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An excellent post by Tori Truslow, on wrestling with the judges' comments when giving her short story an honourable mention in the James White Award:

Tori Truslow’s ‘Train in Vain’ is a compelling tale of exotic intrigue and intricate automata, told in breathlessly vivid and evocative prose. There is no let up in narrative pace in this highly believable blend of fantasy and adventure. There’s wit too, and a hint of darkness amid the exotic imagery. We were desperate to know how the story would be resolved and we’re convinced others will be as well.

Now, this puts me in a rather awkward position. As I said, I'm tremendously grateful to be recognised, but I'm also deeply uncomfortable at the language used here, and I can't not say something. Whatever the merits/non-merits of this individual story are, it's another white-filtered representation of a country and culture that only ever gets represented in SFF by white authors, and this is a problem in itself, but especially so when that writing gets valued in terms of its exoticness.

Am I part of the problem here? Of course. I may not have meant to, but I probably did play into exoticism in this story. I contribute – however inadvertently – to the exotification of Thailand, and instead of being criticised, I’m praised for it. And round we go.



Niall Harrison is a reader and fan.
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Current Issue
27 Jul 2020

Stefan škrtl další sirkou a zapálil jednu ze svíček, které s sebou přinesl, pak další a další, dokud je neobklopoval celý kruh. Hanna nakrčila nos. Svíčky vydávaly zvláštní zápach, ale ne nepříjemný. Připomínal čerstvě posečenou trávu. I jejich tmavě olivová barva byla nezvyklá.
半透明の大江さんが洗面所から出てきて、いつもと同じようにテーブルに向かう。見えない食パンにバターを塗り、見えない新聞を片手に頰張る。まるでパントマイムだ。私はフローリングの床に座り込み、一連の動作を眺めた。
By: Amel Moussa
Translated by: Hager Ben Driss
Many things in my kitchen resemble me; I relate to them; we entertain one another. Water, fire, and electricity vegetables, water rich fruits, and dry fruits
أشياء ٌكثيرةٌ في مطبخي تُشبهني أتماهى مع هذه الأشياء ونُؤنسُ بعضنا.
He ignored her remark, ignited another match and lit a small candle. Then another one. He continued until a circle of candles surrounded them on the stage. Hanna scrunched her nose. The candles exuded a strange smell, but not an unpleasant one. It resembled freshly mown grass. The color was unusual too, a deep olive-green.
By: Eisuke Aikawa
Translated by: Toshiya Kamei
The translucent Ōe-san steps out of the bathroom and sits at the table as usual. He spreads butter on an invisible slice of bread, takes a bite, and chews it, holding the morning paper in his other hand. Just like a mime. I sit on the floor and observe his movements.
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