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.

Johann Thorsson is a native of Iceland who spent his youth in Israel and Croatia. He writes regular features about books for Bookriot.com and his short stories have been published in both English and Icelandic.

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Tell us a little about your story in The Apex Book of World SF 4.

I woke up with the image of a woman made of chocolate one morning, and she was eating herself (she was made of chocolate, after all). I couldn't get the image out of my head so I wrote a story but the woman being made out of chocolate didn't make any sense. So I tried it again with the woman being just a normal flesh-and-blood human. This both added to the story's versimilitude and made the self-cannibalism more of an anomaly. I re-wrote it again, and ended up with “First, Bite Just a Finger,” which sold to the first market I sent it to, Fireside Fiction.

Why do you feel it is important to read stories from around the globe?

Where to start? Reading stories about people who are unlike ourselves increases our empathy for them, decreases our myopic view of the world, and makes us better people overall. There is also a bias in publishing towards the works of white males (yes, I am aware of the irony) so anything we do to correct that bias is important.

If you could tell people to read one author from your home country, who would it be and why?

There is a rather obvious answer to this for me, being from Iceland, but I'm going to recommend the magical and lyrical books of Jón Kalman Stefánsson. They tell stories that really couldn't take place anywhere but Iceland, and you feel the pain and successes of the characters while also seeing the harsh, unforgiving beauty of the country they live in.

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