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Haikasoru at the World Fantasy Convention

This past weekend I attended the 2009 World Fantasy Convention. As they say in the junior high school paper after the student play, “Everybody had a good time.” But more than that was had! For example, Haikasoru had a presence on the “Fantasy in Translation” panel. Check out this photographic evidence:


From L to R: Your handsome Haikasoru editor, Rani Graff, Cheryl Morgan, Ann Vandermeer, Zoran Živković. Photo by Kevin Standlee, with permission.

Zoran Živković discussed his attempt to find an audience larger than he could have ever had in his native Serbian by investing heavily in private translations of his work into English. Ann Vandermeer, fiction editor of the venerable Weird Tales spoke of her experiences in bringing out the first “international” issue in the magazine’s eighty-five year history. We also talked about the number of books translated into English each year, the expense and difficulty of doing so and the importance of making sure that translators get their due. I was happy to report to the audience that Haikasoru titles always have the translator’s byline right on the front cover.

Cheryl Morgan moderated the panel and had a special announcement: the launch of The Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Awards, for works of speculative fiction translated into English from other languages. It should be a pretty good award, as such things go—the University of California, Riverside’s Eaton Collection is associated with the initiative and will likely be hosting the first ceremony in 2011. Also, cash prizes!

Many other countries, such as Germany and Finland, have their own awards for SF/F and many of these awards also include awards for translated fiction, often but not always from English—in Finland a book translated from a regional Kenyan language recently won—but in the Anglophone world such a prize category is lacking. Of course, there are awards for works in translation; Haikasoru’s own Brave Story won the Batchelder Award for children’s literature in translation. (Have I mentioned that the paperback is coming out in a mere two weeks?) But the SFFTA’s are the first sf/fantasy-specific award. Check out the press release if you’d like to play the home game version of the panel.

There was more to WFC than panels and prizes though. There were parties and goody bags featuring copies of ZOO and The Lord of the Sands of Time, which were eagerly gobbled up by attendees, readings, and whirls of words and art. And very little sleep.

Haikasoru hopes to be hitting more conventions this year and next, so do keep an eye out at your local SF hootenanny.

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The Return of Brave Story (And More)

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While revisiting Brave Story for its paperback debut, I started thinking again about the book’s zany cover painting. It’s an awesome piece of art, both playful and frightening (much like the Miyuki Miyabe novel itself). In fact, the book’s designer was so taken with the image she ultimately purchased it for herself. It’s now hanging on the wall of her hip San Francisco apartment. And I have no doubt that it provokes spirited conversation during dinner parties.

I remember when the novel first popped up in stores back in 2007. It didn’t look like anything else on the shelves. I even remember Andrew Wheeler blogging about it. “(The novel) has a great oddball cover by Dan May,” he wrote back then. “When people complain that all fantasy covers have to look alike, they forget that things like this are possible.”

In conclusion, he wrote, “I’d love to see more like it, if the audience doesn’t run screaming in disgust.” And guess what? It looks like Mr. Wheeler is going to get his wish. We’re publishing the latest novel by Miyabe in January (The Book of Heroes) and it sports another terrific painting by Dan May. I predict no one will be screaming in disgust.

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The Fall and Spring of Natsuhiko Kyogoku

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Coming this May, we’ll be publishing Loups-Garous, a werewolf-in-Tokyo murder mystery by Natsuhiko Kyogoku. The book’s editor (Saint Nick Mamatas) calls it a dystopian science fiction novel with a twist of thriller. As a fan of such things, I can’t wait until May when the book is finally sitting on my shelf.

Until then we can all cool our jets with a newly translated novel by Kyogoku called The Summer of the Ubume. This supernatural tale is the first in a series of nine novels featuring an exorcist who doesn’t believe in ghosts. Added bonus: the novel was translated into English by Alex Smith, the man responsible for a handful of Haikasoru titles, including Brave Story, and All You Need is KILL.

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How ya like us now?

Hey hey Haikasorunauts, notice anything different? We cleaned up our front page and added pages and excerpts for our latest books!

Check out:

Battle Royale The Novel, a new edition with revised text, a new introduction by Max Allan Collins, an interview with filmmaker Kinji Fukasaku, and a twenty-two page afterword by author Koushun Takami. This is his longest published work since the novel itself!

The paperback edition of the Batchelder-award winning Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe!

Also by Miyabe, Haikasoru’s first hardcover: The Book of Heroes. (Robert W. Chambers fans note that the King in Yellow is the baddie in this fantasy novel.)

And last but not least, the thrilling military SF adventure, Yukikaze! Yes, this is that Yukikaze, the one which launched the fame anime.

Check out this interview with me in podcast form for more of the skinny on Haikasoru!

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