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Summary: Interzone, 2009 - The Elephant Forgets
Summary: Interzone, 2009
Summary: Interzone, 2009

There were a total of 33 new stories: 1 novella, 16 novelettes, and 16 short stories (one short-short) this year at Interzone, for a total of about 256,000 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.)

Incidentally, Interzone officially passed New Worlds as the UK SF publication with the most issues this year. New Worlds, counting all their incarnations including several anthology series, had 222 issues. Interzone is now at 225, and counting.

The novella was by one of the most regular Interzone contributors, Jason Sanford. "Sublimation Angels" (October), was pretty good work, with a human colony in an alien star system, under the rule of AIs, eventually realizing that neither the aliens nor the AIs could necessarily be trusted.

Of the novelettes, my particular favorites came from Dominic Green (both "Glister" and "Butterfly Bomb", from the Special Dominic Green issue, August), Bruce Sterling ("Black Swan", April), and two from February: "Monetized", by Jason Stoddard, the other Jason on Interzone's regular roster, and "Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast", by Eugie Foster. The two Green stories are set in the same universe. In "Butterfly Bomb" (which may actually be a short story in length), the only man alive on a planet gets himself kidnapped by slavers to follow his granddaughter. Which may not make much sense, but all is explained, cleverly and a bit darkly. In "Glister", the hero has been tricked into hunting some potentially intelligent gold-digesting beasts in order to buy his way out of a dangerous star system, but he is somewhat hampered by his ethics. Green's particular asset is a mordant sense of humour. Sterling's "Black Swan" a journalist jumps multiple timelines in pursuit of some weird tech -- and Nicolas Sarkozy. Stoddard's "Monetized" is clever near future SF with a Cory Doctorowish central idea -- social reputation, in essence, is money. Foster's "Sinner ..." is a colourful story of a world in which character wear different masks each day and enact different, stylized, roles -- not a new idea, but handled newly, with a dark ending.

Other fine novelettes came from Will McIntosh, Aliette de Bodard, Rebecca J. Payne, and Jason Sanford.

The best short stories were: "Home Again", by Paul M. Berger (April), a short story with a sharp ending about a man piloting "thought-ships" across the universe while trying to maintain his family's reality; "Unexpected Outcomes", by Tim Pratt (June), in which a certain Tim Pratt, and the rest of the world, realize on 9/11 that the world is a simulation -- and end up taking action about that; and another June story, Sarah L. Edwards's "Lady of the White-Spired City", about a woman in an interstellar society returning to a planet on which her long ago (due to time dilation) visit has made her the stuff of legend.

Stats: Interzone remains mainly focused on SF: I'd say perhaps 26 of the 33 stories were SF, or 79%. To the best of my knowledge, 10.5 of the 33 were by women, about 32%, a bit higher than last year's value of 28% or so.

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(Deleted comment)
From: ecbatan Date: November 5th, 2009 12:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
26 of the stories -- sorry! Fumbly fingers, in this case, though brain shortcomings are always suspect as well ... I should note that 2 or 3 stories seemed borderline to me, so some might say 25 are SF and some might say 28.

I've edited the post.
bluetyson From: bluetyson Date: November 5th, 2009 04:56 am (UTC) (Link)
You didn't find the hidden bonus tracks, James? :)
From: ecbatan Date: November 5th, 2009 12:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it was last year, maybe the year before, that Interzone did have a hidden bonus track -- an online-only novella by Edward Morris.
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