This is part of a series of Q&As with the authors of The Apex Book of World SF 3 edited by Lavie Tidhar.

The stories in The Apex Book of World SF 3 run the gamut from science fiction, to fantasy, to horror. Some are translations (from German, Chinese, French, Spanish, and Swedish), and some were written in English. The authors come from Asia and Europe, Africa and Latin America. Their stories are all wondrous and wonderful, and showcase the vitality and diversity that can be found in the field. They are a conversation, by voices that should be heard.


1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I live in Malmö, Sweden, where I work as a creative writing pedagogue and text consultant (which means I do all sorts of stuff related to fiction, from translations to writing to order). In my spare time I’m a massive geek, mostly about gaming and Forteana. I started writing in English back in 2010 because it was extremely difficult to publish fantastic fiction in Sweden, short stories especially. These days I’ve kind of passed the point of no return and write almost exclusively in English.

2. Tell us a little about your story.

“Brita’s Holiday Village” is a translation from Swedish, originally written in -08 or -09. I should say finished in -08 or -09, because like many of my stories it’s been lurking around for a while. I wrote it as a very different story a few years earlier; it didn’t work, and went on the compost heap. After a while the dead flesh had rotted away, and I wrote a new story based on the central concept: a part of someone’s family has branched off and become something alien, playing at being humans like kids play house.

3. What was the inspiration for the story?

My grandmother’s family comes from Jämtland, the region in which the story is set. There are several avid genealogists in the family, so every few years relatives from the whole country and American descendants of emigrants (from the emigration wave in the early 1900s) would gather. I tagged along with my parents once, when I was in my late teens. It was in the summer, and they’d rented a whole holiday village – these ski cabins – in the shadow of the biggest mountain in the region. I remember being really spooked by the whole thing. There was something wrong about being there in the summer. That image has always stayed with me. It popped up again during some random writing exercise.

4. What are you working on at the moment?

I don’t talk about my work until it’s pretty much ready for publication, so all I’ll tell you is that I’m working on stuff.

5. Who are some of your own favourite writers?

I have so many, so every time someone asks I’ll come up with different ones. But, okay. Writers whose work I’ll always love are people like Tove Jansson, Caitlín Kiernan, Ursula Le Guin, Neil Gaiman, Torgny Lindgren, Chip Delany and John A. Keel. Recently though I’ve fallen in love with the works of Sofia Samatar, N.A. Sulway and Kameron Hurley. And then there’s Mare Kandre. Ted Chiang. My old Clarion mates: John Chu, Kali Wallace, Jennifer Hsyu, Greg Bossert, Tamsyn Muir, Leah Thomas, Adam Israel. I could go on forever.

6. What do you have coming out next?

I’ve a couple of original stories in anthologies coming out this year: a dark fantasy story called “Migration” in Jonathan Strahan’s FEARSOME MAGICS, and then “Cultes des Goules” in Nate Pedersen’s fictional book catalogue THE STARRY WISDOM LIBRARY.


1. Tell us a little about yourself.

My Twitter handle reads “Scientist by day, writer by night”. I was born in Greece and lured to the US at age 18 by a full scholarship to Harvard, then MIT. I spent most of my adult life doing basic research in molecular neurobiology, focusing on mechanisms of mental retardation and dementia. I have a lifelong interest in space exploration and its biological and cultural repercussions. In that context, I wrote To Seek Out New Life: The Biology of Star Trek, which resulted in many invited talks and articles to venues that included NASA laboratories and The Mars Society.

I’m also a published author of fiction and poetry and I was the engine behind The Other Half of the Sky, an anthology of original stories – evolved space operas with women heroes. My own work can be found in Harvard Review, Belles Lettres, Strange Horizons, Crossed Genres, Stone Telling, Cabinet des Fées, Bull Spec, Science in My Fiction, SF Signal, The Apex Blog, World SF, SFF Portal, H+ Magazine, io9, The Huffington Post, and my web site, Starship Reckless.

2. Tell us a little about your story.

“Planetfall” is a segmented story with recurring leitmotifs; a hybrid of epic myth, kinship saga, alternative history and space opera. The twining threads in its tapestry are my vision of an alternate future of the magnificent, sui generis Minoan civilization, the Ouranákis/Sóran-Kerís explorer lineage and the amulet/pendant/command module that unites lineages and species.

3. What was the inspiration for the story?

It’s a sea with many tributary rivers. Myths feed into it, and my people’s history; my love of languages and songs; the desire to envision women-equal or women-dominant societies that are not reverse-oppressive; genetic engineering that allows non-destructive human adaptation to earth-like extrasolar planets; and an alien species that’s neither a nasty nor a cute caricature, but has its own unique path.

4. What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working at a short story and a novel in the same universe as that of “Planetfall” (other stories in that universe are “Dry Rivers” and “The Wind Harp“, published in Crossed Genres). My storyline starts in the Minoan era – an alternate timeline in which the civilization survives despite the Thera explosion – and reaches far into the future, with the speciated descendants on distant, very distinct earthlike planets. The novel is titled Shard Songs; the short story, provisionally titled “The Reckless”, tells the launch of the starship we see in “Planetfall” (and after which I named my web site).

5. Who are some of your own favourite writers?

I read voraciously in four languages, both fiction (mainstream and genre, prose and poetry) and non-fiction (also across domains), so that’s an impossible question to answer – at least concisely! I’ve reached the age and reading stage where my taste runs to boutique works that are strongly marked by some stamp of originality.

6. What do you have coming out next?

I currently have three stories on submission, titled “The Stone Lyre”, “The Paths of Twilight” and “The Legacy”. With luck, at least one will appear; if not, I’m getting to the point where I have enough material for a collection of stories in my large universe. On a different but related path, I’m gearing up for my second anthology as an editor, provisionally titled To Shape the Dark. As you probably know, my first outing, The Other Half of the Sky, got uniformly rave reviews in all major genre venues (Locus, Analog, Library Journal – to name just a few), had four of its sixteen stories selected for “Best of” compilations and one story in it won this year’s Nebula for best novelette.

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