Penguin Central European Classics

War with the NewtsPenguin Classics are about to publish a new series of translated works by authors from Central Europe. Headlining the series is War with the Newts by Czech writer, Karel Čapek, the man who invented the term “robot”. Penguin’s blurb for the book states:

… Karel Čapek’s darkly humorous allegory of early twentieth-century Czech and Fascist politics. A colony of newts is discovered in Sumatra, they are taught to trade, use tools, but also to speak. It is clear that this new species is ripe for exploitation, but the humans have given no thought to the terrible consequences of their actions.

Check out Larry Nolen’s review here for further information.

Fortunately for other writers, Penguin’s publication is not a new translation but rather a reprint. That means it is not eligible for our awards. However, we applaud them for bringing this science fiction classic back into print.

The other books in the series are far less fantastical though, judging from this Guardian review, speculative fiction readers may well enjoy the work of Sławomir Mrozek.

Further details about the books Penguin are publishing can be found at their website.

Some Translation Links

Here are a few translation-related stories from around the blogosphere from the past few weeks:

– Jeff VanderMeer interviews Czech novelist and poet Michael Ajvaz;

– Concatenation lists Unseen Mainland European SF Classics;

– Nick Mamatas at Haikasoru blogs about one of their new releases: The Stories of Ibis by Hiroshi Yamamoto;

– Feng Zhang writes about a famous Chinese fanzine, Xin Huan Jie (New Realms of Fantasy and Science Fiction);

– Chad W. Post reviews Edie Grossman’s Why Translation Matters;

– Tim Parks tells The Guardian why translators deserve to be noticed;

– Edward Gauvin suggests that translating might be a bit like writing science fiction.

Aurora Awards Anthology

Nanopress, a new publisher based in Quebec, is issuing an anthology of Prix Aurora Award winning stories, some of which are translated from French into English. The Auroras are Canada’s fan-voted awards, and they have traditionally had categories for both English-language and French-language fiction.

The anthology, The Aurora Awards: Thirty Years of Canadian Science Fiction, includes stories by Isaac Szpindel, James Alan Gardner, Eileen Kernaghan, Daniel Sernine, Robert J. Sawyer, Julie Czerneda, Élisabeth Vonarburg, Candas Jane Dorsey, Yves Meynard, David Nickle, Karl Schroeder, Edo Van Belkom, Hayden Trenholm, Douglas Smith, and Laurent McAllister, and has an introduction by Jean-Louis Trudel. It will be published in May. Further details here.

As we understand it, none of the translations are new this year, but some were first published last year and therefore may be looked at by our jury.

News From Eastercon

The British National Science Fiction Convention is known as Eastercon, because it always takes place over the Easter holiday weekend. This year it was held in a hotel at Heathrow airport near London, and as a consequence there were many visitors from outside of the UK. Fans and professionals attended from France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and Turkey (and possibly a few other non-English-speaking countries we didn’t spot).

The program offered two program items on translation. The first highlighted works that are already available in English. Many of those we have mentioned already, but one we haven’t is the Dwarves series by Markus Heitz. This has sold in huge quantities in Germany, and is now being made available in English by Orbit. The first volume, The Dwarves, was published last year while the second, The War of the Dwarves, has just been released.

The other panel was about works that have not yet been translated. One of the most interesting books mentioned was Karsta by Finnish writer, J. Pekka Mäkelä. A short story, “Thirty More Years”, set in the same world, has just been published in English translation. You can read it here. Mäkelä is a translator as well, and has been responsible for providing Finnish readers with works by Philip K. Dick, Sean Stewart and Brian Francis Slattery.

Some Translation Links

Here are a few interesting stories that have turned up in the blogosphere in recent weeks.

The Independent reviews Best European Fiction 2010, which includes a ghost story by Portugal’s Valter Hugo Mae and a “futuristic tale” by Georgi Gospodinov from Bulgaria.

– Chad W. Post ponders the value of automated translation tools.

– K.E. Semmel reviews Olga Slavnikova’s novel, 2017 (translation by Marian Schwartz) which is set in a near future Russia facing an environmental catastrophe.

– Haikasoru editor Pancha Diaz talks about the Tiptree-winning graphic novel, Ôoku.

– And Nick Mamatas discusses “The anarchy of translation”.

Translated Manga Wins Tiptree

The James Tiptree Jr. Award is one of the most prestigious prizes in science fiction. Given for science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our understanding of gender, it has always been friendly to translated fiction. Johanna Sinisalo’s Troll (Not Before Sundown) was a joint winner for works published in 2004. The 2009 selection also features joint winners, one of which is a Japanese manga: Ooku: The Inner Chambers, volumes 1 & 2 by Fumi Yoshinaga.

The possibility to top quality manga translations was taken into account when we drew up the eligibility rules for our awards. We will be taking it into account, as we will for graphic stories translated from other languages.

Thank You, CanSMOF

We are delighted to report that CanSMOF, the parent corporation of Anticipation, the 2009 Worldcon, (which ran programming in both English and French) has granted us CA$500 from the surplus funds of the convention. The money will pay most of the costs of our incorporation on as non-profit organization. Our warmest thanks go out to CanSMOF and our friends in the French-speaking world who have made this possible.

By the way, our incorporation continues to progress slowly, as is the way with bureaucracy. As soon as we have a bank account and tax-exempt status we will let you know.