Tag Archives: speculative fiction

Fish Eats Lion: new print edition of Singaporean speculative fiction anthology

Just out – the first infinity plus print edition of Fish Eats Lion, edited by Jason Erik Lundberg:

Fish Eats Lion: Singaporean speculative fictionFish Eats Lion collects the best original speculative fiction from Singapore – fantasy, science fiction, and the places in between – all anchored with imaginative methods to the Lion City. These twenty-two stories, from emerging writers publishing their first work to winners of the Singapore Literature Prize and the Cultural Medallion, explore the fundamental singularity of the island nation in a refreshing variety of voices and perspectives. This anthology is a celebration of the vibrant creative power underlying Singapore’s inventive prose stylists, where what is considered normal and what is strange are blended in fantastic new ways.

“Lundberg combines accessibility with a uniquely Singaporean flavor in his selections. SF readers looking to expand their horizons will enjoy visiting new worlds from an unaccustomed point of view.” – Publishers Weekly

“I doubt I’ll read a more engaging collection this year. […] There’s a rich optimism to be found here that speaks of lesser-known spec-fic writers rising to a challenge, and that challenge being more than adequately met.” – Pete Young, Big Sky

“Entertaining in this post-colonial era, it hints at how storytellers can become mythmakers, with the power to change the world.” – Akshita Nanda, The Straits Times

Buy this book in print (ISBN: 1502984822): Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CanadaCreateSpace – and other booksellers

Also available as an ebook from: Amazon USAmazon UK – Barnes and NobleKoboApple – Smashwords

The story behind… authors on writing their books

Story Behind the BookThe guys over at the excellent Upcoming4.me website have just published a book of essays by speculative fiction authors about the writing of their books, and it’s a book I’m delighted to be a part of, with my own entry about the writing of Genetopia

What’s more, it’s not only a great book for anyone interested in what goes into producing SF and fantasy novels, all proceeds are going to Epilepsy Action, a cause particularly close to my own heart, as EA have been fantastic in supporting my daughter Molly as she faces the challenges presented by the condition.

The ebook is a bargain (I just picked one up from Amazon for less than £2), and a paperback will follow very soon, so why not pick up a copy or two?

Story Behind the Book: Volume 1 collects nearly 40 non-fiction essays on writing and editing speculative fiction written by some of the most exciting authors and editors. Essays cover everything from getting an initial creative burst, worldbuilding, tackling writer’s block, to the final process of publication. Some of the essays are personal, some rather technical but all of them, without an exception, provide an unique and fascinating insight into the mind of an author.

Contributors include Ian Whates, Michael Logan, Mathieu Blais and Joel Casseus, Mark T. Barnes, Lisa Jensen, Lee Battersby, L. E. Modesitt Jr., Keith Brooke, Joanne Anderton, Jo Walton, F.R. Tallis, Ian R. MacLeod, Guy Haley, Gavin Smith, Francis Knight, Eric Brown, Clifford Beal, Susan Palwick, Rhiannon Held, Ben Jeapes, Nina Allan, Mike Shevdon, Mur Lafferty, Norman Lock, Seth Patrick, Gemma Malley, Freda Warrington, Freya Robertson and more.

All proceeds will be donated to Epilepsy Action.

Scientifiction, and other mislabels

“By ‘scientifiction’ I mean the Jules Verne, HG Wells and Edgar Allan Poe type of story – a charming romance intermingled with scientific fact and prophetic vision.”
(Hugo Gernsback, in a 1926 Amazing Stories editorial )

Liberty SpinA lot of science fiction, in the form it has taken over the last several decades, has stuck fairly closely to this definition.

  • A “charming romance”: I’m not so sure about charming, but dictionary.com’s definition of a romance as “a novel or other prose narrative depicting heroic or marvelous deeds, pageantry, romantic  exploits, etc, usually in a historical or imaginary setting” embraces a lot of SF.
  • “scientific fact “: good SF has to either employ good science, or must provide enough credibility to allow the reader to suspend disbelief for the duration of the story. Of course, what’s acceptable here varies by writer, by story and by reader. Many readers and writers are able to suspend disbelief in faster than light travel and time travel, for example, while others regard this as fantasy.
  • “prophetic vision”: this works if you take prophetic to mean “this could happen, or have happened” rather than “this will happen, or has…”

Okay, so the definition struggles a little under the weight of decades of accumulated literature, but for me it still has a certain charm. I used the term “scientifiction” as part of the subtitle for one of my recent collections of short fiction, partly as a nod to the genre’s origins and partly to indicate the kind of stories included. I was particularly pleased when a recent Amazon review highlighted the term:

‘Scientifiction’ is used boldly in this collection, and it’s a good thing that this term has been brought back to life.

Liberty Spin: tales of scientifiction pulls together nine of my more overtly science-fictional stories, previously published in magazines and anthologies. I don’t really do heroes, as such, but these stories do set out to depict heroic and marvelous deeds, are grounded in science (or what I hope is at least credibly extrapolated science), and are set in futures, or in one case a present day, that could come to exist. And the stories pretty much run the gamut of what we generally think of as science fiction: near-space colonisation, space war, the wonders of the solar system, alien cultures, galaxy-spanning civilisations, near-future thriller and more. MemesisIt was a fun book to compile. Inspired by this, when I also put together a collection of stories loosely grouped around ideas of transformation, I coined the term modifiction for the subtitle: Memesis: modifiction and other strange changes.

Definitions… how much time have we spent debating the precise boundaries of science fiction, fantasy, slipstream, etc? What’s the difference between science fiction and sci fi? And what about speculative fiction? In my mind, what I write is extrapolative fiction (but then when it comes to it, what fiction isn’t extrapolative?). By this I mean that almost every story I write takes a point of divergence from the real we know and follows it to a logical conclusion. Some tales of extrapolative fiction could be classified as SF, others as fantasy or horror; the term covers most of what appeals to me as a writer. It’s a label that works for me, and helps me make sense of why it is that I write stories that fit so many different categories rather than sticking to a single field.

But try as I might, extrapolative fiction – or good old XF to those in the know – just doesn’t have the charm that scientifiction has, does it?

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