The World SF Blog

Speculative Fiction from Around the World

Lavie Tidhar’s OSAMA

Lavie Tidhar’s new novel, Osama, is now available for pre-order from PS Publishing.

About the book:

In a world without global terrorism Joe, a private detective, is hired by a mysterious woman to find a man: the obscure author of pulp fiction novels featuring one Osama Bin Laden: Vigilante…

Joe’s quest to find the man takes him across the world, from the backwaters of Asia to the European Capitals of Paris and London, and as the mystery deepens around him there is one question he is trying hard not to ask: who is he, really, and how much of the books is fiction? Chased by unknown assailants, Joe’s identity slowly fragments as he discovers the shadowy world of the refugees, ghostly entities haunting the world in which he lives. Where do they come from? And what do they want? Joe knows how the story should end, but even he is not ready for the truths he’ll find in New York and, finally, on top a quiet hill above Kabul – nor for the choice he will at last have to make…

In Osama, Lavie Tidhar brilliantly delves into the post-9/11 global subconscious, mixing together elements of film noir, non-fiction, alternative history and international thriller to create an unsettling – yet utterly compelling – portrayal of our times.

The book is available in trade hardcover and in a signed limited edition of 200. An e-book edition will follow.

May 30, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

The Guardian is “Putting South African science fiction on the map”

Over at the Guardian, a nice article on South African science fiction:

As you might expect, a lot of South African writing is informed by the country’s own recent history – how could it fail to be? Apartheid rears its head in one form or another both in Zoo City, where the animalled are segregated, and in The Mall, where the “browns” find their way from our world to the book’s nightmarish mirror-world. And that, perhaps, is part of the attraction: speculative fiction works best when it refracts real life through a fantastical lens, and magnifies, and perhaps tries to make sense of, the mundane. South Africa has had a lot of real life in the past few decades.

Beukes is certainly doing her bit to put South African SF on the map. With SL Grey coming up next and their fellow authors grabbing a lot of attention, it might well be that South African spec fiction is going to be this year’s Scandinavian crime novel scene for British readers. – read the full article.

May 27, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment

The Magical Roots of Malaysian Horror Fiction In English

Eeleen Lee has a new article, The Magical Roots of Malaysian Horror Fiction In English, over at the Portal:

In contrast to its colonial manifestations,  contemporary Malaysian horror in English is a vibrant and dynamic field made up of prolific Malaysian writers. The best known national name is Tunku Halim, who specializes in extreme horror and dark fantasy. Halim debuted in 1997 with a short story collection, The Rape of Martha Teoh and Other Chilling Stories, and a novel, Dark Demon Rising, which was inspired by Endicott’s An Analysis of Malay Magic . In 1999 Halim published more macabre short fiction in BloodHaze: 15 Chilling Tales, that includes the Fellowship of Australian Writers prize-winning metafictional story “This Page is Left Intentionally Blank”. 44 Cemetery Road (MPH Publishing, 2007) compiles the best of Tunku Halim’s stories written from 2000-2006. International readers can find the darkly humorous “Biggest Baddest Bomoh”, a short story from The Rape of Martha Teoh republished in the anthology The Apex Book of World SF (edited by Lavie Tidhar, 2009).

Apart from Tunku Halim’s work, there are other notable Malaysian horror fiction collections written in English. Retired Singaporean minister Othman Wok penned two short story collections that feature supernatural horror stories, The Disused Well (Horizon Books, 2006) and Unseen Occupants and Other Chilling Tales (Horizon Books, 2007). Dark City (Midnight Press, 2006) by Xeus, features horror and suspense stories with a Malaysian urban setting. The most striking of these is the disguised social commentary of “Trashcan Child”, in which the biological mother of an abandoned infant offers its foster mother a supernatural chance for redemption. The popular success of Dark City generated a second volume Dark City 2 (2007).  Horror fiction also earned critical acclaim in The  2009 MPH Alliance Bank National Short Story Writing Competition. One of the shortlisted stories was “The Hunter and the Tigress” by Zed Adam Idris, about an indigenous tribesman who must destroy a shape-shifting spirit that has been imprisoned as a tiger motif painted onto an earthenware plate. – read the full article!

May 26, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Comments Off on The Magical Roots of Malaysian Horror Fiction In English


The Association for the Recognition of Excellence in Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation (ARESFFT) is delighted to announce the finalists for the 2011 Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Awards (for works published in 2010). There are two categories: Long Form and Short Form.

Long Form

The Golden Age, Michal Ajvaz, translated by Andrew Oakland (Dalkey Archive Press). Original publication in Czech as Zlatý Věk (2001).

The Ice Company, G.-J. Arnaud [Georges-Camille Arnaud], translated by Jean-Marc Lofficier and Randy Lofficier (Black Coat Press). Original publication in French as La Compagnie des Glaces (1980).

A Life on Paper: Stories, Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud, translated by Edward Gauvin (Small Beer Press). Original publication in French (1976­2005).

Four Stories till the End, Zoran Živković, translated by Alice Copple- Tošić (Kurodahan Press). Original publication in Serbian as Četiri priče do kraja (2004).

Short Form

“Wagtail”, Marketta Niemelä, translated by Liisa Rantalaiho (Usva International 2010 <;, ed. Anne Leinonen). Original publication in Finnish as “Västäräkki” (Usva (The Mist), 2008).

“Elegy for a Young Elk”, Hannu Rajaniemi, translated by Hannu Rajaniemi (Subterranean Online, Spring 2010 <;). Original publication in Finnish (Portti, 2007).

“Bear’s Bride”, Johanna Sinisalo, translated by Liisa Rantalaiho (The Beastly Bride: Tales of the Animal People, eds. Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, Viking). Original publication in Finnish as “Metsän tutt” (Aikakone (Time Machine), 3/1991).

“Midnight Encounters”, Hirai Tei’ichi, translated by Brian Watson (Kaiki: Uncanny Tales from Japan, Vol. 2, Kurodahan Press). Original publication in Japanese (1960).

The winning works will be announced at the 2011 Eurocon in Stockholm on the weekend of June 17-19 < >. Each winning author and translator will receive a cash prize of US$350. ARESFFT Board member, Cheryl Morgan, will be present to make the announcement.

In addition to the standard awards, the Board of ARESFFT will present a special award to British author and translator, Brian Stableford. No less than seventeen of the nominees in Long Form from 2010 were translated by Stableford. The ARESFFT Special Award for Services to Translation will therefore be presented to Stableford in recognition of the excellence of his translation work.

The money for the prize fund was obtained primarily through a 2010 fund-raising event for which prizes were kindly donated by Neil Gaiman, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, Gary K. Wolfe, Peter F. Hamilton, Kari Sperring, Nick Mamatas, Pyr Books, Nanopress and Tachyon Publications.

The jury for the awards was Terry Harpold, University of Florida, USA (Chair); Abhijit Gupta, Jadavpur University, India; and Dale Knickerbocker, East Carolina University, USA.

ARESFFT is a California Non-Profit Corporation funded entirely by donations. This is the first year that the awards have been presented.

Cheryl Morgan

May 25, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on FINALISTS FOR THE 2011 SF&F TRANSLATION AWARDS

The Magical Roots of Malaysian Horror Fiction In English

The diverse history of Malaysia has given rise to a unique folklore that stems from multiple sources such as animism, tribal beliefs, shamanism and various religions such as Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. Serious studies of the occult exist,  if heavily biased by colonial views at the time of writing, such as Malay Magic: An Introduction to the Folklore and Popular Religion of the Malay Peninsular by Walter William Skeat (Frank and Cass Co.Limited 1900, reprinted 1965). To date, the best-known study is An Analysis of Malay Magic by Kirk Michael Endicott (Oxford Claredon, 1970).  Widespread interest in the subject of occultism and popular national consumption of Western supernatural fiction has created a brand of distinctly Malaysian horror written in English. Continue reading

May 25, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Nnedi Okorafor interviewed by the Sentinel Nigeria

Nnedi Okorafor is interviewed by Sentinel Nigeria, by Unoma Azuah:

UA: Do you find it ironic that Nigerians especially at home have not quite caught up with engaging the fantasy genre considering the fact that the African cosmology is all about the flight of imagination. We’re all about the mystical. For instance in Africa, ancestors – the dead mingle with the living, there is the belief in reincarnation, persons can transform into reptiles or animals, etc.

Nnedi: The fantastic and mystical have always been part of Nigerian writing because it is part of Nigerian cultures. However, openly proclaiming a story to be fantasy is something that is rarely done. For example, Ben Okri’s work is fantasy but instead people avoid this label by calling it “magical realism.” I think some still feel that “fantasy” can never stand up to works of realism by great authors like Chinua Achebe or Buchi Emecheta or even with recent phenomenon writers. Also, I suspect that there can be religious barriers sometimes. Those African cosmologies you mention are indeed there in the background, but sometimes Islam and Christianity block their uninhibited full expression. – continue reading.

May 24, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Comments Off on Nnedi Okorafor interviewed by the Sentinel Nigeria

Nick Mamatas on the Nebula Awards

The winners of the Nebula Awards have been announced – it was a diverse list of nominees that included Amal El-Mohtar, Ted Chiang and N.K. Jemisin, and Apex Book of World SF series contributors Aliette de Bodard, Shweta Narayan and Nnedi Okorafor.

There have been various comments made about the eventual winners, most outspoken of whom was Nick Mamatas, who commented, sarcastically,  that

“At least SFWA managed to, for the most part, hold back the tide of black and brown people on the nominating ballot.”

What do you think? Is Mamatas right? Is he wrong? As always, we welcome discussion.

May 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 5 Comments

The Ion Hobana Awards

From Cristian Tamas (Romanian Science Fiction&Fantasy Society)

Established in the memory of Ion Hobana (1931-2011), a well known romanian scholar and SF writer, “one of Romania’s academic SF grandmasters (Romania’s greatest SF academic)” as Jonathan Cowie said,  the yearly Ion Hobana Awards presented for the first time this year, had been granted by the Romanian Science Fiction & Fantasy Society and the Romanian Writers Union (Bucharest Branch) with the occasion of the Ion Hobana Colloquium, “The Time and Times of Fiction”, Bucharest, Romania,  May 7th, 2011.

The winners are :

  • Mircea Oprita : The Ion Hobana Award for Lifetime Achievement
  • Cristian Mihail Teodorescu : The Ion Hobana Award for the best SF novel in 2010 (“SF Two”)
  • Liviu Radu : The Ion Hobana Award for the Best Fantasy Novel in 2010 (“The World of Waldemar”)
  • Bogdan Catalin Mereuta : The Ion Hobana Award for A Young Hope/Debut under 35 years (the recipient is 13 years old and he had succeded to publish in 2010 a SF novel, “The Virtual Warriors”)

The Ion Hobana Awards had been sponsored by the Romanian Ministry of Culture.

The Ion Hobana Award Winners

May 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Comments Off on The Ion Hobana Awards

Lavie Tidhar’s An Occupation of Angels, now an Audio Book

Lavie Tidhar‘s supernatural thriller novella, An Occupation of Angels, published in paperback and e-book editions by Apex Book Company, is now available in a brand-new audiobook format from Iambik Audio.

The book, narrated by Elizabeth Klett, is 3:22:36 hours long and costs $6.99.

May 20, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Comments Off on Lavie Tidhar’s An Occupation of Angels, now an Audio Book

The Man Booker Not-So-International Prize?

American author Philip Roth was awarded the Man Booker International Prize this week. The award is worth £60,000. The Guardian reports that “Author and publisher Carmen Callil has withdrawn from the judging panel” – composed of herself, “rare book dealer and author Rick Gekoski, who acted as chair, and novelist Justin Cartwright” – due to the decision.

In her Guardian Review column, Callil also writes of her disappointment that the prize failed to celebrate writers in translation – the shortlist also included the Chinese authors Wang Anyi and Su Tong, the Spanish Juan Goytisolo, Italian Dacia Maraini and Lebanese Amin Maalouf – honouring instead “yet another North American writer”.

The chair of the award added: “Obviously [writers in translation] have a disadvantage and there’s no sense pretending they don’t, of being read in translation. They are disenfranchised in that way.”

May 19, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 3 Comments

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