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THE APEX BOOK OF WORLD SF 4 Interviews: Meet Rocío Rincón, Nene Ormes, Bernardo Fernandez & Celeste Baker

Lavie Tidhar, the series editor for The Apex Book of World SF series has kindly asked us to share a series of interviews with the authors that have stories in the newest installment, The Apex Book of World SF 4.

Here’s the synopsis:

Now firmly established as the benchmark anthology series of international speculative fiction, volume 4 of The Apex Book of World SF sees debut editor Mahvesh Murad bring fresh new eyes to her selection of stories.

From Spanish steampunk and Italian horror to Nigerian science fiction and subverted Japanese folktales, from love in the time of drones to teenagers at the end of the world, the stories in this volume showcase the best of contemporary speculative fiction, wherever it’s written.

You can also check out the table of contents here!

Now on with the interviews!


ROCÍO RINCÓN

Rocío Rincón Fernández lives in Barcelona, has an MA in Audiovisual Translation and writes reviews of fantastic fiction for several webzines. She has published an essay on Doctor Who’s translation into Catalan and Spanish in the whovian non-fiction anthology Timey Wimeys (Mil Monos, 2014), the short story “The Lady of the Soler Colony” in the anthology The Best of Spanish Steampunk (Nevsky, 2015) and will feature a short story in the anthology Brujas: IV Antología de Relatos Fantásticos to be published in June, 2015 by Escuela de Fantasía.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

Rocío Rincón: I am a translator (currently working as a project manager) so I mostly live on nuances, speculations and relentless documentation. I enjoy walking, playing tabletop RPGs and watching roller derby. Until recently, and for almost two years, I also reviewed books for a website. It was a great chance to interview amazing authors, go outside my comfort zone when reading and start appreciating comic books a lot more.

Q: Tell us a little about the story selected for the anthology & what this story means to you & what it’s inspiration was

RR: “The Lady of the Soler Colony” probably has its roots on a high school’s field trip to the Güell Colony and Gaudí’s Crypt. I had always imagined the Industrial Revolution as something bleak but I could imagine a lot happening in that tiny town. The story mixes up some elements that I like. On one side, I have always been fond of big families and small communities and how closeness to others changes you. On the other, I have always thought that folklore is fundamental when you are a child. Finally, the idea of work and belief mixing up seems very attractive to me (maybe because part of my family has worked in the sea and the patron saints of fishers were part of their daily life). In the story, I wanted to play with half-remembered memories and freshly created folklore.

Q: Why do you write in the genre that you do?

RR: As a kid, I loved realist books that dealt with children my age. However, at the same time I was both fascinated and grossed out by mythology. It was the first topic that I researched on my own. I also had a soft spot for “Goosebumps” stories. Later, as a highly melodramatic teen, I learnt about fantastic realism: I came for the passionate romances and stayed for the babies with pig tails and the girls who could talk with spirits. It wasn’t until I finished high school that I started longing for the “pure” stuff (mostly epic fantasy at that time, sci-fi took longer for me). Now I associate fantastic elements with some of the best books I’ve read. I like myths and dream-like imagery to be a part of my stories, as they also caught my fancy in other people’s writings.

Q: What are you working on now & what do you have coming out next?

RR: At the moment, I am trying to write more and start developing a habit of it. I am working simultaneously on a short story (a Greek myth retelling) and a novella that could become a novel if it gets out of control (and I hope it does!). This Summer I will publish a story called “Cuerdas” (meaning “ropes” but also “sane women” in Spanish) in the fourth anthology Escuela de Fantasía is editing in Spain. The theme for this fourth volume is “witches”.

Q: Who are some of your favourite writers?

RR: While writers like Gabriel García Márquez, Jeffrey Eugenides and Terry Pratchett come to mind, I confess I have never been truly faithful to a single writer… Or I wasn’t, until I read Tanith Lee’s “Women as demons”. I haven’t even read half of her huge bibliography yet but I feel she was a very unique writer. She tackled fantasy, horror and sci-fi elegantly, and the quantity and quality of her work is breathtaking. I always find that her stories end too abruptly yet they still resonate deeply for me. I was very sorry to hear the news of her passing.

Q: What or who do you want to be next lifetime?

RR: A raccoon! They are very adaptable omnivores, have a great set of skills and spend a lot of time with their mothers. But I should be a spider, if only as a penance for the dislike I feel for arachnids in this life.


NENE ORMES

Nene Ormes has a past as an archaeologist and as a tourguide in Egypt where she earned her keep by telling tall tales of gods and heroes. She now lives in Malmö, Sweden, where she writes her stories and works in a genre bookstore, so apart from the weather not much have changed. Her debut novel Udda verklighet (Touched) is the first in a series of urban fantsies set in her home town. The second novel, Särskild (Dreamer) won her a culture award. “The Good Matter” takes place in the same world as the novels.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

Nene Ormes: I live in Malmö, Sweden, where I split my time between writing and working in a genre bookstore – so I’m a full time SFF geek in more ways than one. My way to writing was long and passed through a love for telling stories, doing live roleplaying, and a degree in archaeology and Egyptology. I spent a few years in Egypt as a tour guide, telling stories for a living and then I tried my hand at writing some. I debuted with the first novel I wrote, an urban fantasy set in Malmö, in 2010. That and its sequel earned me a regional culture award. I take that as encouragement to lure more people into the fantasy world and all the literature we have there.

Q: Tell us a little about the story selected for the anthology & what this story means to you & what it’s inspiration was

NO: As an archaeologist I always wondered who had held the objects I dug up, what they had thought about and done and felt. At the same time I passed an antique store on my way to work and sought about all those objects, none of them without a history and a previous owner, how it would be to know all their stories as well. And that’s when Gustav entered my urban fantasy universe with his ability to hold objects and feel their history.

To me that story is all about the senses and having memory as a sense too.

Q: Why do you write in the genre that you do?

NO: Fantasy and the like have always been my favorite read and I got bored with books that didn’t surprise me with new vistas and experiences. I read widely but really enjoyed the cross between our ordinary world and the fantastic and since urban fantasy can take place anywhere I wanted to show my city to the full fantasy potential that I saw in it when I moved here. I turned out that urban fantasy wasn’t a genre in Swedish literature before then so I got to show the way. And I continue to write that because the city continues to entice me to. But I do dabble in other parts of Fantastik as well.

Q: What are you working on now & what do you have coming out next?

NO: Due to illness my publishing schedule have been thrown out of whack and I don’t have a date for my next novel, but right now I’m working on the third instalment of my urban fantasy series.

Q: Who are some of your favourite writers?

NO: Among others: Karin Boye, Inger Edelfeldt, Karin Tidbeck, Aliette de Bodard, Mary Doria Russell, Max Gladstone, Sarah Waters, Jeanette Winterson.

Q: What or who do you want to be next lifetime?

NO: Either a meercat or an astronaut. To finally have fur, a tail and the uncomplicated life – or to finally get to go to space.


BERNARDO FERNANDEZ (BEF)

Bef (1972) is both a graphic and non graphic novelist. Among other books, he’s published three science fiction novels and a series of crime novels that have been translated into several languages (but yet not into English). One of his short stories is included in the noir fiction anthology Mexico City Noir, published by Akashic Books (NYC) and another one in Three Messages And A Warning, a Mexican SF/F short story anthology by Small Beer Press. His novels have been awarded several literary prizes in Mexico and Spain. His latest book is Uncle Bill, a graphic novel about the life and times of William Burroughs in Mexico. His twitter account is @monorama.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

Bernardo Fernandez: I’m a Mexican SF/Crime writer and graphic novelist.

Q: Tell us a little about the story selected for the anthology & what this story means to you & what it’s inspiration was

BF: It is an apocalyptic/romance story set in a near future Mexico City. It was inspired by a romantic break up back when I was young. It was the end of the world for me so I wrote it down.

Q: Why do you write in the genre that you do?

BF: Because I love SF and crime stories ever since I was a kid. Being related to comic books also, SF/F were always a strong influence on my work.

Q: What are you working on now & what do you have coming out next?

BF: I’m writing a new crime novel for an ongoing series I’d been publishing in Mexico. Also, a collection of my short stories will be published soon.

Q: Who are some of your favourite writers?

BF: Kurt Vonnegut, Mary Shelley, Philip K. Dick, Ed McBain, Julio Cortázar, Jorge Ibargüengoitia, José Luis Zárate, Eileen Gunn.

Q: What or who do you want to be next lifetime?

BF: A Tyrannosaurus Rex, or even better, an Allosaurus!


CELESTE BAKER

Celeste Rita Baker is a Virgin Islander who was born in New York and has been moving between the two for the last fifty years. Her short stories have appeared in The Caribbean Writer, Calabash, Scarab, Moko, Abyss and Apex, BSFS’s Genesis and Margin’s Magical Realism. Her short story collection, Back, Belly and Side was published by Aqueduct Press in April 2015. She lives in Harlem, New York and tries to return home at least once a year to refresh her soul. Carnival does that for her and so she offers this story, “Single Entry,” and hopes you enjoy it.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

Celeste Baker: I’m a 57 year old Black woman of Caribbean descent from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. I presently live in Harlem, NY with my husband. We have three children and two grandchildren. I work as a freelance bookkeeper and my husband is retired from a career in law. He is an artist and his art is on the cover of my first book, Back, Belly and Side.

Q: Tell us a little about the story selected for the anthology & what this story means to you & what it’s inspiration was.

CB: “Single Entry” is about the globe participating in a Carnival parade. I meant the tone to be light and fun, but it took a sad turn at the end. I realized it was a story about our neglect and mistreatment of the planet.

Q: Why do you write in the genre that you do?

CB: I prefer to write magical realism or speculative fiction because of the freedom it allows me to explore any issue. I can think about old subjects in new ways and hopefully readers can do the same.

Q: What are you working on now & what do you have coming out next?

CB: In addition to struggling through a painful speculative fiction novel about a Black woman in a futuristic New York City, I am working on a short story about people who have survived The Middle Passage, the shipping routes for captured and enslaved Africans to the Americas, by adapting to life in the ocean.

Q: Who are some of your favourite writers?

CB: I love to read the works of Octavia Butler, Sheree Renee Thomas, Andrea Hairston, Nalo Hopkinson, Nnedi Okorafor, NK Jemison many of the other Black women writers who are imaging new ways of being.

Q: What or who do you want to be next lifetime?

CB: I love that your question assumes I believe in reincarnation, which I do. In my next lifetime I believe I’ll be surrounded by my same ‘family circle’ and I hope that we are even happier together. I believe I’ll be a writer again, and I hope to be a better one.

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Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00007]

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About Kristin Centorcelli (842 Articles)
Kristin Centorcelli is the Associate Editor at SF Signal, proprietor of My Bookish Ways, a reviewer for Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly, and has also written for Crime Fiction Lover, Criminal Element, and Mystery Scene Magazine. She has been reviewing books since late 2010, in an effort to get through a rather immense personal library, while also discussing it with whoever will willingly sit still (and some that won’t).
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