Archive for May, 2012|Monthly archive page

Editorial – May 2012!

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2012 at 12:01 pm

First Editorial – May 2012!

Oh, my first ISF Editorial. Where to begin?

Let me just take a moment: “tap…tap…tap…opens the window, breathes deeply, mouth opened, arms spreaded: YESSSSSSSSS! Woho! Woha!”.

Ok, now we can really begin: it was certainly an intense first month for me and for everybody involved in ISF but, we believe, it was a great kick start towards success.

The first month is always the hardest one, but it felt so good! Even though we have just started, we have been visited by thousands of readers and we have been getting great feedback. So, without further ado, here is my “thank you” to every one of you that took the time to visit ISF and to read our short stories, articles and interviews.

Although the project started with all the team positions available, we were blessed with awesome short stories, articles and interviews featuring great international authors. ISF successfully published authors with different points of views regarding genre fiction and non-fiction. We are really proud of that achievement. We have surely learned how to walk. Now that the ISF Team is almost complete, we are ready to run! Hopefully, by the time we get the magazine to come out, we will be able to fly! 😉

And since we are talking about the magazine, here goes some info: the e-book magazine will be launched until the end of June featuring international acclaimed authors and new voices as well. The table of contents it’s closed and will feature authors like Aliette de Bodard and Cristian Mihail Teodorescu. And for a little bit of inside information, let me just say that the layout of the magazine is getting awesome!

In terms of short stories we have reached our expected goal for the first month:  4 short stories featuring Liviu Radu from Romania, Lavie Tidhar from Israel, Aliette de Bodard from France and Regina Catarino from Portugal.

As for the non-fiction section you can read about Science Fiction in Portugal and Croatia, as well as learn all about Speculative Fiction in Romania. Also, Judit Lörinczy presents a great interview to Cristian Mihail Teodorescu.

Well, that’s it for the site! New material will come out in June, just stay tuned 😉

This first editorial could not end without speaking about the ISF Team. Fábio Fernandes is the Non-Fiction Editor, João Paulo Sinal and Rafael Mendes are the Head Designers of the site, Joana Fernandes is the Pod-Cast director, Alexandra Rolo is the editor of the official ISF Facebook page, Ana Cristina Rodrigues and Ana Raquel Margato are the slush readers and Ana Ferreira is the Magazine Designer. Also, Ellen Datlow and Paul di Filippo joined the ISF Consultant Panel! Read the rest of this entry »


Ellen Datlow – ISF Team

In News on May 25, 2012 at 10:40 am

Yes, it is true: the ISF Team is almost complete! Therefore, we will start publishing some small presentation texts of each new member of the Team. First we present to all of you readers and enthusiastic’s of ISF the first text by Ellen Datlow. I am delighted that Ellen accepted my invitation to be a part of the ISF Consultant Panel. She will definitively help us to improve!

So, on behalf of ISF,  thank you very much Ellen!

Roberto Mendes

“Although I’ve edited novels by Jonathan Carroll and Paul McAuley, I’m primarily a short story editor. I’ve edited science fiction, fantasy, and horror for OMNI Magazine and OMNI online, for Event Horizon (a webzine), and SCIFICTION, the fiction section of the SCI FI Channel’s website. In addition I’ve been editing anthologies of reprint and original material solo, and with various co-editors (most often with Terri Windling). I edited the horror half of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror for twenty-one years and have been editing The Best Horror of the Year going on five years. Having done so, I’ve probably read (or at least skimmed) almost every horror story published in the past twenty-five years.

During my years at OMNI Magazine I published a couple of Japanese stories and a Russian story appearing in English for the first time. During my travels and on the internet I have met genre writers in Romania, Israel, Philippines, Finland, Poland, the Ukraine, India, France,  Japan, and other countries.

Although US short story editors have always been interested in publishing non-English language stories in our magazines and anthologies, the cost and difficulties of getting good translations has been a major sticking point. So it’s with great pleasure that this has begun to change in the past five years. A new generation of genre writers whose first language is not English has increasingly made their presence known to English readers and are bringing fresh perspectives to the fields of the fantastic.

I’m delighted to support the new webzine, International Speculative Fiction, which is dedicated to bringing free international fiction to readers.”

Ellen Datlow


New ISF Article: second part of “Short (Hi)Story of Romanian Speculative Fiction”

In Article on May 21, 2012 at 1:34 pm

As promised, here it is the  second part of the article by Cătălin Badea-Gheracostea called “Short (Hi)Story of Romanian Speculative Fiction”. In the second part of this article, Cătălin speaks about Dan Dobos!

This great pamphlet of Romanian Speculative Fiction was presented in Croatia, during the

Eurocon 2012, and aims to “raise awareness, to inform and to be liked”.

We will present the full pamphlet in a series of chapters, published once a week.

The Editor in Chief: Roberto Mendes


Short (Hi)Story of Romanian Speculative Fiction

told for strangers, aliens and secluded scholars


Cătălin Badea-Gheracostea


(Second Part of the Article)


A Case Study: Dan Doboş

One Breath on Manner

An attentive reader, or only just another Romanian scholar or even a Romanian cultural journalist, might say that my look over the last 20 years of Romanian speculative fiction is very partisan as it shows only writers who have their debut after 1989. It is true, the previous generations’ writers published too in the given period of time, some of them – their best books. However, I think it is important to see the new seeds of every season, so I will keep this convention: one writer will be shown with all his books in the chapter of his debut’s generation.

One of the common fears of any historian and, in this case, of a storyteller, is that the very same thing could have been (better) said using other words, examples, books, authors, all in one, using other references. Choosing of whom you are talking is a privilege, but also a curse. I would rather stay privileged, so I am going to use Dan Doboş and his books as examples of an in-depth presentation and analysis.

Dan Doboş, The Human

The „Person” or the „Man” were my first two choices, yet „The Human” sounds better to describe a speculative and science fiction writer fromRomania, in 2012.

See www.dandobos.ro, the personal site of my case study and you realise why: all of a sudden you get to know him with his family life, with his job and profession, with likes and dislikes, with a full joy of being here and now shared with the world not only by his books, but definitely supporting the creation of these books.

There is no English page, so I’ll be the guide.

The home page bears the name of the site, Dan Doboş – Digital Abode (… – sălaş digital), with an interesting choice of a photo for background – ruined walls under a scorching sun, in a desert… Above and underneath, two taskbars with six and four buttons to click for the site’s content. The page itself is a classical two asymmetrical columns space with the newest articles or opinions Dan Doboş has written balanced with the trivia links and likes a respected site should have.

Clicking on the bars is where the fun begins: above we have a „Bio”, a „Biblio”, one „DemNet”, one „Magazin”, plus one „Trilogia Abaţia” (The Abbey Trilogy) entries. This is the writer’s portal, very neat, very professional. Underneath, four buttons with a more relaxed style: “Goodies and Meanies” (“Bunătăţi şi răutăţi”), „Left Biffs” („Directe de stânga”), „Mentations and sci-fi” („Panseuri şi sefeuri”) and „I lose weight writing” („Slăbesc scriind”).

Continue Reading in ISF


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Fourth ISF Short Story – Aliette de Bodard

In Short Story on May 14, 2012 at 6:20 pm

The ISF is proud to present a short story by Aliette de Bodard. “Butterfly, Falling at Dawn” is a breathtaking story, first published in Interzone and reprinted in Year’s Best Science Fiction. Now this beautiful story is published for free reading, available for everybody.

Roberto Mendes

Editor in Chief


Aliette de Bodard

Originally published in Interzone 219, November 2008

Reprinted in Year’s Best Science Fiction, July 2009

Republished by permission of the author

Even seen from afar, the Mexica District in Fenliu was distinctive: tall, white-washed buildings clashing with the glass-and-metal architecture of the other skyscrapers. A banner featuring Huitzilpochtli, protector god of Greater Mexica, flapped in the wind as my aircar passed under the security gates. The god’s face was painted as dark as blood.

A familiar sight, even though I’d turned my back on the religion of my forefathers a lifetime ago. I sighed, and tried to focus on the case ahead. Zhu Bao, the magistrate in charge of the district, had talked me into taking on this murder investigation because he thought I would handle the situation better than him, being Mexica-born.

I wasn’t quite so sure.

The crime scene was a wide, well-lit dome room on the last floor of3454 Hummingbird avenue, with the highest ceiling I had ever seen. The floor was strewn with hologram pedestals, though the holograms were all turned off.

A helical stair led up to a mezzanine dazzlingly high, somewhere near the top of the dome. At the bottom of those stairs, an area had been cordoned off. Within lay the body of a woman, utterly naked. She was Mexica, and about thirty years old–she could have been my older sister. Morbidly fascinated, I let my eyes take in everything: the fine dust that covered the body, the yellow makeup she’d spread all over herself, the soft swell of her breasts, the unseeing eyes still staring upwards.

I looked up at the railing high above. I guessed she’d fallen down. Broken neck, probably–though I’d have to wait for the lab people to be sure.

Continue Reading in ISF


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ISF Short Story – Aliette de Bodard

New ISF Article – Science Fiction in Croatia by Aleksandar Žiljak

In Article on May 14, 2012 at 9:15 am

The ISF is proud to present an overview of Science Fiction in Croatia, written by Science Fiction and Fantasy writer and illustrator from Zagreb, Aleksandar Žiljak .

The Editor in Chief:

Roberto Mendes

Science Fiction in Croatia

Aleksandar Žiljak

Translated into English by the Author.

1. The Beginnings

Although the elements of fantastic and speculative (as far as science in the modern sense is concerned) in the Croatian literature can be traced back to the years immediately before and after World War I (for instance, the novel Crveni ocean (The Red Ocean, 1918/1919) by Marija Jurić – Zagorka and the story “Red Tank” by Vladimir Nazor), it is generally agreed today that the first true Croatian SF novel was Na Pacifiku 2255. (On the Pacific in 2255) byMilan Šufflay, first serialised in 1924 and re-issued in a book-form in 1998.

In 1932, Mato Hanžeković published Gospodin čovjek (A Man of Rank), a utopia about a group of people rebuilding the civilisation destroyed in a new world war. Even more novels and stories appeared inZagreb during the 1920s and 1930s, mostly by authors using pen-names, initials, or altogether omitting to sign themselves.

Claimed by some authorities to be the best are Muri Massanga (1927) by Mladen Horvat, and a series of novels by Aldion Degal (a pseudonym of Josip Smolčić): Atomska raketa (The Atomic Rocket), Zrake smrti (The Death Rays) and Smaragdni skarabej (The Emerald Scarab), all dating from early 1930s.

Also worthy of mention is the novel Majstor Omega osvaja svijet (The Omega Master Conquers the World) by Stan Rager, serialised in 1940. Stan Rager was a pseudonym used by Stanko Radovanović and Zvonimir Furtinger (whom we’ll encounter later) writing in tandem. Very little is known of these texts today, most of them being serialised in newspapers and magazines. They are seldom available and they need to be more thoroughly studied and critically evaluated. The same goes for some proto-SF works dating as far back as the Renaissance.

Better appreciated are the early Croatian SF comics from the 1930s. The first-ever was Gost iz svemira (The Guest from Outer Space) by Božidar Rašić and Leontije Bjelski, published in 1935 in Zagreb, and followed by Krešimir Kovačić’s and Andrija Maurović’s Ljubavnica s Marsa (The Mistress from Mars) and Podzemna carica (The Underground Empress).

Continue Reading in ISF


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Third ISF Short Story – Regina Catarino (Portugal)

In Short Story on May 14, 2012 at 8:48 am

The first piece of fiction presented today is “Space Oddity” featuring Portuguese short fiction writer Regina Catarino. “Space Oddity” was first published in Portuguese in the first number of a magazine that I edited called “Conto Fantástico” and was a success in the opinion of Portuguese readers and reviewers of the magazine. As the title already reveals, it is a story influenced by David Bowie’s music.

I really like Regina’s ability to tell great stories using only a  small amount of words.

Today we will also publish a short story  by Aliette de Bodard, another one of my favorite writers of the moment!

The Editor In Chief:

Roberto Mendes


Regina Catarino (Portugal)

The countdown begins.

I am strapped to my seat, waiting for lift-off. I wonder what you’re doing now?

A few seconds later, the brutal acceleration smashes me against my seat. How many G’s? I really don’t know.

I’m leaving without knowing very well if or how will I return. This is an old ship, repaired at the last minute for this urgent mission with isolating panels, fixed way too quick and carelessly. I would almost bet they used staples and duct tape instead of the proper titanium alloy rivets that were supposed to – that would have taken a lot more hours than those actually spent.

I wasn’t supposed to be here. My shift had already ended but the other pilot had the flu. For once, they really needed me. And I could never say no to a request for help.


Time slides silently. I hum a song which name I cannot remember while I perform routine tasks. All seems to be going well. For now, at least.


I’ve dropped the satellite in the right orbit and I’m now delivering the supplies to the Space Station. Those folks sound really anxious for whatever I’m bringing. They seemed very happy to see me arriving at the docking station.


Hmm.  An alarm on the console. I was expecting that… I turn off the audio and nothing’s left but an orange light blinking sadly, in an almost frustrated manner.


Finished unloading. The space station astronauts hugged me gratefully and rushed in to open the containers. I wonder what was in it? Food? Books? Music? I have no idea. Time to go back, now.


Continue Reading in ISF


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3rd Short Story – Regina Catarino

10 Questions to Cristian Mihail Teodorescu (Romania)

In Interview on May 11, 2012 at 9:17 am

The ISF is proud to present an interview to Cristian Mihail Teodorescu, one of the great Romanian authors. This interview was kindly delivered to ISF by Cristian Tamas and it is a translation (by Cristian Tamas as well) of an interview made by Judit Lörinczy (Hungary) for the Romanian week on SFmag.hu. It is here published in English in its full extend for the first time. Some selected parts were published in English in SFmag.hu and the entire interview was published in Romanian on www.srsff.ro/ .

Many thanks to Judit Lörinczy for the great work promoting International authors on SFmag.hu.

The Editor in Chief:

Roberto Mendes

Cristian Mihail Teodorescu (Romania) : Interview for The romanian SF week (march 2012) – Judit Lörinczy (Hungary, SFmag.hu)


1. Why do you write science fiction and/or fantasy ?

It is maybe because this was always my favourite kind of litterature. Being at the same time a scientist, I feel intelectually well represented by this kind of knowledge, no matter if this implies an active role (i.e. a producer) or a passive (consumer) role.

2. When did you start writing, please, tell me a few words about your personal background, about your inspirations.

I start writing at the beginning of 1980s, when during my high school years. I already told you that my personal background is a scientific one, I owned a PhD degree in Chemical Physics and I was fascinated since I was about 10 years old by modern physics, i.e. relativity theory and quantum mechanics, especially by the fact that ‘normal’ people’s understanding was beyond these notions.

3. What did you publish until now, novel(s), short stories? What do you work on now ?

Until now I published two short stories collections. I wrote four novels until now, but did not consider yet that any of them is really ready to be published. I am working now on the improvement of the last one, who is some original continuation of Lem’s Cyberiad.

4. What are your favorite subjects, what do you like to write about? (If it possible, it would be good the hear about the main themes, the ideas of some published works, maybe a short plot of a novel also would be good. I think SF-F is the literature of ideas, and in Hungary we hardly would be able to get to know our Romanian colleague’s works, but we are interested in ideas… so what kind of ideas occupy nowadays the Romanian SF-F writers?)

It is impossible to give here a short answer to a such sophisticated inquiry, whereas a long answer is time consuming for me and for the readers as well, without bringing anything else than a wan idea of what it should really represent. I already mentioned continuating some masterworks in somehow an original way, by integrating modern litterary ressources (including textualism) and modern scientific conceptions (i.e. dark matter, parallel universes, modern puzzling theories of gravity etc.). Working on such a subject is quite fascinating. In my opinion, there are quite a few masterworks which might be ‘reloaded’ by integrating new ideas and significations in the existing framework.

5. What do you think, is the moral message important in a fantasy/science fiction story, or it’s only/main goal is to entertain the readers ?

I would replace ‘moral’ by ‘philosophical’ or ‘humanistic’ before answering ‘yes, it is important’. Entertainement is just the base rhythm, keeping readers connected to the story, but the finality – if any – is completely different.

Continue reading…

ISF Facebook Page

In Uncategorized on May 10, 2012 at 9:56 am

We now have an official Facebook page, that will be managed by Alexandra Rolo (Portugal). Our Facebook page will publish news about our authors, links to our articles and short stories and much more.

Please do pay us a visit and click the “Like” button;)


Roberto Mendes

New ISF Article by Cătălin Badea-Gheracostea – “Short (Hi)Story of Romanian Speculative Fiction”

In Article on May 7, 2012 at 6:04 pm

The ISF is proud to present a series of articles by Cătălin Badea-Gheracostea called “Short (Hi)Story of Romanian Speculative Fiction”.
This great pamphlet of Romanian Speculative Fiction was presented in Croatia, during the Eurocon 2012, and aims to “raise awareness, to inform and to be liked”. Starting off today, we will present the full pamphlet in a series of chapters, published once a week.

Roberto Mendes

ISF Editor in Chief


Short (Hi)Story of

Romanian Speculative Fiction

told for strangers,

aliens and secluded scholars


Cătălin Badea-Gheracostea

 The Reassess before The Start

It is the Romanian way of doing things, or at least we like to consider it so, to ponder right at the beginning of an endeavour, in the very moment when others would say “Go!”. In other words, we shall start this run through Romanian Speculative Fiction with a “Stop!”. I believe it is not only a matter of style, of national identity, but this will help the reader enter the right frame of mind for the journey he or she will take with us.

There are three purposes of this pamphlet and all can be better fulfilled if all are taken simultaneously into consideration. The first is to raise awareness, the second is to inform, the third is to be liked. A pamphlet has some liberties that an academic paper has not and in these liberties lies sometimes a faster comprehension. One of these liberties will be the lighter writing, prone to bring smiles on the readers’ lips. Another might be the fast-forward (fast-backward, in this very case) approach, which is suggested primarily by the almost non-existing translations of Romanian writings with “speculative fiction/SF” label on them. To present 200 years of literature, no matter how thin the niche might be, is a work for a storyteller, because there is the need to summarize subjects, novels, tendencies. That storyteller better brace himself and I, in his role, have to ask my reader for tolerance, promising I will not give away too many of an abstract term and judgement, letting the entry Romania from The Encyclopaedia of Science Fiction by John Clute, to end that mission (www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/romania).

One, two more things before we actually start storytelling about Romanian SF: unlike the “normal” history of a literature which starts at the beginning of the beginning, this pamphlet gives a fall back approach, considering that the present is more important than the past, without diminishing the causalities in all their extra- and intra-literary forms and without disrespecting any of the “Founding Fathers”, or Mothers, whomever they might have been. Also, unlike other (hi)stories, this would bring in the front line/front pages the other historians, critics and theorisers: without them to have fun storytelling the Romanian speculative fiction would be a multi-layered superficial attempt.

Download the PDF. Version:

Cătălin Badea – Short (Hi)Story of Romanian Speculative Fiction

12 pages long

Second ISF Short Story – Lavie Tidhar (Israel)

In Short Story on May 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm


The International Speculative Fiction is proud to present its second short story. After Liviu Radu from Romania, we now offer you a beautiful short piece of fiction by Lavie Tidhar from Israel, one of the most important authors’s when it comes to international speculative fiction.

I believe you will find this short story to really suit the spirit of ISF!

Roberto Mendes

ISF Editor in Chief

Lavie Tidhar (Israel)


When the aliens come you are watching television in a bar in a South Pacific island and it’s hot outside; it’s sweltering. There is a whole delegation of different aliens and you watch them as they meet the Chinese president inBeijing. Al-Jazeera cuts to shots of the American president looking kind of lost on his own inCamp David. A commentator says, cheerfully, that at least now the president can work on his golf swing.

The aliens are obviously of different species. One looks like a classic alien, big eyes like a cat and an elongated face and no ears and his skin is grey. Another one has tentacles. One alien is entirely enclosed in something metallic the commentator says is an exo-skeleton. You order another beer.


All rights reserved by the author.




ISF – Short Story – Lavie Tidhar

“Osama” Cover Art: Pedro Piedade Marques

All rights reserved by the author.