Welcome to the World SF Blog.
The blog, dedicated to posting “links, news and original content related to science fiction, fantasy, horror and comics from around the world”, was a near-daily blog operating continuously from February 2009 to June 2013, for over four years.
The blog was a nominee for the 2011 World Fantasy Award, and won a 2012 BSFA Award for Best Non-Fiction, as well as a Kitschies Special Achievement Award.
Below you can refer to selected material, or use the tag cloud to highlight specific countries or topics.
While the blog is no longer being updated, the entire archive is available here.
I started the World SF Blog in February of 2009 – a century in Internet time! – partly as an excuse to promote my then-forthcoming anthology of international speculative fiction, The Apex Book of World SF – but mostly out of what can only be described as an ideological drive, a desire to highlight and promote voices seldom heard in genre fiction.
The blog ran for about a year on Live Journal – yes, people still used Live Journal back then! – but shortly made the transition to WordPress, where this current site and archive remain.
From the very beginning, I was aided and abetted by Charles Tan, who was chiefly responsible for the original content we were able to provide, conducting many of our interviews and contributing editorials and essays, as well as helping with soliciting material for the site (and taking over every time I was moving countries!). Anil Menon, too, was an early supporter, occasional book reviewer and guest-blogger, and a steadfast friend to the site.
We began publishing fiction in 2010 and by 2011 have taken on a dedicated fiction editor, Debbie Moorhouse. Debbie kept the fiction side going until stepping down in 2012, when Sarah Newton took over. We were also able to incorporate the entire The Portal web site archive, which was edited by Val Grimm (Val is also making the entire archive available through the Merril Collection).
I was incredibly gratified, over the past few years, with the level of enthusiasm and support the site has received. It felt to me that we were able to partly-initiate, and to encourage, a conversation that the genre had not had before, and in a very real way is only now beginning to seriously engage in.
Along the way, I was privileged enough to be able to publish The Apex Book of World SF 2, with a third volume scheduled for 2014. I am very grateful to Jason Sizemore of Apex Book Company for his unstinting support for this project from the very start, and in a very real way making it all happen.
Along the way, too, and with the help of Sean Wallace, we were able to establish The World SF Travel Fund, for facilitating the visit of international genre people to a major convention, the World Fantasy Convention. It began by wanting to help Charles Tan travel from the Philippines to the United States, where he was nominated for a World Fantasy Award, in 2011, but we continued the fund, helping Swedish authors Karin Tidbeck and Nene Ormes in 2012 and Rochita Loenen-Ruiz of the Philippines, and Csilla Kleinheincz of Hungary, in 2013.
The change I have seen in the four years of the blog is heartening. In a way, I have decided to stop now because the blog has fulfilled everything I ever wanted it to, and so much more.
And then, too, there is the fact that it has been four years. I’m not sure I ever intended the site to run for that long, and I did begin to feel a certain fatigue around a year ago. This entire crazy enterprise was run on enthusiasm and a certain desire for change, and I did not want to become resentful of the time or effort I was spending. To do a thing it must be done with joy, or not at all.
So I am – with joy, at everything we’ve accomplished! – shutting it down. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. And I’m grateful to all the wonderful people who supported the blog, contributed to the blog, wrote for us, but most of all for the conversation, which exists outside of this site, of different communities across different countries and language now talking to each other, and may you never stop. Too many people to thank, but you know who you are.
So here it is: The World SF Blog, over four years and hundreds of blog posts, all available online, on every aspect of international speculative fiction, from almost every country in the world. I hope it’s useful. I hope it’s fun.
And thank you.
If you have found the blog useful, do consider purchasing a copy of one or both volumes by clicking on the images below.
Over the past four years we’ve run a selection of articles, guest posts and round tables exclusive to the blog. Here is a small selection:
- Non-Western SF Roundtable (Part 1)
- Non-Western SF Roundtable (Part 2)
- (Global) Women in SF Round Table
- Australian SF Round Table
- Round Table: On Environment and Background, Part One
- Round Table: Environment and Background, Part Two
- The Dilemma of the Term “World SF” Redux
- Seeing Through Foreign Eyes” by Ekaterina Sedia
- On Japanese SF, by Nick Mamatas
- Lauren Beukes on Writing the Other
- Tim Maughan on British SF and the Class System
- SF in South Africa, by Nick Wood
- Editorial: Where is the World in the World Fantasy Awards?
- Editorial: The Language of Science Fiction
- Hungarian Post-Communist Science Fiction
- World-Building in a Hot Climate, by Anil Menon
- Science Fiction Can Be Glorious Again, by Guy Hasson
- American Authors vs. Foreign Authors, by Guy Hasson
- Africa in Science Fiction, by Nick Wood
- 2011 South African SF/F in Review
- The Persistent Neoteny of Science Fiction
- Guy Hasson on Writing for Two Cultures
- Science Fiction in Romania since the 1990 revolution
- S.L. Grey: Writing Genre Fiction in South Africa
- Science Fiction in Portugal
- Our [Hu]man in Havana, by Daniel W. Koon
- Journey to Forbidden Planet: Writing Speculative Fiction Set in Mexico
- Working in two Tracks, by Fábio Fernandes
- Hugh Cook – The Wordsmith and the Warrior
- In Other Wor(l)ds: Workshops in Collective Writing of Feminist-Queer Science Fiction by Tea Hvala
- Landscapes by Karin Tidbeck
- Samit Basu on Writing
Over the past four years we’ve run a plethora of exclusive interviews. Here is a small selection:
- Interview with Blaft Publications of India
- Portuguese Dagon Magazine and Roberto Mendes
- Indian author Samit Basu interview
- Finnish author Hannu Rajaniemi
- Romanian author Sebastian A. Corn
- British author Richard Calder interview
- Greek author and editor Athena Andreadis
- Haikasoru editor Nick Mamatas
- Russian author Lena Meydan
- Filipino artist Leonardo M. Giron
- Malaysian author Zen Cho interview
- UAE author Noura al Noman
- Japanese author Sayuri Ueda
- Russian author Ekaterina Sedia
- Brazilian author Misha’El
- Barbados author Karen Lord interviewed
- Filipino author and editor Paolo Chikiamco
- Chinese author and editor Wu Yan interviewed
- Indian author Vandana Singh
- Mexican author Federico Schaffler interview
- Swedish author Karin Tidbeck interviewed
- Malaysian author K.S. Augustin
- Egyptian author Ahmed Khaled Towfiq
- Singaporean author Anders Brink
- Brazilian author and editor Fabio Fernandes
- Israeli film festival director Uri Aviv interview
- South African author Tom Learmont interview
- Spanish author Rodolfo Martinez
- South African author S.L. Grey
- Mexican author Silvia Moreno-Garcia
- Israeli translator Gili Bar-Hillel
- Author Frank Haubold of Belgium
- Indonesian author Oscar Simanjuntak interview
- Japanese translator Cathy Hirano interview
- Israeli author Guy Hasson interview
- South African writer Joan de la Haye
- Spanish editor Marian Womack interview
Since 2010, we have published a total of 61 stories and 1 novella. We published authors from 30 countries. We published 23 original stories published for the first time, or for the first time in English, on the World SF Blog.
Here is out full list of short fiction published on the World SF Blog.
FICTION LINE-UP (from October 26th, 2010, newest stories first, * denotes if first published on the World SF Blog)
- Smile of the Monster, by Ido Sokolovsky, Israel (June 18, 2013) *
- Sanditon, by Helen Marshall, Canada (May 28, 2013)
- Synchronicity, by Victor Fernando R. Ocampo, Philippines (May 14, 2013)
- A Puddle of Blood, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Mexico (May 7, 2013)
- Ratan Mirrors, by Geetanjali Dighe, India (April 30, 2013) *
- Looking the Lopai in the Eyes, by Indrapramit Das, India (April 16, 2013)
- Battleflag, by Bojan Ratković, Serbia (April 2, 2013) *
- Case Notes of a Witchdoctor, by Nick Wood, South Africa (March 19, 2013) *
- Eternal Return, by Rodolfo Martínez, Spain (March 5, 2013) *
- Eagle Feathers, by Joyce Chng, Singapore (February 19, 2013) *
- Poison, by Henrietta Rose-Innes, South Africa (February 5, 2013)
- On the Feast of Stephen, by Cyril Simsa, Czech Republic (January 22, 2013) *
- Ceremony of Innocence, by Armando Salinas, Mexico (December 4, 2012) *
- Planetfall, by Athena Andreadis, Greece (November 20, 2012)
- Brita’s Holiday Village, by Karin Tidbeck, Sweden (November 13, 2012)
- Don’t Move a Muscle, Mr. Liberty, by Jordan Ellinger, Canada (October 23, 2012)
- Valletta, City of Guilt, by Michael Vella, Malta (October 9, 2012) *
- Disclosure, by Sarah Newton, United Kingdom (September 25, 2012) *
- The Princess and the Shadowspawn, by Ben Godby, Canada (September 18, 2012) *
- The Good Things in Life, by H.H. Løyche, Denmark (September 4, 2012)
- Electric Sonalika, by Samit Basu, India (August 28, 2012)
- Morrie and the Grand Potato, by Tom Learmont, South Africa (August 7, 2012) *
- The Transformist, by Horacio Sentíes Madrid, Mexico (June 26, 2012)
- Deadly Quiet on the Western Front, by Fábio Fernandes, Brazil (June 19th, 2012) *
- Waiting With Mortals, by Crystal Koo, Philippines (June 5th, 2012) *
- The Portal Plague, by Dinesh Rao, India (May 22nd, 2012) *
- Professor Berkowitz Stands on the Threshold, by Theodora Goss, USA (May 8th, 2012)
- Flight of the Ibis, by Fadzlishah Johanabas, Malaysia (April 24th, 2012)
- Prudence and the Dragon, by Zen Cho, Malaysia (March 20th, 2012)
- Dali’s Clocks, by Dave Hutchinson, UK (March 6th, 2012)
- Fear and Loathing in Deptford, by K.A. Laity, USA (February 21st, 2012)
- You Cannot Fight the War for Reason: Wearing the Wrong Trousers, by Aditya Bidikar, India (February 7th, 2012)
- Cosmic Love, by Harry Markov, Bulgaria (January 24th, 2012) *
- Clay Cast Cats, by TCA Lakshmi Narasimhan, India (January 10th, 2012) *
- A Hundred Thousand Armstrongs, by Zoltán László, Hungary (December 27th, 2011) *
- Kolkata Sea, by Indrapramit Das, India (December 13th, 2011)
- The City of Silence (Part Two), by Ma Boyong (translated by Ken Liu), China (December 6th, 2011) *
- The City of Silence (Part One), by Ma Boyong (translated by Ken Liu), China (November 29th, 2011) *
- Dancing Together Under Polarized Skies, by Milena Benini, Croatia (November 15th, 2011) *
- Maun of the Dead, by Sarah Lotz, South Africa (October 111th, 2011)
- The Man who Was Stronger than God, by Guy Hasson, Israel (April 12th, 2011)
- Mardock: Two Hundred Below by Tow Ubukata (translated by Nathan Collins), Japan (March 22nd, 2011) *
- Irredenta, by Lou Antonelli, US (March 15th, 2011) *
- A Change of Season, by Carmelo Rafala, US/UK (March 8th, 2011) *
- Encore, by John Kenny, Ireland (March 1st, 2011)
- Dance Dance Revolution, by Charlie Human, South Africa (February 22nd, 2011)
- Borrowed Time, by Stephen Kotowych, Canada (February 15th, 2011)
- Sand, Crushed Shells, Chicken Feathers, by Eliza Victoria, Philippines (February 8th, 2011)
- Seas of the World, by Ekaterina Sedia, Russia/US (February 2nd, 2011)
- LAPINS, by Michael Haulica (translated by Adriana Mosoiu), Romania (January 25th, 2011)
- An Orbital Flight With A Small Surprise, Pyotr Kowalczyk, Poland (January 18th, 2011)
- Thirstlands, by Nick Wood, South Africa (January 11th, 2010)
- Magique, by Lynne Jamneck, South Africa/New Zealand (December 21st, 2010)
- The Salt Line, by Grant Stone, New Zealand (December 14th, 2010)
- Copyfighter, by A.R. Yngve, Sweden (December 7th, 2010)
- Ganesh, in the Afternoon, by Fábio Fernandes, Brazil (November 30th, 2010)
- Eustace Albert, by Anil Menon, India (November 23rd, 2010)
- Mortal Danger, by Frank Roger, Belgium (November 16th, 2010)
- The Time traveler’s Son, by Jason Erik Lundberg, US/Singapore (November 9th, 2010)
- The Word of God, by Nir Yaniv Israel (November 2nd, 2010)
- Mélanie, by Aliette de Bodard, France (October 26th, 2010)
Our first feature was an original serial by Joyce Chng from Singapore: the 15-parter THE BASICS OF FLIGHT:
Part One: Basics
- Chapter One: Beginnings: First Steps (May 11, 2010)
- Chapter Two: Finding her Balance: Standing on Two Feet (May 18, 2010)
- Chapter Three: Balance of the World: An Interlude (May 25, 2010)
- Chapter Four: Finding her Balance: Walking Aware (May 25, 2010)
- Chapter Five: Maintaining Equilibrium (June 1, 2010)
- Chapter Six: A Moment of Gravity (June 9, 2010)
- Chapter Seven: A Moment of Lift (June 29, 2010)
Part Two: Flight
Apex Magazine’s latest issue has a new short story by Chinese author Tang Fei, translated by Ken Liu: Call Girl.
Morning climbs in through the window as shadow recedes from Tang Xiaoyi’s body like a green tide imbued with the fragrance of trees. Where the tidewater used to be, now there is just Xiaoyi’s slender body, naked under the thin sunlight.
She opens her eyes, gets up, dresses, brushes her teeth, wipes away the foam at the corner of her mouth with a towel. Staring at the mirror, all serious, her face eventually breaks into a fifteen–year–old’s smile. Above her, a section of the rose–colored wallpaper applied to the ceiling droops down. This is the fourth place where this has happened.
My house is full of blooming flowers, Xiaoyi thinks.
“There must be another leak in the pipes,” her mother says. “There’s a large water stain growing on the wall.”
They sit down together to have a lavish breakfast: soy milk, eggs, pan–fried baozi, porridge. Xiaoyi eats without speaking.
When she’s ready to leave the apartment, she takes out a stack of money from her backpack and leaves it on the table. Her mother pretends not to see as she turns to do the dishes. She has turned up the faucet so that the sound of the gushing water is louder than Xiaoyi’s footsteps.
Xiaoyi walks past her mother and the money on the table and closes the door. She can no longer hear the water. It’s so quiet she doesn’t hear anything at all.
Her knees shake.
She reaches up for the silver pendant hanging from her neck, a dog whistle. – continue reading.
[Note: you may have noticed the site is currently in shut-down mode. However I'm in some early talks about a possible hand-over. In the meantime...]
I’ve been following with some interest the recent brouhaha (don’t you just love that word?) around the SFWA (there’s a round-up of links here).
I was struck by a couple of tangential comments, however, neither of which is directly related. One of them was sent to me privately, an excerpt from a conversation on the SFWA boards, in which a member said:
“SFWA is supposed to be an organization of those who write and publish science fiction in America.”
The other two comments came from Twitter:
“If SFWA tried to be a truly global Association instead of a US-centric one, it could more easily address other biases too.”
“Luckily, being South African, I never saw any point to joining the SFWA.”
And that’s the thing. I probably qualified for SFWA membership years ago (it only takes the sale of three stories, really), but I’ve never felt, perhaps, that I had a place in what is, after all, the science fiction writers of America. Now, I am published in the United States. In fact, in the sort of global world we live in, I’d argue that it’s impossible to distinguish necessarily – in work terms – between an American and a non-American writer. Of course, some writers publish predominantly in one country and not the other. Many British writers are more successful in the UK, but I can hardly point to a single author never having business dealings with someone in the United States. The United States is the primary market for anyone – short story writer, editor, novelist – working in the field today.
Ironically, for a time the SFWA web site was relying on our own Charles Tan (from the Philippines) to provide much of its original content.
Now, it may sound like semantics, but there’s a wider issue here, I think. For me as an outside observer, the SFWA has improved a lot in recent years. After some frankly bizarre incidents and people associated with it (remember a president addressing people with “greetings, gentlebeings”? Or a former president currently taking to the Internet to explain the inherent differences between men and women which make sexism ok?) I felt the SFWA took grip of itself with John Scalzi as president, and moreover, after having people run things who no one has ever heard of, it’s nice when the organisation has an actual working writer at the helm (first Scalzi, and with Steven Gould is just coming into the job).
What the SFWA doesn’t have, however, is any sort of commitment to diversity or any seeming awareness of the global nature of publishing today. I mean commitment to diversity as a stated goal of an organisation, and I mean a global awareness in the sense that today’s working writers come from many places, only one of which is the United States itself, and that the issues facing authors are increasingly those from multinational corporations and publishing houses that are not bound by one narrow geographical area.
What it is, I think, is that I don’t just want to be eligible to join the SFWA. I want to be made welcome by the SFWA. If that makes sense. (and I don’t mean me myself, exactly. I’ve never been comfortable with membership in any organisation, though I’ve always been half-tempted to join the Israeli Transformers Appreciation Society (pop: 3 members)). I mean the people that, in a way, this blog represents. Some of our contributors are members of SFWA, others aspire to, others probably want nothing to do with it.
What is, after all, the purpose of an organisation like this? Is it to host occasional parties or hand out awards? Is it to fund emergency medical help for American writers living under a system of no social healthcare? Is it to offer business advice? At the moment, it seems half or more of the organisation’s budget goes on publishing a rather odd print journal (and we can see how that has turned out).
Imagine a different SFWA. One that has commitment to diversity in its masthead. One open to and welcoming international writers, doing things like the very World SF Travel Fund we have been running here. One that says, you know, American writers? They’re only a part of the world of genre fiction today. Imagine the budget going not on an obscure print magazine but an up-to-date web site, an organisation that frowns on editors putting together anthologies with a narrow focus that excludes international writers (who are, frankly, some of the most exciting voices working today in the field).
That same SFWA member in the forums also said:
This doesn’t look a lot like the organization I was invited to join back in the early 70’s.
To which I can only say, Thank God for that! We don’t live in the 1970s any more. The year is 2013, there’s a global communication network surrounding the world, publishing is owned by two major corporations neither of which is US-based, and if science fiction is the literature of change, then it must embrace that change.
And this goes beyond a couple of old farts making fools of themselves in a magazine no one reads. It is an institutional bias that proves almost impossible to remove.
So… consider this one more conversational point in the current debate. It’s not a call to arms, it’s not a call to quit, or join, the SFWA, it’s certainly not a call to “help change things from within” or, for that matter, from without. Hopefully, it’s a different take, from the bias of this blog, on how the Science Fiction Writers of America is perceived by some of us who are not under that national qualification.
And to go back to this blog, briefly, it has been tremendously gratifying to see it evolve, get some minor recognition, maybe even help change a few things, here and there – but it is also frustrating to be making the same argument, over and over, for the past four years – not just in blog posts but in person, in conversation, or in other public forums – and most of the time to people who nod politely without quite hearing you. To those of us fighting to be heard, and fighting for recognition, it’s an up-hill battle all the way, and I wish it wasn’t – not for myself but for all those writers this blog is here to champion.
Dutch author Thomas Olde Heuvelt has a new story up at Tor.com: The Ink Readers of Doi Saket:
It was during a night in the twelfth lunar month of this year when two strong hands pushed young Tangmoo down into the bed of the Mae Ping River, and by doing so, ironically, fulfilled his only wish. Tangmoo flailed his arms wildly, churning up the swirling water. The whites of his eyes reflected flashes from the fireworks as his smothered cries rose in bubbles to the surface, where they burst in silence: help, help, help, help!
These filtered cries of alarm were mistaken by a pair of dragonflies fused in flight, their only wish to remain larvaless and so prolong their love dance endlessly, for the dripping of morning dew. So unsettled was the pair that their breaths caught, and for a second, just when the male ejaculated, they separated. Force of habit subsequently incited them to repeat this in all their future climaxes, making their fondest wish actually come true.
But this was a chance circumstance. The point here is that young Tangmoo screamed, and his lungs filled with water, and please, he did not want to die this way. – continue reading!
This is something of a historical win as, as far as we can ascertain, Aliette is the first ever European writer to win a Nebula in the entire history of the award. Congratulations to Aliette and here’s hoping for the continuation of greater diversity in the field’s awards.
“Immersion” is also a current Hugo Award nominee.