Summary: Interzone, 2008
There were a total of 36 new stories: 1 novella, 10 novelettes, and 25 short stories this year at Interzone, for a total of about 244,000 words of fiction. (I caution as ever that Interzone is not easy to do word counts on, and that quite a few stories were in the 7000-8000 word range, thus I may have the various counts slightly off.)
Interzone's big controversies this year (for perhaps small values of controversy) were their publication of a "Mundane SF" issue, in June, guest-edited by Geoff Ryman, Julian Todd, and Trent Waters; and the later departure of assistant editor Jetse de Vries, apparently on the grounds that Interzone was not publishing enough "optimistic" SF. The blogosphere buzzed for a bit with definitions of "optimistic SF", and de Vries is, I understand, scheduled to edit an anthology of same in the near future. (It seems to me that the stories I mention below are mostly mixed -- with some optimism and some pessimism in each -- and that at least Jason Sanford's novelette and Geoff Ryman's short story seem quite optimistic on balance.)
The novella, Jason Stoddard's "Far Horizon" (February), was fine work if perhaps a bit too busy, too ambitious almost, about a nanotech researcher, an illegal chimera, plans to terraform Venus, and eventually much stranger things.
Of the novelettes, certainly Greg Egan's "Crystal Nights" (April) was the strongest: it's sort of a modern-day "Microcosmic God" involving evolved AI, and it sharply examines the basic moral issues, cleverly suggests eventual unexpected consequences, and also speculates buzzingly on computer and biological (and combined) means of evolving intelligence. Jason Sanford’s "The Ships Like Clouds, Risen By Their Rain" (August) has a very cool central idea, about the reason for the utterly strange weather and waste on a weird muddy planet, though the plot develops a bit too slowly. Other good novelettes came from Mercurio D. Rivera and Chris Beckett.
Strong short stories included Geoff Ryman's "Talk is Cheap" (June), about life in a future where people are always interconnected, and how that might change relationships and social structures; Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's "Endra -- From Memory" (June), set in post-catastrophic Global Warming future with a fantastical feel, and concerning a man's lifelong memories of the visit of the title woman, captain of an exploring boat, to his isolated island; Hannu Rajaniemi's "His Master's Voice" (October), a dizzyingly dense story about an uplifted dog and cat, intellectual property rights to copies of people's brains, and much more; and Jason Sanford's "When Thorns are the Tips of Trees" (December), again built around a striking idea, about a plague that turns people into trees with memories. I also liked stories from Alexander Marsh Freed, Suzanne Palmer, and M. K. Hobson.
Stats: Interzone remains mainly focussed on SF: I'd say perhaps 30 of the 36 stories were SF, or 83%. To the best of my knowledge, 10 of the 36 were by women, about 28%, rather higher than last year's value of 15% or so.
Tags: 2008, magazines, yearly summaries