We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2013 Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Awards (for works published in 2012). There are two categories: Long Form and Short Form. The jury has additionally elected to award three honorable mentions in each category.
Long Form Winner
Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary City by Kai-cheung Dung, translated from the Chinese by Anders Hansson, Bonnie S. McDougall, and the author (Columbia University Press)
Long Form Honorable Mentions
Belka, Why Don’t You Bark? by Hideo Furukawa, translated from the Japanese by Michael Emmerich (Haikasoru)
Kaytek the Wizard by Janusz Korczak, translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Penlight)
Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, translated from the Russian by Olena Bormashenko (Chicago Review Press)
Short Form Winner
“Augusta Prima” by Karin Tidbeck translated from the Swedish by the author (Jagannath: Stories, Cheeky Frawg)
Short Form Honorable Mentions
“Every Time We Say Goodbye” by Zoran Vlahović, translated from the Croatian by Tatjana Jambrišak, Goran Konvićni, and the author (Kontakt: An Anthology of Croatian SF, Darko Macan and Tatjana Jambrišak, editors, SFera)
“A Hundred Ghosts Parade Tonight” by Xia Jia, translated from the Chinese by Ken Liu (Clarkesworld #65)
“A Single Year” by Csilla Kleinheincz, translated from the Hungarian by the author (The Apex Book of World SF #2, Lavie Tidhar, editor, Apex Book Company)
The winners were announced today at Liburnicon 2013, held in Opatija, Croatia, over the weekend August 23-25. The awards were announced by ARESFFT Board member Cheryl Morgan and convention Guest of Honor, Jacqueline Carey. Zoran Vlahović was in the audience.
The winning authors and their translators will each receive an inscribed plaque and a cash prize of $350. Authors and translators of the honorable mentions will receive certificates.
“Anyone who doubts the vitality of worldwide science fiction and fantasy,” said Gary K. Wolfe, President of ARESFFT, “could do worse than to use this impressive list of winners and honorable mentions as a reading list. The breadth and variety of the translated works themselves, as well as their venues of publication, attest to the valuable efforts of many to bring a genuine international dimension to genres that have sometimes (and sometimes accurately) been described as provincial in attitude.”
The money for the prize fund was obtained primarily through a generous donation by Society for the Furtherance & Study of Fantasy & Science Fiction (SF3). SF3 is the parent non-profit corporation of Wiscon, the feminist science fiction convention.
The jury for the awards was James & Kathryn Morrow (Chairs); Felice Beneduce, Alexis Brooks de Vita, Stefan Ekman, Martha Hubbard, Ekaterina Sedia, Kari Sperring, and Aishwarya Subramanian. Comments from the jury on the chosen works follow.
Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary City
In praising Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary City, Jurist Kari Sperring called it a “hugely innovative, playful, intensely political, accomplished book, and the best piece of fantastical history/historiography I have ever read. The translation is excellent, too: elegant, fluent, and lively. I applaud the preservation of Cantonese pronunciation (a decision which is itself a political act). Moreover, novel and translation are actively engaged with each other—the act of translation has produced changes in the Chinese as well as the English texts.”
“Disrupting the concept of the novel,” Jurist Alexis Brooks de Vita wrote of Atlas, “irresistibly quotable, Dung Kai-cheung’s amazingly yearning creation of short chapters toys with conceptions of place and being, with feeling and mythmaking, centered in the fictional story of one of the most painfully politicized cities still in existence in the world.”
For Jurist Aishwarya Subramanian, Atlas is a book that “clearly delights in its own cleverness.” But beyond the breathtaking inventiveness, she found the text “intensely political and engaged with the present – it’s fifteen years old, but it still feels to me contemporary and relevant.”
Co-chair Kathryn Morrow discovered in Atlas “a masterwork on the nature of translation itself. The prose is beautifully rendered into English, and the author’s essential subject is the process by which myth, legend, and fact translate themselves into human cultural artifacts.”
Jurist Martha Hubbard concluded, “This beautiful and elegiac book examines the very nature of how knowledge is created … The language is at once poetic and specific. The book is so moving, I would deeply love to own a proper copy to keep and cherish.”
Belka, Why Don’t You Bark?
Kari Sperring singled out Belka, Why Don’t You Bark? for its “thoughtful engagement with the issue of abandonment” and she also appreciated the author’s insights into “the consequences of globalization and social exclusion.” Kari argued that, while Belka presents itself “as military fiction and gritty crime drama,” the book is ultimately “a pacifist narrative.” She added, “The excellent translation negotiates the difficulty of a narrative that switches between third person and second person, past tense and present tense.”
In confronting Belka, Martha Hubbard noted that “this strange and compelling book grows on you. I think it is a powerful and brave attempt to comment on the aftermath of the wretched situation in the world after decades and decades of war.”
Kaytek the Wizard
Alexis Brooks de Vita found Kaytek the Wizard “sublimely poignant, as painful as it is raw, so obviously written by a man who loves childhood and children and uses fantasy to prepare them—and us—for fatality as well as mortality. Huckleberry Finn more than Tom Sawyer, reaching across a century-and-a-half to conjure Harry Potter, Kaytek’s loner protagonist finally becomes not only Frankenstein but his self-created monster, a childish Melmoth the Wanderer, made wise enough to have become capable of conveying the author’s historically heartbreaking final lines.”
Kathryn Morrow added, “This is a fresh, sophisticated, and psychologically authentic exemplar of the Bildungsroman type of fantasy. The author’s unique sensibility is well served by Lloyd-Jones’s lively translation.”
Negotiating the new translation of Roadside Picnic, Jurist Felice Beneduce took pleasure in “the Raymond Chandleresque approach of the authors, whose writing oozes noir.” He added, “The notion of aliens being completely indifferent to the consequences of their actions and in essence their ‘trash’ is brilliant in my view.”
Co-chair James Morrow was pleased to report that the Olena Bormashenko rendering of Roadside Picnic “restores scenes and sentences that, owing to the machinations of Soviet censorship, never appeared in Antonina W. Bouis’s earlier version.”
Martha Hubbard provided a personal coda. “As someone living in a region which had the dubious pleasure of hosting the Soviet Army’s roadside picnics, the picture posited of the mess they created and left behind is far too accurate.”