Small Beer Press have made available for pre-order the tremendously exciting anthology Three Messages and a Warning:
This huge anthology of all-original Mexican science fiction and fantasy features ghost stories, supernatural folktales, alien incursions, and apocalyptic narratives, as well as science-based chronicles of highly unusual mental states in which the borders of fantasy and reality reach unprecedented levels of ambiguity. Stereotypes of Mexican identity are explored and transcended by the thoroughly cosmopolitan consciousnesses underlying these works.
Table of Contents (not final order)
Lucía Abdó, Second-Hand Pachuca
Maria Isabel Aguirre, Today, You Walk Along a Narrow Path
Ana Gloria Álvarez Pedrajo, The Mediator
Liliana V. Blum, Pink Lemonade
Agustín Cadena, Murillo Park
Ana Clavel, Warning and Three Messages in the Same Parcel
Yussel Dardón, A Pile of Bland Deserts
Óscar de la Borbolla, Wittgenstein’s Umbrellas
Beatriz Escalante, Luck Has Its Limits
Bruno Estañol, The Infamous Juan Manuel
Iliana Estañol, In Waiting
Claudia Guillén, The Drip
Mónica Lavín, Trompe l’œil
Eduardo Mendoza, The Pin
Queta Navagómez, Rebellious
Amélie Olaiz, Amalgam
Donají Olmedo, The Stone
Edmée Pardo, 1965
Jesús Ramírez Bermúdez, The Last Witness to Creation
Carmen Rioja, The Náhual Offering
René Roquet, Returning to Night
Guillermo Samperio, Mister Strogoff
Alberto Chimal, Variation on a Theme of Coleridge
Mauricio Montiel Figueiras, Photophobia
Pepe Rojo, The President without Organs
Esther M. Garcia, Mannequin
Bernardo Fernández, Lions
Horacio Sentíes Madrid, The Transformist
Karen Chacek, The Hour of the Fireflies
Hernán Lara Zavala, Hunting Iguanas
Gerardo Sifuentes, Future Perfect
Amparo Dávila, The Guest
Gabriela Damián Miravete, Nereid Future
José Luis Zárate, Wolves
About the Editors
Born in Boston and raised in San Antonio, Eduardo Jiménez Mayo holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard University in Hispanic literature and a doctoral degree in the humanities from a Catholic university in Madrid. He has taught undergraduate literature courses at the University of Texas in San Antonio and recently obtained a doctorate in jurisprudence from Cornell Law School. He has published translations of books by contemporary Mexican authors Bruno Estañol, Rafael Pérez Gay and José María Pérez Gay. In recent years, he has also published scholarly studies on the Spanish poet Antonio Machado and the Mexican fiction writer Bruno Estañol. Lately, he has conducted readings and lectures on the subject of literary translation at the invitation of Cornell University, New York University, The New School and the Juárez Autonomous University of Tabasco.
Chris N. Brown writes fiction and criticism from his home in Austin, Texas. His work has been variously described as “slick, post-Gibsonian, and funny as hell, like Neal Stephenson meets Hunter S. Thompson” (Cory Doctorow), “Borges in a pop culture blender” (Invisible Library), and “like a cross between Mark Leyner and William Gibson” (Boing Boing). He also contributes to the group blog No Fear of the Future.
Bruce Sterling is the author of eleven novels (including the bestselling The Difference Engine with William Gibson), six short story collections, and four nonfiction books. He also edited the genre-defining Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology. He has written for Time, Newsweek, Fortune, Technology Review, and Wired. In 2003 he was appointed Professor at the European Graduate School and in 2005 he became “visionary in residence” at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He lives in Turin, Italy, and blogs at Wired‘s Beyond the Beyond.
Better yet, the novel is as well-written as it is well-imagined: full of nice phrases—”the vandalized Bibi Eybat oil wells burned non-stop in the night, in true Zoroastrian fashion” (p. 153); a blizzard “whirls madly like a trapped wolf” (p. 174)—and Valtat handles his cod-nineteenth-century tone sweetly (“he beheld, almost miragenous through the whirling snowflakes, four hooded shapes hurrying away down the back alley” (p. 197)). North Pole politics are “poletics”; people travel around not in taxis but “taxsleighs”; and the prose approaches the business of swearing with a degree of propriety (“. . . they were against the Council then, and now those phoque-in-iceholes work hand in hand” (p. 69)). Although, at the same time, the writing sometimes falls into the uncanny valley between the formal idiom of Victorian prose and the unidiomatic stiffness of a non-native speaker (“‘This is very kind of you. But it happens that one likes to hunt for oneself, even if one is a bad hunter,’ he said” (p. 41)). I don’t mean to be a neat-piquer. That Valtat, a French national, wrote this long, accomplished novel in his second language represents an almost Conradian achievement. So if I gracelessly note that sometimes the style doesn’t quite hit the bull (“It would, Gabriel thought, enlighten his return home . . . provided he would not go alone” (p. 68; “provided he didn’t go home alone” would be more idiomatic); or “as he hurried he could perceive rooms whose open doors revealed the strangest scenes” (p. 160; “perceive” isn’t the right word there, I think)—then I must also declare that Valtat’s command of English is better than many published Anglophone authors I could mention. Overall, this is a very good novel indeed. – read the full review.
In “Pataki,” by Nisi Shawl, published in two parts on 4 and 11 April 2011, Rianne is starting over in a new place, but still hasn’t recovered from the disproved allegations that caused her to flee Ann Arbor, Michigan for Oakland, California. And it’s affecting her magic. She meditates in front of her altars, but it isn’t until she dreams of a king with whom she has a shared experience that the mojo begins to flow. Read more »
From PS Publishing:
As if it wasn’t enough that he’s graced us with a couple of mightily fine short stories, two of the best novellas we’ve ever done (in Cloud Permutations and Gorel and the Pot-bellied God) and, with the forthcoming Osama, a gobsmackingly superb novel, Lavie Tidhar dropped us a line out of the blue to draw our attention to Sunburnt Faces, a novel by Shimon Adaf, one of the most highly regarded Israeli novelists and poets today. As Lavie was keen to point out, Shimon is a unique writer (and, on the strength of this outing, he’ll get no arguments on that score from either Nick or myself) — “one of the few people in Israel engaged with speculative fiction, with ‘weird’ fiction, to create real literature,” Lavie says anthusiastically. “His 2010 novel, Kfor, is to my mind the first true Hebrew SF masterpiece.” The book went to Nick Gevers in the first instance, who had this to say: “I found the novel compulsive reading, for its vivid description of life in Israel as well as for its subtle, incisive treatment of the fantastic as a phenomenon and as a literary genre.” Nick was not overstating the case.
Sunburnt Faces is one of those in-between novels, mainstream in tone and pace even as it discusses the fantastic. It strides the rickety and oft-times perilous fence between the real and the fanciful, falling into line alongside such gems as John Crowley’s Little, Big, Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale, John Irving’s A Prayer For Owen Meany, and Mary Wesley’s Haphazard House.
Hitting the wire at a shave under 150,000 words, Sunburnt Faces is at once a literary novel and a book about Wonderland . . . on the one hand a coming-of-age tale and, on the other, a what-happens-after story. It features as its principal character a girl, Flora, growing up of Jewish Moroccan parents in a small town who, one day, sees God appear to her in a television screen. The first part of the novel sees her trying to come to terms with the fantastical event and move towards adulthood, while the second part sees her, in her thirties, as a mother and a successful writer of children’s fantasy novels.
We’re all agreed here — and you must forgive us for being a bit excited (heck, if we didn’t get excited then there just wouldn’t be any point in doing anything, would there) — we’re agreed that this is a truly wonderful read. Mr. Adaf deserves to be experienced by the wider world. The simple and sad truth is we just don’t have enough writers like him, in any language.
The novel was translated from the Hebrew Panim Tzruvei Chama by Margalit Rodgers and Anthony Berris. Publication is tentatively scheduled for late 2012. This will be Adaf’s first novel to be published in English, though his poetry is widely available in translation. He is the author of four published novels and three poetry collections. His latest novel will be published in July in Israel.
Jungle Jim is a new African pulp magazine, published out of South Africa, already in its second issue. It is incredibly cool – amongst the contributors you can find Jonathan Dotse (of AfroCyberpunk) and debut novelist S.L. Grey. Check it out!
Aliette de Bodard reviews J. Damask (Joyce Chng)’s first novel, Wolf at the Door – the world’s first Singaporean werewolf novel!
So, I finally got a chance to read J. Damask’s Wolf at the Door (published by Lyrical Press)–and really, really liked it. It’s a urban fantasy set in Singapore: Jan Xu is part of the lang, the Chinese werewolves: her pack is her family, and the thing around which her world revolves. She has married and settled down with her partner Ming, who isn’t a werewolf; and she has two small girls, whom she raises half like humans, half like wolves.
Then Marianne comes back. Marianne is Jan Xu’s sister, but there’s a catch: raised like all werewolves, Marianne failed to shape-shift when she hit puberty. Though considered a member of the family, Marianne has always chafed at what she saw as second-class membership of the pack, and left Singapore after quarrelling with Jan Xu. But now she’s back, boyfriend in tow–and she seems to have ideas of her own about where to take the pack…
This is original on several levels: the most obvious is the setting, which shows us not only Singapore seen through the view of an insider, with no exoticisation or over-description of familiar items and locations. It’s very casual about everyday life, but nevertheless effectively manages to convey not only Jan Xu’s life and her excursions to all ends of the city (including a hunting reserve in Malaysia), but also to effectively base its mythology on its setting, making the most of Singapore as a crossroads, teeming with immigrants who each bring their own folklore (I loved the bar which had vampires mingling with nagas). I also liked the way Damask ties her werewolves to Chinese folklore, rather than to European myths; it’s very nicely done.
The second thing is the emphasis on family. A lot of urban fantasy is focused on the single girl (who might have children of her own, but who is still secretly looking for The One); and while those are definitely strong stories, it was really nice to see a book which focused on, well, what happens after the wedding and the childbirths. Marianne’s returns has repercussions on Jan Xu’s family life, and her relationship with her husband and her two girls: some of my favorite scenes take place in the quiet times at the flat, when the emphasis is on how she and Ming can deal with the consequences of what happened, and how to best shield the girls from it all. Jan Xu also has strong ties to her extended family, which nicely dovetail into the pack mentality of werewolves.
It’s not perfect. There is a set of flashbacks to Jan Xu’s past as a teen vigilante (sort of The Famous Five, except with dragons and other supernatural creatures), which feel a bit out of place: I love the background and the fact that they place Jan Xu’s friends as strong individuals (and I would really love to see those expanded into a YA novel), but the way they’re scattered throughout the story feels a little haphazard, and I felt those sections could have greatly benefitted from tidying up. But, all in all, it was a very nice and interesting read, and definitely worth a look if you’re tired of urban fantasies set in the US.
Wolf at the Door, by J. Damask, published by Lyrical Press
E-book, $4.50, Cover art by Lynn Taylor
The Association for the Recognition of Excellence in Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation (ARESFFT) is delighted to announce the results of the 2011 Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Awards (for works published in 2010). There are two categories: Long Form and Short Form. In each form our jury has chosen to give an honorable mention in addition to the winner.
Long Form – Honorable Mention
The Golden Age, Michal Ajvaz, translated by Andrew Oakland (Dalkey Archive Press). Original publication in Czech (2001).
Long Form – Winner
A Life on Paper: Stories, Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud, translated by Edward Gauvin (Small Beer Press). Original publication in French (19762005).
Short Form – Honorable Mention
“Wagtail”, Marketta Niemelä, translated by Liisa Rantalaiho (Usva International 2010 <http://www.usvazine.net/english.htm>, ed. Anne Leinonen). Original publication in Finnish (Usva (The Mist), 2008).
Short Form – Winner
“Elegy for a Young Elk”, Hannu Rajaniemi, translated by Hannu Rajaniemi (Subterranean Online, Spring 2010 <http://subterraneanpress.com/index.php/magazine/spring-2010>). Original publication in Finnish (Portti, 2007).
In addition to the standard awards, the Board of ARESFFT presented a special award to British author and translator Brian Stableford in recognition of the excellence of his translation work.
The results were announced as part of the award ceremony at the 2011 Eurocon in Stockholm on the weekend of June 17-19 < http://eurocon2011.se/ >. The awards were presented by the convention Guests of Honor, Elizabeth Bear and Ian McDonald, while fan Guest of Honor Jukka Halme was Master of Ceremonies. Each winning author and translator will receive a cash prize of US$350 (As both author and translator Mr. Rajaniemi gets $700).
Mr. Gauvin and M. Châteaureynaud were unable to attend the Eurocon (the latter having the excellent excuse of being on the way to Mongolia at the time). They both sent messages of thanks.
Mr. Gauvin said: “My deepest thanks to all the readers and editors who believed in these stories along the way, especially the folks at Small Beer. To Susan Harris and Paul and Sylviane Underwood. To Georges-Olivier, for writing them, and for his encouragement and support. And to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Awards, who have honored us with this inaugural edition of a prize with a terrific future ahead of it.”
M. Châteaureynaud said: “Many thanks to my mother, to Small Beer Press, and to the Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Awards. Sometimes, it is as much in an insightful review as in a translation–in this case, in a language I’ve a few glimmers of, having studied English at the Sorbonne–that one has the feeling of having been understood. I feel I’ve found a kindred spirit in Edward Gauvin, miraculously capable of comprehending and conveying what I’ve tried to express in these tales.”
Mr. Rajamiemi was in Stockholm and said: “I am honoured to accept this award on behalf of all translators whose hard work is so often underappreciated. Both translating this story and collaborating with Antti Autio, the Finnish translator of The Quantum Thief, have made me aware of the difficult choices and leaps of imagination that translators routinely make, while remaining mostly invisible to the reader. It is great to see these efforts recognised in this way.”
Further information, including comments by the jury on all of the commended and winning works, and photographs from the award ceremony, are available on the ARESFFT website.
The money for the prize fund was obtained primarily through a 2010 fund-raising event for which prizes were kindly donated by Neil Gaiman, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, Gary K. Wolfe, Peter F. Hamilton, Kari Sperring, Nick Mamatas, Pyr Books, Nanopress and Tachyon Publications. ARESFFT thanks everyone involved once again for their generosity. Thanks are also due to Eurocon 2011 for their hospitality and help.
The jury for the awards was Terry Harpold, University of Florida, USA (Chair); Abhijit Gupta, Jadavpur University, India; and Dale Knickerbocker, East Carolina University, USA.
ARESFFT is a California Non-Profit Corporation funded entirely by donations. This is the first year that the awards have been presented.
This issue features four female authors, three of whom are Indian, and one who is from the Philippines. Though there are only four stories, they cover such varied topics as transdimensional portals, mermaids, the Indian goddess of destruction, and space travel. The offerings of Filipina Eliza Victoria and Keyan Bowes are flavored with tragedy, Neesha Meminger’s “Daughters of Kali” reads like a modern folktale, and Devyani Borade ends the issue on a light-hearted note that celebrates imagination.
The story “God in the Sky”, by An Owomoyela, is especially interesting coming as it does on the heels of the Rapture hype in the news in May. In this story, a light appears in the sky. Scientists study it, others claim it is evidence of God, everyone panics. Owomoyela uses the light in the sky as the motivating force for a study of family dynamics in this character-based piece. The secondary theme involves the relationship of people to their religion, or lack of one. In the face of ill-defined potential doom, people turn to and from their families, to and from their religions. As in real life, and unlike many stories, none of these tensions are resolved. Read more »
Via Side-Show Freaks:
Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show (IGMS) and The Elephant and Macaw Banner have partnered up to create a contest that will bring the best of Brazilian speculative fiction to the English-speaking world via the Hydra Competition (Concurso Hydra in Brazil’s native [sic] language of Portuguese).
A panel of judges will select three finalists from short stories first published in Brazil in 2009 and 2010. Orson Scott Card, one of the world’s best-selling authors of speculative fiction, will select the winner.
Card says, “Ever since I lived in Brazil in the early 70s, the nation and people of Brazil have been important to me. That’s why in Speaker for the Dead, the colonists are Portuguese-speaking Brazilians! When I returned to Brazil to take part in a science fiction convention twenty years ago, I made new friends and read the work of some exciting authors. I’ve continued following the Brazilian science fiction scene ever since, and I am proud that IGMS will be a means of bringing the work of some of these writers to American readers. Till now, American readers have had little idea of how much good work is being done in our genre in Brazil.”
The winning story will be translated from Portuguese by author Christopher Kastensmidt, finalist in this year’s Nebula Awards and organizer of the Hydra Competition, and it will be published inInterGalactic Medicine Show.
IGMS editor Edmund R. Schubert says, “We’ve been publishing stories from around the globe for nearly as long as the magazine has been online, but it was always the English-language speaking parts of the world. This opportunity to reach into Brazil, to a whole new way of not just speaking, but of thinking and of viewing the world, is exciting. South America and Latin America have long been renowned for incorporating magical realism into their fiction and that’s a perfect avenue for IGMS to explore. I’m incredibly excited to see the stories that come to us out of this contest.”
Competition organizer Christopher Kastensmidt adds, “The Brazilian speculative fiction community has produced hundreds of excellent stories over the last two years, but almost none of them have made the passage to the English-speaking world. Orson Scott Card and the staff at InterGalactic Medicine Show recognize that speculative fiction is international, and their support will make this competition one of the biggest incentives ever for Brazilian writers.”
The name for the Hydra Competition comes from the Hydra constellation. Being a group of stars named after a mythical monster, the Hydra constellation is symbolic of both the fantasy and science fiction produced by the speculative community today. The constellation crosses the celestial equator, joining the northern and southern celestial hemispheres, just as the Hydra competition hopes to join the northern and southern hemispheres of speculative fiction. The Hydra is also one of the constellations on the Brazilian flag.
Submissions will be open from July 1st through August 15th and all eligible Brazilian authors are encouraged to participate. Rules will be published in Portuguese on the website Universo Insônia (universoinsonia.com.br). There is no entry fee to participate; however, the winner will receive a publication contract and be paid atIGMS’s full rate.