The Best of World SF draws together twenty-six new short stories representing the state of the art in international science fiction. The collection contains authors from twenty-one countries and five continents and presenting a very diverse list of contributors.
Below are three authors and the editor of the collection discussing the SF genre and what it means to them.
Editor – Lavie Tidhar
When I was growing up on a little kibbutz in Israel, science fiction was a row of translated paperbacks from authors living in impossibly-distant America on the kibbutz’s library shelf. They seemed to live on a distant, exotic planet, one forever out of reach. It never ceases to amaze me, even as a grownup, that I have now met some of them, as though they were mere mortals, that my books can be on that same shelf. I never thought it was possible, and it must have been only the blind arrogance of youth that ever led me to try. I traveled a lot, later on, as soon as I could leave. And wherever I went I picked up books: SF anthologies in Romania and horror in Malaysia, novels in Beijing and Chengdu, and African writers’ books sold on the side of the road in Dar-es-Salaam.
It is so hard to break in, and can be so dispiriting when you are the first from your home and you don’t fit the mould of the field. I wanted to and tried to do this anthology for many years, just for myself, just because I wished it had been there when I was starting out. SF can only stay vital if it keeps evolving, if it brings in new voices and new ways. This anthology is, I think, if nothing else, a testament to what SF already is, and what it can be.
Mexico – Gerardo Horacio Porcayo
A place to meet our own dreams, to get the pulse of a very alive movement. SF has as many forms as the people who enjoyed its metaphorical matter. SF is like water, a universal solvent that lets you assay with any given matter or theme, without altering their properties. Writing SF is an exercise of freedom, an immersion onto the very depths of our perception; and this anthology is the visor, the chance to watch this multiplicity of forms, of perspectives of our neighbour… Of many of them around the world.
When you write in a place where the book industry is poor, when you make your efforts for the sake of the art, another kind of alchemy occurs; there are no standards or limits. There is only you, the nutrient world with all its twisted details and your speculative mind that mix everything, analise them and let you put those resulting ideas into words.
Not even with the internet, the Global Village became a reality. We are not that theoretical, anonymous, equal inhabitant of the Global World… From every single square metre of the world, the view is different. Welcome to the difference.
Botswana – Tlotlo Tsamaase
Anthologies are awesome, they allow discovery of authors from different backgrounds. The reader is basically globetrotting through stories told from different perspectives, stories that break stereotypes, that show nuances of cultures and experiences, that show the truth in its various ways, allows the truth to come from the mouth of the native, rather than be misconstrued.
Growing up, I never saw myself reflected on the page in spec fic, sci-fi, or fantasy, etc., as a main character; instead, we were villains, savages, side-characters, submissive—it was horrifying, or you were whitewashed. That’s damaging for a kid because the message was clear: you do not belong, something is wrong with you. Despite some issues, nowadays you have more options, you’re on the page: a hero, validated, powerful, soft, beautiful—your voice, your being, your culture matters. It feels like home.
That’s thanks to publishers, welcoming publishing communities, literary magazines and authors like Lavie Tidhar who propel accessibility to diverse authors. To name but a few, these lovely, amazingly talented creatives have made my experience so full of joy and love: R.B Lemberg, Cristina Jurado, A.J. Odasso, Francesco Verso, Julia Rios, Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald, Cheryl Ntumy, Justina Ireland, Michael Bailey, Kate Brauning.
Brazil – Fabio Fernandes
When I started to write science fiction in Portuguese, Brazil was a very different country. We were just beginning to be a democratic nation again, after twenty-one years of a military dictatorship that tortured and killed thousands. In the mid-eighties, we were optimistic about the road ahead, but we had lots of terrain to cover. Science fiction was one of the things that we were just starting to do, maybe because now we could glimpse a shining future.
Brazilian SF was pretty much a cis het male thing then, but things slowly changed for the better. I was part of the Second Wave, of writers born in the 60s and who started writing in the 80s. The Third Wave, which began on the brink of the new millennium, brought female and queer SF to the forefront, and with it, new ways of thinking and writing. Now we have a Fourth Wave, with plenty of new writers who are also writing in English and Spanish. Things changed again: Brazil is under an authoritarian regime again, and our fiction is far from being optimistic. But we remain here. And initiatives like Lavie’s are instrumental in showing our fiction (and of many other countries) to the world.
Read The Best of the World SF: Volume 1
About the Authors
Gerardo Horacio Porcayo is a Mexican writer, born May 10th, 1966 in Cuernavaca,
Morelos. Nowadays he lives in the city of Jojutla. He has a Masters degree in Iberoamerican
Literature by the Universidad Ibero Puebla.
He has won many short story awards: Axón Electrónico Primordial (Argentina, 1992),
Puebla (1993), Kalpa (1993), Más Allá (Argentina, 1994), Sizigias (Many Authors Anthology
category, 2002) and Sizigias (Best Published Novel category, 2004). He also won the XXIX
Concurso Magdalena Mondragón 2013 (Essay category). In the novel genre he has received
an Honorific Mention of the Premio Internacional de Narrativa Ignacio Manuel Altamirano
He is considered the introducer of Cyberpunk to Hispanic-American literature with the
publication of his first novel La primera calle de la soledad (1993) and the first (and only)
Mexican cyberpunk anthology: Silicio en la memoria (1997). He is also considered a
fundamental figure inside Mexican Neogothic for his literary works in this genre as for his
editorial development with Azoth fanzine.
Gerardo has published ten novels, two short story compilations and three sf
anthologies. In 2018 he attended Worldcon 76 as a panelist, at San Jose, California, as a
member of The Mexicanx Initiative.
Tlotlo Tsamaase is a Motswana writer of fiction, poetry, and architectural articles. Her work
has appeared in Terraform, Apex Magazine, Strange Horizons, Wasafiri, The Fog Horn
magazine, and other publications. Her poem “I Will Be Your Grave” was a 2017 Rhysling
Award nominee. Her short story, “Virtual Snapshots” was longlisted for the 2017 Nommo
Awards. Her novella The Silence of the Wilting Skin is forthcoming from Pink Narcisuss
Press in 2020.
Fabio Fernandes lives in São Paulo, Brazil. He has published several books, among which
the novels Os Dias da Peste and Back in the USSR (in Portuguese) and the collection;
Imitatore (in Italian). Also a translator, he is responsible for the translation to Brazilian
Portuguese of several SF novels, including Neuromancer, Snow Crash, and A Clockwork
Orange. His short stories have been published online in Brazil, Portugal, Romania, the UK,
New Zealand, and USA, and also in Ann and Jeff VanderMeer’s Steampunk II: Steampunk
Reloaded and Southern Fried Weirdness: Reconstruction (2011), The Apex Book of World
SF, Vol 2, Stories for Chip. Co-edited (with Djibril al-Ayad) the postcon anthology We See a
Different Frontier, and, with Francesco Verso, the anthology Solarpunk – Come ho imparato
ad amare il futuro. Graduate of Clarion West, class of 2013. Formerly slush reader for Hugo
Award-winner Clarkesworld Magazine.
Lavie Tidhar is the World Fantasy Award-winning author of Osama (2011), The Violent
Century (2013), the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize-winning A Man Lies Dreaming (2014),
and the Campbell Award-winning Central Station (2016), in addition to many other works
and several other awards. He works across genres, combining detective and thriller modes
with poetry, science fiction, and historical and autobiographical material.