The Apex Book of World SF 4 edited by Mahvesh Murad is coming in late August. Between now and then, we would like to feature some of the contributors in the anthology.
Vajra Chandrasekera lives in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and his short stories have appeared in Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and Black Static, among others.
Tell us a little about your story in The Apex Book of World SF 4.
"Pockets Full of Stones" was my first published story. It's a first-contact story, which seems in hindsight like a very suitable opening gambit to the game of zines. Stanislav Petrov was in the news a lot while I was writing it (they were gearing up to give him another award, I think) and you can see that in the story quite clearly; Dike, like Petrov, unexpectedly finds herself with a world-altering decision in her hands.
Why do you feel it is important to read stories from around the globe?
I like to think that any reader's natural instinct is to read widely, to explore and discover new worlds and new minds, because at the root that's why people read fiction in the first place. So to subvert this instinct, to not read stories from around the globe, is a political act. Obviously you should not read fiction that doesn't interest you, but if you don't even give yourself the opportunity to become intrigued, then you're reading narrowly by choice. Which seems like such a masochistic practice, and not in the fun way.
If you could tell people to read one author from your home country, who would it be and why?