The World SF Blog

Speculative Fiction from Around the World

Welcome

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 published by Lavie Tidhar, with associate editor Charles Tan and fiction editors Debbie Moorhouse and then Sarah Newton.

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While the blog is no longer being updated, the entire archive is available here.

June 18, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off

A Last Word

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.

- Lavie Tidhar

June 18, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 13 Comments

The Apex Book of World SF Anthologies

The World SF Blog was initially set up to promote the anthology, The Apex Book of World SF, which was later joined by The Apex Book of World SF 2, with a third volume scheduled for 2014.

If you have found the blog useful, do consider purchasing a copy of one or both volumes by clicking on the images below.

The Apex Book of World SF The Apex Book of World SF 2

June 18, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off

Selected Features

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:

June 18, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off

Selected Interviews

Over the past four years we’ve run a plethora of exclusive interviews. Here is a small selection:

You can find more of our interviews by clicking on the interview or interviews tag or on the original content tag.

June 18, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off

Fiction

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)

2013:

2012:

2011:

2010:

Our first feature was an original serial by Joyce Chng from Singapore: the 15-parter THE BASICS OF FLIGHT:

Part One: Basics

Part Two: Flight

June 18, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Short Story Highlight: “Call Girl” by Tang Fei (China)

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.

June 6, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Comments Off

Editorial: In A Global Economy, What Place for the SFWA?

[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.”

and:

“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.

June 3, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 6 Comments

Short Story Highlight: “The Ink Readers of Doi Saket” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

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!

May 22, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Comments Off

Aliette de Bodard wins a Nebula

Congratulations to Aliette de Bodard for winning a Nebula Award for Best Short Story, for Immersion.

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.

May 21, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment

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