Blog Sense of Wonder interviews Verbena C.W., “editor-in-chief of Beijing Guomi Digital Technology, a company that is translating into English and publishing works by Liu Cixin and other Chinese authors. We talk at length about fiction in China and the company plans for the future.”
Odo: Beijing Guomi Digital Technology is a young publisher of Chinese fiction translated into English. How did it all begin?Verbena C.W.: Our company was set up in 2010. Yes, we are only two years old, so you could definitely say that we are very young indeed. Our team is mostly made up of authors and editors with a keen interest in both Eastern and Western cultures, dedicated to facilitating cross-cultural communication and inspired by their work between cultures.
In China, about 10 years ago, indie writers had already begun to serialize their novels on forums and literary websites. This lead many Chinese readers to very early on form the habit of reading on their PC. Now reports show that the e-book market in China has already expanded to a total 4 billion RMB. Though Amazon only launched the Kindle Store in 2007, somewhat later than the boom in China, we have already seen a rapid growth in the number of indie authors self-publishing book specifically produced for the Kindle. We saw this development as a great opportunity for intercultural communication and as a chance for us to bring translations of Chinese novels to a Western audience so we joined KDP.
Our team is scattered throughout the world; the States, Australia, Romania, Japan to name just a few countries. We work together online to bring the best results to our audience. Most of us have not even had the chance to meet face-to-face.
Odo: So far, you have published five novellas by Liu Cixin. Are you planning on publishing more of his work? Maybe his novels?V.C.W.: Yes, in fact we are currently talking to the author and his Chinese publisher about the publication of his novels in English. Among his works, the hard science-fiction trilogy Three-Body is the bestselling and most highly acclaimed for mature readers. In China, this series won over many who had never before read any science-fiction. If you are interested, here you can find a brief introduction to the author and his works. We are also considering translating and posting a couple of interviews of his from both mainland China and Hong Kong. – continue reading.
Damien Walter writes in the Guardian on Is science fiction literature’s first international language? He profiles the World SF Blog, gives The Apex Book of World SF 2 (only a few days left to get the special advance edition!) a plug, discusses Liu Cixin, and asks, “Who are the other international SF authors we should all be reading today?”
The World SF blog edited by Israeli born author Lavie Tidhar has been cataloguing the emergence of international SF since 2009, and the increasing cross-pollination between SF communities in Europe, South America, Asia, China, India and elsewhere. It’s an absolute must read for anyone still hardwired in to the Americanised, anglophone conception of SF. Much of the focus of translation efforts in the international SF community so far has been short fiction gathered in anthologies such as the Apex Book of World SF and Phillipine Speculative Fiction, but an increasing number of full-length novels are finding translation.
The work of Liu Cixin, eight-time winner of the Galaxy award and arguably the most popular SF author in China, is now available in English translation. Liu Cixin’s writing will remind SF fans of the genre’s golden age, with its positive focus on scientific development, combined with a consistently constructive vision of China’s future role as a global superpower. It’s characteristic of an SF genre which has been embraced by Chinese culture because it is seen as representing the values of technological innovation and creativity so highly prized in a country developing more quickly than any other in the world today. – read the full article.
Ken Liu writes to let us know of the publication of issue 2 of Pathlight Magazine, “a new English-language literary magazine produced by Paper Republic and People’s Literature Magazine (《人民文学》杂志社). It is currently in trial publication period—the first issue came out on November 20, and the second issue has been published in advance of the 2012 London Book Fair, where China is the Market Focus.” The issue is currently available for a free download.
Ken has translated a story from Chinese SF author Liu Cixin in the second issue, “Taking Care of God”. Ken writes:
Liu Cixin is among China’s most prominent science fiction authors, and People’s Literature is something like a Chinese version of Ploughshares. It’s very rare for a literary magazine like People’s Literature to go genre — but with Pathlight, edited by a Western staff, the idea is to introduce Chinese authors who’re a bit more outside the well-trodden path to English readers.
I’m really honored to have been given a chance to translate this work. Liu is a literary hero of mine and influenced me more than a little.
The issue also includes a story from prominent Tibetan-Chinese author Alai, who is well-known to SF readers as the one-time editor of the world’s biggest SF magazine, the Chinese SF World.
Check out this month’s Words Without Borders, which has a focus on international science fiction. It includes works from Stanislaw Lem, Tomasz Kołodziejczak, Olga Slavnikova, Zoran Živković, Hiroshi Yamamoto, Machado de Assis, Liu Cixin, Tomasz Kołodziejczak, Pablo A. Castro, Muhammad Husain Jah, José Eugenio Sánchez, and Carmen Firan.
I’d also like to thank all the translators who worked on the magazine.
You can read them here.