Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Can You Say Spec Fic in Romanian?

Good things come in bits and bloody pieces, I say.

When Booktopia texted me that my order had come in last week, I gleefully headed to the bookstore. Unfortunately, the heart is willing but the wallet is weak so I only managed to pick up half of my order. But oh, what an order it is!

  • Worlds Apart: Anthology of Russian SF and Fantasy: edited by Alexander Levitsky
  • The Book of Fantasy: edited by Jorge Luis Borge, Adolfo Bioy Casares, and Silvina Ocampo
  • Black Water 2: More Tales of the Fantastic: edited by Alberto Manguel
  • Foundations of Fear: edited by David Hartwell

As you've may noticed, am obsessed with anthologies at the moment. More bang for the buck, I say. However, I'm starting to notice a pattern with my obsession. For example, the three fantastical anthologies I got were decidedly international in cast whereas the sole horror anthology was more historical.

In terms of fantasy, maybe it's because I've gotten tired in "mainstream" fantasy's rather Western background-- i.e. fairy, Medieval type tales-- to the point that even a find like David Hartwell's Masterpieces of Fantasy and Enchantment doesn't hold much attraction for me. (As an example of what this would entail, see this TOC of the book.) I could be wrong but that's my impression.

This disinclination could explain why I like to seek certain stories like my previous post on non-US and UK anthologies-- i.e. Russian and Japanese anthos-- I've mentioned, as well as ordering new stuff like the SFWA European Hall of Fame by James and Kathryn Morrow, which compiles the best European SFF around. Likewise, aside from the Finnish Dedalus and Japanese anthos, there's also the upcoming Romanian antho, Millennium Est, edited by Horia Ursu and Jeff Vandermeer which I'm interested in getting.

(Of course, I have to add the disclaimer I'm still getting the Vandermeer-edited Best American Fantasy but that's another story altogether.)

On the other hand, I'm interested in reading the older non-supernatural horror stuff, like H.P. Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness" or Clive Barker's "The Hills, the Cities." So Hartwell's collection-- together with the companion antho, Dark Descent-- comes in handy if I want to get into what horror is all about. This coming from someone whose main experience with horror is reading Stephen King and Shirley Jackson.

Maybe this is because horror is more universal as opposed to fantasy's rather varied background? I remember UP Prof. Emil Flores saying Russian writers used to deal with a lot of hard SF while Latin America (and yes, the Philippines) has more experience with magical realism. Am not sure; will get back to you after I get back from my readings.

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