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.

Samuel Marolla lives in Milan, Italy and writes both fiction and comics. He is also the co-founder of Acheron Books, publishing Italian speculative fiction in English translations.

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

"Black Tea" has always been a lucky tale for me. You may think this is strange because it's a very dark story. It's about an ancient, big, and empty mansion near the Milan suburbs, in which, if you enter, an old kindly lady may offer you a cup of black tea. And after drinking this black tea, the first thing you can lose is your memory... and then...

I consider the story a lucky one because of its publishing history. It was first published in Italy, and in Italian language, by Mondadori Editore, in my first horror short stories collection named Malarazza. Then it was reprinted in English language by an Italian digital publisher. The tale participated at the Bram Stoker Award 2013 and then received a Honorable Mention by Ellen Datlow. Now, in his "third life" by Acheron Books, it was selected for The Apex Book of World SF 4!

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

The vision of the international writers around the globe can be unique and full of suggestions. The best of "narrativa fantastica" (Italian for speculative fiction) has always come from different, international visions: let me mention for example international Masters like Borges, Calvino, Jean Ray, Nabokov... I think that connecting and sharing international authors can be a gold mine for speculative fiction as a whole.

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

Surely Dino Buzzati. He's the Italian Master of weird short tales (and of many other things). A genius.

But please, let me spend some words about another Italian genre writer, Giorgio Scerbanenco. I believe that this argument is correlated to the "stories from around the globe" in the last question and the great idea of The Apex Book of World SF series. Scerbanenco is the most important Italian crime writer. The strange thing is that he was born in Ukraine (from Italian mother and Ukrainian father) and came to live in Italy only at ten. Some years later, he started to publish his crime novels (and some weird tales, too), written in Italian language. And what Italian language! Giorgio Scerbanenco (ex Vladimir Scerbanenko!) wrote in a perfect, magical, memorable Italian. He became one of the biggest Italian writers of all the times, and he created the "Italian way" to the write a crime story, because until this moment we knew and read only thrillers set in America, written by US authors. I love to think that Scerbanenco stories are the fusion of three different "literary souls": Ukrainian, Italian, and American!

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