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
A Whiff of Cold Air: The Longing for the Lost Dream of Space in Soviet and American Science Fiction.
(The Moon Dream), by Alexandr Lazarevich, 1989
Requiem, by Robert A. Heinlein, in Adventures in Time and Space, eds. Raymond J. Healy and J. Francis McComas, Random House, 1946
The Moon Dream and Requiem are two stories written by a Soviet and an American speculative fiction writers, separated by ideological and temporal borders, yet, related by a surprisingly close sentiment towards the space frontier. They come from an era of clearer dividing lines where the enemy was treacherous and the friends were reliable as our leaders liked us to think.
Hungarian fantasy is based on the pre-existing anglophone literary traditions and did not develop independently. Hungarian fantastic literature is varied but authors did not form a movement based on the common usage of the surreal and the fantastic, and did not have a mentor-student tradition. Fantastic elements may be significant in a writer’s work and even influences can be observed between authors and writings, but these were isolated examples, and therefore lacked the influence to start a boom of fantasy writings. That came with the abundance of translated foreign fantasy.
Every year the Danish fanzine SCIENCE FICTION hosts a themed short story competition. One winner in each of the three age categories (10-16, 17-20, and 21+) is selected, and the best runner-up stories are published in the fanzine alongside the category winners. The fanzine, dedicated to the science fiction short story, also publish translated fiction, focusing on stories from outside the English speaking regions of the world. Reviewer Andreas J. Søe recently wrote down his impressions of 4 issues, for the Danish clubzine HIMMELSKIBET. We reprint this article here, as it gives examples of current Danish fiction writing among fans.
We know that modern science fiction is considered to have begun with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, yet despite this there are a lot of older stories that might be considered science fiction too. Those books are halfway between fantasy and explorations of human curiosity about natural phenomena. These authors used fiction to find explanations and to tell exciting adventures.
It’s difficult to put a finger on what constitutes science fiction in the United Arab Emirates. Difficult because the UAE has always been such an eclectic mix of nationalities that the culture has always consisted of a mix of Arab, Asian and European influences.
Although part of computer culture since the mid-seventies, the genre of Interactive Fiction, commonly abbreviated IF, is often relatively new for avid readers of fiction. This may be because IF originated from a computer game and, quite frankly, many would classify IF as a kind of computer game rather than a kind of literature (I will certainly refer to an IF work as a ‘game’ rather than a ‘story’). Note that I say a ‘computer’ game rather than a ‘video’ game, for the most common form of IF considers the written word, not graphics, its medium. Nevertheless, expanded definitions of IF have included games that are graphical in nature, such as the King’s Quest series, Myst, The Longest Journey, and the more recent Heavy Rain. But herein we will mostly review traditional ‘text adventures’, games composed and played completely with text.
The question of what exactly constitutes modern Malaysian science fiction and fantasy cannot be answered without first addressing the integral question; “Does science fiction and fantasy writing exist in Malaysia?” This post is not aimed at being a definitive guide to particular literary forms but it will endeavour to sketch out a map to show that the writing exists in unexpected guises and places.
The problem, I think, is the niche.
The Swedish-language market for short SF and fantasy fiction is by no means nonexistent. It is just very small, often without an opportunity to pay authors, and dependent on magazines that would have either folded long ago or never been launched, had they been published as moneymaking ventures instead of because their publishers thought that they were needed on the market. Short SF and fantasy fiction is of course published also in non-genre magazines, but short fiction as an art form does not have many arenas anywhere on the Swedish-language market. With its approximately ten million speakers, Swedish is a relatively large language from a global perspective, but not large enough to give short fiction much attention on a very novel-centric market. The few collections of short fiction on a fantastical theme that are published are seldom marketed as genre literature; that is a privilege mostly reserved for translated fantasy novels and some horror books (for a number of reasons, science fiction is virtually not translated at all any longer). Continue reading