Interzone 208 reviewed
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Author:  Andy [ Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:35 am ]
Post subject:  Interzone 208 reviewed

A review on the March SF Crowsnest:

Author:  Andy [ Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:36 am ]
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A review on the March SF Revu:

Author:  Andy [ Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:37 am ]
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A review on Tangent Online:

Author:  Pete [ Mon Mar 05, 2007 3:39 pm ]
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Slightly different review at

Author:  gdaumiller [ Tue Mar 06, 2007 1:42 am ]
Post subject:  Softly Shining

I disagree with the negative reviews of "Softly Shining in the Forbidden Dark". I found it slightly challenging but very interesting and original. I would love to see the story expanded.

Author:  Paul Raven [ Wed Mar 07, 2007 10:33 am ]
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Here's my review of #208 at Velcro City Tourist Board.

Author:  Jetse [ Fri Mar 09, 2007 1:35 pm ]
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Glad to hear that you liked "Softly Shining in the Forbidden Dark" quite a bit. Also, you're far from the only one, as evidenced by this blog post:
I really hated Stoddard's earlier near-future stories in the mag because of what I saw as their polemical anarcho-capitalism. I have to eat some of my ruder words now because this is really good, [...]

We keep trying to convert souls... :D

Furhermore, Jason is (probably already has) written another story in the same Universe, as evidenced on his blog:
In addition, I’m working on what might be considered a sequel to the novella Softly Shining in the Forbidden Dark, upcoming in Interzone 208. I say, “considered a sequel,” because it’s set about five thousand years ahead of Softly Shining, though it does carry over at least one character (or a convincing simulacrum thereof).

Author:  Andy [ Fri Mar 09, 2007 1:57 pm ]
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Well found Jetse!

I forgot to add a link to Mark Watson's review on Best SF:

Author:  gdaumiller [ Sat Mar 10, 2007 4:28 am ]
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Thank you for the additional information.

My wife went to 's-Hertogenbosch this spring to watch an equestrian competition. She had a wonderful time and really liked 's-Hertogenbosch a lot. I'm sorry I wasn't able to go with her.

She usually doesn't fly to Europe just to go to horse shows, but her cousins were in Brussels at the same time and she decided she could visit them and it would be her best chance to see a riding event over there.

Author:  Jetse [ Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:32 am ]
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Glad your wife enjoyed my home town (and too bad you weren't with her). If you ever come across here, drop me a line at jetse(at)home(dot)nl and we can have a coffee, or a beer.

In the meantime, a review of Interzone #208 by Lois Tilton in the Internet Review of Science Fiction, here (you may have to register, which is still free.

Author:  Jetse [ Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:39 am ]
Post subject:  A few more reviews of IZ #208

This is from the old thread of the old message board.

Part 1: the positive comments:
Just finished Paul Meloy's 'Islington Crocodiles' and absolutely loved it. Looking forward to his collection of the same name.
Lee Moan;
I thought "Empty Clouds" was good too. "Islington Crocodiles" was impressive for most of its length, but I thought the supernatural element a bit clunky and over the top (the magical children - who will save the world because they have wonderful powers - in particular). But I look forward to reading more from Paul Meloy.
Steven LP;
Really enjoyed 'The Star Necromancers' - interesting ideas here. Made me think, though, about identity and whether the notion of the individual would persist in such a culture of disposable bio-engineered avatars and an omnipresent data-space. Mind you, it'd be quite hard to drive fiction without the idea of individual agents, I'd imagine!
Mike A;
Well, I posted a VERY quick review on the Doctor Who forum I normally frequent, and frankly can't be arsed to re-write it, so here's my thoughts:


‘Softly Shining in the Forbidden Dark’ by Jason Stoddard mixes an alien first contact story with the concept of shared consciousness, as both the linked human explorers and a stubbornly introspective alien species find themselves under attack from a vast subsuming hive mind. Initially a little baffling in it’s dense world-building, and the method of defeating the hive mind seems to come out of nowhere, but this is still a vivid piece of science fiction that lives up to the ‘sensawunda’ premise of the issue.

‘Empty Clouds’ by GD Leeming is a brief but colourful look at a Chinese police inspector’s life in a future where a Star Wars-style missile defence system has gone mad. Good stuff.

‘Where the Water Meets the Sky’ by Jay Lake uses Native American Indian mythology to shine an oddly positive light on the usual dystopian Western ecological future – another short but sweet piece.

'Islington Crocodiles' by Paul Meloy is the issues outright fantasy piece, very much in modern fantasy/horror style of Clive Barker or Neil Gaiman, as god-like beings from a higher realm descend into the life of a petty criminal to wage war. Some startling imagery here, but I'm always a little offput by those stories that strap their characters into immovable plot-lines of some great pre-ordained 'destiny'.

Finally 'The Star Necromancers' by Alexander Marsh Freed tells of a group of interstellar travellers who re-ignite dying suns - a great SF concept with some nice alien world-building, and easily my favourite story in this issue.

All in all no outright stinkers, and well worth a look for anyone who wants to support grass-roots British SF.


All I'll add to that is that I didn't realise that 'Islinton Crocodiles' was a sequel to anything until I read some of the other reviews linked to on this site. Maybe if I had read the previous stories it might have seemed less forced...
From somebody who didn't add his/her name to the post;

Next: the negative comments and the nitpicks... :shock:

Author:  Jetse [ Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:50 am ]
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The negative comments and nitpicks:

Read "Empty Clouds": fantastic story, though one niggle - the protagonist is described as wearing a green uniform, though the artwork has him wearing red.
One thing that did confuse me (about "Crocodiles") was midway through the story the main character asks the girl he fancies for her phone number, she says something like "you'll be lucky" and goes off. Then, next paragraph, he's ringing her up. Either I missed something (maybe he is lucky, so she gave him her number!), its an error, or its a subtle way of showing the main character is delusional (and so the rest of the story can be seen as a descent into wish-fulfillment fantasy).
Steven LP;
My only slight quibble was the use of a simile where layers of coloured light were compared to sheets of silk. Would that be a term of reference that the narrator (the gardener) would've used? It rang slightly false to me - but that's really a minor quibble. Other than that, an excellent story.
Mike A about "The Star Necromancers";

Note: I'm not sure if it's right for me as an IZ editor to react to these remarks. Possibly it's better if the writers and/or artists replied (if they feel like it).

(And on Inspector Chen -- "Empty Clouds" -- sudden change of uniform colour: well I can only say that there are quite a few sand and dust storms in and around Beijng, and supposedly one such has just covered his uniform with red dust... :roll: )
(And now either Gary Leeming or Doug Sirois -- whoever I run into first -- owe me a beer... :mrgreen: )

More comments (positive, negative, neutral, thirsty) always welcome!

Author:  grazulis [ Wed Mar 14, 2007 9:35 am ]
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lol, good response Jetse. Definitely worth a beer.

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