Friday, 8 March 2013
Two author interviews to accompany book reviews this time: Saladin Ahmad (Throne of the Crescent Moon) and Karin Tidbeck (Jagganath). The former is a fantasy author drawing upon both western and eastern heritages, while the latter is a Swedish author who has translated her own short-story anthology. Other book reviews which caught my eye were Eric Brown’s Helix Wars and Benedict Jacka’s Taken. Film and DVD reviews include a double dose of Tolkien, with the Blue Ray extended editions of The Lord of the Rings and the first part of The Hobbit. There's an interesting discussion of some of the quirks and limitations of the films caused by the way in which the Tolkien film rights were handled (or more accurately mishandled) decades ago. On the TV side, Season One of The Continuum sounds interesting – a policewoman from the future operates in present-day Vancouver.
There are six stories include two novelettes, indicating that the new compact format has allowed more space for fiction:
The Book Seller by Lavie Tidhar, a novelette illustrated by Warwick Fraser-Coombe. Yet another story in the author’s strange future world focused on a space station sited in Israel. As with Strigoi in IZ 242, this concerns a data vampire arriving at the station.
Build Guide by Helen Jackson, illustrated by Richard Wagner. A curious little story about corruption in constructing a space station. A story which would have worked just as well set on Earth.
The Genoa Passage by George Zebrowski, illustrated by Martin Handford. If you go to the right place, a pass in the mountains through which Nazis escaped at the end of World War 2, you can still see them as ghostly figures, escaping again and again – but some people don't want them to.
iRobot by Guy Haley, illustrated by Jim Burns. The last flicker of activity left in an ancient robot on a lifeless world. Atmospheric.
Sky Leap - Earth Flame by Jim Hawkins, a novelette illustrated by Richard Wagner. A boy and girl are bred to be linked to a powerful new artificial brain designed to avert the devastation of human space. But will it be capable of the task?
A Flag Still Flies Over Sabor City by Tracie Welser. A dystopian city-state in which the oppressed workers have few opportunities to express their small rebellions.
The Hawkins story is the most substantial in terms of traditional SF and will bear re-reading, although Zebrowski’s odd tale seems likely to stick in the mind.