Twenty-two years elapsed between the publication of these two issues (#s 9 and 207, the first I ever bought and the most recent) of INTERZONE, Britain’s leading sf short story magazine. In fact, next year is Interzone’s 25th anniversary. That kind of longevity, given the nature of the UK short fiction market, is a frankly astounding achievement. Much of the credit belongs to David Pringle, who was a key player in the magazine’s creation and, from the late 80s on, its sole editor and driving force, and to Andy Cox who took over the reins a couple of years ago and re-invented it (perhaps even saved it) for the 21st century.

#s 206 and 207 are the first issues I’ve read cover to cover in a while, and they’re good enough to make me think I should get a subscription again, having let my last one lapse years ago. I’d almost forgotten how much I like a good short story mag – there’s a particular kind of uncertain, optimistic anticipation, since you never know quite what you’re going to find inside, and somehow reading a magazine always feels to me like a more participatory experience than reading a book. Anyone who likes their sf varied, well-written and nicely presented (not to mention accompanied by some good non-fiction) should give at least one issue of INTERZONE a try.

That illegible list of contributors on the cover of #9, by the way: Brian Aldiss, JG Ballard, Thomas M Disch, M John Harrison. Wow. Those were the days.

I bought my Interzones from Transreal Fiction (doing my bit to support my local independent bookseller and all that) which gives me a tenuous but convenient excuse to mention the signed copies thing. I didn’t imagine there’d be any particular interest in getting my autograph on copies of Winterbirth, which just goes to show how little I know (fortunately, I’m sufficiently accustomed to being proved wrong that it came as a mere surprise rather than some kind of terrible shock). There’s still just about time to join in. Contact Transreal – details on their website – and they’ll willingly sell you a signed (and dedicated, if you like) copy: the perfect Xmas present, since it not only makes the giver and receiver happy but also me and the guy who runs Transreal. Everybody wins!

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