The World SF Blog

Speculative Fiction from Around the World

Interview with Vietnamese SF writer Vu Kim Dung

Last year, Vietnamese SF writers have banded together to form the Viet Nam Fund of Science Fiction, or VFSF. The Vietnam News carries a fascinating interview with head of the VFSF, biologist and SF writer Vu Kim Dung.

You graduated with a degree in biology; how did you become a writer and why did you choose science fiction?

I was fond of science as a secondary student. I began my career as a scientist, not a writer, but I always admired Jules Verne, who is regarded as a father of science fiction, and his novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

I started writing my first work, Co Kien Trinh Sat (A Scout Ant), in 1972 while I was studying at the university. Once it was published it became very popular among children.

I chose to write science fiction because it combines my love for science and the rest of the interview.

July 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Comments Off on Interview with Vietnamese SF writer Vu Kim Dung

Russian vampire series to be published in US

SFScope report that Russian writer Lena Meydan sold Twilight Forever Rising to Stacy Hague-Hill at Tor Books.

Quoting from SFScope:

Meydan’s agent told SFScope the book is "the first work in a series of Vampire novels. It is already a major Russian bestseller with over 80,000 copies sold to date in hardcover. Twilight Forever Rising is what happens when Anne Rice meets The Sopranos: a vampire-human love story in the midst of a brutal struggle among powerful aristocratic and everyday vampire families. Full of fascinating new vampire mythology as only a Russian can create with a contemporary story, complex characters, and wonderful prose, Twilight Forever Rising is an enthralling story of morality, friendship, power, and love."

Meydan’s first novel, Rubin Karashehr, was published in 2004, and won the highest literary honor, the Silver Kaduzei, at the Star Bridge international festival of fantasy that year. In 2007, she completed the series, the last volume of which was named 2007’s Book of the Year in Fantasy World, Russia’s largest magazine of fiction and fantasy. Twilight Forever Rising was Meydan’s second novel published in Russia, and was named Best Urban Fantasy for 2000-2005 by the 13th International Congress of fantasy writers in St. Petersburg.


July 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Comments Off on Russian vampire series to be published in US

Magical Realism in West African Fiction

Some of the most interesting books relating to world SF are published by academic presses, and are often quite expensive. It is good to know, therefore, that Brenda Cooper‘s Magical Realism in West African Fiction is available in a reasonably-priced paperback edition from Routledge.

About the book:

This study contextualizes magical realism within current debates and theories of postcoloniality and examines the fiction of three of its West African pioneers: Syl Cheney-Coker of Sierra Leone, Ben Okri of Nigeria and Kojo Laing of Ghana. Brenda Cooper explores the distinct elements of the genre in a West African context, and in relation to:
* a range of global expressions of magical realism, from the work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez to that of Salman Rushdie
* wider contemporary trends in African writing, with particular attention to how the realism of authors such as Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka has been connected with nationalist agendas.
This is a fascinating and important work for all those working on African literature, magical realism, or postcoloniality.

July 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Magical Realism in West African Fiction

Kaaron Warren’s first novel, Slights, released

Apex Book of World SF contributor, Australian writer and Fiji resident, Kaaron Warren [blog][wikipedia] has recently signed a deal for three books with new HarperCollins imprint Angry Robot – and her first novel, Slights, is now out!

Stephanie is a killer. 

After an accident in which her mother dies, she has a near-death experience, and finds herself in a room full of people – everyone she’s ever pissed off. They clutch at her, scratch and tear at her. But she finds herself drawn back to this place, again and again, determined to unlock its secrets. Which means she has to die, again and again.

And she starts to wonder whether other people see the same room… when they die.

Slights is a deeply intense, disturbing read. Death is not the end, but this is not comforting, heartwarming or safe. The misery memoir craze of the last few years has overshadowed horror fiction’s impact with (allegedly) real-life experiences. Now it’s time for horror and fantasy fiction to fight back.

July 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Comments Off on Kaaron Warren’s first novel, Slights, released

Vandana Singh closing report on the Indian SF/F workshop

Indian writer Vandana Singh has just posted the second and closing installment of her report on the Indian SF/F workshop that took place at IIT Kapur.

Along the way I talked about how important it was to keep in touch with SF in non-English Indian languages and their long history.  We had already discussed some examples during the course of the workshop.  I was delighted to discover that a good number of the students wrote in other languages as well.  One of them in particular is a published writer in Oriya and I hope that what he learned from the workshop will translate into great SF in both English and Oriya.  Another writes poetry in Hindi just as I do and we talked about how that influenced one’s English writing, and, in my case at least, how that keeps me from going entirely crazy.  read the rest of her report.

July 20, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Comments Off on Vandana Singh closing report on the Indian SF/F workshop

An Interview with Wu Yan

In case you’ve missed it when it first came out – Lavie Tidhar interviews Chinese writer and editor Wu Yan over at the Internet Review of Science Fiction (also available online, brand new, in a Hebrew translation).

July 17, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Comments Off on An Interview with Wu Yan

SF Signal Mind Meld on International SF: Part Four

Apologies for the lack of updates this week – has it really been a week? – let’s call it rainy season blues… In any case, SF Signal have brought their mind meld feature on international SF to a close this week, including Apex Book of World SF contributor Anil Menon and a host of other writers and translators.

It’s a shame we didn’t get to see anyone talking about African fiction – certainly South Africa has plenty to offer, and one suspects there are writers in the Francophone or portuguese – and the other English-dominated countries – worth noting. We did a feature on South African writers a while back (you can click on the relevant tag to have a look) and hopefully will cover more of the continent in the coming months. Also nothing on Arabic SF, which again we looked at here. But then the problem of covering such a diverse field, with so little English translation available, is always difficult, and this has certainly been a welcome and illuminating initiative (enlivened, it must be said, by some very passionate Polish fans in the comments section!)

And just a reminder: any readers of this blog who can share some information and insight with us, on whichever country or language, please do get in touch with us – we’d love to run some more guest columns.

July 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Comments Off on SF Signal Mind Meld on International SF: Part Four

SF Signal Mind Meld on International SF: Part Three

 Part Three of SF Signal’s Mind Meld on International SF is now up, with contributions from the Philippines, Ireland, Denmark, Greece, the Ukraine, Poland and Portugal.

And if you haven’t seen them already, here are Part One and Part Two.

July 10, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Comments Off on SF Signal Mind Meld on International SF: Part Three

Haikasoru interview translator Joseph Reeder

Over the new Haikasoru blog, Nick Mamatas interviews Joseph Reeder, translator of Haikasoru’s forthcoming novel All You Need is Kill.

Linguistically the rules for what can pass as a sentence are much, much looser in Japanese than English. For example, you might have a series of fragments bookending a longer explanatory passage, and that back and forth is very at home in the Japanese. The same section in English might come across as lacking focus. So simple things like grouping the fragments together to get a rhythm going, then switching to the longer explanatory passage can make the whole much more cohesive to the English reader without unduly disrupting the intent of the the rest of the interview

July 9, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Comments Off on Haikasoru interview translator Joseph Reeder

Emile Habibi’s The Secret Life of Saeed

io9 ran this short article a while ago, about Israel-Palestinian writer (and politician) Emile Habibi and his novel The Secret Life of Saeed: The Pessoptimist:

Then came Habibi’s masterwork, The Secret Life of Saeed: The Pessoptimist. Habibi’s partly autobiographical novel about an Israeli Arab who finds himself in space is every bit the equal of The Little Prince or Slaughterhouse Five. Patterned after Voltaire’s Candide, the writing is at least as sharp, and the lessons of the Israeli desert are if anything more worthwhile.

Habibi’s alter-ego is a constant victim of fate. He cannot truly become an Israeli because he is an Arab, and he cannot truly become an Arab because he is an Israeli. When things are that silly, anything’s possible. – read the rest of the article.

July 8, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Comments Off on Emile Habibi’s The Secret Life of Saeed

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