Over at Strange Horizons, Andy Sawyer has a wonderfully thoughtful, in-depth review of The Apex Book of World SF, calling Anil Menon‘s story Into the Night “by far the best story I have read all year” and the book as a whole “the most exciting anthology I have read since the SFWA European Hall of Fame.”
This is not one of those anthologies which neatly tick off boxes: there are two authors from France, China, Israel, and the Philippines, but none from, for example, Russia or Japan. Lavie Tidhar’s introduction, indeed, flags the book’s omissions, noting that there are no contributions from South America or Africa, and offers an intriguing hint that “Speculative fictions from the Arab world . . . are enjoying a new popularity.” (Tell us more!) The back cover adds Pakistan to the list, which seems to be an error. The mixture here, unbalanced though it may seem to a cursory view, allows the anthology to avoid the obvious failing of “showcase” anthologies: we cannot, having finished this selection, ever delude ourselves that we have “heard” the voices of the science fiction of China, say, or Israel. Han Song and Yang Ping, say, or Guy Hasson and Nir Yaniv, are very different writers telling very different stories (there is a darkness to be found in the stories by Hasson and Yaniv which perhaps bears investigation, but I wonder that in noting that, I am falling into the same trap which calls American SF “optimistic” and British SF “pessimistic”). When it comes to the myriad voices which are telling stories of the fantastic, perhaps all we can do is be selective in the way Tidhar has been here: pick good stories, keep your eyes on what is going on (Tidhar runs the World SF News blog), and consider any such anthology to be a small step in a larger project. The gaps here are not evidence of inattention but of spaces which we hope will be filled. When they are, on this evidence we will all be enriched. – read the rest of the review.