We are not psychopaths, terminally maladjusted, forever torn between two cultures in a way that will inevitably destroy us. We are not freaks or hybrids or mongrels or circus animals, forever exhibited as examples of what can go wrong in human/alien/magical creatures relationships; neither are we featureless saints exhibited as examples of interracial/interspecies harmony.
We are not special, magical or possessed of numinous powers by virtue of our non-white/non-human blood; we are not the tamed Other, made acceptable by an infusion of white blood and white customs, the “safe” option with only a hint of fashionable exoticism and none of the raw difference of “true” foreigners. We are not a handy, non-scary substitute for diversity in fiction.”
– Aliette de Bodard rants about mixed-race tropes in recent sf/f.
We’re delighted to be able to announce the beautiful table of contents for the We See a Different Frontier anthology of colonialism-themed speculative fiction co-edited by Fabio Fernandes. We’re really looking forward this hitting the bookshelves at the beginning of July 2013.
- Preface by Aliette de Bodard
- Introduction by Fabio Fernandes
- The Arrangement of Their Parts, Shweta Narayan
- Pancho Villa’s Flying Circus, Ernest Hogan
- Them Ships, Silvia Moreno-Garcia
- Old Domes, J.Y. Yang
- A Bridge of Words, Dinesh Rao
- The Gambiarra Effect, Fabio Fernandes *
- Droplet, Rahul Kanakia
- Lotus, Joyce Chng
- Dark Continents, Lavie Tidhar
- A Heap of Broken Images, Sunny Moraine
- Fleet, Sandra McDonald
- Remembering Turinam, Nalin A. Ratnayake
- Vector, Benjanun Sriduangkaew
- I Stole the D.C.’s Eyeglass, Sofia Samatar
- Forests of the Night, Gabriel Murray
- What Really Happened in Ficandula, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz
- Critical afterword by Ekaterina Sedia *
I NEED THIS IN MY LIFE
Me too :D
And it needs more than 24 notes darnit! It’s got Sofia Samatar you guys she’s made of awesome! And Rochita and Lavie and Gabe and Joyce and probably everyone else too I just, those are the ones I know….
…Broadly speaking, “translation is complicated/expensive!” tends to be held as the single (or the main) reason why there is no market for non-Anglo writers in Western English speaking countries. Having people relate difficulties with translations, no matter how justified, tends to reinforce a perception across English-speaking people that translation is very very hard and very expensive and therefore doesn’t happen and shouldn’t happen.
Whereas, of course, there’s a lot of traffic from English into other languages, and most non-Anglo countries have a dedicated translation infrastructure that enables them to lap up the (mostly English) books that they want to buy.
It’s not a problematic subject per se (and I don’t deny that it’s complex and fascinating and that there are lots of issues with translation), but it so often crops up in non-Anglo SF panels that I want to shoot it on sight.”
– Comment of the day: Aliette de Bodard on why “the bogeyman of translation” is not the key obstacle for foreign writers.
In the morning, you’re no longer quite sure who you are.
You stand in front of the mirror—it shifts and trembles, reflecting only what you want to see—eyes that feel too wide, skin that feels too pale, an odd, distant smell wafting from the compartment’s ambient system that is neither incense nor garlic, but something else, something elusive that you once knew.
You’re dressed, already—not on your skin, but outside, where it matters, your avatar sporting blue and black and gold, the stylish clothes of a well-travelled, well-connected woman. For a moment, as you turn away from the mirror, the glass shimmers out of focus; and another woman in a dull silk gown stares back at you: smaller, squatter and in every way diminished—a stranger, a distant memory that has ceased to have any meaning.
A rendition of “Ice Cream Paint Job” in “code written by a brogrammer after a hard night of raging in the gym and the club”.
Hackers are turning masculinity into a Möbius strip. Over at Quora, “How does a programmer become a brogrammer?” Via @aliettedb.
In short, I’m tired of being invaded by US culture. I’m tired of US tropes being cited as the norm (even when it’s obvious that the rest of the world doesn’t follow such tropes), of bookshelves featuring translations from US writers and movies following standard Hollywood fare–of the one-way street which means the US sets the tune for the rest of the world, and that anything that looks remotely worthy from non-US countries is given a local remake for those who can’t stand to watch dubbed or subtitled movies (guess what–we watch dubbed/subtitled US movies all the time in France). I’m tired of the way US culture and tropes have so pervaded popular culture that we no longer even question them, or even recognise them–and, worse, that people outside the US are actively aping them in search of the so-called “universal stories”.
*massive standing ovation* Do read the whole thing, it’s wonderful, and she goes into great detail. From a French perspective but will strike a chord with anyone outside the U. S. (says this Canadian who has inherited deep resentment for U. S. cultural imperialism).
I did get tripped up by
just like not all French books feature, say, bumbling bosses or people going on strike
…We’re not allowed to have stories about people going on strike! :P
Following Singaporean author Joyce Chng’s post “We Don’t Even Factor At All”, she, Aliette de Bodard (France), Csilla Kleinheincz (Hungary), Kate Elliott (US), Karen Lord (Barbados), and Ekaterina Sedia (Russia/US) discuss the state of the genre for women.
Csilla Kleinheincz: “Many of the women who write SFF in Hungary are not even published and have to turn to POD or self-publishing, and not because of the lack of talent. Before being recognized as part of world SF they need to be recognized in their own country, hardships that those who have the privilege of being men or US citizens or native speakers are not aware of.”
Karen Lord: “Let’s assume, purely for the sake of argument, that women are inclined (nature or culture?) to write and to enjoy a certain type of fiction. Is there a hint of judgement attached, that the male-dominated subgenres are, if not more lucrative, more prestigious? More likely to be ‘true’ sci-fi? I have a vague impression, completely unsupported, that more women write speculative fiction that crosses from genre into literary (there’s another arbitrary boundary with value judgements attached). Do male writers who produce soft, near-literary sci-fi find themselves overlooked when it comes to awards and mentions from genre reviewers?”
Ekaterina Sedia: “I feel like I’ve been banging my head against the wall with this topic — the one-way street of SF, where English-language works get translated all over the world, while the reverse is not true. While we can talk about English being an equalizer language (as Csilla mentioned), it also works as an effective tool of exclusion: it is so dominant that the expectation is for the rest of the world to speak English, not to try and understand them. And even foreign writers who DO write in English are by no means on the level playing field with the native speakers: there is a pressure to write in one milieu, there’s a tendency of editors to assume that every non-standard usage is a mistake, there are not-so-subtle hints that maybe one didn’t write one’s books, etc etc.”
Aliette de Bodard: “A couple of French BDs [bandes dessinées; comics] were translated for the US market, and they didn’t work so well. More than anything, it highlighted the differences in conception between a French BD and a US comic: a French BD is a series of long episodes that are usually published a year or so apart, the individual episodes being quite thicker than a comic (usually 50 A4 pages, sometimes more). They can be standalone episodes, but also part of an ongoing series: Universal War One, for instance, one of my fave time travel SF series, is a complete story in six volumes. Comics are usually released issue by issue (sometimes day by day for the online strips); and I know there have been some problems with that when Marvel tried to publish translated BDs: there was backlash, centred on the fact that the individual episodes weren’t complete, and that people would have to wait a long time for the sequel. I think that, because the individual episodes were far longer than a single comic issue, readers expected them to be complete stories in and of themselves.”
Joyce Chng: “Then again, I have an impression even within the SFF world, paranormal romance is received with disdain or at least with a curl of the lips (that signify disgust/dislike?). I wonder why though. Is it because it’s been overdone or that paranormal romance (italics for emphasis) equates women’s writing?
“Writing is writing. I hate it when people put filters, fences, iron gates and other types of separators to make themselves special or different.”
Aliette de Bodard reports back on Imaginales, a fantasy convention in Épinal, France.
Imaginales is pretty much the event of the weekend in May: you arrive at the train station and face the first of many billboards advertising the festival, listing all the authors. Unlike Anglophone cons, which are often put together and run by dedicated fans, Imaginales has the support of the town hall (and area council, …), and they put on quite an amazing show. They have strong ties to the restaurants, hotels and high schools of the area (teachers organise visits; authors drop by for chats, and every year artists paint a fresco which is later donated to a high school); and entrance to the event is free for everyone, which insures a very steady flow of local people curious to see the wares. There’s even a special Imaginales vintage (repackaged wine probably, but still cool).
Pretty much the centrepiece is the book tent, which is a ginormous space with a looooong set of tables, where each author has a spot: you sit there behind your books and sign stuff for whoever feels like buying. It helps if you think of it as a cross between a book fair (a Salon du Livre, if you’ve ever been) and an Anglophone con: there are a few events on programming (2-3 tracks), a gaming tent, and a café area, but the heart of the show is the book tent…