This review (or a shorter version) was originally published in issue #251 of science-fiction magazine Interzone. You can buy back issues and subscribe to future issues at their shop.
I’m reliably informed that this is the first self-published book which Interzone has reviewed. So no pressure then — I suppose that must be the hand of God on my shoulder, rather than Jim Steel and Andy Cox. I think I’ll leave that comparison where it lies…
Tim Lees is not unknown to [Interzone‘s] pages. His short story “Unknown Cities of America” featured in issue #249 – of the others, three each appeared in Interzone and Black Static, and two in The Third Alternative. When he sent me the collection, Tim said that he saw e-publishing as the future, and viewed this as a sort of experiment. So at least I’m not the only one sailing boldly into the unknown here.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, “Unknown Cities of America” doesn’t itself feature in this collection, but thirteen other tales do.
It’s hard to describe the relief of seeing the first copy of Interzone waiting on the doormat of the new flat. It sounds silly, but I was somewhat worried that the change of address wouldn’t have taken effect, and my copy would have ended up back in Reading — or worse, consumed by the monster that Royal Mail is becoming.
But no, such fears are apparently unfounded, and here it is. Received, enjoyed and regurgitated in review form for your enjoyment.
It is easy to forget that Interzone, as well as being the UK’s foremost science-fiction magazine, is also a venue for top class fantasy. And this issue is a timely reminder of that — coming immediately on the heels of this year’s British Fantasy Awards. Of the six stories, I would say that fully three of them could best be described as fantasy rather than true SF.
Which is no bad thing at all. As you’ll see below, the variation of genres does nothing to dampen either potency or enjoyment.