A blast from the past in David Langford's Ansible Link column in the July/August issue of this magazine: at the British Library's current Out of This World SF exhibition (note - it runs until 25 September) he met 93-year-old Charles Chilton. I well remember listening to his exciting Journey into Space radio drama series in the 1950s - probably my first introduction to SF - and I still have an ancient copy of his novel The World in Peril on my shelf. I see from Wiki (which has a very informative entry) that Journey into Space was the last radio programme in the UK to attract a bigger audience than television and was translated into seventeen languages. It is apparantly available on CD and internet download. It will have very little merit by modern SF standards but the sheer nostalgia value is huge!
There are the usual reviews of recent films, TV series and books, plus a classical SF cover by Richard Wagner, with flying saucers over a crop field, and shadowy figures in the foreground. Five stories this month, averaging longer than usual.
Insha'Allah by Matthew Cooke, illustrated by Richard Wagner. A female doctor-turned-body-washer on a fundamentalist Muslim world is faced with treating a crashed female spaceship pilot, fallen from a battle for the planet raging overhead. A most unusual story which sticks in the mind.
For Love's Delirium Haunts the Fractured Mind by Mercurio D. Rivera, illustrated by Ben Baldwin. Another story in the Wergen universe, in which aliens who are vastly more technologically advanced than humans find themselves irrestibly in love with humanity. A strange concept, and I'm not sure how far it's worth taking it.
The Walrus and the Icebreaker by Jon Wallace, illustrated by Mark Pexton. A desperate fight to discover oil in the Arctic while civilisation slowly collapses calls for desperate measures - including by a scientist with a walrus trained to carry a bomb.
Eleven Minutes by Gareth L. Powell. A brief, amusing tale of the surprise awaiting US scientists as the first pictures arrive from a rover newly landed on Mars.
Of Dawn by Al Robertson, illustrated by Richard Wagner. A young female violinist goes in search of what motivated her dead brother's bizarre poetry, following clues to a village abandoned since World War 2 when it was incorporated into an army training area. Strange visions and music feature in a story strongly reminiscent of Robert Holdstock.
Some high-quality stories this time, but my favourite has to be Al Robertson's. Although I am mainly an SF fan, there is something haunting about this story (and Holdstock's work) which appeals to me.