We went around the room and introduced ourselves, in anti-clockwise order (the Lesson Plan was very definite on that). In order: Anil, Shish, Kaushik, Pervin, Manish, Amarjeet, Suneetha, Bodhi, Akshat, Sonali, Sumeet, Vaibhav, Himanshu, Rinku, and Radhika. I remember the order because I wrote their names down. Radhika was missing, but Suneetha, her friend and roomie, explained that their trip to IIT-K had been pretty horrendous, and Radhika was still decompressing. Also absent, was Abha; a leg sprain would keep her from joining the group until later in the week.
As I listened to the intros, I privately marvelled at our luck. The group was incredibly varied. Five women, nine men. Six women, counting Abha. The original group had had eight women, but unfortunately– and it’s really unfortunate– two of them– Swapna Kishore and Fehmida Zakeer– had had to drop out at the last minute. Shish at twelve years old (claimed to be eighteen) was the youngest, and a math major at IIT-Kanpur. Bodhi at ninety-five was the oldest, and taught literature at the prestigious Xavier’s College in Delhi. Sonali was from Jharkhand, a state that hadn’t existed when I was her age. Amarjeet had a doctorate in literature. Akshat had worked on the set of Lage Raho Munna Bhai. And with kids. And had a degree in English literature. Pervin worked in publishing and had just published a book of poems. Suneetha was involved in a major translation project and had just finished a stint at the Sangam Residency (a writer’s retreat in Pondicherry). Rinku had a doctorate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, taught in Pakistan and edited a book. Himanshu had trained in architecture and now worked as an ad-guy; he’d *resigned* from his job to get the time to attend the workshop. Sumeet was a journalist, now working as a copy-editor. Vaibhav was an engineering student. Manish was a Chem Engg major at IIT-K. Kaushik was in a lit program at IIT-Madras. Radhika (she’d joined us by then), already a published author, lived and worked in London and was attending a Creative Writing program part-time.
I saw Venn diagrams as they spoke. I’d known we had a varied bunch, but this varied? It was a categorical extravaganza. The workshop had four full-time students, two Ph.Ds, five women, nine men, four Bengalis, one Parsi, two Tamilians, one Kashmiri, one Bihari, one Jat, one Oriya, one Malayalee, two Punjabis…. This was India made manifest. The Lesson Plan didn’t allow me to gloat or freak out, so I had to stay calm and pretend this sort of thing happened in every workshop. Bloody hell. Bloody effing hell. Now, if they could write– well, they could write, which was why they were here, but if they would write– then the workshop was all set.
The Apex Book of World SF (still available for pre-orders directly from our publisher) will be published in November as part of a move that sees Apex Books expanding their reach. From Jason Sizemore:
I’m pleased to announce that Apex has contracted Pathway Book Service to provide us with distribution and fulfillment services.
What does this mean to Apex Books?
First and foremost, this should help Apex breakthrough into more brick & mortar bookstores. Via Pathway, we’ll be accepting returns. Also, via Pathway, our books should get more notice and attention from the store buyers.
It means we’re taking a cautious step away from the POD business model we’ve ran for the past three years and moving toward a larger market share and increased sales volume. It’s a big move for a small outfit like Apex Books, but one that is required for us to continue to grow.
We need our fans’ support now more than ever. You’ve propelled us this far, and I have no doubt that with your support, we’ll become a bigger force, a louder force in the genre field.
What does this mean for the Apex Book of World SF? Well, it is going to be the first Apex title to be publishedunder the new model, which will see it being distributed into brick-and-mortar stores across the US. We will be promoting the book as much as possible, of course, and have some exciting features being lined up across the various genre media outlets. Of course, nothing can quite match simple word of mouth, so any mention of us on your own blogs or sites would be much appreciated. While we are hoping to do a second volume, but that will depend entirely on sales of the first issue.
We will also, of course, continue with the World SF News Blog.
What you can do to help?
- Blog about us. Link back to the World SF News Blog or to our pre-ordering page.
- If you are a reviewer or journalist, contact Jason to request a review copy or to interview any of our contributing authors.
Thank you for your support!
Partial Recall is an English-language blog dedicated to the activities of science fiction fandom in Finland, with news and links and much content. Take a look!
Apex Book of World SF contributor Aliette de Bodard has just signed a three book deal with Angry Robot, the new genre imprint from HarperCollins – congratulations Aliette! She is interviewed by Marshall Payne over on the Bibliophile Stalker blog:
I was born in New York, but didn’t really stay long enough for that to make an impression on me (in fact, I was so young when we left that I remember nothing from that time period). I’m half-French, half-Vietnamese, which makes for an interesting intersection of backgrounds: though most of my education was French, my Vietnamese mother and grandmother played a huge part in it.
One of the most formative experiences I had in many ways was living for two years in London as a teenager: it’s always eye-opening to move elsewhere, even if the "elsewhere" is a neighboring country. It was also in London that I discovered SF and fantasy as a genre, rather than the occasional book borrowed from the library.
She joins another Apex Book of World SF contributor – Kaaron Warren‘s first of three novels with Angry Robot, Slights, has been getting rave reviews everywhere. And as if Angry Robot have not had enough, they have also signed up Apex Book of World SF editor Lavie Tidhar. At this rate we won’t have any contributors left!
CroSF.net is a new website dedicated to Croatian science fiction, featuring several free short stories (including not less than three by Apex Book of World SF contributor Aleksandar Žiljak) and several articles, including Science Fiction in Croatia (again, by Aleksandar). An excellent resource, and well worth cheking out.
Actually, English is not my second but my third language (Swedish is the second) and I have learned English at school like most Finns. I am not fluent enough to write fiction in English, so it’s obvious I’m depending on translators. “Baby Doll” was translated by David Hackston, who is British, but James and Kathy Morrow helped us edit the story to suit the American market (mostly language-wise).
Because in Finland we have just five million inhabitants, it’s crucial to know other languages. In addition to Swedish and English, I can get along with German and French, and I can speak and read even some Italian. For me, I’m often envious that you Americans can go almost anywhere in the world and be understood in your own native language!
I’m very proud of the Nebula nomination, because it seems extremely rare that a translated work gets nominated. As far as I know, there has been only two translated stories nominated for a Nebula before” Baby Doll”, and both of those were by very renowned writers, namely Italo Calvino and Jorge Luis Borges. It’s a tremendous honour to be in that kind of company. – read the rest of the interview.
…With news of a brand new review of The Apex Book of World SF in Library Journal, saying:
From S.P. Somtow’s World Fantasy Award-winning "The Bird Catcher," a restrained horror tale of a young boy’s friendship with Thailand’s most infamous human "monster," to "Wizard World," Galaxy Award winner Yang Ping’s story of high-tech gamers, this extraordinary anthology of 16 tales introduces English-speaking readers to some of the world’s best writers of sf, horror, fantasy, and metafiction. Contributors include Jamil Nasir (Palestine), Aleksandar Ziljak (Croatia), Guy Hasson (Israel), Kaaron Warren (Australia/Fiji), and Jetse de Vries (Netherlands). VERDICT This literary window into the international world of imaginative fiction, the first in a new series, is sure to appeal to adventurous sf fans and readers of fiction in translation.
Over at the Nebula Awards blog, Nnedi Okorafor talks about Is Africa Ready for Science Fiction?
In my observation, in Africa, science fiction is still perceived as not being real literature. It is not serious writing. As Chikere said, African audiences don’t feel that science fiction is really concerned with what’s real, what’s present. It’s not tangible. It’s sport. Child’s play. I can see how science fiction can be foreign to many Africans. Technology tends to play a different role on the continent. There is a weird divide and connection between the technologically advanced and the ancient. For example: People will have cells phones in rural villages yet have no plumbing or electricity or one will opt to buy a laptop instead of a desktop computer because a laptop has its own power supply, most useful for when “NEPA takes the lights”. – read the rest of the post.
… and just to note we’ll be taking a short break, but will be back to updating the blog in about ten days.
Singapore-based, Philippine writer Gabriela Lee is interviewed by John Joseph Adams, around the story "Hunger" forthcoming in Adams’ anthology By Blood We Live.
mananaggal in Philippine mythology is a wonderful blend of old-school Western vampiric myths and native superstition. In myths, she’s a beautiful woman who can separate the upper half of her body from her lower half. The lower half stays rooted in one place while the upper half goes on a feeding frenzy – usually sucking the unborn fetus from a pregnant woman. If you look at the duality of such a creature, it serves as the perfect metaphor for adolescent hunger. – read the rest of the interview.
Four of the contributors to the Apex Book of World SF (out 1st September, but why not pre-order now?) will be attending the upcoming WorldCon in Canada. So if you’re going, do look out for Kaaron Warren (who will be travelling in from Fiji), Aliette de Bodard, travelling in from France, Nir Yaniv, travelling in from Israel, and Jetse de Vries, travelling in from the Netherlands. They will all be at various panels and parties around the convention, so do look them up and say hello!