This is just a quick note, really, to say that after four years, the World SF Blog is ceasing operations and will remain online as an archive and, hopefully, a useful resource for anyone interested in international speculative fiction.
I talk more about it here.
I’ve been planning to do this for some time – I was, in fact, aiming for February (the site’s fourth anniversary) but then they gave me a couple of awards for it, which was very inconvenient!
I kept this low-profile, but have been prepping the site over the past week with front page summary posts, as a large number of hits for the site continue to come from Internet searches for specific topics, and I expect will continue as such.
Note that the World SF Travel Fund continues to operate independently (this year’s recipients are Rochita Loenen-Ruiz from the Philippines and Csilla Kleinheincz from Hungary, who will both be travelling to the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton in November), and that The Apex Book of World SF 3 has been delivered to the publisher and is currently scheduled for next year.
It’s been fun!
The Projected Girl is an 11,000 word novelette, first published in Ellen Datlow’s Naked City anthology.
This is by far one of my favourite stories, and it came about in somewhat strange circumstances. I wrote it during my last month in Vanuatu. The thing just came to me, like a bolt – and a day later I got an e-mail from Ellen mentioning her new anthology. It seemed like providence. I wrote it over a 2-3 week period, a little each day. It had the same feeling of rightness that I only got later on from Osama. In a way it’s a very personal piece – set all around the second-hand bookshops of Haifa, where I spent my childhood – and combining my interest in David Tidhar, “The First Hebrew Detective”, pulp in general, and the Holocaust. But it is also a comedy, I think, a sort of coming-of-age story, and a fantasy-of-perception more than an outright fantasy. Anyway.
The anthology was published in 2011. I kind of promised Ellen it would win the World Fantasy Award, but instead I got one for Osama. I suppose I can’t complain!
One of the best things about doing your own e-books, apart from the general arts & crafts nature of it (which I quite enjoy!) is that I got Adi to do this amazing cover. The bookshop in the image is the one in the story, and a shop I’d been going to since I was a kid (and is still there). Adi and I have been working on a picture book in the past year, and it was great to convince her to take some time off to do this – I love this cover.
The signed limited edition has been somewhat delayed, so apologies for anyone who ordered it in advance – it’s coming! Honest!
My latest short story, “Titanic!” is now live at Apex Magazine.
It’s something of a mash-up – the ultimate mash-up! And a little steampunk, and, well, stuff.
When I come on board the ship I pay little heed to her splendour; nor to the gaily–strewn lines of coloured electric lights, nor to the polished brass of the crew’s jacket uniforms, nor to the crowds at the dock in Southampton, waving handkerchiefs and pushing and shoving for a better look; nor to my fellow passengers. I keep my eyes open only for signs of pursuit; specifically, for signs of the Law.
The ship is named the Titanic. I purchased a second–class ticket in London the day before and travelled down to Southampton by train. I had packed hurriedly. I do not know how far behind me the officers are. I know only that they will come. He made sure of that, in his last excursion. The corpses he left were a mockery, body parts ripped, exposed ribcages and lungs stretched like Indian rubber, he had turned murder into a sculpture, a form of grotesque art. The Japanese would call such a thing as he a yōkai, a monster, otherworldly and weird. Or perhaps a kaiju. I admire the Japanese for their mastery of the science of monstrosity, of what in our Latin would be called the lusus naturae. I have corresponded with a Dr Yamane, of Tokyo, for some time, but had of course destroyed all correspondence when I escaped from London. – continue reading.
Feels more like early Kurt Vonnegut… both writers seem to channel the same prankster glee that covers deep despair. Martian Sands crackles with energy and life while poking at some big questions about the nature of reality.
Which is kinda nice!
My latest Central Station story, “The Core” (completing the arc of previous stories “Strigoi” and “The Bookseller”) is now in Interzone issue #246.
In the dark of night, Achimwene awakened.
The faint light of Central Station crept into the room through the blinds. It cast a faint glow over the pillow cases and the white crumpled sheet and over the book placed face down on the bedside table beside Achimwene’s side of the bed, a Bill Glimmung mystery, much worn and stained with age.
He turned and reached for the other side of the bed but it was empty. Carmel, again, was gone.
He sat up and turned on the lamp. It cast a small pool of yellow amber light. He picked up the book and stared at it. The bland, handsome face of Bill Glimmung, Martian Detective, stared back at him.
What would Bill Glimmung do, in Achimwene’s place? he thought. He got up and padded downstairs, and opened the refrigerator. It was quiet. He wondered what it felt like to other people, to whole ones. Those who grew up with a node as a part of them, those who were, forever, a part of the Conversation.
Achimwene heard only silence.
TOTAL RECALL MEETS SCHINDLER’S LIST!
1941: an hour before the attack on Pearl Harbour, a man from the future materialises in President Roosevelt’s office. His offer of military aid may cut the War and its pending atrocities short, and alter the course of the future . . .
The future: welcome to Mars, where the lives of three ordinary people become entwined in one dingy smokesbar the moment an assassin opens fire. The target: the mysterious Bill Glimmung. But is Glimmung even real? The truth might just be found in the remote FDR Mountains, an empty place, apparently of no significance, but where digital intelligences may be about to bring to fruition a long-held dream of the stars . . .
Mixing mystery and science fiction, the Holocaust and the Mars of both Edgar Rice Burroughs and Philip K. Dick, Martian Sands is a story of both the past and future, of hope, and love, and of finding meaning—no matter where—or when—you are.
I sometimes get asked to blurb a book, that is, write a short sentence or paragraph recommending it, to be used on the back of the book. I take my cue from the great blurb artiste Gary Shteyngart, who does it with joy, almost compulsively, and as an art in its own right; and so it should be.
But I thought it might be nice to go beyond the mere act of blurbing and to actually write a few words here on the blog. And so, this may become a semi-regular thing; or not. I’m currently deep into a new novel, and it’s a dark and lonely place and filled mostly with Nazis. And so there will be few updates for a while.
Instead, why not try -
The Book: Witchcraft in the Harem
The Author: Aliya Whiteley
The experience of reading this collection is like being waterboarded by an angel. Shocking, heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud funny, this is some of the best writing I’ve ever seen. If you like Aimee Bender or Etgar Keret, you will love Witchcraft in the Harem.
Love it because: Just read 1926 in Brazilian Football, which is disgusting, funny, sad and profound. Then go and buy the book so you could read the rest of the stories.
Adventure Rocketship is a new series of magazine-in-anthology form from Jonathan Wright (who interviewed me for SFX last year). It’s done as a very tasteful 1950s style paperback, and the first issue, Let’s All Go To The Science Fiction Disco, is a really interesting look at the intersection of science fiction and music. It includes my story “Between the Notes”, about the musicians who die young (and a particular homage to my favourite Israeli musician, Inbal Perlmuter, who died tragically young at the age of 26).
It also has stories from Liz Williams, Tim Maughan and Martin Millar, interviews with China Mieville and Mick Farren, and articles by Jon Courtenay Grimwood and others (including my editor at Hodder, Anne C. Perry, on the music of Ladyhawke!).
We’ll be launching the anthology on Thursday, 16 May, at 6pm, Forbidden Planet Megastore, London! So come along!
And here’s Inbal Perlmuter and The Witches: