We’ve heard lots of good things about RABIES, which is evidently Israel’s first horror film, a claim I still find somewhat hard to believe but(I’ll take the marketing department’s word for it). The film played to good notices at the Tribeca 2011 Film Festival and the Fantasia 2011 Film Fest, and now it’s getting ready to squirm its way onto DVD; the Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado-directed thriller will be released upon the world this coming February.
The lowdown: When a psychotic serial killer is on the loose, his path of rampage crosses paths with Ofer and Tali, a brother and sister combo who have run away from home. But when Tali becomes ensnared in the killer’s trap, it is up to Ofer to find help. Left alone, Tali soon becomes mixed up with an unlikely group of characters, ranging from a set of tennis players to a squad of policemen. All the while, they continue to be stalked by the murderer – and when this assassin’s identity is finally revealed, it turns out to be the biggest shock of all!
RABIES stars Lior Ashenazi, Ania Bukstein and Ran Danker; it hits on FEBRUARY 28th. No additional details are yet available, but you can check out the trailer below.
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Author and translator Brian Stableford is interviewed in Locus Online:
You’ve been tirelessly promoting works of French proto-SF. What’s your fascination with that subject?
I’ve been translating them in profusion; there’s not much I can do to promote them. The fascination stems, originally, from the days when I produced a history of Scientific Romance in Britain 1890-1950, when I became very interested in comparisons and contrasts between the early development of the British and American traditions of speculative fiction – and, as a corollary, further comparisons and contrasts between those and the early evolution of Europeans traditions. The latter interest was hampered by the lack of available translations, until I had learned to translate French myself, and Jean-Marc Lofficier generously offered to publish my translations through Black Coat Press. Since then I’ve been trying to translate as much as I can, as fast as I can (racing against the gradual deterioration of my eyesight), in the hope of getting the bulk of the job done in time to cultivate a general appreciation of the pattern.
Which particular works stand out for you?
When I began the project, the authors whose work I most wanted to investigate and make available were J.H. Rosny, Maurice Renard, Albert Robida, and André Couvreur – although Couvreur’s work won’t fall into the public domain until 2014. Judging by second-hand sources, they looked to be the most enterprising pioneers of the post-Vernian era. I’ve picked out other individual target works with the aid of the Versins Encyclopédie and the excellent exploratory work being done by a number of French collectors and researchers – Marc Madouraud, Guy Costes, Joseph Altairac, Jean-Pierre Moumon, Francis Valery and others – which is gradually making its way on to the web through such sites as Sur l’Autre Face de le Monde. Periodicals likeRocambole and Philippe Gontier’s Le Boudoir des Gorgones have also been very useful in helping me to map the field and directing me to promising materials. The Bibliothéque Nationale’s website gallica has been enormously useful as a source of downloadable texts that are otherwise unavailable. Some things I’ve found just by random browsing, like Marcel Rouff’s Journey to the Inverted World – a wonderful item of anarchist sf. There are several other authors whose speculative fiction I’ve been highly delighted to discover, including Henri Falk, Jules Lermina and Han Ryner. – continue reading.
This Friday, and over the weekend, Apex Books are offering The Apex Book of World SF for just $5 if you order directly from their site. Just use the code ‘blackfriday2011’ at checkout! (note that other books are discounted by 25% and three other titles are also offered for just $5 each).
The world of speculative fiction is expansive; it covers more than one country, one continent, one culture. Collected here are sixteen stories penned by authors from Thailand, the Philippines, China, Israel, Pakistan, Serbia, Croatia, Malaysia, and other countries across the globe. Each one tells a tale breathtakingly vast and varied, whether caught in the ghosts of the past or entangled in a postmodern age.
Among the spirits, technology, and deep recesses of the human mind, stories abound. Kites sail to the stars, technology transcends physics, and wheels cry out in the night. Memories come and go like fading echoes and a train carries its passengers through more than simple space and time. Dark and bright, beautiful and haunting, the stories herein represent speculative fiction from a sampling of the finest authors from around the world.
The Dragon and the Stars, collecting original sf/f stories from across the Chinese diaspora, and edited by Derwin Mak and Eric Choi, has won the Canadian Prix Aurora, for best related English book. Charles Tan has a handy page with links to online stories, where available.
Accepting the prize (from L to R): Derwin Mak, author Tony Pi, Eric Choi.
The Weird Fiction Review is a new, stunning site on weird fiction with much international focus, truly one of the most welcome new additions to the genre in recent years. Here they interview Czech writer Michal Ajvaz:
Michal Ajvaz (1949 -) is a brilliant Czech novelist, poet and translator. Born into an exiled Russian family, Ajvaz studied Czech studies and esthetics at Charles University in Prague. He did not begin publishing fiction until 1989, due to the political repression in the Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakia). Ajvaz’s brand of fiction would have been antithetical to any entrenched orthodoxy. His novel Prázdné ulice was awarded the prestigious Jaroslav Seifert Prize for literary achievement (2005). English-language translations include the critically acclaimed The Other City (2009) and The Golden Age (2010) from Dalkey Archive Press. Ajvaz often comes by the “weirdness” in his fiction through dark humor and absurdity, as exemplified by his story “The End of the Garden” (1991), included in our The Weird compendium. (See also Jeff’s review of The Other City.) – Ann &Jeff VanderMeer
Weirdfictionreview.com: Was weird fiction welcome in the household the young Ajvaz grew up in, and what form did it take?
Michal Ajvaz: At the time of my childhood, in the 1950s, in Czechoslovakia, it was impossible to buy weird books (or any non-realistic books) in bookshops. But there were some ways and my father was a really literate man, so we had a big bookcase with good books, some of them retained from the time before World War II, some of them bought in secondary bookshops, and the bookcase became an area of adventurous expeditions with exciting discoveries for me as a child. There were not so many of weird books in the bookcase, but I found there for instance Poe or Gustav Meyrink. I also began soon to discover books myself and to search for them in secondary bookshops. Then at the beginning of the 1960s the political and cultural atmosphere in the country changed and many books were allowed to be published that where prohibited formerly. (Then in the 1970s, after the Soviet invasion, everything got worse again.) The first weird authors I encountered were Poe, Alexander Grin, and Ray Bradbury, when I was ten or eleven, then E. T. A. Hoffmann and Ambrose Bierce when I was twelve, Kafka when I was fourteen, then Ladislav Klíma (Czech philosopher and novelist), Lautréamont, Villiers de l´Isle Adam, Mandiargues, Alfred Kubin, Junger… I didn´t read H.P. Lovecraft until I was thirty-five, even if I had known his name since my childhood from Bradbury´s The Martian Chronicles, but there was no possibility to get his books in Czechoslovakia. – continue reading!
The World SF blog
The World SF blog was set up to increase awareness of the works of speculative fiction being written by people all over the world. The Fiction section of the blog is looking for submissions of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror stories from authors worldwide, especially authors from countries outside the US/UK. We’re also eager to see stories set in those countries, and/or with central characters who originate there. Stories should be in English, and translations are welcome. As we’re unable to pay contributors, we’re particularly looking for reprints, but would also welcome stories that haven’t yet found a home elsewhere.
In short, we need speculative fiction stories by international authors for the blog. Please send some.
What’s Speculative Fiction?
It’s Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror, and anything in between.
Just as Science Fiction defies borders, so it defies definition. Narrowly, it’s stories in which extrapolations of science or technology beyond what is currently known play a significant part. Broadly, it’s about people (whether human or alien) and technological or scientific change. Even more broadly than that, it’s this stuff *points*. Also, that stuff. *Points in a completely different direction*. Space opera, alternate history, hard sf, soft sf, and all points north. It’s only limited by our imaginations.
Fantasy takes readers to other worlds in which magic is real, gods can take a personal interest in the characters’ lives, and anything that may be, can be. If it isn’t set in Medieval Europe, send it to us.
Horror should send a tingle of fear down the reader’s spine. Slash and gore can be scary, but stories that get inside your head, find your private fears, and make them real are truly horrifying.
How often do you publish?
At present, fortnightly, on Tuesdays. Serialised stories will be published across consecutive weeks.
What does the Fiction Editor like?
Stories that evoke emotion in the reader, especially the famous sense of wonder. Stories with memorable characters. Also plot. She’s very fond of plot. Character growth is great. Humour, of the laughing-with rather than the laughing-at kind. However, part of the Fiction Editor’s job here at WorldSF is not to impose her preconceptions, but to be open to the myriad forms stories take.
Do you pay contributors?
What lengths are you looking for?
We’d like stories up to 8,000 words. Longer stories may be serialised. Please don’t send novels, though.
How do we submit?
Contact Fiction Editor Debbie Moorhouse at firstname.lastname@example.org, attaching the file in .DOC or .RTF format, and including your name, country, previous publication details (if any) and a short bio. Bios should be in third person.
When should we expect to hear?
The Fiction Editor intends to acknowledge submissions within two days and to respond with a decision within a month. If you’ve waited significantly longer than that, do query.
Will my story be edited?
Stories will be edited primarily for clarity of language. Edits will be done with changes tracked, and the Fiction Editor is always open to discussion.
Via Rocket Kapre:
The mysterious steampunk comic book collaboration between myself [Paolo Chikiamco] and the wonderful Hannah Buena has now been released! Flipside Komix has published “High Society” (formerly “Kataastaasan“) onAmazon as a Kindle comic. It’s an alternative history story that mixes automata, Philippine folklore, and the British invasion of Manila in the 1760s. It’s also the first comic book story set in the world of the “Wooden War”, which was also the setting of my story in Philippine Speculative Fiction 6.
There’s not a lot of Philippine steampunk stories out there (I’m eagerly awaiting “The Marvelous Adventures of the Amazing Doctor Rizal”), and none that mix it up with Philippine mythology quite the way that Hannah and I do here, so if that interests you, please do buy a copy!
What has been your most interesting experience as a book translator?
GB: Translating the Harry Potter books was a life altering experience, mostly because it brought me celebrity (and sometimes notoriety) on a scale very seldom experienced by translators. I was not merely a translator, I was an ambassador of Potter, with all the implied diplomatic complications.
Fantasy books are often full of imaginary words created by the author and I am curious how you go about translating such words. Do you rewrite them in Hebrew, make up your own words to replace them, or use some other method?
GB: I play it by ear, depending on my understanding of the original. When an author is as playful and inventive as Rowling, I feel the translation should be playful and inventive as well, and I enjoy making up my own words. But sometimes invented words are just a brand name or something pseudo-scientific, and the Hebrew should follow that as well. I give many detailed examples in my lectures, and do have an FAQ set up on my website in Hebrew where I discuss many examples, though I haven’t updated it in a while.
Have there been any Hebrew scifi or fantasy books translated into English? Is there any particular Israeli speculative fiction book that you would like to see translated into English?
GB: I’m not a good person to ask this question of, I don’t read a lot of Israeli fiction. Some would argue that Meir Shalev writes magical realism, and all his books are translated. Shimon Adaf’s book Sunburned Faces is being translated and it’s highly worthwhile, it’s not clearly fantasy but dabbles in fantasy… his book The Buried Heart is a much more classic there-and-back-again children’s book, I’m sorry it has not been translated. And Assaf Ashery has written an urban fantasy, Waiting in the Wings, that could easily be translated. (I should mention that both these authors are personal friends of mine.)
Do you ever get to meet the authors whose books you translate? If so, which author were you most excited to meet, or, which author would you want to meet the most?
GB: I met Diana Wynne Jones, an author I absolutely idolized, and I had translated her Howl’s Moving Castle. Dan Ariely who wrote Predictably Irrational is a colleague of my mother’s and specifically asked for me to translate his book. Some authors I’ve translated have been so friendly online that I feel I’ve met them, for example Wendy Orr who wrote Nim’s Island. It’s always nicer when the authors are forthcoming, but you translate the book to the best of your ability either way. – read the full interview!
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.