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The Apex Book of World SF (The Apex Book of World SF #1)

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  137 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
The world of speculative fiction is expansive; it covers more than one country, one continent, one culture. Collected here are sixteen stories penned by authors from Thailand, the Philippines, China, Israel, Pakistan, Serbia, Croatia, Malaysia, and other countries across the globe. Each one tells a tale breathtakingly vast and varied, whether caught in the ghosts of the pa ...more
Paperback, 287 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Apex Publications
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Oct 30, 2015 Wealhtheow rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy
A collection of sci fi, fantasy, and horror from all over the world. Some was written in English, others translated.

I didn't like most of these stories. Some were too surreal for me to get a handle on what was happening and, even more importantly, why I should care (most obvious example: Zoran Zivkovic's "Compartments," in which the main character walks through train compartments and various characters tell him stories). Others were too obvious and cliched for my tastes (ex: Yang Ping's "Wizard
Aug 09, 2010 Steven rated it liked it
The Apex Book of World SF is an ambitious project that, mostly, succeeds despite its difficulties. [Full disclosure: I read the electronic version, which does not include the story "Compartments", and that I reformatted the ePub version for the publisher immediately prior to reading the anthology.]

Many of the stories suffer from slight translation quirks - unusual turns of phrase, a slight stutter in the flow of words. They are not errors as such, but seem slightly awkward to an ear raised on Un
Barry King
Feb 12, 2013 Barry King rated it really liked it
A well-rounded collection of tales. While "World SF" would seem to imply a sampling of stories clearly fixed to one region or another, I got the distict feeling that most of these are bridge tales, stories that find a means of crossing cultural gaps by a variety of means. An analogue is in the comparison between ethnographic musical sampling with studio-produced "world music" where fusion of traditional styles with modern global styles of sound production produces a kind of music that transcends ...more
I love science fiction but have often lamented the lack of diversity in the field. The genre’s authors, protagonists and subject matter are unremittingly Anglo and western European, at least in terms of works the American audience has easy access to. Therefore when I stumbled upon this short story collection at GenCon last summer, I snatched it up immediately. Science fiction lends itself particularly well to the short story form, so the selection of this format to introduce worthy authors from ...more
GUD Magazine
According to author James Gunn, in an essay in World Literature Today, Volume 84, Number 3, May/June 2010, "To consider science fiction in countries other than the United States, one must start from these shores. American science fiction is the base line against which all the other fantastic literatures in languages other than English must be measured."

Gunn justifies this claim by stating that only in 1926 New York did SF become a distinct genre, then, curiously, punctures his own argument by re
Sean O'Hara
The Apex Book of World SF is a mixed bag. It has a good variety of authors -- much better than the old The World Treasury of Science Fiction, which had a heavy emphasis on Anglophone authors -- but many of the stories fall flat. However, the best stories -- The Bird Catcher, Wizard World, and Into the Night -- make up for the duds.

(Note: The ebook doesn't contain Compartments by Zoran Zivkovic)

S.P. Somtow - The Bird Catcher *****: A young boy in post-War Thailand befriends a serial killer. There
Mar 29, 2010 David rated it really liked it
This is a collection of 15 short stories from non-US/UK writers. While several stories fall into the traditional SF category, some are straight fantasy/horror, and a couple are hard to describe. Reading this collection is sort of like sampling from a buffet of foreign dishes you've never tried before: some of the offerings are familiar, some are unfamiliar but delicious, and a few are just odd and unappealing. There are a couple that probably read much better in the language from which they were ...more
I didn't feel inspired to write about each story in this anthology. I think I didn't always feel capable, like I'd necessarily fully understood enough to really comment or criticize. And to be completely honest, I didn't always like some of them enough to have much to say. But others were great. Or disturbing. Or kind of fascinating. Some that I didn't like were all of those and some that I did like were all of those. And Aliette de Bodard's Xuya story was just great, pretty much everyone seems ...more
Some of these are better than others, ("The Bird Catcher" and "The Levantine Experiment" are the ones that stay with me as particularly good, though both are horror stories more than anything, which isn't usually my cup of tea,) though none stood out as really awful. A few were overly familiar, perhaps. The collection seems to lean more in the direction of , evocative atmosphere and character pieces than more plot/concept based stories, despite the nominal 'SF' in the title (I guess the S is for ...more
Jan 31, 2016 Erika rated it it was amazing

A collection of short stories in the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres from authors from countries the Western world is not used to reading.
A fascinating collection and well worth reading, even the stories that don 19t quite work. The were all interesting and challenging and reengaged my interest in the genres again, it was so refreshing to get different cultural perspectives than I am used to.

"The Bird Catcher" by S.P. Somtow, Thailand
A modern version of the Boogeyman and the conditi
Mar 13, 2010 Donald rated it really liked it
Shelves: writer-reads, shorts, 2010
The cover of this one has a quote by Frederik Pohl: “These voices deserve to be heard.” Simply stated and I agree.

I’ve taken my time with this anthology of authors who represent a good many countries and societies. It is not something to read quickly like a paper-wrapped burger, but rather to savor like a high-priced lamb dish. Some highlights follow:

The Bird Catcher by S.P. Somtow introduces the idea that you can buy a bird to release yourself from the cage of karma. But the bird’s wings are cl
Jun 30, 2014 Peter rated it it was ok
A collection of short stories from authors from or in different parts of the world than the traditional sources of western SF. Some are science fiction, some fantasy, some horror.

I actually won a free copy of this ebook as part of a bundle that I was given a free copy of, but I do like reading SF from different perspectives, and people from other cultures can certainly have that, so I was excited about this more than anything else in the bundle. I was a little disappointed, because of the defini
Alison C
Mar 18, 2015 Alison C rated it liked it
The Apex Book of World SF, edited by Lavie Tidhar, is, as the title suggests, an anthology of sf/f short stories and novellas by mostly non-Western authors, many of whom North American readers will not have run across before. I've found, however, that it is best to take these stories a few at a time - for whatever reason, I've been having difficulty reading the entire volume back-to-back, and therefore don't yet have a full picture of the quality of the work. Having read about half of the storie ...more
Pablo Flores
Feb 25, 2015 Pablo Flores rated it really liked it
Rating this book is not straightforward, since it's a collection of totally unrelated stories, of different genres (science fiction and fantasy/horror, mostly), written by very different authors. But it's not difficult if this kind of variety is what you're looking for. I didn't like every story, of course. Among the better ones I'd rate two horror tales: S. P. Somtow's The Bird Catcher and Kaaron Warren's Ghost Jail; one in the alternate history genre: Aliette de Bodard's The Lost Xuyan Bride; ...more
Tyrannosaurus regina
It's rare I give an anthology more than three stars, just due to averaging out the weak and strong stories, but this one was fairly consistently strong for me, tipping the scales to the upper end. There is a tremendous mix of stories, though most seem to have been originally written in English (with just a few in translation, and of those the majority were translated by the author). If pressed to choose a favourite--okay, let me have two--they would probably be "L’Aquilone du Estrellas (The Kite ...more
Mar 19, 2010 Rob rated it really liked it
...So how successful is this collection? As the editor points out in the introduction the The Apex Book of World SF is geographically speaking incomplete. The focus is mostly on Europe and Asia so there is much more territory to explore. Tidhar has managed to gather a bunch of quality stories though, and he hints that this may be the first part of a larger project. What he has presented so far certainly leads me to believe there are more of such jewels to be uncovered outside the anglophone sphe ...more
Jun 01, 2015 Gary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When i picked this book up, I first thought, "Are these stories going to be too exotic, originating from other cultures?" Then I realized how stupid that was: most sci-fi is inherently about other cultures (and 100% of fantasy is).

Anyway, I found the stories very accessible. Some might be more appreciated if the reader understood more of the culture out of which the story arose (e.g., the satirical "Excerpt From a Letter by a Social-Realist Aswan"). But most of the stories were OK, a couple were
Catherine Siemann
Sep 09, 2010 Catherine Siemann rated it really liked it
The idea of an anthology of speculative fiction from all over the world is a vital one; imagining the future from a purely Anglo-American perspective is far too limiting. As with most anthologies, there are stories that are fairly ordinary, but there are also some real standouts. The ones that have stuck with me, as I read this collection slowly over the period of nearly a month, are first and foremost S. P. Somtow's chilling and vivid "The Bird Catcher" (Thailand), Dean Francis Alfar's lovely f ...more
Soh Kam Yung
Dec 30, 2013 Soh Kam Yung rated it liked it
An okay collection of stories, not all SF or Fantasy (some horror thrown in), that attempts to showcase fiction from a non-Anglo (Western) perspective. It partially succeeds, with some stories, like SP Somtow's "The Bird Catcher" having a definite asian (non-Western) feel.

One story that I was delighted to read, although not SF, was Tunku Halim's "Biggest Baddest Bomoh", which dropped me back into Malaysia (my home country) like a good Lat cartoon drawing. (You have to be Malaysian/Singaporean an
Feb 22, 2015 Angela added it
Mostly good except for the fact that they played a dirty trick on me at the end of the book. The very last story in my copy of the e-book only gives you the first paragraph or so of the story and then tells me that If I want to read the rest of the story I need to get my hands on the print copy of the book. This would have been useful information to have before I bought the book not when I'm almost finished it. Since it was just one story I won;t be bothering to try to find said print copy and i ...more
Nov 02, 2014 Marri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
A two star review looks bad, but two stars apparently means "it was okay," which it was. I'll be honest in saying I expected more. None of the stories really inspired or captivated me. A few were interesting. Some were unimpressive and I read through them quickly.

A note to prospective readers: Several stories were quite light on, or only incidentally had, science fiction elements, which isn't what I expected from a "science fiction" anthology. Speculative fiction might be a better label for sev
José Vázquez
Jul 23, 2016 José Vázquez rated it it was ok
Demasiado irregular para mi gusto, apenas se salvan tres o cuatro relatos (y de ellos el de Aliette de Bodard ya lo conocía) y el resto me han resultado bastante flojos. Supongo que un nuevo caso de gestión de expectativas. Esperaba más CF y un tipo de historias menos canónicas y no he obtenido ni una cosa ni la otra.
Jun 13, 2016 Michael rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Although well written and intriguing in some cases, it seemed to me only a few of the stories included could definitely fall into the category of "sci-fi" as advertised. Most of them seemed to either be pure fantasy or horror, and it just wasn't what I was expecting from a book with SF in the title.
Matt Bitonti
Jun 07, 2016 Matt Bitonti rated it really liked it
Shelves: new-sci-fi
Several great short stories, some more horror or fantasy than science fiction. Aliette de Bodard had a page turner. My favorite was the Alexander Ziljak, which is also available through their magazine for free:
Roy Kenagy
Sep 07, 2016 Roy Kenagy rated it really liked it
Shelves: done-2016
Most notable is that all of the the stories in this collection are set on a slightly askew Earth, not on distant galaxies: a science fiction of anthropology, not physics. Highly recommended, if only as a glimpse beyond the Western mind-set.
Mike McArtor
Sep 27, 2010 Mike McArtor rated it liked it
Some of these stories are really inventive and fun. Some are pretty boring. I wonder if the difference between fun and meh in the translated works are due more to the abilities of the translators rather than of the writers?
Jesse Field
Oct 24, 2014 Jesse Field rated it really liked it
A few free stories available here; the Han Song story is worth the whole book as far as I'm concerned. Yang Ping's, not so much. Still going through the others.
Oct 29, 2009 paula marked it as to-read
Because it turns out, Israelis can write SF. Arabs can write SF. Filipinos can write SF. And I swear to god, the Low Countries ARE SF. Plus, a story called "Biggest Baddest Bomoh" is something I gotta read.
Feb 14, 2010 Marsha rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Marsha by: post on boing boing
This is a first rate collection of international science fiction from writers that are rarely experienced in the US. The collection is very creative, and many of these pieces are excellent. Very worth reading.
Aug 06, 2016 Hazel is currently reading it
Another purchase from the Kobo 50% sale.

I have been reading bits and pieces of this collection here and there. I haven't gotten around to coalescing my thoughts on each individual story.
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Lavie Tidhar was raised on a kibbutz in Israel. He has travelled extensively since he was a teenager, living in South Africa, the UK, Laos, and the small island nation of Vanuatu.

Tidhar began publishing with a poetry collection in Hebrew in 1998, but soon moved to fiction, becoming a prolific author of short stories early in the 21st century.

Temporal Spiders, Spatial Webs won the 2003 Clarke-Bradb
More about Lavie Tidhar...

Other Books in the Series

The Apex Book of World SF (4 books)
  • The Apex Book of World SF 2 (Apex Book of World SF #2)
  • The Apex Book of World SF 3 (Apex Book of World SF #3)
  • The Apex Book of World SF 4 (Apex Book of World SF #4)

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