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.

France Rewards Translators

The prestigious Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire have always been friendly to translation into French. This year they gave prizes for translated novels, short fiction and YA novels, and their Bande Dessinée (comic) and Manga winners were also translated. There is even a prize specifically for translators (into French). But they also went further, giving a special prize to Jean-Marc Lofficier and Brian Stableford for their work translating French language science fiction into English and publishing it through Black Coat Press.

The full list of winners is available (in English) via Science Fiction Awards Watch and (in French) via Noosfere.

Clute on Ajvaz

Over at Strange Horizons, John Clute reviews the translated novels of Czech writer, Michal Ajvaz. These are The Other City (published last year) and The Golden Age, which hit the bookstores in April and is therefore definitely eligible for our awards.

The Golden Age is translated by Andrew Oakland and published by Dalkey Archive Press. It is described as “a fantastical travelogue in which a modern-day Gulliver writes a book about a civilization he once encountered on a tiny island in the Atlantic.”

Amazon Launches Translation Imprint

There’s some big news from Amazon today. They are launching a new imprint, AmazonCrossing, that is dedicated to publishing works translated into English. According to the press release, Amazon is planning to make use of knowledge gained from its international business. Vice President of Books, Jeff Belle, said:

Our international customers have made us aware of exciting established and emerging voices from other cultures and countries that have not been translated for English-language readers. These great voices and great books deserve a wider audience, and that’s why we created AmazonCrossing.

Thus far only one title has been announced, and it does not appear to be genre. We look forward to hearing about more titles in future.

Another Russian

Niall Harrison of Torque Control writes to let us know about Living Souls, a novel by Dmitry Bykov (translated by Cathy Porter). The book appears to be a political satire and in set in Russia a few decades in the future after a civil war. Here’s an extract from the blurb:

In a world a few decades from now, Russia has lost its influence and descended into a farcical civil war. With an extreme right-wing cult in power, racial tensions have divided the country into the Varangians – those who consider themselves to be the original Aryan settlers of Russia – and the Khazars, the liberals and Jews driven out of Moscow by recent events. Morale has reached an all-time low as the brutality and pointlessness of the situation is becoming more and more apparent: what is left of the fighting now revolves around capturing and recapturing Degunino, a seemingly magical village with an abundance of pies, vodka and accommodating womenfolk.

The Times has a review here.

Japanese Literature Publishing Project

At Three Percent Chad W. Post has been talking about the Japanese Literature Publishing Project. This is an initiative of the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs aimed at bringing Japanese writers to the attention of the rest of the world. Post lists a number of newly translated books, several of which are of interest to us.

Punk Samurai and the Cult (Panku samurai kirarete soro) by Ko Machida is described as a fantasy.

Colorful (Karafuru) by Eto Mori is described as a juvenile fantasy.

It isn’t clear whether Ghosts and Lower-class Samurai and Other Stories (Yukensho) by Hideyuki Kikuchi is fantastical or not, but some of Kikuchi’s novels are the basis of the highly successful manga and anime series, Vampire Hunter D.

A Scientific Mystery

Here’s a translated novel that doesn’t appear to actually be science fiction, but may well appeal to science fiction readers. Dark Matter by Germany’s Juli Zeh is a mystery novel, but the characters in the novel are physicists, and according to this review of the English translation Zeh uses this as an excuse to play with issues such as causality and the nature of time.