Authors: Lavie Tidhar
Table of Contents
Alternate Girl's Expatriate Life
Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, Philippines
Ivor W. Hartmann, Zimbabwe
Trees of Bone
Daliso Chaponda, Malawi
The First Peruvian in Space
Daniel Salvo, Peru
Eyes in the Vastness of Forever
Gustavo Bondoni, Argentina
Chen Qiufan, China
The Sound of Breaking Glass
Joyce Chng, Singapore
A Single Year
Csilla Kleinheincz, Hungary/Viet Nam
The Secret Origin of Spin-Man
Andrew Drilon, Philippines
Anabel Enríquez Piñeiro, Cuba
Lauren Beukes, South Africa
Raúl Flores Iriarte, Cuba
Will Elliott, Australia
Nira and I
Shweta Narayan, India/Malaysia
Nothing Happened in 1999
Fábio Fernandes, Brazil
Tade Thompson, Nigeria
Shibuya no Love
Hannue Rajaniemi, Finland
Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Mexico
The Glory of the World
Sergey Gerasimov, Ukraine
The New Neighbours
Tim Jones, New Zealand
From the Lost Diary of TreeFrog7
Nnedi Okafor, USA/Nigeria
Gail Hareven, USA/Nigeria
Ekaterina Sedia, Russia
Samit Basu, India
Andrzej Sapkowski, Poland
A Life Made Possible Behind the Barricades
Jacques Barcia, Brazil
By Lavie Tidhar
At the same time as the book came out, I launched the World SF Blog, initially intended to be a
promotional tool for the anthology, but very quickly it took on a life of its
own. The site now publishes a regular stream of articles, essays, interviews
and even short fiction, all on a daily basis (you can find the site here: http://worldsf.wordpress.com/).
Charles Tan joined to help me run it, and somehow, between blog and book, we
seemed to have hit on a new wave of interest in, and enthusiasm for, the
science fiction and fantasy coming from outside of the traditional Anglophone world
of SF. Whether we helped create the wave, or merely rode the top of it, I can't
say—nor does it matter, as long as the wave is there and still going.
To my mind, though, what we are doing simply reflects a wider change in the SF world. In this
volume, for instance, we have a story from Finnish author Hannu Rajaniemi,
whose debut novel—written in English—has done tremendously well on publication.
Here, too, is mega-star in the making Lauren Beukes from South Africa, who I
got the chance to see win the Arthur C. Clarke Award this year in London…
In this volume, too,
we are very lucky to have a story from Polish grandmaster Andrzej Sapkowski,
whose novels are beginning to be translated into English and winning a wider
readership everywhere. And here, too, I have tried to address the imbalance
that was present in the first volume, and which I lamented in my last
introduction—namely, to introduce more African and Latin American writers into
the next volume
I am extremely
grateful to Daniel W. Koon for his help with the two Cuban stories, and much
else, to Wu Yan for his help with securing another Chinese story—this one by
Chen Qiufan—for this volume, and for Charles Tan for services above and beyond
the call of duty. And none of this would have been possible without the support
and enthusiasm of our hard working publisher, Jason Sizemore, whose faith
brought this project alive.
There are more
original stories in this collection than in the last one, and more stories,
period—a whopping twenty-six this time around!—featuring writers from Africa
and Europe, Asia and Latin America, Australia and New Zealand and the Middle
East. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Alternate Girl's Expatriate Life
Rochita Loenen-Ruiz is a Filipina writer now based in the Netherlands. Her short stories have appeared
, amongst others.
Across the street, excavators dug up large swathes of grass.
"They're building a new complex over there," her neighbour said. "I heard the farmer who owned that
land went off to live the life of a millionaire."
Her neighbour babbled on about yachts and sea voyages and Alternate Girl stood there staring
while the machines went about their business of churning up grass and soil. She
wondered what it would be like to be crushed under those hungry wheels, and she
flinched at her own imagination.
"A pity," her neighbour said. "I sure will miss the view."
murmured something vague in reply, and went back to tending her flowers.
She wondered if the
farmer was happier now that he had his millions. Would wealth and sea voyages
make up for severed ties and the erasure of generations of familial history?
She pulled out a stray weed, and scattered coffee grounds to keep the cats from digging up her
She shook her head and headed back indoors. She'd only known two kinds of lives, and in neither of
them had she been a millionaire.
Even in the
dreamscape, she could smell the exhaust from passing jeepneys. She could taste
the metal dust in the air. The moon shone on the gentle curve of asphalt,
cutting through dusty thoroughfares, creating long dark shadows on the
pavement. Metal tenements jutted up from the land, pointing like fingers at the
By day, a constant
stream of drones strove to keep those buildings together. Every bit of scrap
metal, every piece of residual wiring was used to keep the landscape of steel
and concrete from breaking to pieces. For all its frailty, for all its seeming
squalor, there was something dear and familiar about the way the streets met
and turned into each other.
Even if her life was
filled with the cosiness of the here and now, she could not shake off the
longing that thrummed through her dreams in the same way that the thrum of the
equilibrium machine pulsed through this landscape.
Towering above the
tenements was the Remembrance Monument. Made of compressed bits and parts, it
contained all the memories of those gone before. Each year, the monument
reached higher and higher until its apex was lost in the covering of clouds.
When she was younger, she'd often imagined she could hear the voices of the
Above the pulse of
the Equilibrium Machine, above the gentle susurrus of faded ghosts, she heard a
cry. High and shrill, it emitted a hopelessness Alternate Girl remembered
It was the same cry
that pulled her out of her dreams and back into the present. She turned on her
side, pressed her ear against her pillow and stared into the darkness.
This is my home now
, she told herself.
I am happy as I am. We are happy as we are.
Never mind her
personal griefs. Never mind her longing for that lost landscape.
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