The World SF Blog

Speculative Fiction from Around the World

Aliette de Bodard on Writing Cultures: Insider vs. Outsider

Aliette de Bodard, contributor to the Apex Book of World SF and currently has a novel out from Angry Robot Books, has a piece on Writing Cultures: Insider vs. Outsider:

It’s not the point of this post, but I think we can argue for a long while about what “authentic” means. It’s nowhere as clear-cut as it seems, especially in the light of today’s world where you can find very distinct subcultures everywhere (if you take Asians, Asian-Americans and Asians living in Asia will have a lot in common, but also a lot of differences. And the culture of, say, my grandparents is no longer the culture of twenty-something Vietnamese, even though they both live in the same country).
When do you start being authentic–is it only when you write about the little bit of subculture that you happen to be a part of? Is it when you write about your own country of origins? What if you’re a first or second-generation immigrant, or a mixed-race? It’s a thorny subject, and it’s likely to get thornier as the world shrinks on itself and people move effortlessly across boundaries.

February 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Comments Off

Why There Is No Jewish Narnia

The Jewish Review of Books has an article entitled Why There Is No Jewish Narnia which is one-part essay and one part review of the novels The Magicians (by Lev Grossman) and Ha-Mayim  she-bein  ha-olamot (The  Water  Between  the  Worlds) (Hagar Yanai). Here’s an excerpt:

Indeed, one wonders why, amidst all the initiatives to solve the crisis in Jewish continuity, no one has yet proposed commissioning a Jewish fantasy series that might plumb the theological depths like Lewis or at least thrill Jewish preteens with tales of Potterish derring-do. Granted, popularity is rarely cooked to order and religious allegory sometimes backfires (a mother once wrote Lewis that her nine year old son had guiltily confessed to loving Aslan the lion more than Jesus). But still, what non-electronic phenomenon has held the attention of more children (and not a few adults) during the last ten years, than Rowling’s tales of Hogwarts? And, as Tom Shippey has shown in Tolkien: Author of the Century, the Lord of the Rings trilogy consistently tops readers’ polls of their most beloved books. Why the apparent aversion to producing such well-received books by the People of the Book?

February 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 3 Comments

The Speculative Ramayana Anthology: Call For Submissions

Indian publisher Zubaan Books will be releasing a Speculative Ramayana Anthology and the editors are Anil Menon and Vandana Singh. They’re currently open to submissions and you can read their guidelines here.

February 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Comments Off

Innsmouth Free Press Multiethnic Issue TOC

Innsmouth Free Press will be releasing a multiethnic issue on June 1, 2010 and to whet your appetite, they’ve posted the table of contents:

Sanford Allen – Kali Yuga
Nadia Bulkin – Red Goat, Black Goat
Gustavo Bondoni – Eyes in the Vastness of Forever
Raymond G. Falgui – The Hunger Houses
Travis King – The Doom that Came to Yamatai
Juan Miguel Marín – The Bats in the Walls
Mari Ness – Quoth the Cultist
Daniel José Older – Death on the Fine Line
Pamela Rentz – Estelle Makes the Casino Run
Charles R. Saunders – Jeroboam Henley’s Debt
Ekaterina Sedia – The Great Performance of Kadir Bey
Caleb Jordan Schulz – The Mountain that Eats Men
Bogi Takács – Bottomless Lake Bus Stop
Bryan Thao Worra  – A Model Apartment

February 23, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 1 Comment

Australian SpecFic Snapshot 2010

Last week, Kathryn Linge, Random Alex, Girlie Jones, Rachel the Mechanical Cat, TansyRR and EditorMum interviewed several people in the Australian SpecFic scene. Here’s the links, courtesy of Kathryn Linge:

Marianne De Pierres, Richard Harland, Karen Miller, Margo Lanagan, Ben Peek, Narelle Harris, Paul Collins, Damien Broderick, Shane Jiraiya Cummings, Angela Slatter, Dion Hamill, Garth Nix, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Trudi Canavan, Thoraiya Dyer, Keith Stevenson, Juliet Marillier, Gillian Polack, Jason Fischer, Alisa Krasnostein, Tehani Wessely, Amanda Rainey, Justine Larbalestier, Rowena Cory Daniells, Glenda Larke, Adrian (K.A.) Bedford, Kaaron Warren, Nicole Murphy, D.M. Cornish, Deborah Kalin, Jonathan Strahan, Alan Baxter, Gary Kemble, Lezli Robyn, Kate Eltham, Robert Hoge, Will Elliott, Trent Jamieson, Felicity Dowker, Jack Dann, Lee Battersby, Peter M Ball, Nyssa Pascoe, Lucy Sussex, Andrew McKiernan, Amanda Pillar, Deborah Biancotti, Kim Falconer, Gabrielle Wang, Kim Wilkins, Paul Haines, Karen Healey, Stephanie Campisi, Stuart Mayne, Christopher Lynch, Simon Petrie, Alison Goodman, Russell Blackford, Rhonda Roberts, Ben Payne, Christopher Green, Kylie Chan, K.J. Taylor, Robbie Matthews, Kirstyn McDermott, Russell Farr, Simon Haynes, Kate Orman, Cat Sparks, Sean Williams, Penni Russon, Robert Hood, Tracey O’Hara, Cassandra Golds, Dirk Flinthart, Kathleen Jennings, Tessa Kum, Helen Merrick, Jenny Blackford, Martin Livings, Scott Westerfeld, Marty Young, Lisa Hannet, Nick Stathopoulos, Lorraine Cormack, and Jennifer Fallon.

February 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 1 Comment

Rich Horton on Non-US/Non-UK anthologies, 2009

Reviewer and editor Rich Horton has posted his summary on the Non-US/Non-UK anthologies for 2009, which includes books like The Apex Book of World SF, Exotic Gothic 3, and X6. Here’s an excerpt:

The Apex Book of World SF is actually a reprint anthology, but several stories appeared there for the first time in English, so it qualifies for this summary. I recommend it highly in any case. My definite favorite among the new stories was Alexsandar Ziljak’s “An Evening in the City Coffeehouse, with Lydia on my Mind”, about a producer of illegally gathered VR porn, who foolishly falls for one of his subjects, only to find that her background is much stranger than he could have imagined.

February 19, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Comments Off

The Bulgarian Science Fiction between the East and the West – IV. Ye Shall Not be Forgotten by Valentin Ivanov

This article originally appeared in Valentin Ivanov’s bilingual blog.

This excursion across the years and names cannot last forever. It was never meant to be complete and I am not even going to pretend that it was objective — I was simply telling you about my favorite SF books and writers from my country.

Before I finish, here are a few words about some modern Bulgarian SF writers of interest, at least in my view:

– Khristo Poshtakov (b. 1944) is probably the most widely published and translated present-day Bulgarian SF writer. His print runs in Russia reach five-digit figures, he has a few books in Spanish, and many stories in English, Spanish, and French. He won a Eurocon for debut in 1994. Here are some links to his work:
www.trantorpublications.com/issue_xviii_–_EEurope.htm#Ten%20Thousand%20Dollars
www.phantazm.net/fiction/the-most-terrible-beast/science-fiction.htm
khristoposhtakov.blogspot.com/ (personal blog, in Spanish)
I like best his first novel “Adventures in Darville”which tells how some commoners, not much different from the classical little man of Charles Chaplin, fight against evil. Poshtakov is also known for his work promoting Bulgarian SF abroad.

– Last but not least, I would like to point at two promising young writers that are among the best (but not last!) hopes to bring Bulgarian SF beyond the limitations of the language and culture. They are both called Ivaylo Ivanov, and one can only distinguish them by their middle initials.

Ivaylo G. Ivanov was born in 1971 in Varna. He is a professional lawyer. His story “Father” made its way into the fanzines “Oceans of the Mind” (in English), “AXXON” (in Spanish), and “Lunatique” (in French):
http://www.trantorpublications.com/issue_xviii_–_EEurope.htm#Father
http://axxon.com.ar/rev/172/c-172cuento5.htm
http://www.eons.fr//main.php?lang=fr&rubrique=Catalogue&idlivre=92

Ivaylo P. Ivanov was born in 1973 in Sofia. He is a professional economist and computer whiz. Unfortunately, he has not been published abroad, but some of his stories are exceptionally original and intense. My favorite is “I Dreamt a Human Face” (2005). It describes and artificial ecosystem, created by the survivors of a spaceship wreck. They were forced to use the only biomaterial they had – themselves, and as a result, all living beings in their new world, from herbivores to predators, descend from men and have preserved enough humanity to be aware of who they were and what they have become. The ending is cautiously optimistic – it doesn’t matter if you look like a human, what makes a difference is if you behave like one.

I can go on: Agop Melkonyan, Petar Kardzhilov, Lyubomir Nikolov… and I am sure I have missed names and stories worth telling you about but I will stop here.
Finally, we do have our Forrest Ackermans, too. Perhaps, the most distinguished ones are Atanas P. Slavov, Yuri Ilkov and Kalin Nenov.

Slavov was the editor of the first specialized Slavonic science fiction and fantasy magazine “Orphia”. The first and (alas) only issue was present at the 1990 SF Worldcon in the Hague, and won the Carel award. An image of the front cover can be viewed here: http://bgf.zavinagi.org/upload/7/72/Orphia.jpg

Ilkov is the editor and publisher of the longest-running (since 1999) Bulgarian SF fanzine “Tera Fantastika” (some covers: http://bgf.zavinagi.org/index.php/%D0%9A%D0%B0%D1%80%D1%82%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%BA%D0%B0:Tera_fant_all.jpg; slow!)

Slavov and Nenov are the creators of the Human Library Foundation (in Bulgarian: http://choveshkata.net/) aimed at popularization and publishing of quality literature, specifically SF. You may have noticed that Nenov is the translator of many of the stories I pointed at – translation and popularization of Bulgarian SF abroad is one of the goals of this organization.

Some additional general articles, related to Bulgarian Science Fiction:
– Another take at the history of Bulgarian SF, by SF writer Khristo Poshtakov, was published in Phantazm: http://www.phantazm.net/fiction/science_fiction_in_bulgaria/introduction.htm
– Radi Radev, a young SF author, reviewed Bulgarian fandom in this “Locus” (http://www.locusmag.com/) article: http://www.concatenation.org/europe/bulga.html
– A more topical article, about Bulgarian SF life in 2006, by RossieDecheva, is available here: http://www.concatenation.org/europe/sfbulgaria2006.html
It contains a number of relevant links.
– An article about the Eurocon 2004, held in Bulgaria, by Jim Walker: http://www.concatenation.org/conrev/eurocon04.html
The late Robert Sheckley was one of the guests of honour.
Many other resources, such as webzines, discussion forums and websites of various Bulgarian SF societies and clubs were skipped on purpose because they are mostly in Bulgarian, and therefore outside the scope of this review.
I hope my presentation of Bulgarian Science Fiction has been interesting and that it might prompt you to follow some of these links…

Valentin was born in Bulgaria in 1967. He is a professional astronomer, working at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. Valentin has published in his native country a fantasy collection based on Bulgarian folklore, written with Kiril Dobrev in 2006. His first English language stories, “How I Saved the World” and “Unstable atmospheric circulation”, appeared in 2009.

February 18, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Bulgarian Science Fiction Between the East and the West – III. The Golden Age of Bulgarian Hard SF by Valentin Ivanov

This article originally appeared in Valentin Ivanov’s bilingual blog.

While the previous trends in Bulgarian SF can easily by associated with one or two names, hard SF is too broad for that, explaining the lack of personal names in the title of this post.

American and British Golden Age SF trickled through the Bulgarian SciFi community, despite the ideological and trade obstacles of the Cold War, both via direct translations into Bulgarian and via translations into Russian. Books in Russian and other foreign languages were available in Bulgaria through a specialized network of bookstores. Often these books were more accessible to us than to the Russians themselves — it was typical to see at those bookstores in Bulgarian sea ports many Russian sailors, waiting in line for the latest book in the “Internationl SF” series. One way or the other, we became privy to the futuristic insights of Asimov, Clarke, Russel and others, and our own SF writers finally appeared on-staage some time during the 1960-70s…

Lyuben Dilov (1927-2008; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyuben_Dilov) was the leader of that pack and he still remains my favorite, after three decades of reading SF. He had the misfortune to start working in the most ideologically severe environment, and his earlier books (i.e. “The Atomic Man”, 1958) suffered from enforced ideological concepts. However, later he was able to gradually break free from these artificial boundaries. “The Weight of the Spacesuit” (1969) is a first contact novel written along the traditions of space opera, and advocating the idea that with or without a spacesuit, humans are all too human. “Icarus’s Road” is also a space opera and the coming-of-age story of Zenon Balov – a kid brought up on an interstellar spaseship who has trouble finding his place in the static world of the adults that have spent half of their lives aboard. He has to shatter the environment, to open space for himself. The alternative is to walk away, and the end of the book is dubious – Zenon literally walks away into a … black hole, that just might be a window to another intelligence. This novel brought the first “Eurocon” award to Bulgaria, back in 1976. Arkady Strugatsky considered it one of the five best SF novels written in the East at the time.

Lyuben Dilov also defined his own version of the Fourth Law of Robotics: “A robot must always establish its identity as a robot” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Laws_of_Robotics). Creating new Laws has become a tradition in Bulgarian SF. Nikola Kesarovski (1944-2007; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikola_Kesarovski) defined a Fifth Law: “A robot must always know that it is a robot”, in the appropriately titled story “The Fift Law” (1983).

Dilov is also popular with a string of short stories. My favorites are: “My Strange Friend the Astronomer” (no surprise here) and “The Whole Truth about the Chimp Topsy”. Now that the author is dead, we will never know if the title of the second story is an international sophisticated multilingual pun : Topsy sounds like the English word “top” and like the Bulgarian word for “ball” (like in goofball). Either way, Topsy, who is launched aboard a US space ship, ends up leading a revolution against the tyranny on another world, just by virtue of … behaving like a chimp.

Pavel Vezhinov (1914-1983) was a mainstream author who didn’t shy away from SF forays. In “The Doom of ‘Ajax’” (1973), a crew of the ‘Ajax’ spaceship has to make a major sacrifice, to save a dying extraterrestrial civilization. Let me open a bracket here – the idea that we can sacrifice ourselves better, faster, and cheaper – wait, this is from another opera – than anybody else is quintessential in Slavic culture. (BTW, I think irony is the only reasonable way a small country with a thirteen-century-long history can look upon itself.)

Strictly speaking, his best book is not hard SF, but it is often considered the most notable achievement of Bulgarian SF, so I will mention it nevertheless: in “The Barrier”, a down-to-earth composer runs into a girl that has escaped from a mental institution. She was locked there because she claimed she could fly. Eventually, they fall in love, and to his surprise, the composer discovers that he can fly, too. He is so shaken that he escapes to the countryside, trying to come to grips with his new ability. Broken, the girl commits a suicide. The novel is included in the curriculum of university-level Bulgarian literature studies. It was filmed in 1979 and there are plans for a remake in Russia.

Many a young authors work along the same vein today, but in my opinion Nikolay Tellalov is the leading figure in the subgenre. He was born in Bulgaria in 1967, but had the (mis-)fortunte to live in two countries that do not exist any more – the Soviet Union and East Germany. He is the only Bulgarian SF author who has created a large series of interconnected novels – a seven-book multi-genre alternative history/space opera cycle “Waking Up a Dragon”. But the work that established him as a notable hard SF writer is “10-9” (also known as “Nano”, 2007) – an attempt to describe the indescribable, the Singularity. It is amazing how Tellalov walks the thin line between admiring the powers that nanotechnology would give the individual, and the dangers these powers will bring when each and everyone of us has control of powers on a scale that used to belong to entire countries, no less. Interestingly, “10-9” shares the admiration and concern for the all-powerful future with another book, written in the distant 1966 – “Four Fantastic Novellas”, by Alexander Gerov (1919-1997). I was surprised that this work could appear at the time because the main character wakes up in the “happy” future, finds it too stale, and attempts to escape further ahead, into an even more distant future.

It is understandable why neither Dilov nor Vezhinov managed to make the transition across the borders (except to Russia). The fact that the work of Tellalov is not available in a Western language is worrying. It is pitty that Bulgarian hard SF with all its potential of surpassing the language and culture barriers easier than any other subgenre is still confined (mostly) within the linguistic boundaries of our country.

The personal page of Nikolay Tellalov is located at: http://drakonche.zavinagi.org/1280/index.htm
It contains a few stories in Russian and some illustrations.

* * *

This “Bulgarian SF 101″ is limited by time and space, so instead of continuing with detailed presentations of other writers, I will just dump in the last instalment a bunch of links presenting work that should not be omitted, in my opinion…

Valentin was born in Bulgaria in 1967. He is a professional astronomer, working at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. Valentin has published in his native country a fantasy collection based on Bulgarian folklore, written with Kiril Dobrev in 2006. His first English language stories, “How I Saved the World” and “Unstable atmospheric circulation”, appeared in 2009.

February 17, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Comments Off

Bulgarian Science Fiction Between the East and the West – II. Svetoslav Minkov and the Diabolic Fate of SF Writers Who Tried Their Hand at Publishing by Valentin Ivanov

This article originally appeared in Valentin Ivanov’s bilingual blog.

Svetoslav Minkov was born in 1902. The timely end of WWI saved him from the military career, his family was preparing for him, and he plunged into literature. It is difficult now to figure out why this successful librarian (working in the National Library), and even diplomat (working in the Bulgarian consulate in Japan) turned to SF, but he is the author of the first Bulgarian SF book – the story collection “Blue Chrysanthemum” (1922), and he is the founder of the first publishing house in the world, exclusively devoted to SF – “Argus” (1922). Indeed, it was created with the sole purpose of printing his own book, but went further to publish Edgar Alan Poe and the controversial German modernist Hanns Ewers.

The most notable Minkov’s books – to me – are the story collection “The Lady with the X-Ray Eyes” (1934; surprisingly, it was translated into English, and copies from the 1965 English edition can still be found at some on-line second-hand booksellers) and the novel “Heart in a Cardboard Box” (1933), written in collaboration with Konstantin Konstantinov. Both are social grotesques. In the title story of the collection, the lady acquires X-ray eyes only to make a disappointing discovery that many people around lack brains. I guess, most of us know that too, despite having just ordinary eyes, but at the time of writing, the magic capability of X-rays to peek inside the human body was still a novelty and the desire to take a look inside the human brain has always been in the back of most people’s minds. The “Heart…” is a retelling of the oldest story about an artist in a crisis who has literally lost his heart. It is funny and witty but as the realization of the tragedy slowly sinks in the reader’s mind, the atmosphere darkens.

Diabolical social criticism is a popular topic in modern Bulgarian SF, and I am not talking about the communist-era politically-inspired literature. The social transformation of the East was — and still is — painful, and reality provides plenty of background material: from the corrupt government officials to free shootouts between competing gangster groups. Think living in the “The Godfather” world.

Probably, the most notable modern followers of Svetoslav Minkov are Yantcho Tcholakov (b. 1967) and Aleksander Karapantschev (b. 1951). Interestingly, they both tried their hands at the publishing business: Tcholakov founded a small publishing house called “Ophir”, and Karapantschev is part of the present-day incarnation of the very same “Argus” publisher, founded by Minkov himself.

Tcholakov’s page (http://yanchocholakov.hit.bg) contains some English, French and Russian translations of his work (i.e. http://yanchocholakov.hit.bg/depopulated.htm). He debuted in the late 1980s but his most notable novella “The Story of the Lonely Ranger” appeared in 1995. There are various opinions how to classify this book – from alternative history (or rather biology) to a pre-historic heroic western. It is the tale of a famous fighter, summoned to take part in the siege of … Troy. It would have been familiar, if the character did not belong to the race of arthropoids (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthropod) rather than humans. The book contains supplementary material including “documentary” images and maps (http://yanchocholakov.hit.bg/izobrajenia.htm). A plot summary in English can be found at: http://yanchocholakov.hit.bg/rezume.htm

Tcholakov received the “Graviton” award – the highest distinction in the Bulgarian SF – in 1997 for his publishing work.

Aleksander Karapantschev is not an overly productive writer and in my view this speaks well of him. Among Bulgarian SF authors, he is probably the one who has worked more than anybody else as an editor and it shows.

My favorite story of his is “In the Unimo Era” (1984) – the title story of his 2002 debut book that brought him an “Eurocon” award. It takes place in a consumer’s paradise where the Unimo machine can create two hundred types of soup but it cannot create happiness. This short summary doesn’t make justice to the otherwise engaging story.

“Stapen Croyd” is a poetic dispute with the famous A. C. Clarke story “Silence, please!” The characters of both tales suffer from the excessive “noise” of the world, and they fight it with technological solutions – Clarke has destructive interference, and Karapantschev has the technology to “harvest” the silence from one place and release it in another. However, while Clarke concentrates on the technological solution itself, and to some extent on its effects on the public life, Karapantschev tells the story from the point of view of an old poet who discovers that silence has just been harvested out from the last quiet place – the cemetery. The nearly identical story transcends to the level of a personal tragedy.

Unfortunately, only one of his works “The Last Story”, a poignant tribute to Edgar Allan Poe, has been translated abroad. It appeared in SF webzine Phantazm (http://www.phantazm.net/index.htm). You can read it at: http://www.phantazm.net/fiction/the_last_story/science_fiction.htm

Karapantschev also received a “Graviton” in 1996 for his work at the new “Argus” publishing house. He won a second “Eurocon” award for editing the Bulgarian SF magazine FEP (“Fantastika, Evristika, Prognostika”) in 1989.

Given their background, it is not surprising that Tcholakov and Karapantschev are considered the my favorite stylists in modern Bulgarian SF, and their place in the genre similar to that of Bradbury in Western SF.

* * *

I said earlier, that Bulgarian SF is not limited to intra-cultural fantasy. It doesn’t end with the poetic reminiscences either. The next installment will bring us back to the golden age of Bulgarian Hard SF – the 1960-70′s…

Valentin was born in Bulgaria in 1967. He is a professional astronomer, working at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. Valentin has published in his native country a fantasy collection based on Bulgarian folklore, written with Kiril Dobrev in 2006. His first English language stories, “How I Saved the World” and “Unstable atmospheric circulation”, appeared in 2009.

February 16, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

Bulgarian Science Fiction Between the East and the West – I. Ivan Vazov – Near-future SF from a Century Ago by Valentin Ivanov

This article originally appeared in Valentin Ivanov’s bilingual blog.

I honestly admit it – this post was timed to take advantage of the announcement of the anthology “Diamonds in the Sky” (http://www.mikebrotherton.com/diamonds/), to try reaching more English-speaking readers, because the SF of my country is confined to a small readership by our unique language. This is the curse of many small countries, and it takes a major effort to break through the language and culture barriers.

I am starting a small review on Bulgarian SF. It will be serialized in a number of posts that will give a short overview of the various traditions in our SF, and publish links to Bulgarian SF stories, translated into English and other foreign languages.

* * *

Ivan Vazov – near-future SF from a century ago

Ivan Vazov (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Vazov) is the father of modern Bulgarian literature, no less. He was born in 1850, and died in 1921. During the first twenty eight years of his life, our country was part of the Ottoman Empire. Vazov saw the end of a five-century-long occupation and the birth of a new independent kingdom of Bulgaria. This was time of enthusiasm and hopes, akin to the first years after the American Revolution. Everything seemed within reach, one just had to extend his hand…

It is no surprising, then, that Vazov turned to SF as a tool to write about the future of Bulgaria – his only SF story “The Last Day of the Twentieth Century” was a peek into the future. It was written in 1899, and it describes literally one day of life in Bulgaria, a hundred years in the future.

Frankly, the story doesn’t fit very well with the rest of Vazov’s work. The characters are two-dimensional, the story is descriptive and schematic. Clearly, it is nothing more than a vehicle for the author’s optimism.

The “The Last Day…” was first published in 1912 and it has been largely forgotten until recently. It is no surprise – one of the characters is a king, and the future of a socialist country couldn’t include any kings. The story probably had little direct influence on modern Bulgarian SF, but it captured one of the main features of most present-day Bulgarian SF – it is strongly connected with our cultural background. This is both an asset and a weakness, because it gives the writers access to a rich national mythology, but it could make the stories and characters somewhat incomprehensible to outside readers. Yet, there are exceptions and some of them made their way into the webzine “Oceans of the Mind” (http://www.trantorpublications.com/oceans.htm), in a issue dedicated to Eastern European SF writers: http://www.trantorpublications.com/issue_xviii_–_EEurope.htm

I think we still haven’t got our own Tolkien but the Vazov’s of today often use Bulgarian mythology and continue the tradition of Bulgarian folklore storytelling. A good example is “The Assassination”, by Johan Vladimir: http://www.trantorpublications.com/issue_xviii_–_EEurope.htm#The%20Assassination

Johan Vladimir is the literary pseudonym of writer and professional journalist Angelina Ilieva. Her personal page (with wonderful illustrations but in Bulgarian only) can be found at: http://www.johanvladimir.com/

* * *

Bulgarian SF is not limited to intra-cultural fantasy. There are some writers, who try to transcend national traditions and to write international SF… I will introduce some of them in the next installment.

Valentin was born in Bulgaria in 1967. He is a professional astronomer, working at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. Valentin has published in his native country a fantasy collection based on Bulgarian folklore, written with Kiril Dobrev in 2006. His first English language stories, “How I Saved the World” and “Unstable atmospheric circulation”, appeared in 2009.

For more information, see Valentin’s personal web page and his bilingual (English-Bulgarian) blog.

February 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Comments Off

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