Get schooled by Lavie Tidhar

Paul Raven @ 27-06-2011

Just in case I haven’t offended enough bigots already today, I’m going to direct you all to read Lavie Tidhar’s short story “The School”. Not only does the story itself critique the racism, misogyny and homophobia that regrettably still lurks in the heart of genre fiction’s body politic, but the fact that some big-name fiction venues shied away from publishing it – on the basis of being afraid to offend the sensibilities of said body politic – exposes an unwillingness to upset the applecart that contributes to the persistence of that bigotry.

Yet again, I find myself frustrated by my inability to fund story purchases here at Futurismic at the moment; I’d have paid for and published this story with pride, knowing that any readers I lost weren’t readers I wanted to keep in the first place.


Please welcome our esteemed guests!

Paul Raven @ 06-09-2010

OK, so, let’s cut to the point here: yours truly is going on holiday for a week, starting tomorrow. And we’re talking a proper holiday, as in a period of time devoid of the usual demands of one’s working day, and – more specifically in my case – a period of time during which I won’t be connected to the internet*. Like, at all**.

But fear not, faithful followers of Futurismic – for I have drafted in some friends to mind the place while I’m away, and to discuss interesting things with you. Who are these people, exactly? Well, I’m glad you asked…

  • Gareth L Powell has actually guested here before, and was a regular link-out fixture back in the days when a bunch of us were still rocking the Friday Flash Fiction movement. Gareth has just recently sold his second novel to Solaris Books, and is in the process of finishing it. He’s also a good friend, a fiercely dedicated writer and a very very nice guy. His mutant power is the ability to discern stress fracture points in Victorian-era railway bridges from a surprisingly large distance away.
  • Aliette de Bodard‘s first novel, Servant of the Underworld – a kind of mystery-fantasy mash-up set in an alternate timeline where the Aztecs are still a major power – was published this year by Angry Robot, with sequels to come. Aliette is half French and half Vietnamese, a self-identified tech-geek and computer obsessive, and very very smart. Few are the novelists who get published in what is effectively their third language, after all! Her mutant power is the ability to transmute base metals into pre-doped semiconductor wafers just by looking at them.
  • Lavie Tidhar probably needs little introduction; it seems you can’t so much as turn a corner on the intertubes these days without bumping into a new short story of his (including this month’s offering right here at Futurismic, no less). Seemingly in constant motion across the entire surface of the planet, Lavie somehow finds time to maintain the World SF news blog as well as writing his own work and editing anthologies, and I’m very grateful he’s agreed to spend some of whatever precious little time he has left on posting stuff here in my absence. His mutant power is the ability to cram seven extra hours into the space usually occupied by twenty-four… or to unfailingly locate chilled beer in extremely remote locations. Possibly both.

I don’t know exactly what my guests are going to talk about, because I’ve pretty much told them to talk about whatever they fancy, provided there’s some connection – however tenuous! – to Futurismic‘s usual “near-future speculation” remit. The posting density will probably be thinner than usual because – unlike my sad hermit self – these wonderful people have real lives to attend to as well. Even so, I think you’ll enjoy having a few fresh voices on the mic while I’m away!

So please extend a welcome to my esteemed guests, and be sure to comment on their posts; I’m very grateful to Gareth, Aliette and Lavie for stepping in to help me, and I hope you will be, too.

Now, I need to do some packing… 🙂

[ * Yes, I’m really looking forward to it. The last twelve months have not exactly panned out the way I thought they were going to, to say the least, and a chance to step off the merry-go-round for a few moments and collect my thoughts is much needed. The prospect of sitting in warm sunshine and reading for pure pleasure is also rather appealing. ]

[ ** Well, I might tweet once or twice, but that’s pretty much it. The regulatory bodies may have capped cellphone roaming charges for data in Europe, but they’re still pretty terrifying… and that’s all the excuse I need for a week-long digital media fast. Time to make some serious inroads on the old To-Be-Read stack… 🙂 ]


NEW FICTION: IN PACMANDU by Lavie Tidhar

Paul Raven @ 01-09-2010

I’m very pleased to welcome globetrotting flyer-in-the-face-of-convention Lavie Tidhar back to the digital pages of Futurismic, and once again it’s with a story that stretches – or at least seems to stretch – our guidelines to breaking point, upsetting a few apple-carts full of sacred cows along the way. “In Pacmandu” is something a little out of the ordinary, even for us… and perhaps even (dare I say it?) for Lavie himself.

Are you ready? Then begin!

In Pacmandu

by Lavie Tidhar

  • GoA universe, Sigma Quadrant, Berezhinsky Planetoid, sys-ops command module

It has been two weeks since the disappearance of the Wu expedition.

We are gathered at the sys-ops command module of the Berezhinsky Planetoid, Sigma Quadrant of the Guilds of Ashkelon universe. The light is soft. Music plays unobtrusively in the background. Outside the windows it is snowing lines of code.

Present in the command module: myself, CodeDolphin, Sergei and Hong.

Our task –

‘Find out the fuck happened.’ Continue reading “NEW FICTION: IN PACMANDU by Lavie Tidhar”


The Apex Book Of World SF – available now

Paul Raven @ 03-11-2009

So, did you enjoy Lavie Tidhar’s story “Spider’s Moon” which we published yesterday?

It’s been a busy year for the globe-trotting Mr Tidhar, whose last email to me came from a small internet cafe in Bangkok; not only has he been writing his own material (of which a lot is scheduled for publication in the near future) and running his own blog, he’s been curating the World SF News blog as well – shining a light on fresh non-Western science fiction from around the world, and earning himself a nomination for the inaugural Last Drink Bird Head award for his activism.

The Apex Book of World SF by Lavie Tidhar (ed.)“Spider’s Moon” isn’t his only publication credit for this month, either. Lavie edited and assembled the Apex Book Of World SF anthology for Apex Books, which was released at the weekend and is now available through Amazon (and, I fully expect, other major internet bookstores)… though I’d recommend you buy direct from Apex themselves, because you’ll get a better price and swifter dispatch (not to mention making the staff of a quality small publishing house very happy indeed). Here’s the table of contents:

  • S.P. Somtow (Thailand)—“The Bird Catcher”
  • Jetse de Vries (Netherlands)—“Transcendence Express”
  • Guy Hasson (Israel)—“The Levantine Experiments”
  • Han Song (China)—“The Wheel of Samsara”
  • Kaaron Warren (Australia/Fiji)—“Ghost Jail”
  • Yang Ping (China)—“Wizard World”
  • Dean Francis Alfar (Phillippines)—“L’Aquilone du Estrellas (The Kite of Stars)”
  • Nir Yaniv (Israel)—“Cinderers”
  • Jamil Nasir (Palenstine)—“The Allah Stairs”
  • Tunku Halim (Malaysia)—“Biggest Baddest Bomoh”
  • Aliette de Bodard (France)—“The Lost Xuyan Bride”
  • Kristin Mandigma (Phillippines)—“Excerpt from a Letter by a Social-realist Aswang”
  • Aleksandar Žiljak (Croatia)—“An Evening In The City Coffehouse, With Lydia On My Mind”
  • Anil Menon (India)—“Into the Night”
  • Mélanie Fazi (France, translated by Christopher Priest)—“Elegy”
  • Zoran Živković (Serbia, translated by Alice Copple-Tošić)—“Compartments”

Some familiar names, and some new ones too – so if you fancy sampling some science fiction that wasn’t written in your own backyard, why not get a copy for yourself? US$18.95 seems a pretty decent price for a sixteen story anthology, and you’ll not only be supporting the genre publishing industry at the roots but exposing yourself to some exciting new voices and ideas at the same time. So what are you waiting for? Go buy one.


NEW FICTION: SPIDER’S MOON by Lavie Tidhar

Paul Raven @ 02-11-2009

Almost every short fiction venue worth its salt will have some sort of guidelines as to what sort of material they’re looking for… but I suspect almost every editor will confess that, when the story is good enough, the guidelines can flex a little to allow it through.

That’s exactly what happened with “Spider’s Moon” by globe-trotting star-ascendant Lavie Tidhar, which is set in a slightly deeper future than we usually deal with here at Futurismic. But its core concerns are closer to home, and it’s a strong tale well told – so we’re proud to be publishing it for you to read. Enjoy!

Spider’s Moon

By Lavie Tidhar

Night, a full spider’s moon in the sky; hundreds of lanterns hung along the river, and the smell of saffron and garlic and dried lemongrass filled the air; a warm night, candles burning on street corners with offerings of rum and cooked rice, the hum of electric motorbikes, the murmur of a sugarcane machine as it crushed stalks to make the juice.

Ice tinkling in glasses; on small plastic chairs people sat by the river, drinking, talking. A hushed reverie, yet festive. Hoi An under the spider’s moon, French backpackers singing, badly but with enthusiasm, while one of their number played a guitar.

Save me from the raven and the frog, and show me safely to the river’s mouth, O Naga, he thought. Frogs had never been his favourites. Green and slimy, and always too loud. Like rats, almost. Like green, belligerent rats. Continue reading “NEW FICTION: SPIDER’S MOON by Lavie Tidhar”