World SF News Blog Moving to Wordpress

Effective Immediately -

The World SF News Blog is now hosted over on Wordpress - a more stable, faster and flexible system than LiveJournal (and the adverts have been driving us mad!)

PLEASE update your RSS feeds accordingly and follow us to our new home. All content has been successfully ported over to the new site, and we are planning to offer some exciting new content in the coming weeks, expanding our remit to some original material alongside news and links.

Stay with us! Spread the word, blog about us, and we hope you stick with us through the change.

If you have suggestions - in particular regarding LJ back-syndication or facebook, do let us know. Comments welcome - ideally on the new site -

See you there!

The Croatian Tolkien

[via Cheryl Morgan] The Croatian SF Blog has an introductory post about Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić (1874-1938), or the "Croatian Tolkien".

Her book Croatian Tales of Long Ago (Priče iz davnine), published in 1916, is among the most popular today in large part because of its adaptation into a computerized interactive fiction product by Helena Bulaja in 2003/2006. In the book Mažuranić created a series of new fairy-tales, but using names and motifs from the Slavic mythology of Croats. It was this that earned her comparisons to Hans Christian Andersen and J.R.R. Tolkien who also wrote completely new stories but based in some elements of real mythology. - read the rest of the post.

Two links for Russian SF

A good introductory resource to Russian SF writers online is the Russian Science Fiction & Fantasy page, offering English pages on such writers as the Strugatsky Brothers, Sergey Lukyanenko and others. It's a little out-of-date, but still full of good information.

Another excellent page, Russian Science Fiction is an English-language page put up by the Solaris club of Russian fans. It includes articles on Russian SF, information about the fan club and even convention reports. More recent, and well worth checking out.

Romanian Science Fiction to 1990

Over at Concatenation, A Brief History of Science Fiction in Romania up to 1990:

Things changed radically after 1950, when under Soviet control, Romania underwent a forced transformation process of its social, economic and cultural structure. The Romanian writers were required to reflect in their work the social and scientific accomplishments of the communist area within the so-called 'socialist realism' trend. Censorship was everywhere: the Russian-Soviet model was imposed and the works of most of Romania's writers of the previous period, and relating to nearly all genres, were banned. Paradoxically these restrictions favoured the spreading of the SF literature which the authorities considered 'harmless', and a means of technical and scientific education. Meanwhile for the readers it was a way of escaping the immediate reality of communist drudgery. - Read the rest of the article.

What Happened to Arab Science Fiction?

 Continuing our coverage of Arab science fiction, here is Nesrine Malik in the Guardian on What Happened to Arab Science Fiction?

Isaac Asimov once said that "true science fiction could not really exist until people understood the rationalism of science and began to use it with respect in their stories". As Khaled Diab highlighted recently in an article for Cif, there is a discernible suspicion of science in the region, particularly when it sits uncomfortably with faith. In terms of science fiction, the genre could be viewed as an extension of a "foreign" heritage with its roots in Darwinism – one at odds with a monotheist world view. Those that have managed to reconcile the two have attempted to, according to Islam Online, use science fiction as a da'wah (proselytising) tool. In one particular book the mathematical structure of the Quran and obscure religious scriptures help avert the disaster of a swelling sun, reinforcing that Islam is the "ultimate revelation".

But this deprives science fiction of its inherently subversive potential; if there is a sense of despair and censorship, what better way to counter the former and circumvent the latter than engage in flights of fancy and imagination? To vicariously revolutionise and hope via a medium of fantasy? With Arab literature so focused on classical themes, an Orwellian allegory, for instance, would tackle the present and envision a future in a more clandestine fashion than a straightforward political attack. - read the rest of the article.

Nick Mamatas interviewed on editing Haikasoru

 Over at Amazon blog Omnivoracious, Nick Mamatas, editor of the new Haikasoru line of translated Japanese SF novels, talks to Jeff VanderMeer: Between now and the end of the year, are there any other releases you're particularly excited about?

Mamatas: Well, Usurper of the Sun--our first hard SF title. It's a planetary adventure about aliens who build a ring around the Sun using planetary material from Mercury. It's interesting for several reasons: it's got scope, we follow the main character from high school to late middle-age as she dedicates herself to understanding the Builders. There's some strange humor in it (Paul Levinson namedropped Murakami in his blurb for a reason!) and a fair amount of it takes place in Berkeley, my current hometown. Also, Battle Royale: The Novel. It's a reissue, with a revised text and a long afterword by the author. At 22 pages, [the afterword is] the longest thing Takami has published, I believe, since Battle Royale itself. It's in the form of a Q/A: we cover everything from his literary influences to his favorite pro wrestlers. - read the rest of the interview.

Italian writer Anna Feruglio Dal Dan on Strange Horizons

On Strange Horizons this week, a story by Italian writer and translator Anna Feruglio Dal DanAnd This Also Has Been One of the Dark Places of the Earth.

Kilburn High Road at five—the evening rush hour—is like a tinkling river of fireflies, each bicycle with its own wavering, quivering little light, all rattling and clicking as they make their way up towards Cricklewood or down towards London. The hated rickshaws take up too much space—they are getting more numerous each day. The infrequent buses get stranded at this hour, their train of patient, puffing horses easily sidestepped by human muscle. - read the rest of the story.


Arabic SF Prize, Association Plans Announced

 ALECSO (The Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization) has announced several exciting plans for developing science fiction in the Arab world, having held a meeting on the topic at its Tunisian offices earlier this year.

The full press release is below:

Closing The Meeting of Science Fiction Literature Experts in the Arab World in Tunis  
(Tunis: 07-04-2009)
   The meeting of Science Fiction Literature experts in the Arab world that was held at Alecso‘s headquarters concluded its work today.  
   Therefore, the participants presented at the end of the meeting a list of recommendations to Alecso from which we mention:
   1- Preparing a data base of authors and writers who are interested in Science fiction writings.
   2- Establishing an Arab association of science fiction authors.
   3- Supporting the translation from Arabic into English and from English into Arabic in the field of science fiction.
   Moreover, the participants demanded from the Arab countries to:
   1- To include the Science fiction literature in the curricula at schools 
   2- To stimulate Educational, Cultural and informative association to recognize this kind of literature 
   On the other hand, the participants have supported Alecso‘s intention to launch a prize to encourage young authors to write in the Science fiction field