How Satan Died & The Imprisonment of God,
by Summer Hanford (7th of February)
The Disposable Man,
by Thomas Carl Sweterlitsch (14th of February)
Of Hearts and Monkeys,
by Nick Wood (21st of February)
Billy Bogroll,
by David McCool (28thof February)

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by Joe Vaz

In Issue 18 of Something Wicked we have some astounding stories for you.
First up, on the 7th of Feb, is a bit of dark humour in Summer Hanford’s extremely wry and funny “The Death of Satan and The Imprisonment of God”.
Next up, on the 14th of Feb, is a fantastic piece of near-future SF-noir in Thomas Carl Sweterlitsch’s “The Disposable Man”.
We follow that on the 21st of Feb, with our reprint for this issue, Nick Wood’s “Of Hearts and Monkeys”, an African post-apocalyptic story set in Cape Town.
And we close off the issue on the 28th of Feb with a tale by David McCool about an old man recollecting the story of “Billy Bogroll”, the town paedophile.

We introduce a new book reviewer with this issue; Deon van Heerden, who starts off his tenure with us with a review of The Recollection by Gareth L Powell, and the graphic novel, Mazeworld by Alan Grant & Arthur Ranson.
In expectation of the release of Blue Remembered Earth next month we’ve decided to reprint our Issue 7 interview with Alastair Reynolds.
All in all an awesome issue, as I hope you’ll agree.

Issue 18 (Feb 2012)
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Cover Art by Vianne Venter

Vianne Venter

When we started thinking about cover images for this issue, I was keen to create a new image but the deadline was against us. Then Joe hauled this picture I did for Richard Kunzmann’s story ‘Lost In Recollection’ (from Issue 8), out of the archives of his brain – he thought it would work perfectly for ‘The Disposable Man’, by Thomas Carl Sweterlitsch..

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by Summer Hanford

One unremarkable, breezy September morning, a graduate student was cleaning rat cages. Now, most of her rats were housed individually in fine 9 x 12 x 9 inch highly durable plastic bins, but four of them lived together in a colony cage. These four rats were naive Long Evans males, recognizable as 19, 20, 21 and 22 by their earmarks, and were currently on water deprivation in preparation for a study.

Issue 18 (Feb 2012)
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interview by Vianne Venter

I’ve worked in three different research labs with rats, mice, pigeons and monkeys. Since quitting that line of work, I’ve done the proverbial one-eighty and am now an animal rights advocate.

Issue 18 (Feb 2012)
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by Mark Sykes

EVERY NOW AND THEN a sci-fi geek needs a little reassurance that the path he’s chosen is a righteous one. While it’s true that there’s a certain portion of them – sorry, us – that are completely immune to any ridicule being slung their way (for they know their detractors could be silenced with but a wave of the hand and the utterance of a level four banishment spell), there’s a number of geek guys – and girls, of course – who, every now and then, wonder if they’re not just a wee bit old to be learning Klingon, or creating a mini-army of daleks in their basement, or preparing for the day they’ll be picked up by the Xyrilian mothership they’ve been signalling to for the past decade.

Issue 18 (Feb 2012)
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by Thomas Carl Sweterlitsch

Ashen drizzle. Black sky. Christ, thought McKinley - nothing like the fucking rain. It collected in muddy drifts. It pooled at the curbs. Already the streets were slicked with wet soot. McKinley lifted his boot from the accelerator and hit the emergency flashers. The bald tires of his Ford Focus fishtailed. It was bad enough on clear days when the ash was like fucking snow, but when it rained everything just turned greasy.

Issue 18 (Feb 2012)
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interview by Vianne Venter

Like a lot of my stories, this one showed up one morning as a fully-formed image: of a man in overalls disintegrating as he’s shuffling down the street. Figuring out who that man was and what was happening to him created the story.

Issue 18 (Feb 2012)
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by Nick Wood

We are amongst the last of the last, the ‘do-not-dies’ as the dead now call us. They follow us, the dead do, whispering and pulling at our ears and hair. The other two don’t notice, although they do see and comment on the occasional cock of my head, as I listen without comprehension to dry and meaningless whispers from shadowy lips, the occasional repetition of that one phrase, all I can make out - ‘do-not-dies…’

Issue 18 (Feb 2012)
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interview by Vianne Venter

Watching a news report on 'corrective rape' that outraged me. Although it's seemingly only a small part of the story, it's a central kernel. Other stories spun outwards from that one - and especially once I'd heard MamBhele's voice, while walking along a path in the Silvermine reserve in Cape Town - then, it almost wrote itself.

Issue 18 (Feb 2012)
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by Nick Wood & Zandile Mahlasela

IT TOOK ME (Nick Wood) a good few years before I plucked up the courage to write the 'Other', i.e. to me, someone who was not white and male. I firstly wrote as a 'white woman' in 'God in the Box' (2003), set in an increasingly familiar London. Phew - that was picked up, published - and I wasn't scorned as a 'sexist imposter'! The leap to crossing the 'colour' divide took a bit longer for me though - part of my fear was that, given South Africa's history, it would be seen as a form of colonization of experience. Then, one day, I sat down and thought long and hard about it.

Issue 18 (Feb 2012)
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review by Deon van Heerden

Published by Rebellion/Solaris PB 384 pages RRP £7.99 (Kindle £5.36)

The Recollection's interesting approach to light speed travel and its physical and emotional implications is convincing and well-sustained. Its three primary plots often interact in surprising - and, in one instance, startling - ways.

From Issue 18 (Feb 2012)
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review by Deon van Heerden

Published by Rebellion/2000AD
PB 192 pages
RRP £17.99

Originally published in 2000 AD during the late 1990s, the complete Mazeworld saga is brought together here in one, beautifully presented volume. The author, Alan Grant, and illustrator, Arthur Ranson, are, of course, familiar to comic book and graphic novel aficionados, and their names alone should be enough to get you to hand over your money without hesitation. If, however, you feel you need further convincing, read on.

From Issue 18 (Feb 2012)
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interview by Joe Vaz

I always try to remember that the characters in the book should be fully embedded in the future and in the world they’re living in, so for them, what we would regard as amazing technologies are completely prosaic and mundane. They’re not going to be knocked out by some gadget. A spacecraft for them is just a means of getting from A to B and they don’t particularly care how it functions. I try not to get into those boring discussions that you get in bad science fiction about how the engine works… unless it’s central to the story, that’s different.

From Issue 18 (Feb 2012)
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by David McCool

A couple of months ago - I'm talking mid-June, right smack in that heat wave - I took a walk into the town centre to kill some time on what was likely the hottest day of the year. Had I stayed at home I'd have risked dozing off in front of the TV, and, at my age, my sleep pattern doesn't need much more than a five-second, head-jerking snooze for it to be thrown right out of sync. Working in the garden wasn't an option, either. I'd have been sizzled good, even with factor 50 and a straw hat on my side.

Issue 18 (Feb 2012)
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interview by Vianne Venter

I was stuck for an hour or two in this really old train station in the middle of nowhere, and had the misfortune of needing to use the bathroom. They were in a little concrete hut. The smell was so bad I couldn't breathe and I had to tip toe in and out because the place was flooded with murky liquid. When I went in, the attendant, who looked at least 80, was mopping up. Only he wasn't doing much more than smudging the dirt around.
You had to pay to use the facilities, and after he took my money he sat down on a little wooden chair in the middle of it all and lit up a cigarette. I think he was watching me to check I didn't get more than my money's worth. The whole thing was straight out of a horror.

From Issue 18 (Feb 2012)
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