This edition was supposed to go out a couple of weeks ago, but I was struck down by a virus (possibly viruses) and my energy levels have been very, very low. But I am on the up, now.
In this short edition: a great Q&A with Marisca Pichette, a new IZ Digital story, and a reminder about subscriptions…
Marisca Pichette, author of the IZ 294 story 'Seven Shots at the Ultimate High', kindly answered three questions for the newsletter.
IZ: You have a new poetry collection coming out, Rivers in Your Skin, Sirens in Your Hair, which is available to pre-order now. What's the story behind the book?
Marisca: This collection happened more or less by accident. I started writing speculative poems in 2019, and began publishing them the following year. As I became more familiar with the form, I grew to love how I could tell (or retell) a story in a handful of words, while still capturing a sharpness of emotion and energy. In 2021, I had two poems published in Solarpunk Magazine: 'Nobyl', and 'Topsoil', both of which appear in the collection. Solarpunk Magazine's publisher, Android Press, then approached me with an offer of compiling a collection with them. Fifty poems later, Rivers in Your Skin, Sirens in Your Hair was born! The collection captures my love of landscape, natural magic, and fairy tales told with a queer (and often macabre) twist.
IZ: Do you switch very easily from writing poetry to writing prose, and how much influence do your poems and stories exert on each other?
Marisca: I love switching genres. Poetry is something that gives me a much-needed break between working on short stories and novels. Writing poetry helps me to exercise a different descriptive muscle and ultimately strengthens my prose. Sometimes I set out to write something not knowing whether it will turn into a poem or a story. Several works have made the switch between flash fiction and poem, ultimately getting published in a form I hadn't originally imagined for them.
IZ: Could you talk a little bit about dance, magic, and 'Seven Shots at the Ultimate High'?
Marisca: 'Seven Shots at the Ultimate High' is all about the senses. I wanted the story to bring the reader into the club with the characters, through the use of first-person plural POV and a continuous assault on the senses. The story's magic is about being simultaneously transported away from your body, while also being keenly aware of what it's feeling. Smells, tastes, sounds, visceral sensations – all are key to the experience of this story. How we feel is truly a kind of magic, influenced by substances and surroundings. For queer people, this operates on another level, with the freedom allowed by a community space (which is constantly threatened in our reality). At the end of the story, the question posed to the reader is the same as to the characters: what would you trade to feel it all over again?
Thank you, Marisca Pichette!
IZ Digital has so far published 22 stories in 2022. There may well be a 23rd.
The latest story is 'Our Roots Will Dry Out in the End', a Christmas tale by Ivan Zoric with art by Dante Luiz.
Here is the opening:
On Christmas Eve of the coldest January on record, the Communist Party Secret Police shot my grandfather in our front yard, as he was about to carry Badnjak into the house. I learned two things that night. One, plum brandy and secrets will get you killed in combination. The other? Rains loved the taste of our blood.
It’s been forty years since that night and I still can’t get the image of a blood-soaked oak branch out of my head. All my life I have been dreaming of a red Christmas. The real one, not the commercialized Western version that my kids and husband love so much. I let them enjoy their fantasy. It’s easier that way. One less argument to battle over, one less fight with no winner and a house full of defeated.
It wasn’t always like this. There was love under this roof, once. Youth is gullible that way, easy to manipulate, even when both sides believe in its sincerity. Oh, but we were players, both of us. I was a beautiful immigrant bride and Jack, well, he was the one to save me from the lifetime of poverty and struggle. There are worse things that an empty stomach, I’ve come to find out. Bruises whisper at night, their songs always blue. When kids finally arrived, we shared the same lullaby.
Except on Christmas.
If you enjoy the fiction and non-fiction published in IZ's new digital offshoot, and if you are able, please consider a monthly membership. Each and every print subscription and digital membership helps me to publish more work.
Print magazines like IZ need subscriptions to survive -- they are our lifeblood. If you haven't already subscribed, please consider starting a subscription. The link you need is this one.
If you would like to renew or extend your subscription early, you can do that at a discount – email subscriptions [at] interzone [dot] press for details.
Those links will also take you to a table of contents for each issue. Until the end of the year, Interzone #294 is just 7 euros, including postage.
And that is it.
I was hoping to have some info about stories coming in 2023, but that will have to wait until the next letter.
I will teasingly say that there are big newcomers appearing for the first time in Interzone, along with IZ stalwarts making very welcomes returns.
More news soon.
Thank you for reading and supporting.
Warm wishes for the season, and for the year ahead.
Gareth Jelley, Editor & Publisher
Interzone & IZ Digital