’ essay, Mutant Popcorn, reviews of Bob Shaw (‘The Fugitive Worlds’), Robert Silverberg (‘The Queen Of Springtime’), Arthur C Clarke (‘Tales From Planet Earth’ and ‘Rama II’), Brian W Aldiss (‘A Romance Of The Equator’ and ‘Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand’) and more. Reader’s letters.
1990 – ‘INTERZONE no.40’ (October 1990) with “The Allure” by Richard Calder – ‘clothes maketh man’ and Barrington J Bayley’s 1976 novel ‘The Garments Of Caean’, a satirical well-dressed flourish about fashion, where dermaplastic contours into the flesh, set within the Paris haute couture catwalk demi-monde and Eddie Constantine in ‘Alphaville’, the 1965 New Wave Jean-Luc Godard movie. ‘The material was dermatoid. It palpitated beneath my touch, its sensory fibres relaying a voluptuous message through a peripheral nervous system that was hard-wired to Babette’s own.’ Reprinted in ‘The Best Of Interzone’ edited by David Pringle (1997, Voyager, Harper Collins).
1990 – ‘INTERZONE no.41’ (November 1990), includes Nick Lowe’s Mutant Popcorn, “Exiles” by Paul J McAuley with Kevin Cullen art, Stephen Baxter reviews ‘N-Space’ by Larry Niven.
1991 – ‘INTERZONE no.45’ (March 1991) editors David Pringle & Lee Montgomerie, cover art by Geoff Taylor, with “The Bone Forest” from Robert Holdstock’s ‘Mythago Wood’, Brian Stableford’s “The Man Who Invented Good Taste”, Nick Lowe’s ‘Mutant Popcorn’ column, and Stephen Baxter’s “Traces” – the title-story of his 1998 collection. A two-man GUTship crewed by Dillard & Brewster, reaches a comet in the Oort Cloud in order to discover unsullied ice on which to use the Berry phase probe which visualises the particle’s memory back to, and beyond the origins of the solar system.
1991 – ‘INTERZONE no.48’ (June 1991) with “Song Of Bullfrogs, Cry Of Geese” by Nicola Griffith. A slow-paced reflective elegy set to images of nature and the natural world, in which immunologist Molly lives in the remote Westwater Terraces she shared with same-sex lover Helen, as a fatal Chronic Fatigue Syndrome variant decimates the world in a gentle gradual extinction. Following a life-threatening fall while walking around the lake, she decides to return to Atlanta with the regular delivery driver. She uses the image of a cranefly trapped in a web as metaphor for the feeble struggle against inevitability. Reprinted in ‘The Best Of Interzone’ edited by David Pringle (1997, Voyager, Harper Collins).
1991 – ‘INTERZONE no.50’ (August 1991) with “Pigs, Mostly” by Ian Lee. Graham Muttock returns from his academic life to simple ‘Home Farm’ with its misspelled ‘No Trespasses’ sign, the unsettling farm where Margery in apron and Joe in check shirt use pigs to incubate human embryos and suckle the babies, setting up porcine behavioral patterns that persist. Graham rolls in the barn straw, streaked in ‘something that could have been marmite but probably wasn’t’! Reprinted in ‘The Best Of Interzone’ edited by David Pringle (1997, Voyager, Harper Collins).
1991 – ‘INTERZONE: THE FIFTH ANTHOLOGY’ (August 1991, New English Library ISBN: 0-450-54063-4) edited by John Clute, Lee Montgomerie & David Pringle. With John Clute Introduction, “A Life Of Matter And Death” by Brian W Aldiss, “An Old-Fashioned Story” by Phillip Mann, “Visiting The Dead” by William King, “Well-Loved” by Ian R MacLeod, “Looking Forward To The Harvest” by Cherry Wilder, “Twitch Technicolour” by Kim Newman, “Once Upon A Time In The Park” by Ian Lee, “Mosquito” by Richard Calder, “Piecework” by David Brin, “Listen” by Ian McDonald, “Game Night At The Fox And Goose” by Karen Joy Fowler, “The Eye Of The Ayatollah” by Ian Watson, “One-Way To Wap Wap” by Neil Ferguson, “Light” by Barrington J Bayley, “The Sculptor’s Hand” by Nicholas Royle.
1991 – ‘INTERZONE no.53’ (November 1991) with “George And The Comet” by Stephen Baxter, a far-future strangeness in which schoolteacher Phil Beard from 1991 and George Newbould of 1985 London awake as lemurs talking in squeaky Donald Duck voices in five-billion AD ‘give or take’. ‘It’s all gone’ Beethoven, Mozart, the Inland Revenue, the Ponytails ‘Born Too Late’. They inhabit one of two trees located at the opposing poles of a small asteroid. Have they been clone-reconstructed by ‘the Builders’ in order to observe a passing comet collide into the vast swollen red-giant sun in the last death of the solar system? Are they immortal? George turns out to be female, and ‘I couldn’t believe how fast the kids grew.’ An excellent mind-stretcher. Plus “The Family Football” by Ian R MacLeod, a kind of shape-shifter surrealism that opens ‘Dad came home as a centaur that day,’ Mum turns into a three-toed sloth, Grandad is a dog and brother Tom is shape-fixed as a football, but enjoys being kicked around. A straight school-narrative that simply involves people assuming different body forms. No explanation. No explanation needed. Both stories reprinted in ‘The Best Of Interzone’ edited by David Pringle (1997, Voyager, Harper Collins).
1991 – ‘INTERZONE no.54’ (December 1991) with “Bad Timing” by Molly Brown, a playful twist on ‘The Time-Traveller’s Wife’ in which Alan Strong of the future Archives Department discovers a story ‘The Love That Conquered Time’ written by Cecily Walker in an edition of ‘Woman’s Secrets’ magazine dated 14 March 1973, and recognizes himself. Researching her life he checks out issues of ‘Amazing Stories’, ‘Astounding’, Analog’, Weird Tales’ and ‘Isaac Asimov’s SF Magazine’, but she only ever wrote the one story. Despite Joe Twofingers objection he takes a folding time-cycle (devised by Samuel Colson whose first time machine was modeled on Doctor Who’s English telephone box), and attempts to travel back to the events described in her story, but keeps arriving at incorrect dates throughout Cecily’s life, until her death. ‘He sat down on the bike and unfolded the printout. He’d get it right eventually.’ Both comic, and touching. Reprinted in ‘The Best Of Interzone’ edited by David Pringle (1997, Voyager, Harper Collins).
1992 – ‘INTERZONE no.55’ (January 1992) with “World Wars III’ by Paul Di Filippo. A rumbustious ribald rampage in the ‘Catch 22’ tradition, set in a World War III conducted as conventional war with massive global troop-movements against the Warsaw Pact, with ‘Pig’ Bodine and the narrator going AWOL to see a Hamburg show by Elvis, the Supremes and the Beatles (with Pete Best on drums) where, in a functioning rathskeller called The Iron Stein, he meets an older man who tells him he is a time-traveler from the aftermath of an apocalyptical alternate nuclear World War III. To avoid that future he’s travelled back to 1915 and systematically eliminated all rocketry and nuclear research by killing off scientists from Einstein, Fermi, Oppenheimer and beyond. Crammed with mangled black-humour cultural references from Fantastic Four comic-books to ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ it rewrites a history in which there was no Hiroshima. Pig shoots the old man, because his Dad was one of thousands of American lives lost in the invasion of Japan. Reprinted in ‘The Best Of Interzone’ edited by David Pringle (1997, Voyager, Harper Collins).
1992 – ‘INTERZONE no.57’ (March 1992) with Kevin Cullen space-station cover-art. Includes “Bird On A Time Branch” by Cherry Wilder, a beautifully-written character sketch of would-be writer Hector Bird, in which cranky old ex-producer Osiris Jones leaves him $5000 in his will on condition he attends the occult Camax circle. He misses the ceremony, but seems to time-slip through ten months and two days. No more than poetic explanations are suggested. Reprinted in ‘The Best Of Interzone’ edited by David Pringle (1997, Voyager, Harper Collins).
1992 – ‘INTERZONE no.58’ (April 1992) includes “The Message From Mars” by JG Ballard, reprinted in ‘The Best Of Interzone’ edited by David Pringle (1997, Voyager, Harper Collins). When the Chinese pagoda-shaped ‘The Temple Of Lightness’ landing on the Moon 1 January 2001 it provokes the USA to reactivate NASA to launch Zeus IV to Mars November 2007 with five-person mixed-nation crew – it ‘happily reminded TV viewers of the Starship Enterprise in the ‘Star Trek’ TV series, still endlessly broadcast on a hundred networks.’ President Quayle wins a third-term electoral landslide (Dan Quayle was Vice President 1981-1993 to President George W Bush), but when the ship returns from Mars to Edwards Air Force Base in a media-storm, the crew decline to leave the ship. Weeks, months and years pass as they remain in the ship, ageing and dying, neglected and forgotten, into 2070. An aged couple remain inside, ‘most mysteriously, across their eyes moved the continuous play of a keen and amused intelligence.’ There is no explanation.
1992 – ‘INTERZONE no.60’ (June 1992) with Jay Blakemore cover art. “The Sculptor” by Garry Kilworth, with Kevin Cullen art, crossing the Great Desert with his train of seventeen camels, sculptor Niccolo encounters Romola dying of thirst. She is one of High Priest da Vinci’s Holy Gurdians from his Symbolist ‘Tower of Babel’. A magical realist metaphor, in which he schemes to kill his father through a system of 333 fully-interlocking sculptures in which one is flawed. Reprinted in ‘The Best Of Interzone’ edited by David Pringle (1997, Voyager, Harper Collins). Also Stephen Baxter’s “The Orchards Of The Moon”, “The Unluckiest Thief” by Brian Stableford.
1992 – ‘INTERZONE no.62’ (August 1992) edited by Lee Montgomerie & David Pringle, £2.25. 72pp. Cover art by Tony Roberts. With “Quiddity Wars” by Barrington J Bayley illustrated by Paul Mumford, “Softly – As In An Evening Sunrise” by Brian W Aldiss illustrated by Bernard Sigaud, and Stephen Baxter reviews Simon Ings ‘Hot Head’ and adds short story “In The Manner Of Trees”, his most conventional SF story, because ‘nobody writes them any more.’ The traditional theme of a crew returning to an alien planet – in this instance WhatAPlace, to discover what happened to the vanished colonists. Intermittent geological instability means that the stranded colonists have had to adapt their children into hermaphrodite baby factories, ‘fertile at the age of two. No need for sex; tiny gestation periods; no nursing dependency… this is a place where humans must breed like bacteria.’
1992 – ‘INTERZONE no.63’ (September 1992) with “Off The Track” by David Garnett, a road-trip in a hire-car with married couple Angela and Michael through the desolate wildness of Americana just north of the Mexican border, bantering marital conversation as they travelogue its raw emptiness, into a small town stop-off for gas, where they meet the old weather-beaten garage attendant. Michael is wary, but she accepts his offer of coffee. There’s a slow realization of strangeness. Vietnam was brought to a close when Hanoi was nuked, followed by a retaliatory nuclear exchange with the USSR that left 30-million dead and fifty stars on the American flag. The old man is Jesse G Presley, Elvis’s still-born twin, who gifts them a big 78rpm copy of Bill Haley & The Comets ‘Rock Around The Clock’ as a memory of an America that never happened. Reprinted in ‘The Best Of Interzone’ edited by David Pringle (1997, Voyager, Harper Collins).
1992 – ‘INTERZONE no.66’ (December 1992) with “Cyril The Cyberpig” by Eugene Byrne, first solo effort by sometime Kim Newman collaborator, a rollicking incident-crammed story of movie-animator Andrew Davies who gets the idea for cartoon Cyril The Cyberpig after watching ‘Robocop 2’ on Classic Movie Channel – ‘a half-pig and half-machine, (he) was a wiseacre crime-fighter’ with arch-enemy Doctor Obnoxor ‘a fairly shameless rip-off of Dick Dastardly.’ Fairly successful it is bought out by the Mondo Future Euro-theme-park who create a genuine Cyril Cyberpig which uses its nasal machine-gun to massacre some English hooligans and is put on trial. Rescued by Action Verte eco-militants it eventually seeks out its creator. There are lots of Pop-culture in-jokes and sly socio-political references, until Davies reprogrammes Cyril to be his assistant in a long-term pre-Raphaelite animation project. Reprinted in ‘The Best Of Interzone’ edited by David Pringle (1997, Voyager, Harper Collins).
1993 – ‘INTERZONE no.67’ (January 1993), edited by Lee Montgomerie & David Pringle, cover art by Jason Hurst. Bob Shaw issue, with ‘Bob Shaw: An Annotated Bibliography’ by David Pringle, Bob Shaw interview by Helen Wake, Shaw’s own ‘How To Write Science Fiction’ essay and short fictions ‘Time To Kill’ and ‘Alien Porn’ with Gerry Grace art. Also ‘Escape To Reality: A Profile Of Bob Shaw’ by Brian Stableford. Plus ‘The Dead’ by M John Harrison & Simon Ings. David Langford’s ‘Ansible Link’ and Nick Lowe’s ‘Mutant Popcorn’. Also “Pilgrim 7” by Stephen Baxter, a beautifully conceived idea that ‘grew out of reading about the Cuban missile crisis.’ Stoic real-life Navy aviator Walter ‘Wally’ Schirra enters orbit 3 October 1962 aboard Sigma 7 as part of the Mercury-Atlas 8 programme. Events separate from reality when, from orbit, he observes missiles launched from Cuba devastate the US eastern seaboard opening global nuclear war. At the same time ‘he saw the doors open up in the sky’ and the Earth transfigures into a new geography. Some alien force – ‘little green men’, has salvaged the human race from its own folly by transporting it back to the single Permian-Triassic supercontinent, where there is already a Wally Schirra and his capsule is ‘Pilgrim 7’. He methodically fulfils his mission, splashes down, destroys his film evidence, and prepares to resume his life on the new Earth. An immaculate fusion of detailed history and wide-eyed speculation
1993 – ‘INTERZONE no.72’ (June 1993) edited by Lee Montgomerie & David Pringle, cover-art by David O’Connor. With Nick Lowe’s Mutant Popcorn, David Langford’s Ansible Link, ‘Project For A Glossary Of The Twentieth Century’ essay by JG Ballard, “Paramathea” novelette by Eric Brown, and short story “No Longer Touch The Earth” by Stephen Baxter, ‘in the dubious spirit of post-war reconciliation’ following ‘the sorry end of the war’ by the ‘loutish coalition’, flying ‘Red Baron’ von Richthofen’s Fokker triplane, Oberleutnant Hermann Göring of the Imperial Air Service joins the Royal Geographical Society’s Antarctic expedition flying to the ‘translucent stripe down the sky’ which is the axis upon which the fixed Earth revolves, previously reached by ‘the ice-crawling’ Amundsen and ‘our chap’ Captain RF Scott. Arriving at the vast column, only to discover Captain Edward Rickenbacker’s Sopwith already there, he forces the American into a fatal dive, then victoriously climbs to the very limits of the atmosphere where he sees the shadowy curves of the structure he’d glimpsed as a child in the Berlin Orrery. An impressive vision of an alternate continuum where Aristotelian astrophysics apply.
1993 – ‘INTERZONE no.73’ (July 1993) with “Norbert And The System” by Timons Esias, in earlier decades of SF there was a rash of tales about the isolated rebel who steps out of the claustrophobic security of hyper-automated super-hygienic future-worlds. This story simply updates that idea with PS cyber-implants and ‘Shopper’ Norbert Kamdar who has the temerity to suggest an off-switch. With mild consumerist satire. Reprinted in ‘The Best Of Interzone’ edited by David Pringle (1997, Voyager, Harper Collins).
1993 – ‘INTERZONE no.74’ (August 1993) with “The Eye-Opener” by Brian Aldiss, one of Brian’s beautifully enigmatic conundrums, centered around the appearance of a huge head in the upper ionosphere seen ‘always full-face, from any vantage point on Earth.’ Wars cease, there are theories ranging from religious anxiety to ‘The Ghost from Outer Space’. Narrated by a cynical former politician from Groznia, ‘between the stark alternatives of Life and Death, a third force was interposed.’ There is no explanation. It closes as the head opens its eyes, ‘then it spoke to us about those unlived days.’ Plus “The Welfare Man” by Chris Beckett, a dystopian impoverished future where the underclass are registered in the Estate outside Bristol where Cyril Burkett – of a truncated Social Services, struggles to cater for their austerity needs. A political satire that uses reconstituted Ice Age Mammoths in a zoo as a metaphor. Michael Crichton’s novel ‘Jurassic Park’ had appeared in 1990, the movie followed in 1993. Both stories are reprinted in ‘The Best Of Interzone’ edited by David Pringle (1997, Voyager, Harper Collins).
1993 – ‘INTERZONE no.75’ (September 1993), edited by Lee Montgomerie & David Pringle, Jim Burns cover art, with “Timeslice” by John Meaney, “Adam’s Gene” by Peter F Hamilton, and “Downstream” by Stephen Baxter – later collected into his ‘Traces’. An exercise in bizarre evolutions, ‘real humans – the original form which had emerged from the Crash’ suggests a starship wreck depositing survivors into the strange subterranean continuum of the Stream, adapting and evolving from the unreachable ‘lost infinity’ of Upstream, through Midstream with its fat tube-spider eggs and huge corpses carried down by the tide, where Stones-of-Ice and his sister Flower-of-Bones are swept downstream towards an unknowable future.
1994 – ‘INTERZONE no.79’ (January 1994) with Molly Brown “Women On The Brink Of Cataclysm”, with art by Gerry Grace. A fast-action frantic temporal-loop romp in which New York sculptor-artist Joanna Krenski uses Toni Fisher’s time-egg to zap through a confusion of time-streams meeting and interacting with a variety of alternate selves who made different life-choices, competing, switching, arguing and thieving ideas from each other. One is a ‘fifties TV sitcom’ conventional housewife, another married hippie boyfriend Mark and lives in an adobe desert-house with a studio attached, one is a parasite-infested bag-lady ‘living in a box’, one has a Punk-daughter Katie…
1994 – ‘INTERZONE no.80’ (February 1994) with “The Tourist” by Paul Park. An extravagant time-travel story that plays games rewriting history, where temporal cause-&-effect don’t operate because – just maybe, time is travelling backwards, and where past ages are being colonized by the present. The first-person narrator ‘bought a ticket for Palaeolithic Spain’ where Cro-Magnon beggars get food and liquor from restaurants, and where his estranged wife Suzanne Denier works at the Krieger-Richardson Observatory, ‘we think some galaxies are further apart now than they are in the twentieth century.’ From its playful opening to a touching poignancy as he attempts reconciliation, and fails, they have no future ‘the past is all we have,’ apart from an idyllic dream closing sequence. Also “The Data Class” by Ben Jeapes, donning the Virtual Reality goggles and submerging into the cyberspace datapool where runaway AI Goldie styles itself KM-2 in response to Dr Henry Ash’s political dialogue ‘as a philosophical sparring partner’, to become a cyber-Karl Marx for the new digital proletariat. Is this the new post-human evolution? KM-2 survives the attack of security Police goons to go on and reformulate its theories into new subversions. Reprinted in ‘The Best Of Interzone’ edited by David Pringle (1997, Voyager, Harper Collins).
1994 – ‘INTERZONE no.82’ (April 1994) with “Sharp Tang” by John Meaney, essentially a ‘first contact’ story. Ursine antlered Sharp on EM36 – a planet subsequently renamed Vijaya, meets lone female human Rekka Chandri, and they establish a relationship, despite his vocabulary being augmented by aroma-sensitivity. Their cultural memory is passed on through a form of cannibalism, through which Sharp eventually passes on the knowledge he gained through his visit to Earth. Reprinted in ‘The Best Of Interzone’ edited by David Pringle (1997, Voyager, Harper Collins). Also “Mittelwelt” by Stephen Baxter – later collected into his ‘Traces’. With an isolationist USA, the German Reich-dominated Mitteleuropa faces the expansionist Japan of Hideki Tojo. American observer Michael Kilduff joins the crew of the antipodal volplane ‘Werde Was Du Bist’ on the launch of an experimental flight from the Baltic coast, which is diverted – as war breaks out, into an attack on Tokyo itself. Kilduff’s attempt to stop the mission result in its becoming a suicide dive. As Baxter notes, ‘Hermann Göring, star of ‘No Longer’, shows up again, as bit-part player.’
1994 – ‘INTERZONE no.83’ (May 1994) with “Downtime In The MKCR” by Eric Brown, the touching story of Sinclair, a gay man with a terminal Karposi’s sarcoma diagnosis, who escapes into a virtual New Crete Consensus Reality where he meets and loves Andy. There are hacker attacks launched by the Greek Popular Front who resent the Milton Keynes holiday centre taking tourists away from the real Crete, and he is extracted from the simulation, only to discover that Andy is there too, with identical hospitalization prospects. Reprinted in ‘The Best Of Interzone’ edited by David Pringle (1997, Voyager, Harper Collins).
1994 – ‘INTERZONE no.85’ (July 1994) with “Human Waste” by Mary Gentle, far from gentle, she has designed a male child ‘as a pet substitute’ which she regularly tortures ‘to get my own back on men in general,’ with his horrific injuries healed by a grey goo of nanotech repairers. Crude and sexually explicit she repels the approaches of an acned man in the park. Will she get bored with Little Thomas… or ‘start to love him.’ Reprinted in ‘The Best Of Interzone’ edited by David Pringle (1997, Voyager, Harper Collins).
1994 – ‘INTERZONE no.86’ (August 1994) with “Eat Reecebread” by Graham Joyce & Peter Hamilton, there are hate-crime attacks against ‘Hermies’ in a world where Dr Desmond Reece’s biotechnology has solved the ‘spectre of famine’ with vat-grown protein-rich algal Reecebread, and new-build housing is ‘grown’ from Nu-Cell landcoral. There are police panda cars in Leicester. At the Charles Street ops centre Mark’s junior – Burroughs, betrays Hermies to the mob. Mark had met the beautiful Laura, who turned out to be one of the new-evolution hermaphrodites the media are whipping up resentment against, with political repressions following the conflated bigotry, in a satire on EU anti-migrant hysteria. After failing to save pregnant Laura from a lynch-mob, Mark assists the Hermies manipulate human genes with plasmid-impregnated Reecebread to accelerate their proliferation. Burroughs has his first period. Reprinted in ‘The Best Of Interzone’ edited by David Pringle (1997, Voyager, Harper Collins).
1994 – ‘INTERZONE no.87’ (September 1994) with “The Man Who Read A Book” by Thomas M Disch, barely a whisper of SF, more a cynical humorous spoof on the declining book trade. People don’t read books anymore, instead they devise devious scams to make money out of naïveté. Responding to an ad for publisher’s readers Jerome Bagley reviews ‘A Collector’s Guide To Plastic Purses’, then meets aspirant novelist Lucius Swindling and agrees to read his manuscript ‘The Last Of The Leather Stockings’, plagiarizes it into ‘I Iced Madame Bovary’ in order to get various Literary Grants. Reprinted in ‘The Best Of Interzone’ edited by David Pringle (1997, Voyager, Harper Collins).
1994 – ‘INTERZONE no.89’ (November 1994) with “A Ring Of Green Fire” by Australian writer Sean McMullen, a fantasy related by an Islamic-convert physician about a sexually-transmitted curse spread by a promiscuous tinker called Watkin, which creates ‘a ring of green fire around his penis.’ Set in 1188AD, it involves revenge, torture and betrayal as they trace the links of contagion to its source, the grave of an alleged witch, which they re-bury ‘in the overgrown garden of her old home.’ Once resolved, the healer goes to Africa. Reprinted in ‘The Best Of Interzone’ edited by David Pringle (1997, Voyager, Harper Collins).
1994 – ‘INTERZONE no.90’ (December 1994) with “The Unkindness Of Ravens” by Brian Stableford, a brief charming tale in which ravens intelligence-levels are experimentally raised to the point they devise their own escape. One named Edgar (one of a number of Poe references) returns to ask if the changes will be genetically passed down to their fledglings. It will not. Stableford also commences his ‘Creators Of Science Fiction’ essay series with no.1 Stanley G Weinbaum. Plus “Slow News Day” by Kim Newman, a humorous alternate if-the-Germans-won short, in which the nuking of Leningrad ended the War in Europe. There are joke-references to BBC-TV ‘Dad’s Nazis’ with its theme tune ‘Who Do You Think You Are Kidding, Mr Churchill?’, topless page-3 girls and Mr Spotty (Mr Blobby) welcoming the rainy ‘Invasion of Liberation’ re-enactment, with Edward VIII installed as king. Both reprinted in ‘The Best Of Interzone’ edited by David Pringle (1997, Voyager, Harper Collins).
1995 – ‘INTERZONE no.91’ (January 1995), with “Brigantia’s Angels” by Stephen Baxter art by Noel Bateman – later collected into ‘Traces’. With some degree of irony the War Office is not interested in Saundersfoot carpenter Bill Frost’s claim to have constructed a flying machine, taken on a maiden flight by young Jimmy Griffiths, who is discontented with mining and is already taken up by journalism in London, caught up in the Fabian Society and Social Democratic Federations radical ideas for the dawning new century. Until they take the flying machine – ‘The Furniture Seagull’ to London and drop Welch coal on Prime Minister the Marquess of Salisbury’s coach. Subsequently developed the Capper Army Flyers first defeat the Boers in 1899 Transvaal, then are used to crush hungry striking Welsh miners, by which time Jimmy has matured and forgotten his radicalism.
1995 – ‘INTERZONE no.92’ (February 1995) with “Mitochondrial Eve” by Greg Egan. The Ancestor Wars begin 2 June 2007 with palaeogenetic research reconstructing the human DNA Great Tree back 200,000 years to Mitochondrial Eve. Paul is encouraged by Lena to get Mormon funding for more specific gene-analysis, provoking reactionary political groups supposedly representing ancestral purity groups the Children of Eve or the Sons of Adam. There’s much technical detail and a name-drop to ‘Wired’ magazine, before he declares that ‘if there was ever an Adam or an Eve, they were long before Homo sapiens, long before Home erectus. Maybe they were… Australopithecus –?’ Also “The Net Of Babel” by David Langford, with ‘necessary apologies to Jorge Luis Borges’, a description of the vast Library, less a story – let alone SF, as a playful literary flourish. Both reprinted in ‘The Best Of Interzone’ edited by David Pringle (1997, Voyager, Harper Collins).
1995 – ‘INTERZONE no.93’ (March 1995) edited by Lee Montgomerie & David Pringle, cover art by David A Hardy. With ‘Creators Of SF 2: Theodore Sturgeon’ by Brian Stableford. “Becoming The Full Butterfly” by Brian W Aldiss.
1995 – ‘INTERZONE no.95’ (May 1995) with “Ahead” by Ian Watson, wild extreme imaginings in a joyfully exaggerated trip through eternity, the narrator is decapitated and preserved in an attempt at cyber-immortality, waking into a post-human future where severed heads are stacked into pyramids, then he’s reintegrated into a winged robotic body. Following a nanocatastrophe that leaves the world smooth and perfectly spherical they construct colossi that consume the total energy-mass of the Earth in order to power a thousand ships – with human heads, into other galaxies. Reprinted in ‘The Best Of Interzone’ edited by David Pringle (1997, Voyager, Harper Collins).
1995 – ‘INTERZONE no.100’ (October 1995) with “Warmth” by Geoff Ryman, BETsi is a kind of cyber-nanny for Clancy, conceived by business-woman Booker McCall from a sperm-bank to be a genius, but socially uncertain, he likes ‘Jurassic Park’ and a computer game ‘Bloodlust Demon’, and models himself on window-cleaner Tom because ‘he doesn’t see many men.’ Tom returns as a burglar, Booker has a booze breakdown and eventually sells BETsi to be reprogrammed for a girl called Betty, ‘you have sold the only real mother I have ever had’ he protests. He grows up and buys his own BETsi from Hamleys. Reprinted in ‘The Best Of Interzone’ edited by David Pringle (1997, Voyager, Harper Collins). Also “Sunfly” as by Stephen Baxter & Eric Brown, and “Mister Volition” by Greg Egan.
1995 – ‘INTERZONE no.102’ (December 1995) editor David Pringle, cover-art by Maurizio Manzieri, with Greg Egan novelette “Silver Fire”. “Darkness” by Stephen Baxter – later collected into ‘Traces’. The holodeck simulation that achieves sentience has been a ‘Star Trek’ staple in a number of series, here Baxter’s researchers chart the evolution of Byron’s prescient poem through such a replication, back into ancestral memories of Homo Erectus. Short stories “The Warrior Half And Half” by Chris Beckett and “The End Of The World Is Nice” by Gerry Grace. Review of ‘Von Bek’ and ‘Fabulous Harbours’ by Michael Moorcock.
1996 – ‘INTERZONE no.105’ (March 1996) edited by Lee Montgomerie & David Pringle, £2.75, 68pp, cover art by David A Hardy. With “Sleepwalker” by Brian Stableford plus “Alfonso The Wise” as by ‘Francis Amery’. “Lonniemania” by Don Webb. An essay “Rusting Gantries & Lawn Ornaments: Science Fiction And The Space Age” by Stephen Baxter plus fiction “In The MSOB” – later collected into ‘Traces’, in which the last of the twelve (astronauts who walked the Moon) is confined to the Manned Spacecraft Operations Building retirement home where he’s treated with intolerant disrespect by Bart, ‘you filthy old bastard’ when he pulls his catheter loose and pisses the bed ‘goddamn surgeons, always sticking a tube into one orifice or another.’ He dreams of his father on a beach, and dead wife Geena, while a Democrat President has legalized the ‘demographic adjustment of the ‘happy booths’.
1996 – ‘INTERZONE no.107’ (May 1996) edited by David Pringle, cover art by David A Hardy. With “The Spacetime Pit” collaboration by Stephen Baxter & Eric Brown with Rick Dawson art. Plus “Priest King Of Tarxien” by Patricia Fanthorpe & RL Fanthorpe (variant of by Lionel Fanthorpe & Patricia Fanthorpe). ‘The Creators Of Science Fiction no.6: John Brunner’ by Brian Stableford.
1997 – ‘INTERZONE no.120’ (June 1997) with Alastair Reynolds “A Spy In Europa”. Following the solar dimming – the second Maunder minimum, the power-balance shifts from the inner worlds to the outer planets which ‘never had the luxury of solar energy in the first place’. The Demarchy (Europa and Io) vie with Gilgamesh Isis (Ganymede and Callisto) as ruthless agent Marius Vargovic uses guise to penetrate the hanging cities – high-tech Shopping Malls, to contact Cholok. There are life-forms in the thermal vents of Europan oceans, bioformed gill-workers and Mermen-type Denizens. After gill-surgery Vargovic murders Cholok and escapes with the hyperdiamond, only to discover that Cholok’s real posthumous gift is the retrovirus put in his bloodstream which the Denizens cluster to drain…
1997 – ‘INTERZONE no.121’ (July 1997) with Peter F Hamilton’s “Escape Route”. In a spin on the old EC Tubb planetoid-prospectors hunting the solid-gold asteroid theme, the ‘Lady Macbeth’ embarks from Sonora, orbiting Lagrange-point gas-giant Zacateca, only to find a 13,000-year old (‘give or take a decade’) Xenoc shipwreck caught up in the rocky accretion disk around a red dwarf sun, maintained in pristine condition by cyber-mice, and with a wormhole at its core, through which its crew had escaped. Had it been caught up in an ancient war? Is the dish a distress beacon? The alien tech and weaponry could ‘very nearly solved human economics for good’ with all the social disruptions that would entail. Only conflict with terrorist members of the ship’s syndicate results in the Xenoc ship being blown to smithereens. Space adventure with high-tech ‘datavised’ icing…
2005 – ‘INTERZONE no.198’ (May-June 2005) includes “The Clockwork Atom Bomb” by Dominic Green, Brian Mativi is a UN Weapons Inspector in post-Nuclear War Kinshasa where all manner of terror killware Heavy Weapon UXBs lie in wait amid an armed general collapse of order, including containers of ‘demons’, Penrose Accelerator-generated Event Horizons – from ‘irresponsible nations carrying out unauthorized black hole research’ with the potential to accidentally destroy the world. Mativi averts a near-disaster, but are there others out there?, frantic pace, much-capitalised for emphasis, later collected into ‘The Mammoth Book Of Apocalyptic SF’ edited by Mike Ashley (2010, Constable and Robinson)
2012 – ‘INTERZONE no.239’ (March-April 2012) with Steve Rasnic Tem’s “Twember”, with art by Dave Senecal. Towering time-escarpments sweep across the eastern Colorado skies – ‘time disruption, alien invasion, dimensional shifts at the earth’s core’? Will, his estranged wife Tracy, and damaged son Jeff drift through memories and the detritus of lost time, throwing up poignant reflections. No answers, no resolutions, just a haunting mood.
2021 – ‘INTERZONE no.290-291’ (March-June 2021) edited by Andy Cox, guest editorial by Lavie Tidhar, with “A Hollow In The Sky” by Alexander Glass illustrated by Jim Burns, “The Andraiad” by Tim Major, “Pace Car” by Lyle Hopwood, “An Island For Lost Astronauts” by Daniel Bennett, “Nemesis” by Matt Thompson and others, essays by Aliya Whiteley, Mutant Popcorn and book reviews.