I started the World SF Blog in February of 2009 – a century in Internet time! – partly as an excuse to promote my then-forthcoming anthology of international speculative fiction, The Apex Book of World SF – but mostly out of what can only be described as an ideological drive, a desire to highlight and promote voices seldom heard in genre fiction.
The blog ran for about a year on Live Journal – yes, people still used Live Journal back then! – but shortly made the transition to WordPress, where this current site and archive remain.
From the very beginning, I was aided and abetted by Charles Tan, who was chiefly responsible for the original content we were able to provide, conducting many of our interviews and contributing editorials and essays, as well as helping with soliciting material for the site (and taking over every time I was moving countries!). Anil Menon, too, was an early supporter, occasional book reviewer and guest-blogger, and a steadfast friend to the site.
We began publishing fiction in 2010 and by 2011 have taken on a dedicated fiction editor, Debbie Moorhouse. Debbie kept the fiction side going until stepping down in 2012, when Sarah Newton took over. We were also able to incorporate the entire The Portal web site archive, which was edited by Val Grimm (Val is also making the entire archive available through the Merril Collection).
I was incredibly gratified, over the past few years, with the level of enthusiasm and support the site has received. It felt to me that we were able to partly-initiate, and to encourage, a conversation that the genre had not had before, and in a very real way is only now beginning to seriously engage in.
Along the way, I was privileged enough to be able to publish The Apex Book of World SF 2, with a third volume scheduled for 2014. I am very grateful to Jason Sizemore of Apex Book Company for his unstinting support for this project from the very start, and in a very real way making it all happen.
Along the way, too, and with the help of Sean Wallace, we were able to establish The World SF Travel Fund, for facilitating the visit of international genre people to a major convention, the World Fantasy Convention. It began by wanting to help Charles Tan travel from the Philippines to the United States, where he was nominated for a World Fantasy Award, in 2011, but we continued the fund, helping Swedish authors Karin Tidbeck and Nene Ormes in 2012 and Rochita Loenen-Ruiz of the Philippines, and Csilla Kleinheincz of Hungary, in 2013.
The change I have seen in the four years of the blog is heartening. In a way, I have decided to stop now because the blog has fulfilled everything I ever wanted it to, and so much more.
And then, too, there is the fact that it has been four years. I’m not sure I ever intended the site to run for that long, and I did begin to feel a certain fatigue around a year ago. This entire crazy enterprise was run on enthusiasm and a certain desire for change, and I did not want to become resentful of the time or effort I was spending. To do a thing it must be done with joy, or not at all.
So I am – with joy, at everything we’ve accomplished! – shutting it down. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. And I’m grateful to all the wonderful people who supported the blog, contributed to the blog, wrote for us, but most of all for the conversation, which exists outside of this site, of different communities across different countries and language now talking to each other, and may you never stop. Too many people to thank, but you know who you are.
So here it is: The World SF Blog, over four years and hundreds of blog posts, all available online, on every aspect of international speculative fiction, from almost every country in the world. I hope it’s useful. I hope it’s fun.
And thank you.