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’m a Korean-Norwegian writer residing in Norway and writing in English as my second language, but the one I prefer to work in. I write short stories and novels, set in our world and the imaginary. So far, one of my novels have been published, The Empty City (Une Ville Vide, PublieMonde 2013), and one collection of short stories, Beneath the Liquid Skin (firthFORTH Books 2012). My short stories have been published in literary magazines such as Unstuck, Birkensnake, The Weird Fiction Review, and SmokeLong Quarterly, and more.

2. Tell us a little about your story.

“Dancing on the Red Planet” is about the first human mission to Mars, specifically how some of the crew members decide they want to perform the first exit from the spacecraft, on camera in front of millions of viewers, and how some of the other astronauts react on hearing those plans, which they haven’t been informed about earlier. The story was first published by Ian Sales in his anthology of realistic science fiction, Rocket Science, in 2012. As the publisher, Ian Sales also nominated the story for the British Science Fiction Award that year, which was a fantastic surprise and pleasure.

3. What was the inspiration for the story?

I’m very interested in space science and astronomy, particularly the exploration of Mars, so I read and write about it, and most other space science themes.

The specific idea for the story came about after I had watched several videos on YouTube by the big space organizations about launches and landings of various spacecraft, all done to upbeat electronic music. Previously, I had noticed that several European acquaintances and friends enjoyed electronic music, even though they were not typical “clubbers”. It just seemed to be a form of music that was more commonly listened to in continental Europe than in Scandinavia, or the US. I therefore made a joke that when Europeans land on Mars, they will do it to electronic music, and that was the beginning of the idea for the story.

4. What are you working on at the moment?

Early this year I finished a novel about love, personal agency and climate change, tentatively titled Landscapes, Fragments, which is currently under consideration by publishers. I most recently finished editing the follow-up to that novel, which is set in a city drowned by flooding and is about what happens to the teams who try to clean up in a severely affected disaster area.

5. Who are some of your own favourite writers?

Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges, JK Huysmans, Henrik Ibsen, Ian McEwan, John Banville, Grace Ingoldby, Naoyuki Ii, Irmelin Sandman Lilius, Jean Baudrillard, Albert Camus, Edgar Allan Poe, Ursula LeGuin, Ray Bradbury, Jeff VanderMeer, Paul Jessup, Kathy Fish, Ethel Rohan, Kristine Ong Muslim, Aliette de Bodard, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, to mention some of them.

6. What do you have coming out next?

The first on the event horizon is an experimental short story which is a homage to the “cozy” British crime series Midsomer Murders. The series has been aired on TV since the dawn of time, even here in Scandinavia. Midsomer Murder’s not as sharp as some of the more recent British crime series, such as Broadchurch and Hinterland/Y Gwyll, but I like it a lot and wanted to write a homage to it. The short story will be published online by Wyvern Lit.

In the fall one of my flash fiction stories, “Sovetskoye Champanskoye,” set during the Cold War and originally published in SmokeLong Quarterly, will be reprinted in W.W. Norton’s Flash Fiction International Anthology.


Uko Bendi Udo

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in Nigeria and now reside in the USA. I’ve written for several online and print publications here in the US and England. I lean towards the eclectic in both my writing and literature. When I’m not reading books, I’m busy reading life.

2. Tell us a little about your story.

“The Foreigner” is my first stab at the scifi genre. I imagined a landscape where space travel and new forms of humans proliferate. How would these new developments change or not change things?

3. What was the inspiration for the story?

Daydreaming.

4. What are you working on at the moment?

Several short stories I’ve not had time to get to.

5. Who are some of your own favourite writers?

Little-known writers on literary websites like naijastories.com, thenakedconvos.com, etc. A name comes to mind: Uche Okonkwo.

6. What do you have coming out next?

A short story that’s giving me a hard time. Even here in Spain it’s still playing hard-to-get. But I’ll get it. Stay tuned.


1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in Manila and have lived in Beijing and Sydney. I’m currently in Hong Kong. I work in a university during the day and write at night. I hang out at writing events in the city, I’ve been involved in the local theatre scene, and I occasionally perform and record as a guitarist with a band.

2. Tell us a little about your story.

Human beings who let ghosts possess their bodies for a fee, and a boy who has to come to terms with his relationship with his father and his friend J.G. It’s my first spec fic story set in Hong Kong, back when I wrote it in early 2012. It took me so long because Hong Kong has a very rich ghost culture, traditional and pop, and I didn’t want to add to something so saturated already, but I ended up doing it anyway. Ghosts just lend themselves so well to this city -it’s so cramped here.

3. What was the inspiration for the story?

The transactional nature of many aspects of life in Hong Kong and the emotional core you find in it anyway, seen in the invisible lives ghosts have in the same spaces we inhabit. A lot like the Helen Dunmore poem about lilacs.

4. What are you working on at the moment?

A novel, unsurprisingly.

5. Who are some of your own favourite writers?

Michel Faber, Jeanette Winterson, Emma Donoghue, Alessandro Baricco, Javier Marias, Jennifer Egan, Aimee Bender, Jeff Vandermeer, Keigo Higashino, Jonathan Carroll, Angela Carter, Peter Carey, Mark Danielewski.

6. What do you have coming out next?

I have a short story titled “Anthropomorpha” coming out in Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume 9.

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