The Apex Book of World SF 1

Lavie Tidhar
The Apex Book of World SF 1 Cover

The Apex Book of World SF 1


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 around the world was brilliant.

I had not heard of any of these writers before. Short bios let the reader know that many of these authors have won literary prizes in their own countries, and two, Zoran Zivkovic, and S.P. Somtow, are World Fantasy Award winners. The quality of the writing shows these awards are justified, but the styles in which the stories were written varied widely. Some leaned a bit too close to horror for my taste ("The Bird Catcher" and "Ghosts") and many were more mystical than most scifi I have read ("Compartments" and "Elegy"). I particularly enjoyed "Transcendence Express" for its optimistic view of how technology can help the developing world leapfrog forward. Another gem was "The Wheel of Samsara" which perfectly suited its simple yet profound subject. "The Levantine Experiments" was disturbing and intriguing in equal measure, enough so that I looked up other writings by the author, Guy Hasson. Possibly my favorite was "An Evening in the City Coffee-House, With Lydia on My Mind," written in such a way that it kept me guessing as the true nature of what was happening up until the very end.

I would encourage anyone who considers him or herself a scifi fan to pick up this anthology. I would also recommend the highly informative review of this book by Andy Sawyer, that can be found here: