The World SF Blog

Speculative Fiction from Around the World

Nir Yaniv and Lavie Tidhar in Conversation

Apex Book of World SF editor Lavie Tidhar and contributor Nir Yaniv talk about their new novel, The Tel Aviv Dossier, over at BookSpotCentral.

Lavie: Well, the first book—the Hebrew book we did—we wrote when I was living in London and you were in Tel Aviv, so that was fairly easy. But then I moved to Vanuatu, where I had no Internet access for a year, and then to Asia, so with The Tel Aviv Dossier we had to deal with the time difference—we couldn’t really Skype the book like we did with the first one. So that was a bit tricky. But it was fun, too—do you have any particular bits you like in the book?

Nir: I like the crazy fireman, who’s fulfilling a longtime dream of mine, to drive a firetruck along Ibn-Gvirol street in Tel Aviv—which is where I live—going through everything in my way. And of course I like the bodyless head, mostly because you wanted to behead me when I first introduced it. – Click to continue reading.

May 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

Israeli science fiction story in the New Yorker

Israel writer Gail Hareven‘s SF story, "The Slows" (originally from her Hebrew short story collection Haderech Le’Gan-Eden [The Road to Paradise]) is now up in no less a place than The New Yorker.

May 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Dutch SF: Tais Deng Spotlight

Dutch author Tais Teng [Wikipedia entry] has a website where some of his stories published in English (in Dragon, Amazing Stories and Albedo One) are available to read online. Teng, whose real name is Thijs van Ebbenhorst Tengbergen, is a prolific, mostly Dutch-language writer occassionally working in English – also available is his novel The Emerald Boy (click here for the publishers).

May 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Comments Off

S.P. Somtow new Fantasy series

Apex Book of World SF contributor S.P. Somtow is launching a new fantasy series, The Dragonstones, with the first chapters of new novel, Jade, available online.

S.P. Somtow opens the Apex Book of World SF with his World Fantasy Award winning story, "The Bird Catcher".

And here is the opening of Jade:

One day a tall old man stands in the doorway and says he has come for me.   He says we shall go on a journey.  And when I ask him why, he tells me this: “So that one day you shall stand in a doorway, and you shall tell a boy that you have come to take him on a journey.  And when he shall ask why, you shall tell him, ‘So that one day you shall stand in a doorway such as this, and say these words to a child such as yourself.’”

My journey has been long.  And yet I have not reached the time when I shall stand in a stranger’s doorway and call out to an unknown youth.  It all unfolds in a continuous long present, yesterday and today all jumbled up like a basket of silk scraps in the fabric market.

Back then, to the twenty-first century.  The breath of the Dragon Jade had not yet warmed the world.  It was a time when children on street corners cried out that the world was ending, little knowing it had already ended. – read the rest of the chapter.

May 25, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Comments Off

Science Fiction in Bulgaria

Here at the World SF News Blog we’re always behind – so much to cover from around the globe! – but it is time we turned the spotlight towards Eastern Europe, traditionally a bastion of science fiction – and so today: Bulgaria.

Here is Rossie Decheva on SF in Bulgaria (2006), and Radi Radev on Bulgarian Fandom – both links courtesy of our friends at Concatenation.

May 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Comments Off

A Spotlight on Jamil Nasir

A wonderful article and interview from last year on Apex Book of World SF contributor Jamil Nasir, by Nicholas Seeley:

"I think science fiction is a lot easier for people who are bi-cultural," he explains. "A lot of what science fiction does is overthrow assumptions that we have about the world, and it’s much easier to do that if you’ve already had that experience. Being a participant in two societies, two cultures, which are so different, allows you to see that there are some things people think are cast in stone that are actually arbitrary."

"That’s what science fiction is all about. The assumption that we make is that there’s only one world, and that’s the world that we live in; well, what if that weren’t true?"

Nasir’s childhood was split between the Middle East and America, and often in the center of violent and arbitrary events. His father, Sari Nasir, came from Jerusalem, his mother from Michigan. They met and married in Chicago, where Sari was studying sociology. Jamil was born in the United States, but in 1964, his father decided to take his family and return to his homeland in Palestine. – read the rest of this article.

May 20, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Comments Off

SF in Peru

A brief introduction to the peruvian science fiction

By Daniel Salvo

 

Science fiction is not a usual literary genre in Peru and other South American countries. But, there were and there are authors who diverged from the mainstream, and wrote novels and tales which could be considered science fiction.

 

It started with Lima de aquí a cien años (Lima in the next century), a novelette written by J.M. del Portillo in 1843. It is about a voyage into the future, from the year 1843 to 1943, when England was sunk under the seas and the city of Lima, capital city of Peru, is plenty of telegraphs and a “carriage to the moon” exists.

 

In 1910, due to the Halley Comet, the author Clemente Palma wrote El día trágico (The tragic day), descripting the possible effects of the comet on the surface of the Earth. In 1934, Clemente Palma wrote also the novel XYZ, about clones or copies of Hollywood actresses made of radium and egg´s albumine.

 

The decades of the 1960s and 1970s saw major activity on the science fiction side. The authors of this “Golden Age” were José B. Adolph, Juan Rivera Saavedra, Eugenio Alarco and Juan Manuel Estremadoyro. The most prominent member of this group was José B. Adolph (1931 -2008), who wrote many tales and novels of science fiction. His works were translated into many languages, and included in most of the anthologies dedicated to Latin American science fiction. His novel Mañana las ratas, (Tomorrow the rats)  published in 1984, is a dystopia of a Peruvian near-future where religious groups start a rebellion against the official powers, ruling from a spatial station. La verdad sobre Dios y JBA (The truth about God and JBA), published in 2001 and Un ejército de locos (An army of madmen) in 2003, were novels about artificial intelligence, the rise of the Internet and the new shapes of religion.

 

Juan Rivera Saavedra published Cuentos sociales de ciencia ficción (Social science fiction tales) in 1976, with very short stories satiryzing racismo, the political power and the effects of new technology in our lives. Eugenio Alarco published La magia de los mundos (The magic of the worlds) in 1952 and Los mortales (The mortals) in 1966. Two spacemen are marooned on a celestial body. Thousands of years in the future, they will be resurrected by the humans of the future, a bucolic but advanced civilization.

Jose Manuel Estremadoyro choose the way of the pulp science fiction with his novels Glasskan – El planeta maravilloso (Glasskan – The marvellous planet) and its sequel Los homos y la Tierra. (The homos and Earth), both published in 1971. A bunch of earthlings are taken by the inhabitants of the planet Glasskan, who are more than pacific and are uncapable of defend themselves of the Korpons, pig-like beings who likes to eat glasskanian legs in barbecue. After that, the earthlings return to the Earth as adventurers to fight agains the crime.

 

 In 1990, a very young author, Giancarlo Stagnaro wrote Hiperespacios- Hyperspaces, a space-opera which happens in a very far future, when the mankind has colonized many worlds but has many enemies too.

 

In the beginning of the XXI century, with the help of the internet, most of the fans of science fiction starts to look for more information and produce it. In 2002, the site “Ciencia Ficción Perú” (http://espanol.geocities.com/cifiper2002) started its activities, and soon more people interested in science fiction were in contact. “Velero 25” (http://www.velero25.net), another and most interesting site devoted to science fiction, re-started activities in 2003. The same team who edits Velero25  (Daniel Mejía, Victor Pretell, Luis Bolaños and Isaac Robles) published the first fanzine of science fiction in Peru, Agujero negro – Black hole in 1999.

Many people send tales to be published in both sites, and in others trough the World (the argentinian site Axxon (http://www.axxon.com.ar) offers the most diverse quantity and quality of tales of science fiction, from Latin America and Spain).

Nowadays, new authors are publishing science fiction novels and stories. Enrique Prochazka started an interesting career as a writer with a novel and two volumen of tales (Un único desierto- An only desert 1997, Casa- House 2004, Cuarenta sílabas y catorce palabras – Forty syllables, fourteen words 2005), with basis in philosophy and exact sciences. Jose Guich Rodriguez, (El mascarón de proa – The figure head  2006 , Año sabático – Sabbatical year 2000; Los espectros nacionales  - The national ghosts 2008) take both influences in the fantasy and science fiction, specially of the TV series The twilight zone . Jose Donayre Hoefken  published La fabulosa máquina del sueño – The fabulous dream machine in 1999, next to the slipstream than the science fiction. In a adventurous, tolkenian space-opera way, we have Los cristales de Vuhran - Crystals of Vuhran  (2005) de Ivan Bolaños Gomero, the first novel of a projected trilogy. The civilization begins again in another planet. In 2006, the novel Rito de paso – Rite of passage de Victor Coral offered a vision of a polluted world, where some human feelings, like love, are prohibited.

 

On the femenine side, there are at least three authors: Adriana Alarco de Zadra, who wrote tales for children, theater and short science fiction, published in websites like “Bewildering stories”. Tanya Tynjala is the author of La ciudad de los nictálopes – City of nyctalopes (2003), a future fable about a winged girl against an automatized city. And the young Yelinna Pulliti Carrasco, who has published some tales in websites like Axxon.

 

In 2004, Pablo Nicoli Segura published Aventuras de dos arequipeños en época de Cristo – Adventures of two citizens of Arequipa in the times of Christ. Two peruvians from Arequipa travel in time and try to avoid the death of Christ.

 

In 2006, Carlos Enrique Saldivar became editor of the magazine Argonautas – Argonauts, devoted to the science fiction, fantasy and horror. The magazine publish tales and poems of authors from Peru, and its fourth number is pending of publication.

 

To conclude this article, the most recent publications (in paper) in the field of science fiction in Peru are Los espectros nacionales – The national ghosts  by Jose Guich Rodriguez (2008),  999 palabras para el planeta Tierra – 999 Words for planet Earth of Enrique Congrains Martin (2008) and Historias de ciencia ficción – Tales of science fiction by Carlos Enrique Saldívar,  (2008.). 

 

The year 2009 started with the re-edition of  the novel El milagro de los milagros – The miracle of miracles, written by Zozimo Roberto Morillo, that was published by first time in 2005. It is based on a mathematician´s speculations and procedures that could prove the existence of God himself.

 

May 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Science fiction in Indonesia

A recently formed Indonesian science fiction group, hoping to publish a magazine soon – here is their blog (still basic, but the About page is interesting), and a Facebook group.

May 14, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Comments Off

Islam and Science Fiction

We wanted to turn your attention today to the website on Islam and Science Fiction, which looks at both Islamic science fiction writers and the way Islam is portrayed in science fiction. Alongside this excellent web site there is an anthology, A Mosque Among the Stars, edited by Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad and Ahmed A. Khan. In an exclusive for the World SF blog, here is Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad’s introduction to the anthology (reproduced by permission):

Introduction to A Mosque Among the Stars
 
By Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad
 
The current anthology has its roots in the Islam and Science Fiction website. When one of us, Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad, first started the website a couple of years ago he had not anticipated that the overwhelming positive response that the website would get. The scope of the website was to explore and document the range of depictions of Islam and Muslims in the Science Fiction literature. The idea of Anthology was conceived by one of us, Ahmed A. Khan who is a Canadian Science Fiction author. We both immediately recognized the need and usefulness of this Endeavour. It is an opportunity to present Islam and Muslims in a different light. Islam is an often-misunderstood religion. The media often presents a somewhat caricatured picture of Muslims which cannot be further from the truth. At the same time there are people who do use Islam for their own deranged purposes. However the overwhelming majority of Muslims throughout the world are peace loving people and are as diverse as any other group of people.
 
Science Fiction has sometimes been described as a quintessentially American genre of fiction. Although biased, the view however conveys some sense of how Science Fiction is perceived by many through out the world. From a historical point of view Science Fiction was the product of the times – a confluence of the industrial revolution and the socio-economic upheavals of the 19th century. While it was almost always focused on the future, Science Fiction was exploring the present through the lens of the future. These themes are especially relevant to the Muslim world as it makes it transition to modernity. Most Islamic cultures and languages traditionally associated with Islam have a rich history of fantasy epics – One Thousand and One Nights in Arabic, Shahnama in Farsi, and Dastan-Amir-Hamza in Urdu especially come to mind. However Science Fiction as a popular genre of fiction is not yet a phenomenon in the Muslim world despite the fact that the fans of Science Fiction amongst the younger generation of Muslims may be as widespread in the Muslim world as anywhere in the West. Indigenously produced Science Fiction, although not a rarity, is still less common. Western Muslims and non-Muslims who are interested in Islamic themes, have emerged as a distinct demographic in recent years. Consequently the number of Muslims depicted in Science Fiction has greatly increased in the last years and thus the need for the current anthology.
 
Outside the world of fiction, the Muslim world offers an interesting glimpse of the transformative power of science and technology. Thus Dubai looks like a city straight out of a classic science fiction story. Even the conservative interpretations of Islamic law are relatively open-minded towards many opportunities offered by bio-technology and genetic engineering. The current volume, which is also the first anthology on the topic of Islam and Science Fiction explores a whole range of topics related to Islam, paints Muslims in a different light and puts them in contexts which many people in the do not usually associated with Muslims. It is thus the hope of the editors that the current volume would be an important contribution to the expanding sub-genre of exploring Islamic or Muslim related themes in Science Fiction.
 
August 1, 2008
 
 
 

May 11, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment

Anil Menon on Indian SF

In a follow-up to the article posted yesterday, Anil Menon shares his own opinion in reply (this was a comment to our last post but deserves to be made a post in itself). Anil:

Does Indian SF need to be anything?
Thanks for the link to the Tehelka article. It shed much needed light on regional Indian SF and some of its practitioners. The Tamil writer, the late S. Rangarajan, deserves a special shout-out. "Sujatha" Rangarajan was something of a desi Asimov, with a gift for any field that happened to interest him. At Bharat Electronics, he led the design of electronic voting machines now ubiquitous in Indian elections; he was behind the Tamil Linux project; he coined new Tamil-equivalents for scientific concepts; he wrote screenplays that were made (are being made) into Tamil/Hindi movies by some of the best directors in India; and he showed that one of the oldest languages in the world was quite capable of handling some of the world’s newest ideas. A cool cat, as they say in Tamil.
 

I’m sure the authors cited in the article are well-intentioned, and that many have labored heroically to further the field’s interests. But it does the nascent field a disservice, I think, to suggest that south-Asian SF stories should be addressed towards particular communities with mostly-imagined limitations. As S. Rangarajan’s stories illustrate, Indian SF doesn’t need to be full of moral vitamins, it doesn’t need to be either for or against any ethos, it doesn’t have to avoid hard science, and it certainly doesn’t need to define itself by what it is not. South-Asian SF is just SF written by south Asians, just as American SF is just SF written by American writers. A writer’s origins may lead to a characteristic set of obsessions, but that’s the stuff literary movements and patricides and young Turks are made of. As an old Linux hand, S. Rangarajan would surely echo the X-Windows design motto: "Mechanisms, not policy!" 

May 8, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 249 other followers

%d bloggers like this: