Sunday, 14 October 2007

(DEC 30) Born on this day: Somtow Sucharitkul

Photo: © 2007 Somtow Sucharitkul, used by permission.

Somtow Sucharitkul – better known to SF fans as S.P. Somtow – was born in Bangkok, Thailand, on 30 December 1952. As active in science fiction and horror as he is in composing and conducting classical music in Thailand, he has been described by the Bangkok Post as the “Thai person known by name to the most people in the world.” He was first published in the 1970s in Asimov’s Science Fiction and has since been nominated for many major awards, including the Bram Stoker Award, the John W. Campbell Award, the Hugo Award, and is also winner of the World Fantasy Award. He now holds the post of president of the Horror Writers Association and is currently artistic director of the Bangkok Opera.

(OCT 22) Born on this day: Doris Lessing

Photo: AlfredTNT, 2006. (GFDL); text by Doris Lessing (fair use)

“A visiting American said, did I read science fiction? I offered Olaf Stapledon, H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, and he said it was a good beginning. Then he gave me an armful of science fiction novels. What I felt then I have felt ever since. I was excited by their scope, the wideness of their horizons, the ideas, and the possibilities for social criticism ... and disappointed by the level of characterization and the lack of subtlety. ... But if what we do get is so wonderfully inventive and astonishing and mind-boggling, then why repine? In science fiction are some of the best stories of our time.” —Walking in the Shade, 1997.

Born on 22 October 1919 in Kermanshah, Persia (now Iran), Doris Lessing has won all the major European literary awards. Her first words on hearing that she had also won the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature were, “Oh, crap.”