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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Guest Post: A Journey in Words to The End of the Road with Jonathan Oliver

This morning's guest among the ruins is a man who should need no introduction to regular readers . . . but I'll give him one anyway. Jonathan Oliver is the editor-in-chief of Solaris and Abaddon, with his four anthologies for Solaris having received widespread critical acclaim and awards nominations. Last year's Magic: An Anthology of the Esoteric and Arcane was my first real introduction to his editorial magic, but it is this fall's The End of the Road: An Anthology of Original Fiction that brings him by.

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A Journey in Words

Admittedly, in literary terms, I’m possibly not the most well-traveled of readers. Most of the works I've read, and most of the works I grew up reading, have either been English or American in origin. There have been diversions along the way to read translations of such writers as Jean Rhys, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Paulo Coelho, but on the whole my reading experience has fallen into one or the other of two territories. I wish that I could read in another language, and perhaps that’s something I’ll try and rectify when I have more free time, and I wish that more non-English genre works were published in translation. Because SF, Fantasy and Horror are not purely a Western phenomenon, there are fascinating works being produced by writers and artists of many different nationalities. And, fortunately for me, some of them are being written in English.

World genre has only recently been on my radar, not least in thanks to the author Lavie Tidhar, who has been tirelessly championing the cause for years, and who recommends works and authors to me every time we meet. With my fourth anthology for Solaris, End of the Road, I wanted to produce a collection that had a wider reach. After all, I was putting together an anthology of weird travel stories; it made sense to seek authors from all over the globe. A different cultural perspective can add real depth to a tale, and I always love hearing about the mythologies and fantasies of different countries. Though I say it myself, I think the variety and depth of fiction on display in this collection shows why we should be more excited about non-Western genre fiction. And I do think the tide is turning, slowly but surely I’m seeing more and more works in translation in the subs pile and I’m seeing more world genre writers getting the attention they deserve. Social media and the internet has been a wonderful facilitator in this. Writers can now find outlets for their works far more easily than they could have ten or so years ago.

As the burgeoning diversity of the field becomes more obvious, as it becomes clear to us publishers that the treasure of genre lie not just in what we know, then I think we’ll see an expansion in genre. This breath of fresh air will truly invigorate us, and show us that story, that narrative, can go far deeper than we ever expected.

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Jonathan Oliver is the editor-in-chief of Solaris and Abaddon. He has previously had stories published in a variety of magazines and anthologies in the UK and the US. He has written two novels for Abaddon Books – The Call of Kerberos and The Wrath of Kerberos – and his four anthologies for Solaris - The End of the Line, House of Fear, Magic, and The End of the Road - have received widespread critical acclaim and awards nominations.

If you happened to miss my reviews of the latter two anthologies, please be sure to check them out below:


A very dark, very grim collection of tales - creative, original, and even inspired.

A very strong collection, and one that's exceptionally diverse in the range of both roads traveled, and authors included.

1 comment:

  1. hey nice post mehn. I like your style of writing. The way you writes reminds me of an equally interesting post that I read some time ago on Daniel Uyi's blog titled How To Succeed By Cheating Your Assumptions .
    keep up the good work.

    Regards

    ReplyDelete