Lavie Tidhar Talks About ‘World SF’

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 17 - 2009

Over at SF Signal, Lavie Tidhar–Speculative Fiction author, editor of the Apex Book of World SF (and the one who maintains its companion blog) has an interview where he talks about the Apex Book of World SF and non-Anglophone Speculative Fiction. Here’s an excerpt:

SFS: Why was it important to bring fiction from other countries, even languages into one collection?

LT: To be honest, I’m not sure it’s the right approach! Ashok Banker had a blog post a while back where he argued against this sort of – segregation, I guess would be the word – of writers. If I remember rightly he was talking about the Weird Tales international issue. And I think he’s right! In an ideal world, there won’t be a need for something like this. But of course, we don’t live in an ideal world.

Initially I wanted to do an anthology that would only reprint stories from international writers which had already appeared in the English magazines and so on, and that means either people like Aliette de Bodard or Jetse de Vries – who choose to write in English as a way of reaching a wider audience – or finding those few writers who do get translated, like Zoran Živkovic’ or Mélanie Fazi. But once I’d started, I had the opportunity to include some other material, and of course I took it!

So, for instance, we have two stories from China, because I kept in touch with the people I know there, and I was able to get stories from Han Song and Yang Ping, who are prominent SF writers in China. Or like Tunku Halim, who is a prolific Malaysian horror writer, and he writes in English, but his books are published in Malaysia and therefore are not known to the wider English-reading audience. But I knew of his books, and I was very happy when he gave me a story.

Which I’m not sure answers the question. I’m constantly fascinated with what’s published in other places, and how it might reflect different societies, different approaches to genre, so to me a collection like this seemed natural. Is it important? I think, for the genre to remains vital, yes, it is important. There are some very talented writers out there we never get a chance to read, and to have this kind of dialogue is to open up possibilities. Isn’t SF all about possibilities?

You can check out the rest of the interview here.

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