Really, really, REALLY enjoyed Nina Allan’s “Microcosmos” in Interzone#222.  It’s thoughtful and immersive, and builds a complicated family backstory around the young narrator through hints at things unspoken and things that are spoken being not fully understood. Loved it.

This issue of the magazine was one of those quirky, varied issues that just throws stuff at you because, when it feels like it, that’s what Interzone can do. It’s all very subjective, but I also particularly liked Kim Lakin-Smith’s steam-punk T-Birds and Aliette de Bodard’s mythical, drowned city Ys.

On the other hand, while I thought Sean McMullen’s story was extremely well executed, I found the premise silly to point of embarrassing. But then, I’m not the sort of person that thinks that cats are all that. Others will disagree, many of them – for a reason I’ver never been able to fathom – writers. Why is that? Answers on a postcard.

8 thoughts on “Microcosmos

  1. Glad you liked “Ys” 🙂
    I felt much the same about the Sean McMullen story: the basic concept was interesting, but it degenerated into silliness (I lost it at the cats). “Microcosmos” was good slice-of-life, but I preferred “Lady of the White-Spired City”, which reminded me of Le Guin (but I’m biased, since I critiqued a draft of this).

    1. >Glad you liked “Ys”
      Ys, I did. I’m a sucker for sunken city stories. 😀

      I felt “Microcosmos” was a little more than a slice-of-life piece, but the story that was in there was so subtly conveyed that it might actually be largely conjecture on my part. However, I stand by my interpretation, and loved the skill with which it was delivered.

      “Lady of the White-Spired City” – Yes, I liked this too, but I felt the setting and characterisation out-weighed the the story to an extent (actually I felt this about Kim’s story a little bit too), so as an overall package it had less impact for me. It WAS reminiscent of LeGuin though, and that’s never a bad thing, and the relationships between the key female characters were lovely.

      1. I did get the background story in “Microcosmos”, but felt it was just a teensy bit too subtle for my taste. 100% personal, of course.
        I’m a big characterisation and setting fan, which might explain why “Lady of the White-Spired City” worked so well for me (Kim’s story worked less for me, and I’m not exactly sure why).

      2. What’s nice about Interzone, of course, is that variety of types of story. 😀

        Gives us all the chance to find a story that really pushes our buttons.

      3. By the way – on Kim’s story. I didn’t mean to imply that I didn’t enjoy it. I did, but I just felt that the setting was more interesting and unique than the story itself.

      4. Absolutely!

        Kim, if you’re listening, more of the steam-driven T-Birds please!

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