This week, Strange Horizons is thrilled to present a special issue showcasing recent work by and about science fiction and fantasy writers from India.
A lot can change in a few years. For me, the most heartening thing about putting together this special issue has been the absence of any compulsion to attempt to pack the entirety of Indian SF into one week. Looking at this issue and our last issue on Indian SF, in September 2013, there's no overlap in the writers and critics published, though all the authors featured in that earlier issue continue to work in (and make important contributions to) the field. SH is at an advantage in having some Indians on its staff, but there's an increasing sense that new Indian SF might be simply part of the wider field, present and acknowledged as part of our regular issues, with more to follow later in the year.
This issue comes at a moment when Mimi Mondal, a Dalit writer, is named on a Hugo shortlist, and the mainstream media in India is showing an unprecedented interest in the presence of Indians in the global SF world. It's also a moment when the nation itself is both providing a great deal of fodder for speculative writing (as the participants in this week's roundtable discuss), and is itself subject to a sort of fantastic reimagining—one of the many real gaps in this issue is a consideration of the many recent depictions of a mythic Indian past. This feels like a perfect time to return to those questions of what Indian SF and fantasy is/does/might be.
We're excited to be able to bring you new fiction by Kuzhali Manickavel and Shankar Gopalakrishnan, as well as podcasts of these stories read by Supriya Nair and Shruti Iyer respectively; a roundtable featuring contributions from Prayaag Akbar, Tashan Mehta and Salik Shah; and reviews from Gautam Bhatia and Aditya Singh. We hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as we did!