The World SF Blog

Speculative Fiction from Around the World

Short fiction summaries, 2009: Asimov’s & F&SF

Prompted by a conversation with Jeff Ford, we thought we’d take a look at what stories have been published in 2009 from people who could be termed world SF writers. We’re focusing on people from outside of the traditional Anglophone world (so no US, UK, English-speaking Canada or Australia – all of whom have an obvious advantage), nor American/British/etc. ex-pats overseas – though we attempt to mention them, at least, as Charles and I tend to somewhat disagree on definitions. You can check out more summaries by clicking on the “2009 summaries” tag in our tag-cloud.

A double-post this time, as Charles had some free time…

First up, then, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. Charles went do check out the ToC’s and I was feeling quite optimistic, thinking there had been an S.P. Somtow story this year. There hadn’t, nor anyone we can identify as an international writer. Asimov’s for 2009 does include an American ex-pat in Dubai (Judith Berman, Feb. issue), one in Spain (Sara Genge, with two stories throughout the year) and an Australian (Damien Broderick, with three stories through the course of the year).

So, Asimov’s scores along with Analog: 0.

I’ve just been about to comment on it when Charles came back without finding any in F&SF either. So, F&SF also scores: 0.

That means all “big 3″ American SF magazines have published a total of zero stories from international writers in the whole of 2009.

0.

It seems like there’s an obvious divide here – the new pro online magazines (and many of the semi-pro and smaller) are publishing international writers and – at least for 2009 – the big 3 print magazines don’t. I suspect a lot of this has to do with the fact none of them  accept electronic submissions – whereas just about everyone else in the world, including the New Yorker (which did publish science fiction from an international author – Israeli Gail Har’even – this year) does.

I have to admit, while I didn’t honestly expect anything from Analog, I was surprised with the results for the other two. One of the stories in the Apex Book of World SF is reprinted from F&SF, after all, and two of the other contributors – S.P. Somtow and Aliette de Bodard – have been published in Asimov’s. Any way you look at it, though, it’s disheartening.

CORRECTION: Sean Wallace pointed out we missed a story, and I’m very glad to be able to correct that: Asimov’s did print a story by French writer Georges-Oliver Châteaureynaud: Icarus Saved from the Skies “Icare sauvé des cieux”, translated by Edward Gauvin. I’m also told we should be counting Sara Genge, so that makes a total of 2 stories for Asimov’s (though not, regrettably, for F&SF or Analog).

So… better, at least. I’ve posted some comments over at Jeff Vandermeer’s Ecstatic Days blog, if you’d like to follow them. Also,  Lawrence Schimel posted some thoughts on the issue of translations over at his blog a couple of days ago.

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December 11, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

7 Comments

  1. *whistles* Quite the disparity. I think part of the reason is indeed the fact that many writers not living in or around the United States would not be too keen on actual physical submissions, due to additional costs and other concerns (speaking from the perspective of a Filipino in Manila, a distrust of the post office is bred into my bones).

    Another factor I think could be that, since I don’t think that the SF magazines have a large circulation outside of the US (I certainly never see them anywhere other than in second-hand bookstores here in Manila), the online magazines might actually be more (or at least equally) well known and prestigious. A lot of us engage the international SF field through the Internet, and Fantasy Magazine, Clarkesworld etc. have a more pervasive online presence.

    Comment by Paolo Chikiamco | December 11, 2009

  2. I edit an Irish magazine called Albedo One and we’ve been publishing South American writers and translated stories by French, German and Finnish writers. We’ve made it part of our mission statement to act as an English language outlet for world SF writers. We’ve been getting a great response so far.

    Of course that doesn’t change things with the Big 3. It’s even hard enough, though not impossible I’ll grant you, for non-US writers to get into the pages of the Big 3.

    Comment by John Kenny | December 11, 2009

  3. I think that’s a pity that world sf is not really world sf, if we keep looking at the Big 3 for answers. Many writers also publish with small zines/presses.

    Comment by Joyce | December 11, 2009

  4. Wasn’t S.P. Somtow resident in l’anglosphere when he began getting published as “Somtow Sucharitkul” in Asimov’s? Or am I misremembering?

    Comment by James Davis Nicoll | December 11, 2009

  5. wow, 2009 must have been a bad year as you say, because f&sf has definitely published French sf (melanie fazi, several times).
    Regarding Asimov’s: Sara (Genge) is a bit of a special case– she has grown up in Spain (can’t be sure, but I think she was born there too), and she’s half-Spanish half-American. Admittedly it gives her a little of a leg up, but I don’t think she really qualifies as an expat.

    Comment by Aliette de Bodard | December 11, 2009

  6. I think F&SF usually has at least one translated story, most years, done by Brian Stableford, which includes the Fazi stories.

    Comment by Sean Wallace | December 11, 2009

  7. In the Portuguese “Dagon”, magazine of F&Sf, we will publish international authors. I would like to thank Lavie Tidhar for his help, for the text’s he sent me. Everyone can send shor stories of F&Sf to correiodofantastico@gmail.com .

    We will help the international SF:)

    Roberto Mendes

    Comment by igdrasil | December 12, 2009


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