Russian Vampires

In September Tor will be issuing Twilight Forever Rising by Russian author Lena Meydan (translation by Andrew Bromfield). This is nothing to do with Stephanie Meyer’s blockbuster vampire series, but judging from this interview with Meydan at World SF News it does share a few themes.

A comment on the World SF News post appears to suggest that Meydan is a pen name for a group of Russian writers including Alexei Pekhov. Can anyone confirm this?

Wolfe & Strahan on Translations

Our Board President, Gary K. Wolfe, has a regular podcast series produced in collaboration with his Locus colleague, Jonathan Strahan. In their most recent episode they devote much of the program to discussing the issue of science fiction and fantasy translations. You can listen to it here.

The FT on Translations

Sometimes articles on translated science fiction turn up in strangest places: like the Financial Times. Our thanks to author James Lovegrove for doing some great PR work for non-Anglophone science fiction here.

USVA International

The Finnish fiction magazine, Usva (The Mist), publishes occasional English-language issues. The latest one, Usva International 2010, was published at this year’s Finncon. It contains translations of stories by Katja Salminen, Marika Riikonen, Marketta Niemelä, Carita Forsgren, Marko Hautala, and Tomi Jänkälä. All of these are eligible for our short fiction award. The whole magazine is available online as a PDF. Congratulations to editor Anne Leinonen for promoting Finnish writers in this way.

A Seiun Winner

Haikasoru, the specialist in publishing translated Japanese SF, is about to release a novel that won Japan’s prestigious Seiun Award in 2009. Harmony, by Project Itoh, is a social satire about health care which is all the more poignant as its author was dying of cancer when he wrote it. The book also promises entertaining style. Haikasoru’s Nick Mamatas has this to say:

Harmony is an unapologetic example of “stained glass” writing, where the beauty of the prose comes out. At the same time, however, the book isn’t a lyrical excursion on to the far reaches of language—now that would have been murder to translate—but is actually cool and fun.

Examination of the cover picture suggests that the translator is Alexander O. Smith who has also worked on Final Fantasy games and the Full Metal Alchemist novels.

De Bodard on Translation

Aliette de Bodard, a French woman who writes in English, talks about the difficulties of translation. Here’s an extract:

In Vietnamese, “to have a meal” is literally “to eat rice”. “French cuisine” is “French rice”, and so on for English cuisine or Japanese. This says a lot about the way the culture works, and could be used to inject a little “flavour” in the dialogue, but you can see that this would also create problems because it’s not a natural construction.

Read the whole thing here. (And our congratulations to Aliette on her wedding, which takes place today!)

Another Success At The Gemmells

Last year the inaugural David Gemmell Awards caused something of a stir when the best novel price (the Legend Award) went to a translated book, Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski. This year saw the introduction of a new category for debut fantasy novels, and it was won by Pierre Pevel’s The Cardinal’s Blades, translated from the French by Tom Clegg. Full details here.

Finns Get Wired

Over at Wired, Bruce Sterling has run a press release from leading Finnish magazine editor, Toni Jerrman, about the fine Finnish science fiction available in English at the moment. We contacted Toni and asked for information about translations.

Hannu Rajaniemi is a very clever guy. There’s no mention of a translator for “Elegy for a Young Elk” so he probably did it himself, but the English publication is, we believe, new this year. We suspect that The Quantum Thief was written directly in English.

Johanna Sinisalo’s story, ”Bear’s Bride”, was translated by Liisa Rantalaiho.

Tiina Raevaara “My creator, my creation” was translated by Hildi Hawkins & Soila Lehtonen.

J. Pekka Mäkelä’s ”Thirty More Years” was translated by Owen F. Witesman.

We believe that all of these stories are eligible for our awards. (The Mäkelä was translated in 2009, but apparently not published until this year.)

One from Spain

Carlos Ruiz Zafón is one of the most successful Spanish writers ever. His The Shadow of the Wind is second only to Don Quixote in sales of Spanish fiction. Last month his YA fantasy novel, The Prince of the Mist, was made available in English, translated by Lucia Graves. (It is actually his first novel, but it has only just been translated.) Ruiz Zafón knows his fantasy well, as evidenced by this article for The Guardian.