My latest Central Station story, Crabapple, is now online at Daily Science Fiction:
Neighborhoods sprouted around Central Station like weeds. On the outskirts of the old neighborhood, along the Kibbutz Galuyot Road and Siren Road and Sderot Menachem Begin, the old abandoned highways of Tel Aviv, they grew, ringing the immense structure of the spaceport rising high into the sky. Houses sprouted like trees, blooming, adaptoplant weeds feeding on rain and sun, and digging roots into the sandy ground, breaking ancient asphalt. Adaptoplant neighborhoods, seasonal, unstable, sprouting walls and doors and windows, half-open sewers hanging in the air, exposed bamboo pipes, apartments growing over and into each other, growing without order or sense, creating pavements suspended in midair, houses at crazy angles, shacks and huts with half-formed doors, windows like eyes–
In autumn the neighborhoods shed, doors drying, windows shrinking slowly, pipes drooping. Houses fell like leaves to the ground below and the road cleaning machines murmured happily, eating up the shrunken leaves of former residencies. Above ground the tenants of those seasonal buoyant suburbs stepped cautiously, testing the ground with each step taken, to see if it would hold, migrating nervously across the skyline to other, fresher spurts of growth, new adaptoplant blooming delicately, windows opening like fruit– continue reading.
Last night I went to the Kitschies Award ceremony, where I was given a special award (The Black Tentacle) for the World SF Blog. The special award was previously given to comics publishers SelfMadeHero, and to Donald Westlake’s posthumous novel Memory, published by Hard Case Crime.
In my short acceptance speech, I said that “I see the World SF Blog as an argument, but one that is turning into a conversation.” And I thanked the Kitschies for choosing to make it a part of their own conversation, of highlighting the importance of talking about, reading, and being exposed to international speculative literature, in all its forms.
I like the Kitschies, which are a sort of mischievous award. They are given to “the year’s most progressive, intelligent and entertaining works that contain elements of the speculative or fantastic.” You can – and should – argue with their selections, but it is obvious a lot of care – and love of genre – goes into the selections each year.
So I should have been delighted last night – who doesn’t like awards! – and gratified for this recognition of four years of running the blog, alongside which we produced 2 anthologies of international SF/F and set up a travel fund to help bring people from the “outside” to a major convention – World Fantasy Con, so far.
I wanted to add a lot more on stage, of course. To talk about the importance of diversity in fiction, of how some of the best works I’ve read have been in translation, or coming from outside of the Anglophone world; of how some of the best short fiction today is written, in English, by writers from the “outside”, from places like Malaysia or China or Israel or Nigeria; of how anthologists today can no longer default to table of contents filled with white men without being, at least, called on it; of how gratifying it is to be able to recommend to the occasional editor who asks me, some of those writers I know and admire.
To begin with, I don’t even know why I was feeling uneasy about accepting the award. I was looking forward to coming along and not having any responsibilities, like having to go on stage (my World Fantasy Award acceptance speech was two lines), and just being able to relax and enjoy myself. But I think I know what was bothering me, which crystallised when I stood up on that stage at the Free Word Centre.
I was looking out on a sea of white people. Of familiar, talented, friendly and wonderful people, yes, editors and publishers, agents and writers. Who were, predominantly, British (obviously) and some Americans. And outside, the receptionist – the one black woman at the event.
Of course, the debut novel award went to Karen Lord – a black woman from Barbados – but she couldn’t be there. And the shortlist included one translated novel, too. The Kitschies try very hard to be a more inclusive award, and it’s hard, with so few international authors published in the UK.
But it bothers me, because how can I accept an award for promoting, or trying to promote, diversity, when it is not present in the body of the judges? And it is not present in British genre publishing, and was so glaringly missing from the audience last night?
There are writers of colour, working in speculative fiction, in the UK. Not many, and not, more importantly, much visible. And most can be found in short fiction, in the sort of thing, in fact, which the Kitschies do not give an award to. But if we want to encourage dialogue, and create an environment when people even want to engage with speculative fiction, then it must begin, I think, with questioning not just the point of this – or any other – award, but of the environment in which it is given and discussed.
I love the people organising the Kitschies, and the events that they organise through the year. I’d dearly love to see one dedicated to the unseen faces of speculative fiction in the UK – a commitment to diversity as a public face, a way of encouraging a discussion that is badly needed in SF as much as outside of it. And it occurs to me that I would be dishonest to accept the award without talking about it, despite my fear of being seen as ungrateful or discourteous.
On the contrary: I see the awarding of the Kitschies to the World SF Blog as an opportunity, as a way of fostering discussion, and so I am doing what I – hope – the Kitschies wanted me to do: I’m continuing this argument, and hoping that it becomes a conversation.
From Publishers Marketplace:
French rights to winner of the World Fantasy Award Lavie Tidhar’s OSAMA went to Mathieu Saintout at Eclipse, in a nice deal, for publication in Fall 2013, by Louisa Pritchard at Louisa Pritchard Associates, on behalf of John Berlyne at The Zeno Agency.
This follows sales to Hungary, Poland, Spain and Germany, with more sales forthcoming announcement as we go through the inevitable paperwork first.
Publishers Marketplace also has the official announcement for THE VIOLENT CENTURY:
Lavie Tidhar’s THE VIOLENT CENTURY, pitched as ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ meets ‘Watchmen’ in this novel about the mystery, and the love story, that determined the course of history itself, to Anne Perry at Hodder & Stoughton, in a very nice deal, in a two-book deal, for publication in October 2013, by John Berlyne at Zeno Agency (World English).
At last it can be told: my new novel, The Violent Century, has sold to Hodder & Stoughton in the UK, in a two-book deal. It is already available for pre-order on Amazon, and will be published in hardcover in October. In addition, PS Publishing will do a signed limited edition of the book for the collectors market.
Here is the press release:
Anne Perry has acquired World English rights to two books by Lavie Tidhar. The deal was negotiated by Tidhar’s agent, John Berlyne at the Zeno Agency.
Tidhar recently won the 2012 World Fantasy Best Novel Award for his novel Osama. He is one of the rising young stars of the genre world; in addition to Osama (which has been shortlisted for or won numerous prizes, including the BSFA award for best novel, the John W. Campbell best novel award, and the Kitschies’ Red Tentacle), Lavie has also written The Bookman Histories, an historical fantasy trilogy published by Angry Robot, numerous novellas, short stories and even a comic-book.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy meets Watchmen in Tidhar’s The Violent Century, the thoughtful and intensely atmospheric novel about the mystery, and the love story, that determined the course of history itself. The Violent Century is the sweeping drama of a time we know too well; a century of fear and war and hatred and death. In a world where everyday heroes may become übermenschen, men and women with extraordinary powers, what does it mean to be a hero? To be a human? Would the last hundred years have been that much better if Superman were real?
Would they even have been all that different?
John Berlyne says: ‘This deal tops off what has been a most incredible 2012 for Lavie. With The Violent Century, this fearless young author further establishes himself as a unique voice in modern fiction and I’m delighted that Hodder will be publishing.’
Anne Perry says: ‘In the last few years, Lavie has undertaken staggeringly ambitious projects – Osama, after all, is a novel about a world in which Osama bin Laden is the villain in a series of pulp novels – and made them work. With The Violent Century, however, Lavie has reached a new level. The book demonstrates the maturity, the confidence, and the control of an author now really hitting his stride, and I’m beyond thrilled that Lavie has chosen to publish with Hodder & Stoughton.’ The Violent Century will publish in October 2013.
For more information please contact Poppy North on 020 7873 6173 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have been working on this story cycle / mosaic novel for two years I think. I’ve been struggling with finishing it but I’ve had a bit of a breakthrough in the past couple of days and it may be that I am staring at a (very rough) working draft. I have the feeling it requires one more story, though. The total word count is currently 76,000, which is actually longer than Osama.
This post is really more for my own benefit, to see where I am with it and what happened to the individual stories that make up the overall mosaic.
And so, in chronological order (and not order of appearance), here is the complete (so far) list:
- “The Indignity of Rain”, Interzone, 2012
- “Under the Eaves”, Robots: The Recent A.I., 2012 (Dozois’ Year’s Best, Horton’s Year’s Best)
- “Robotnik”, Dark Faith II, 2012
- The Smell of Orange Groves, Clarkesworld, 2011 (Dozois’ Year’s Best, Strahan’s Year’s Best, Polish translation)
- “Crabapple”, forthcoming Daily Science Fiction, 2013
- The Lord of Discarded Things, Strange Horizons, 2012
- “Filaments”. Unpublished
- Strigoi. Interzone, 2012
- “The Book Seller”. Interzone, 2013
- “The God Artist”. Unpublished
- “Vladimir Chong Chooses to Die”. Unpublished
- “The Oracle”. Forthcoming Analog, 2013
- “The Core”. Unpublished
- “The Birthing Clinics”, unpublished
There is also a very brief prelude that may or may not go in to the final version. I don’t think this is quite there yet, but it’s a big leap towards completion. It’s been a long and sometimes frustrating process, began in Israel, finishing in London, and published in book form who knows when or where… but for all that, a project that has meant a lot to me.
One of my favourite recent stories, and another one from the world of the Continuity, this pays homage to one of my favourite works of literature, Matsuo Basho’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches.
For Basho’s haiku I substituted Bislama poetry, which is something I’ve been interested in doing for a long time, and for Edo period Japan I substituted the far future world of the Continuity. This is available to read online and also in a podcast version.
From Bangkok he travelled into orbit, staying as a pilgrim in a Church of Robot mission, where facilities were basic but accommodation cheap. There he stayed for several days, in the orbital they call Gateway, the commercial hub of the system, observing traders and tourists, the meeting of Martian Chinese and Lunar kibbutznkis, of Orang Ulu and Man Tanna miners from the Belt, of tentacle junkies and flesh-surfing Others, of Louis Wu addicts and Guilds of Ashkelon games-world mercenaries. Always Earth dominated the view. In one of the observation decks he wrote:
Mi lukluk wol
From orbit, Earth is the centre of the universe, it is Aristotelian. Yet that is a mirage which the Others do not share. In orbit, I saw the world, turning and turning. I sat in a bar with a view of the planet rotating below, listening to conversations while drinking Lao-Lao, the smooth rice whiskey which tastes different here, distilled from hydroponics rice terraces deep in the bowels of Gateway. Conversations all around me, in Martian Chinese and Hebrew, in Thai and in French and Malay, and whenever strangers met who did not share a language they reverted to the old contact toktok, the beche-le-mar of Old Melanesia and the Belt.
There are 5 days to go on our World SF Travel Fund fundraiser, and we’re 94% of the way there! Though if we can go over that, it would be even better!
So to thanks anyone, and encourage more donations, we’ve added a new reward for everyone. Every donation will receive not just a whole heap of e-books but also, as a thank you, a special e-book edition copy of my novella Jesus & The Eightfold Path. This novella was only available as a limited edition hardcover, and the e-book edition is only being offered as part of this promotion. So there’s no other way to get it at the moment!
Here’s the cover – my thanks to Sean Wallace for e-book formatting, Sherin Nicole for the titling, and cover artist Melissa Gay for donating the use of her artwork. Click here to donate and get some cool rewards!
Sometimes you write a story and there is nowhere to send it, and you wait and, if you’re lucky, something perfect comes along.
This was the case with “The Myriad Dangers”, about a boy in Tel Aviv facing successive waves of alien invasions (aliens; simulacra; zombies; vampires, carnivorous plants) on Rosh Hashana. Along came Futuredaze: An Anthology of YA Science Fiction, a copy of which just dropped through my letter box. Check it out!
The aliens came marching down the street, like ants, or Israeli Defence Force soldiers. They marched in lines and their hands moved in rhythm but they didn’t make a sound. The whole city seemed to be asleep, its defence systems down, its awareness diminished, a whole city dreaming, restlessly, of other white cities, and coolness, and matzo ball soup.
In 2012, for the first time, I recorded what I was reading. It’s a weird sort of exercise! I didn’t record unfinished books, of which there were quite a few. I tried to read more comics/graphic novels. Novel-wise, I tried (and mostly failed) to keep up with SF/F, while reading various murder mysteries for comfort. This year, I’m going to try (and fail) to keep up with literary fiction (while reading murder mysteries for comfort). Anyway.
I read 53 books (novels and some novellas, some non-fiction) last year, 5 graphic novels, 13 stand-alone comics and 35 short stories.
Possibly the best book was The Lonely Londoners, by Samuel Selwin, about West Indies immigrants to London in the 1950s. Beautifully written in West Indies English, really mind blowing.
Of the SF I read, it was the translated stuff that really blew me away: Kawamata Chiaki‘s Death Sentences I thought was mind-blowingly good, as was the Strugatsky Brothers‘ Roadside Picnic. I also read, in the Hebrew, Yoav Avni’s Herzl Said, which I thought was fascinating.
I’ve read the early novels of Christopher Priest in their Hebrew translations, a long time ago (The Space Machine, Inverted World, A Dream of Wessex) but I took the opportunity to read some of his later stuff last year, and particularly loved The Affirmation.
I also loved Richard Calder‘s 2005 novel, Babylon, which provided inspiration for my story, “The Red Menace” in the Rip-Off! anthology released on Audible. I also liked Calder’s graphic novel adaptation of Dead Girls, of which I have the first 3 released issues.
Novella-wise, I liked Ian Sales‘ Adrift on the Sea of Rains a lot, and am pleased to see it nominated for an award this year.
Most barmy book of 2012 had to be Christopher Farnsworth‘s Blood Oath (and sequel, The President’s Vampire). I thoroughly enjoyed Ben Aaronovitch‘s Rivers of London series, and Chris Wooding‘s Ketty Jay books.
China Mieville‘s Railsea was fantastic.
If my SF reading was dominated by men, my crime reading continues to be mostly women. I keep making my way through both Susanna Gregory‘s Matthew Bartholomew series, and Lindsey Davis‘s Falco. I (almost) caught up with Janet Evanovich‘s Stephanie Plum series.
And I finally realised last year that perhaps my favourite crime writer, the great Carol O’Connell, wrote a new Mallory novel! I thought she was done after the magnificent Find Me, but no – there was The Chalk Girl just waiting for me to devour.
In comics, I liked China Mieville’s new Dial H For Hero, and Richard Calder’s Dead Girls.
In short stories, I loved Aimee Bender‘s “Among Us”, “Sunshine” by Nina Allan, “An Account Of A Voyage From World To World Again, By Way Of The Moon, 1726″, by Adam Roberts, and “The Gypsies in the Wood” by Kim Newman.
For 2013, my reading habits are changing with the acquisition of a Kindle at long last, giving me more choice in my reading material (despite my love for the local library). I am currently reading Boxer, Beetle by Ned Beauman (loving it so far) and Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, while my short fiction reading is going to be pretty much focused on possible material for The Apex Book of World SF 3.