Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Lavie Tidhar Discuss Favorite SF and Horror


When we started this column, which we set up as a conversation between two friends, we didn’t know exactly how long we could be nerds in front of the world. It has been my privilege to discuss books here for the past three years, but alas it is time for fresh blood – because blood is life! Our farewell column is dedicated to new writers we discovered and fell in love with while writing for The Post — and others we hope you’ll seek after we’ve moved on.

Sylvia: Premee Mohamed wrote a number of short stories before turning to novels. With Beneath the Rising (2020) and its sequels, she has shown an interest in living science fiction that distorts a little Lovecraft – things that come out of nowhere for us! Zin E. Rocklyn, another name to keep an eye on, explored a similar space with last year’s Flowers for the Sea (2021), in which a fugitive from a flooded kingdom is trapped on an ark and there are shades of cosmic horror.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s new novel “Dr. Moreau’

Horror of a different hue pervades the pages of Eric LaRocca’s tales. He started out on the small press scene and made the leap to a larger publisher with a September reissue of Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke and Other Misfortunes. The novella that gives this collection its title revolves around two women exchanging increasingly disturbing messages in a chat room. Gabino Iglesias also gets a major press reveal with supernatural thriller The Devil Takes You Home.

The living: Of the new writers we discovered while writing this column, Lavanya Lakshminarayan was one of our favorites. Her novel The Ten-Percent Thief, due out in 2023, is an ambitious sci-fi mosaic novel set in a future Bangalore. Samit Basu’s The City Inside, a near-future dystopian surveillance story set in India, was released this year, and I’m excited to see what he’ll produce next. I also enjoyed the wonderfully lively short stories by Nadia Afifi; She has published novels with a small publisher and I hope more will follow.

I’ve been a huge fan of EJ Swift since she started publishing with Osiris a few years ago. She writes literary SF with environmental themes, and her latest The Coral Bones is an ambitious story that spans three timelines. I’ve been raving about Tlotlo Tsamaase’s debut The Silence of the Welting Skin and I’m excited for her next performance.

Sylvia: Suyi Davies Okungbowa has demonstrated a knack for extended world building with Son of the Storm, the first installment in an African-inspired fantasy series. It reminds me of the best aspects of Charles R. Saunders’ “Imaro” books from the 1980’s.

Science fiction, fantasy, thriller? Books we love but can’t define.

I’ve written a novel about music and magic (“Signal to Noise”), so it’s perhaps no surprise that I was drawn to the concept of Alex Jennings’ recently published The Ballad of Perilous Graves, which refers to an alternative Focused version of New Orleans where music is magic and the fate of the world could depend on songs.

Last but not least, I am pleased to see that Mariana Enriquez, who has already caused a sensation with two collections of short stories, is now about to publish her first novel in English. The moving title Our Share of Night (2023) is a haunting generational horror story. It’s a joy to see American publishers beginning to recognize that Latin American authors exist beyond the confines of magical realism, and hopefully Enriquez will pave the way for more authors to get their chance at translations.

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The living: Translation remains a major stumbling block for publishers, and it is often small printers that fill the gap. Fans of near-future SF will welcome Francesco Verso’s The Roamers, translated from Italian by Jennifer Delare, and I’m confident that publishers will follow Shimon Adaf’s SF masterpiece Kfor after the release of his Lost Detective trilogy will take up this year in a translation from the Hebrew by Yardenne Greenspan. Adaf’s backlist is one of the most impressive cross-genre works I’ve read. I would also like to see Han Song’s masterpiece “Subway” finally translated from Chinese in 2020 following Eric J. Guignard’s impressive collection “Exploring Dark Short Fiction #5: A Primer to Han Song”. His work, Han Song, is one of the most important Chinese SF writers working today.

The SF field is dynamic and diversifies quickly. Impressive among the new writers appearing in the short story magazines are Zahra Mukhi (“I Call the Night to Witness”) and Mário de Seabra Coelhos (“Ootheca”). I suspect we’ll hear those names again. And you, dear reader: Who is your new favorite author?

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s new book is “Doctor Moreau’s daughter.” Her previous works include “Mexican Gothic“, “Velvet was the night” and “The Return of the Sorceress.” Lavie Tidhar’s latest novels are “The inhibition” and “The hood.

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