INTERZONE #280. Zine review

INTERZONE #280, TTA Press, p/b, www.ttapress.com 

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes 

It has been a while since I had a chance to browse through a copy of the latest Interzone and I have noticed some changes in format and general look of the magazine. Interzone is now made up of three core sections; Interface, Fiction and Review. Interface is the editorial section with an introduction by Shawna O’Meara who is also the author of this month’s novelette ‘Scapes Made Diamond. This story started out with a person’s pet cat and the veterinary surgeon helps her pass on as dignified as possible. Shawna wanted to convey the animal/human bond and the love and release experience from a vet’s point of view, hoping to show a facet of death and its inevitability. This was a good way of getting interest from the reader before they have even had the chance to see the story, let alone the illustration that goes with it. 

Another part of what Interzone calls the comment section is Future Interrupted by Andy Hedgecock and discovers the influence of science in art and literature. Another is Climbing Stories by Aliya Whiteley with her Books That Smile Back. She tells of her quest to find the sort of books that hold readers interest whether it’s at their local bookstore or online at Goodreads, and books like Sir Gawain and the Green Knight or the 1931 edition of Marlene’s Doctor Faustus or The Bloody Chamber, a loose version of Sleeping Beauty with a vampire edge. Many things in life will make us smile, just as Aliya says, books can and will continue to inspire us with their image and depiction of life. What surprised me was the early addition of David Langford’s Ansible Link, the more humorous points of his news section are found in The Weakest Link, Ameilie Wen Zhao’s debut novel and its less than enthusiastic reception, Precognition Dept. and my firm favourite, Thog’s Masterclass. 

The fiction consists of four stories and a novelette illustrated by Richard Wagner; Cyberstar by Val Nolan, And You Shall Sing to Me A Deeper Song by Maria Hoskins, Coriander For the Hidden by Nicholas Kaufmann, Everything Rising, Everything Starting Again by Sarah Brooks and ‘Scapes Made Diamond by Shawna O’Meara. Of the stories here I found Everything Rising, Everything Starting Again by Sarah Brooks where when people die, they disintegrate, turning into butterflies and continuing their lives. This one seemed the most original to me with its themes of death and rebirth.

Reviews are put into two sections; Mutant Popcorn which debates on eight of the most recent movies that are most likely to be already out either at the cinema or on DVD. Happy Death Day 2 U, Glass, Mary Poppins Returns, The Kid Who Would Be King, Alita: Battle Angel, Bumblebee, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. I thought it odd that the new rehash of the classic that was Mary Poppins had its title sound like a Batman movie, as she isn’t as heroic as this movie would make her sound. Alita: Battle Angel was adapted from Yukito Kishio’s manga that was a hit in the nineties, though rather than the movie being a tough mech fest as the manga was, this concentrates on the romance between the central characters of Alita and a boy who is from the wrong side of the tracks. Bumblebee, after several Transformers movies gets his own movie with a switch round of gender roles this time as a girl into cars finds Bumblebee and grows to form a bond with him and help him fight back against the Decepticons. Lego Movie 2: The Second Part continues where the last one left off and rather than the world being a better place after they liberated it, the opposite happened with the existing characters having to live in an Apocalypseburg where everyone has adopted a more mature outlook on life. 

Bookzone has ten novels to choose from with only one I recognised as I had previously reviewed; Zero Bomb by M.T.Hill. The rest are new to me, especially the Orphanage of the Gods by Helena Coggan, which had plenty of content to be of interest to readers into her way of writing. Interzone Issue #280 is packed with short fiction and the latest movies and books to read, funny anecdotes and witty editorial that is worth reading and if, like me you want to find out whether to go see a movie or not, or get it out on Blu-ray, their critique of film and  fiction makes for an engaging read.