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Did you know that ‘sea-level’ is a carefully constructed myth?

The sea itself isn’t. There is a distinct tilt (as the earth rotates about its axis) which causes a build-up of sea water to the west of the planet.

It’s like that with Science-Fiction too; there are global centres, places where a long established culture of creating, consuming, studying and celebrating science-fiction, in all its various flavours and handednesses. Not that it’s easier to write sci-fi in these spatial hot-spots, or impossible to do it in one of the cooler regions.  It’s not a genre that needs to be read in the place it was created either, but some places have a local, fully grown and cosplaying community of readers, publishing houses, cons and fan societies for whom and to whom you write.

I don’t come from one of those places. Yet.

South African Speculative Fiction is on the map, we have some exceptional talent in our writers:  K. Sello Duiker, Louise Herne, S.L. Grey, Sarah Lotz, Cat Hellisen, Arthur Clarke Award winner Lauren Beukes, and hot off the presses ‘Apocalypse Now Now’ author Charlie Human, to name a few.

We have some stunning paying markets: Something Wicked who release  beautiful yearly anthologies of short stories, Jungle Jim, Wordsmack and others.

We have a plethora of competitions for young writers to spread their wings into and hone their craft: Bloody Parchment (http://bloodyparchment.blogspot.com/) and various others spaced throughout the year.

But… we don’t have the biggest market of readers. We don’t really have conventions, or fan societies, or social fora where people can come together and discuss the list of Hugo awards nominees.

Except that we do! They just tend to keep rather quiet about it.

Science Fiction and Fantasy South Africa, is an organization dedicated to local speculative fiction. They produce a regular publication, hold social events and run an exceptionally well organized competition for short form fiction every year. But you don’t have to take my word for it, go and have a look at their website, and their Facebook presence.

Really, I mean it. Go and have a look.

And while you’re there you might think of noting down a few dates, maybe the details of a competition, because the trick is, we’re never going to have a fan-base for all things fantastical that can rival the U.S. in size and splendour, until we knuckle down and start building one.

 

 

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