ShadowDance is an online fanzine for reviews, news, interviews and in-depth articles on speculative fiction, contemporary culture and future studies. It is mainly focused on SF and Fantasy topics but offers insights in other areas of literature and art as well. It is the oldest and the biggest online genre media in Bulgaria – it has been around for more than 20 years and has established itself firmly among the fandom.

ShadowDance is written in Bulgarian and covers a wide diversity of media such as books, movies, comics, anime, TV shows, board games, etc. We also do author profiles, go back and talk in depth about evergreens, we discuss the craft of writing, the state of the publishing industry, etc. Some of our more exotic columns include for example the Dark Chronicles where we review interesting plots of video games. We publish fanfiction and original short stories. We strive to cover all Bulgarian authors in the genre in order to provide constructive reviews and to encourage the development of writing SF&F in Bulgaria. To date, we have over 4000 publications in all incarnations of the website and for the past two years we have published on a daily basis. Some of our material is available in English on this blog, written by one of our editors and authors.

We also run thematic series of articles & reviews, centered around a particular topic of discussion or object of inquiry. Some of these delve into various aspects of SFF, for example politics in science fiction or the role of women as authors and characters in fiction. Others are devoted to subgenres, and others yet have been geared towards presenting facets of the Bulgarian SFF community. We run discovery series and we partner with many local publishers for recommendation of foreign books throughout the SFF spectrum. We also have a growing wealth of interviews with genre celebrities, among them Brandon Sanderson, Robin Hobb, Richard Morgan, Pat Rothfuss, Pierre Pevel, Peter Watts and others [English versions are linked].

Over its lifetime ShadowDance has organized and participated in the organization of many competitions, annual awards, writing workshops and media events geared towards fiction in general and SF&F in particular. It has undertaken various initiatives with regards to distribution, awareness, publishing strategies, literature blogging, etc, with the general aim of improving the development of literature and fiction in Bulgaria, for which we all sport a great passion and have invested a lot of efforts. We are frequent lectors at various academic and fan events and festivals, including worldwide, such as Eurocon, After Fantastika and others. We often report on these festivals and on SFF exhibitions as well. We run annual quizzes, board game competitions and most recently world-building workshop events.

Our team is very large and features authors of various interests and background, among which there are professional translators, editors and university lectors, government officials, citizen activists, as well as artists and scientists. A few of our team members organize and moderate the local Greenwich SF&F Book Club  that focuses on discussing books representative of the myriad subgenres of SF&F and on the variety of the „fantastic“ in written fiction. Another subset of our team is behind the scenes of the newest fan festival in the country, the Fantastic Days, and is actively working to promote cooperation between the various actors in the Bulgarian fandom. During this last year a few of our authors have taken part in jury boards of various writing and translator competitions, including the National Fantasy Awards and the venerable Agop Melkonyan Awards. Some of our authors also teach a highly acclaimed Science Fiction Reading course at the Sofia University.

ShadowDance also hosts, in cooperation with A Gathering of Troubadurs, the Hypertext initiative. This is a platform for submission of speculative fiction short stories that carries over on Bulgarian soil the established Western model of professional paid publication. We offer detailed and serious editorial dialogue with the authors that we pick for publishing and work with them to help bring out the best of their stories. The Hypertext team features professional authors and editors and we also work with Bulgarian artists to provide covers and illustrations for the stories.

In 2019, ShadowDance launched its most ambitious project up to date, its first full-volume high-quality printed issue, titled CYBERPUNK and aiming to offer a detailed and world-class deep dive in one of science fiction’s most celebrated and enigmatic subgenres, while also staying true to our goals of enriching the Bulgarian fantasto-sphere and bringing people together to imagine better futures. The project was funded by a highly successful crowdfunding campaign, hitting its goals in just about two weeks. The book was printed in late 2019 and is available for purchase from various vendors across the country. Accompanying events and online games have followed up to promote this work and more are on the way. CYBERPUNK is planned to be the first issue of an entire anthology series of high-quality printed material focusing on various aspects of the SFF genre and its value and promises. An excerpt of its material is available in English on its dedicated page.

We are also very keen on community. While we have occasionally immersed into competition with fellow promotes and collectives in our earlier years, we have long since turned to full cooperation mode and we are happy to work with many, if not all, of the various teams in the local fandom. To that end we have also taken the initiative to popularize a lof of these actors to our audience by running a dedicated set of articles presenting them. We have a monthly readership of more than 6000 people and we are happy to say we have a great relationship with them due to our regular award games and communication initiatives. Our online forum is one of the most long-lived and established SF&F communities in the country. We are proud to be a part of the fandom, we grew up as devoted devourers of all things fantastical and we fully intend to broaden ours and our audience’s horizons in the genre for many more years to come!

Ready to brush up on your Bulgarian and jump right in? THERE YOU GO!