The World SF Blog

Speculative Fiction from Around the World

Monday Original Content: An Interview with Frank Haubold

German author Frank Habuold is a winner of the Kurd-Laßwitz Award. He is the author, with Gill Ainsworth, of the collection Seasons of Insanity, published by Apex Books.

Frank Haubold interviewed by Charles Tan

Hi Frank! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. First off, how did you first become acquainted with science fiction and fantasy?

Oh, that was many years ago. I think it was in the early 70s, when I experienced first books by Ray Bradbury, Robert Sheckley and Stanislaw Lem in the library of my hometown. These books were rareties, which could not be bought in bookstores of former Eastern Germany. I’ve always fought with me in order to give them back. Fantasy as a genre did not exist at that time.

Seasons of Insanity is a very interesting collection. How did you end up collaborating with Gill Ainsworth?

It was – I think – in 2006, when I sent one of my stories to several English-language magazines. Unfortunately I only got rejections, but the mail from Gill was very friendly and interested. So we stayed in contact. Gill revised the translation of another story, which later reached the shortlist of the Aeon Award, and I translated two of her stories for German anthologies. Sometime later, we had the idea for a joint collection in English.

What was the translation process like, since both you and Gill Ainsworth worked on your stories?

That was a little difficult because the prerequisites were not optimal. Gill does not speak German and my English is rather poor. It is sufficient to translate English texts into German, but the reverse is much more difficult. So I translated my stories sentence by sentence in a kind of pidgin English, and then Gill brought the fragments into a readable form. It took many weeks and months, and of course there were sometimes misunderstandings. Against this background, 130 pages are a lot.

What did it feel like to revisit your old stories and adapting/translating them for this book?

Of course I have selected only stories, that I particularly like. Therefore, the feeling when reading and Pretranslation was not so bad. If a story is a few years old, there are of course always little things one would write a little different today. Much more interesting and sometimes disturbing is the diversity of languages. A phrase that sounds good in German, can sound terrible in English and vice versa. Therefore, only a native speaker is able to assess and correct these subtleties. I am very grateful that Gill has taken this burden.

How did you come up with the concept of seasons for the book?

Gill had this idea. We had a few stories that are tied to specific data, such as Christmas or Halloween. And we had others where the weather plays a role and is typical for certain seasons. Therefore it was making sense to bring the stories to a chronology of the seasons. This works, of course, not perfect in every story, but it does bring some structure into the book. That’s why I like the idea.

How did Apex end up publishing Seasons of Insanity?

That was not an easy way. Fortunately, my role was confined to inquire every few weeks, wether the project is going on or not. Obviously, the U.S. market is difficult, and the few genre-publishers are inundated with manuscripts. That makes such projects not easier. But it worked in the end, still, and I am very grateful, that Apex Publications has published our book.

What’s the genre field in Germany like?

In Germany, the SF and horror scene is much smaller and more clearly. Everyone who deals intensively with the genre, knows the relevant publishers and publications. However, only few genre authors are able to earn their bread and red wine with writing. I’m not one of them, and that’s not because I drink too expensive wine …

On the other hand, there are a number of dedicated small publishers who are active in the scene, and also a loyal core audience, however only few young readers.

Who are some of the authors that interest you?

There are many authors, whose works have impressed me. Ray Bradbury, of course, James G. Ballard, Clifford Simak, Stanislav Lem or the Strugatsky brothers. Unfortunately most of them have already died. I like Dan Simmon’s “Hyperion” und the SF-novels of Sergei Lukyanenko. Some of the older novels by Stephen King are also fascinating.

Anything else you want to promote?

This is difficult because there are no English versions of my more recent novels and short stories. Currently I am writing the second part of a space opera called “Twilight of the Gods”, which keeps me busy for almost a year. That’s a pretty crazy story from a distant future in which also the poet Rilke and Jim Morrison will have an appearance. Science fiction purists will not like it. ;-)

April 29, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Comments Off

World SF: Our Possible Future

The following article by Charles Tan is reprinted from Apex Magazine. It was published in the pre-order edition of The Apex Book of World SF 2. The trade edition is out now – it is available direct from the publisher, through Amazon and Amazon UK, and or Kindle (US - UK).

World SF: Our Possible Future

By Charles Tan

For some, the fact that you are reading this on a screen is amazing. For me, however, what’s impressive is that you could be from any part of the world: London, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Seoul, Perth, Cape Town, etc, and you’re reading this now, not several months—or years—later. Welcome to publishing in the 21st century where, theoretically, everyone in the world has access to what you write.

This sounds like the premise of a science fictional—or fantastical—story. So why aren’t we living in a publishing utopia? As ideal as the scenario might sound, there are still borders that aren’t limited to geography. Take myself for example: I’m Filipino-Chinese, and writing to you in English is both an advantage and a disadvantage. A lot of cultural nuances are lost, and, perhaps, in an ideal world, I would not necessarily have chosen English as my primary language. But, as far as practicality is concerned, English is prominent in a lot of countries—thus reaching a wider audience—and I’ll most likely get paid more for writing in English.

Which brings me to World SF. This might sound strange coming from someone who’s been promoting World SF, but the term is problematic. Whenever I talk about the subject, I need disclaimers. And that’s one example of the borders I’m talking about, at how language is sometimes inadequate to convey everything that I want to say.

Why World SF is Problematic
The first constraint is to define what World SF is. I won’t even touch the “SF” part—arguments for and against genre borders have been a never-ending debate, whether the discussion took place two decades ago or takes place half a century from now. And in many ways, that’s the brilliance of editor Lavie Tidhar, who chose the title The Apex Book of World SF for his initial anthology: he didn’t have to define what SF stood for, whether it’s science fiction, speculative fiction, or something else. Nor, I think, should an anthology (or magazine, in this case) featuring fiction from all over the world be limited by such constraints. Terms like magic realism, speculative fiction or even fantasy can offend, especially when we act like tourists of another nation’s culture. And while we might easily shrug off the difference between fantasy, fantastique, and the fantastika, the nuances between those terms can be as wide and dangerous as the journey from the Shire to Mordor.

No, let’s talk about the first part of the term: world.  What does it mean to be part of the world? Strictly speaking, isn’t every SF story part of World SF? How can one not be part of the world? By writing your story in space?

What we mean by World SF is something closer to International SF—beyond your nation, beyond your borders. But that in itself is problematic, because that implies a reference point. Unfortunately for the rest of us, that reference point is the US.

It shouldn’t surprise you that the US is not the only source of SF in the world. There’s Russia, China, Japan, Croatia, Romania, France, India, Africa, etc. But a lot of SF that we read is either set in the West, based on Western cosmology and belief, or written by Western authors (to say nothing of the inherent patriarchy, colonialism, and racism of such narratives). In the case of my childhood, despite having a rich—albeit seemingly invisible—tradition of SF in the Philippines, most of the SF I’ve read is from the US, and the bookshelves of local bookstores reflect this. Ask any Filipino SF fan: they can name you a lot of Western SF authors but will be hard-pressed to name a local SF author, a phenomenon not limited to the Philippines. If we’re just talking about the zeitgeist, a lot of cultures are Western-centric (for good or for ill) when that doesn’t have to be the case, especially when there’s a rich—and different—tradition of SF  radically different from what Western readers are used to.

It’s not that people haven’t tried. But if you look at the SF works from other countries that have been translated into English, compared to SF works in English that have been translated into other languages, there’s a large disproportion in favor of the latter. Which can get quite ridiculous considering the US is just one country.

So there’s clearly a need to drift away from US SF—no offense to US writers (and I still read your books!)—and to highlight fiction from the rest of the world. Yet at the same time, because US readers hold a significant influence; we need to win them over as well. Right now, a lot of us are literate in English. This issue is being published by an American company. A lot of the books being sold in our bookstores are imports from the US.

And then there’s the gray area of Canada, the UK, and Australia. On one hand, they have more exporting capability compared to a country like Singapore or the Philippines, even when English is mutually their first language. But on the other hand, awareness and accessiblity to their literature isn’t automatically assured, and their fiction can be obscure. It’s an unfair generalization to group them as part of the US, but they clearly have a better advantage than most third-world countries.

Which brings me to the second problem: if World SF excludes the US, then how do we define who writes World SF? The term is malleable, open to interpretation, and will mean different things to different people. For example, let’s determine that for a work to be considered World SF, it needs to be written by an author that’s not American. Does that mean by nationality? Ethnicity? Do we do percentages of heredity? What happens if an American author moves to another country? Or the children of foreigners who migrate to the US? Do we strive for a more inclusive policy, or an exclusive one?

It’s not a question that can easily be answered. Nor should it be. It ignores plurality. Take myself for example: I’m Filipino-Chinese, a Filipino citizen born to pure-blooded Chinese parents. Don’t make me choose between being Filipino or being Chinese. I’m a product of both worlds and if I were to simply pick one over the other, I’d feel completely alien. You can’t isolate and excise the parts of me that are Filipino from the parts that are Chinese.  If I hypothetically migrate to another country, that creates a new dynamic. My children will similarly have an entirely different paradigm compared to mine.

The third problem is that no one is an expert on World SF. It’s hard enough to keep track of all things SF in the Philippines (and I’m not necessarily succeeding). Or the US. Or—insert country here. How much harder would it be to keep track of the whole world, which implies hundreds of countries? And then we go back to plurality: no culture or race is a monolithic entity. There will be opinions, debates, even schisms within a particular community: just because I find a particular story to be very Filipino doesn’t necessarily mean another Filipino will find the same value in it, for example.

Although no one can be an expert in World SF, we shouldn’t stop trying.  Perhaps, after reading this issue, or a copy of the The Apex Book of World SF, you think that you’ve fulfilled your quota of SF beyond the US. But no. Neither this magazine nor Tidhar’s anthologies are a comprehensive (or even holistic) summary of the World SF scene. If you gave us half a million words to work with, it still wouldn’t be enough. Heck, it’s not even enough to comprehensively tackle the literature of a single nation. Instead, they are biased snapshots, which will hopefully pique your curiosity. This should be the beginning of discovering what World SF truly means, rather than the final word on it. So don’t be surprised if I’m wrong when it comes to a lot of things.

There’s a certain comfort when you’re asked about SF from other countries. If you mention Serbia, I can name Zoran Živković. South Africa, Lauren Beukes. France, Aliette de Bodard. Finland, Johanna Sinisalo. But that’s actually false relief. For example, what else do I know about Serbian SF aside from Živković? It’s easy to jump to conclusions based on the works of a few writers, but just as no single author encapsulates all of American SF, there’s no single author—or even a set of writers—that fully encapsulates the SF field of any country.

Awards and Recognition
There’s no perfect system to gauge or determine acceptance—except perhaps being an actual best-seller, selling in the hundreds of thousands—but awards give the impression of recognition, by the voting jury at least. So awards are important.

It would be remiss of me not to mention what is perhaps the most important award when it comes to World SF: the relatively new Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Awards. One of the most difficult processes in propagating World SF, whether financially or logistically, is translation. For such an award to exist is a great boon, and their agenda similarly reminds me of one of our shortcomings: recognizing translators. Just approach your typical SF fan and they’d (and by they, I include myself) be hard-pressed to name a translator who works in the genre specifically, unless the translator is a prominent author to begin with, such as Ursula K. Le Guin or Ken Liu.

In 2011, the Translation Awards winners for long form and short form were A Life on Paper: Stories, Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud, translated by Edward Gauvin, and Elegy for a Young Elk, Hannu Rajaniemi, translated by Hannu Rajaniemi, respectively. Honourable mentions went to The Golden Age, Michal Ajvaz, translated by Andrew Oakland, and Wagtail, Marketta Niemelä, translated by Liisa Rantalaiho. The special award went to Brian Stableford.

One of Lavie Tidhar’s frequent complaints is that the World Fantasy Awards is a misnomer, for while there’s the occasional nominee or two that’s not from the US, it’s mostly a very Western-centric award. However, last year’s nominees, at least for the novel category, were impressive: Nnedi Okorafor, Lauren Beukes, N.K. Jemisin, Graham Joyce, Guy Gabriel Kay, and Karen Lord were the nominees, with Okorafor winning the award for Who Fears Death. Angélica Gorodischer was the lifetime achievement winner, while Alisa Krasnostein of Twelfth Planet Press won the special award in the non-professional category. I hope to see this trend continue.

There’s also the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, which Dubravka Ugresic won in 2010 for Baba Yaga Laid an Egg.

The Future of World SF
I honestly don’t know where World SF is headed, or if our efforts to spread awareness will succeed. But I’m cautiously optimistic about the field. Half a decade ago, for example, who would have thought there would be a Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Awards, an imprint dedicated to translating Japanese fiction into English, or a second—much less a first—anthology dedicated to featuring SF from around the world? While there have been a few such anthologies in the past, there have been none this century and, previously, such efforts were by American or British editors who did not themselves represent World SF as we have attempted to define it.

Who would have thought readers would be interested to hear what I have to say? I’m not from America. I’m not white. I’m not famous.

That’s not to say all is well. The status quo is still against a global SF field. But change is coming and, hopefully, it swings in our favour. There’re a lot of voices that haven’t been heard; it’s not because authors aren’t writing.

August 22, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

Introducing Lauriat: A Filipino-Chinese Speculative Fiction Anthology

Our own Charles A. Tan has been busy – not only is he nominated, for the second year running, for the World Fantasy Award (for his blog, Bibliophile Stalker) but US-based published Lethe Press have just released his new anthology, Lauriat: A Filipino-Chinese Speculative Fiction Anthology.

 

About the anthology:

Filipinos and Chinese have a rich, vibrant literature when it comes to speculative fiction. But what about the fiction of the Filipino-Chinese, who draw their roots from both cultures? This is what this anthology attempts to answer. Featuring stories that deal with voyeur ghosts, taboo lovers, a town that cannot sleep, the Chinese zodiac, and an exile that finally comes home, Lauriat: A Filipino-Chinese Speculative Fiction Anthology covers a diverse selection of narratives from fresh, Southeast Asian voices.

Stories by: Charles Tan, Andrew Drilon, Erin Chupeco, Kristine Ong Muslim, Isabel Yap, Christine V. Lao, Gabriela Lee, Paolo Chikiamco, Fidelis Tan, Marc Gregory Yu, Yvette Tan, Margaret Kawsek, Crystal Koo, Kenneth Yu, Douglas Candano

 

August 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Comments Off

Monday Original Content: REVIEW: Three Messages and A Warning: Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic

This week Charles Tan reviews Three Messages and A Warning: Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic, edited by Eduardo Jiménez Mayo and Chris N. Brown and published by Small Beer Press. We’ll have more material on the book this week, so stay tuned!

Three Messages and A Warning: Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic edited by Eduardo Jiménez Mayo and Chris N. Brown

Reviewed by Charles Tan

I’ll say it outright: we need more anthologies like these. There’s ambition in Three Messages and A Warning — perhaps more so than the Philippine Speculative Fiction volumes I’ve been reading (and sometimes contributing to) for the past eight years. For one thing, there’s the sheer number of translations, in addition to maintaining a consistent tone and atmosphere.

Second, reading this anthology is diving into the unknown: the strength — and perhaps weakness — of such a book is that every contributor is an unknown factor. Their contributions could be award-winning stories. Or it could be their first piece of published fiction. The only thing that affects my judgment are the stories themselves since I don’t have any preconceptions about the author.

Third, there’s a sense of diversity in the book. Two stories, for example, share a common concept, a town populated by animals: “Lions” by Bernardo Fernández and “Wolves” by José Luis Zárate. However, the treatment, theme, and allegory of the two stories are very different from each other. Whereas “Lions” showcases a gradual juxtaposition, “Wolves,” on the other hand, is this inevitable surrender to something beyond mortal comprehension. And that’s simply scratching the tip of the proverbial iceberg. One could make an argument that certain stories aren’t speculative fiction: “The Guest” by Amparo Dávila and “Three Messages and A Warning In The Same Email” by Ana Clavel come to mind. But again, the sensibilities in which they are, are stylistically different: “The Guest” features this unnamed entity while the titular story weaves itself in a mystery that’s either science fiction or literary metafiction. These stories tackle genre tropes or challenge existing definitions that’s refreshing to read and encounter.

If you’re looking for a common motif, a recurring element that attempts to define the “Mexican Fantastic,” you won’t find it in this book. The selections are simply diverse, and perhaps the only conclusion that one can claim is that a lot of the stories are relatively short as several are flash fiction while the lengthier pieces don’t even come close to the novelette. It’s simply a different kind of sensibility, one that makes sense in this kind of anthology where the aim is to showcase variety and breadth.

As far as impact is concerned, the stories hit home, although perhaps not too deep. They’re jabs and body blows instead of knockout punches, but considering the length of the stories, it’s understandable why several of them don’t leave bruises.

If there’s one significant flaw with the anthology, it’s not that the book has three introductions (which is, admittedly, overkill), but one of them is written by Bruce Sterling. I know he means well, and it’s not everyday that a famous writer gets to write the introduction to a book, but there’s this sense that he’s patronizing. There’s some value in his introduction, don’t get me wrong, but the crux of his argument is that “The United States of America is Mexicanizing much faster than Mexico is Americanizing” so “The face of an old friend can be better than a mirror, sometimes,” the old friend being Mexico.

Save for that one detail, Three Messages and A Warning is a treasure trove of stories that showcases a unique brand of aesthetics when it comes to the fantastic.

June 25, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Comments Off

Pre-Order The Apex Book of World SF 2, Get Bonus Content, Early Delivery!

In order to promote the forthcoming release of The Apex Book of World SF 2, we’ve decided to offer a very special edition to anyone pre-ordering the paperback edition. While the trade edition is scheduled for August, anyone ordering a copy by April 30th will receive their copy in May (three months early!) and with unique bonus content.

Pre-order the anthology and it will include, as a special bonus, Nir Yaniv‘s never-before-published-in-English novelette “Undercity” (8800 words) as well as Charles Tan‘s essay, “World SF: Our Possible Future”!

Edited by Lavie Tidhar, The Apex Book of World SF 2 collects works from award-winning SF writers from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East. Featured authors include Will Elliot, Hannu Rajaniemi, Shweta Narayan, Lauren Beukes, Ekaterina Sedia, Nnedi Okorafor, and Andrzej Sapkowski. Several of the stories are published for the first time in English.

Preorders of the special edition can be placed at http://www.apexbookcompany.com/collections/books/products/the-apex-book-of-world-sf-2-edited-by-lavie-tidhar

We are aiming for 100 pre-orders – please consider supporting Apex and the World SF Blog by pre-ordering!

April 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Original Content: Interview with Sayuri Ueda, author of The Cage of Zeus (Haikasoru)

We’ve been offering original content throughout this relaunch week: today, Charles Tan interviews Japanese author Sayuri Ueda, whose novel The Cage of Zeus is published by Haikasoru (translated by Takami Nieda).

The Rounds are humans with the sex organs of both genders. Artificially created to test the limits of the human body in space, they are now a minority, despised and hunted by the terrorist group Vessel of Life. Aboard Jupiter-I, a space station orbiting the gas giant that shares its name, the Rounds have created their own society with a radically different view of gender and of life itself. Security chief Shirosaki keeps the peace between the Rounds and the typically gendered “Monaurals,” but when a terrorist strike hits the station, the balance of power and tolerance is at risk…and an entire people is targeted for genocide.

Hi! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview.

How did you first get acquainted with science fiction?

I first read Sakyo Komatsu’s 1973 classic Japan Sinks when I was ten and was jolted by the experience. I was struck by how scientifically Japan’s sinking was explained、and it was through that novel that I discovered the existence of stories told from a scientific perspective. That was the moment I realized that you could render worlds on a much larger scale in science fiction than in regular fiction.

Around the same time, I had also read Rod Serling’s The Midnight Sun in a juvenile magazine and learned that humanity wouldn’t necessarily continue to flourish and prosper as it has. Even a slight disturbance in the sun can wipe out all of humanity. As you can imagine, this realization was a huge shock to a child.

What are some of the works that have inspired your writing?

I learned a lot about writing novels from the works of Yasutaka Tsutsui. In terms of science, emotional impact, satirical wit and sheer vision, or from any other standpoint for that matter, few writers can write as perfectly as Tsutsui can.

There are also many foreign science fiction books translated and released by publishers in Japan. I read Arthur C. Clarke, James Tiptree, Jr., William Gibson—everything from the classics to the latest releases—anything that captured my attention. I believe all of these works have influenced my writing in some form.

How did you come up with the character Karina Majella?

I saw a documentary about child soldiers on television. These children, about ten years old, were being trained to shoot sniper rifles and being sent off to war as a matter of course; I was deeply struck by their blank, impenetrable faces that revealed nothing of what they might have been feeling.

I remember wondering what these children might hope for if they should survive war. No matter how brilliant the ideology or how magnificent the new society that grown-ups end up creating, these child soldiers would see it all as nothing more than an illusion built on the bloodied corpses of the weak. This is how I came upon the initial seed for Karina.

Do you think it’s possible for humanity to establish a utopia?

Whether we are capable of establishing a utopian society is dependent on how humanity’s imagination. As long as we cannot overcome the discrimination and violence rooted in fear, the only thing humanity will be able to create is distopia. The reality is that we have continued to spill the blood of countless victims and the path toward a utopia is a very long one. However, humanity is a race that has never forgotten the spirit of advancement and progress. That alone might be our last hope.

One recurring theme in Japanese fiction is perceiving space as the future of humanity. Do you share in this belief?

Space is such an alluring world. I doubt we’ll ever give up the journey toward space and will continue to set its sights on faraway planets, no matter what the challenge.

But the future of humanity doesn’t lie in space alone. It’s hard for me to believe that a people that haven’t been able to find a future on Earth could ever forge a future in space. In fact, those two missions are one and the same. You could say that our readiness to embark into space is being tested in our daily lives and in the values of contemporary society.

What was the most challenging aspect in writing this novel?

I was mindful about crafting a science fiction story that would hold up, even for readers that weren’t necessarily interested in gender and sexuality issues. If readers are left with a kind of bitter feeling that they can’t shake, even if they’re not exactly interested in the thematic concerns of the book, then I would have to say the novel was a success.

How did you settle on the book’s title?

Zeus is a god in Greek mythology, an alternate name for the planet Jupiter, and the walls that stand in the way of humanity’s progress in space. This novel is about the humans who are held captive inside Zeus’ cage but are also imprisoned by the walls and boundaries they’ve put up themselves. One intention of this novel was to honestly convey the pain and anguish of these people, so I thought The Cage of Zeus was a fitting title. Unless we’re able to break out of this cage, we will never be able to create a new society. This, of course, is very difficult to achieve.

Did you ever imagine that your novel would be translated into English?

Not at all. Although we’re seeing more Japanese science fiction being translated now, those opportunities weren’t available when I’d written Zeus in 2004. The only writers being translated at the time were veterans who’d been working at their craft for decades, so there was absolutely no chance for a writer like me to be translated only a year after her debut novel.

In your opinion, what is it about science fiction that sets it apart from other genres?

That you can create a future—both temporal and spatial—on such a grand scale through a scientific lens. That you can take the seemingly impossible and render that into a possibility that humanity has the potential to realize. That you are free to write with unfettered imagination. That there are many opportunities available to young writers. That you are able to play out universal and enduring “what if” scenarios in the world of science fiction, even while dealing with contemporary themes.

I believe these distinctions are what continue to captivate the minds of science fiction writers and readers.

 

November 17, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Charles Tan on the World SF Travel Fund

First, some good news! So far we’ve raised (as I type this) $3,924! That’s a tremendous response from some wonderful people, and means we’re only $2000 short of our goal of two years’ worth of funding (and can we make it three years? Can we? Can…)

Charles has written a heart-felt essay about the fund and its meaning. It’s over on his blog, but I’m reproducing it here anyway.

The World SF Travel Fund

By Charles Tan

I’m the first recipient of this project so there’s some self-interest involved here.

But I hope my readers give the World SF Travel Fund a look:

A combination of genre professionals and fans from the international scene and the United States have gathered together to create the World SF Travel Fund. The fund has been set up to enable one international person involved in science fiction, fantasy or horror to travel to a major genre event.

Personally, I would never dream of being able to afford to attend an event like World Fantasy Convention 2011. The planet ticket alone–and this is finding one of the cheapest flights (no first-class for me)–costs around $1300.00. Which might not sound much for some of you (even with the the US’s economic crisis) but for someone like me who lives in a third-world country (yes, we still use that term here), I’ll never afford it (I earn around $400/month).

And that’s why I’m excited about this fund because it enables writers, editors, artists, and other professionals involved in the genre who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend a major convention (let’s face it, the big conventions are held in either the US or Europe). In a perfect world, we’d bring the convention to them (imagine holding a World Fantasy Convention in Indonesia, in Singapore, in South Africa), but at this point in time, it’s impractical (especially for regular Con attendees) so this is hopefully the next best thing.

The World SF Travel fund won’t drastically change the industry, just as the World SF Blog isn’t creating massive change as of the moment (as Lavie laments, of all the posts in the blog, the Elizabeth Moon issue is still the most popular, and that’s despite all the other content that’s been posted for the past few years). But it’s a start, a drop in the bucket, our contribution for what seems right at this point in time.

The current Peerbackers project is aiming to raise $6,000.00. That’s not just for me, that’s to enable the project to be run for two years (so that the next recipient won’t have a hard a time raising funds–I mean it’s well and good if they’re more popular than me but what if it’s a professional/non-professional most fans haven’t heard of? All the more reason for them to go). And mind you, that’s not yet inclusive of the various deductions/fees from Peerbackers or the bank.

The project is backed by awesome people (and these people are just as deserving–if not more so–of being funded themselves):

The Board, tasked with selecting future candidates, is composed of Lauren Beukes, Aliette de Bodard, Ekaterina Sedia, Cheryl Morgan and Lavie Tidhar and reflects the truly international nature of the SF world today.

I’m also impressed by the many supporters of the project, including supporters like Angry Robot Books, Chizine, Apex, Small Beer Press, Tachyon and PS Publishing (here’s Small Beer Press’s offerings to those who’ll pledge), as well as those who’ve already pledged. Whether the project succeeds or not, thanks and it’s much appreciated.

As for readers of this blog, I hope you can back the project, whether it’s $10.00 or more (I only mention $10.00 because it’s a package that comes with eBooks!). Do it for me, do it for the cause of World SF, do it because of the rewards (there’s some impressive rewards–what Small Beer Press is offering is nothing to sneeze at for example).

Oh, and congrats again to the World Fantasy Awards nominees. It’s an impressive list and irregardless of whether I’ll be able to attend the event personally or not, I’m honored.

August 4, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Comments Off

Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 6 Book Launch

Our own, intrepid Charles Tan The talented Kenneth Yu went deep undercover at the Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 6 Book Launch, equipped with camera, to bring you a visual record of the Philippines’ SF scene. We might beat Locus at this game yet!

Group shot of the contributors, editors, and publisher.

World SF News Blog fiction contributor Eliza Victoria.

Crystal Koo (author), Charles Tan, Vincent Michael Simbulan (editor of A Time for Dragons)

Publisher Dean Francis Alfar

Editors Nikki Alfar and Kate Osias

Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 6

June 3, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Redstone SF Interview Charles Tan

Our very own Charles Tan, “Asia’s best-known spec-fic fan and blogger”, is interviewed over at Redstone Science Fiction by Paul Clemmons:

I am an uber-geek.  I love card games, video games, tabletop and digital RPGs, miniatures, books, movies, comics and manga.  I want to write, but I don’t want just that small part, but the bigger picture.  Whether or not I have success with the fiction, I’ll do it, but it is publishing, design, promotion, editing, that interests me. – read it!

May 17, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Comments Off

Just a note…

Lavie will be in the UK from next week – you can catch up with him at Eastercon, and he will also be signing new novel Camera Obscura at Forbidden Planet. Seeing as he’s adamant not to do any work, Charles will be running the blog in the meantime!

April 15, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Comments Off

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