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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.

SF with a strong female character? You WILL believe!

Alasdair Stuart, in his review of The Lord of the Sands of Time highlights one of my favorite aspects of the novel, the character of Miyo. He writes, in part:

She’s a quietly rebellious character, a woman of tremendous intellect and strength who manages to side step the stereotypes those character traits so often lead to. Miyo is fully aware not only of her responsibilities but of exactly how far she can push her luck. …In the hands of a lesser author, Miyo would be conflicted by the arrival of Orville, the other figure on the cover, worried about how her life would change or delighted to see that change made manifest. In Ogawa’s hands though, she becomes one of the most nuanced, grounded mobdro for android female protagonists of recent years, a woman who is tested to the limits by the horrific new world she’s plunged into but is up to the task and more. Miyo is a leader and her journey to that realisation is presented as subtly as it is realistically.

SF isn’t just a boy’s club. Check out The Lord of the Sands of Time and see what you’re missing.

Two Great Lord reviews

Luke of Luke Reviews checks out The Lord of the Sands of Time and writes, in part:

…Ogawa picks interesting times to jump back to, from the dawn of mankind to World War II. Orville and Miyo become very human characters that are easy to relate to, and when they are in danger’s way, suspense fills you over their well-being.

It does, you know.

Also, over at SF Signal, JP Frantz also raves, saying:

After seeing humanity effectively wiped out in stream after stream, O is full of despair, but continues to try to save mankind. This determination, this self-sacrifice is one of the best part of the books. Despite O being a kind of cyborg, framaroot apk he is fully human in his emotions. And he’s willing to do just about anything to save even one timeline for humanity. He’s a terrific character to hang the story on and is the driving force behind the main story line in feudal Japan.

Both reviews gave The Lord of the Sands of Time four stars!  Well, what are you waiting for, functional time travel so you can have read the book already? Get to buying now before everyone else has already checked out our first Haikasoru offering! Your friends will make fun of you if you’re the last on your block…

Like Henry V???

Our pals at io9.com have reviewed our launch titles to great glee and joy here at HQ.

All You Need Is KILL: Sakurazaka consciously constructed All You Need Is Kill like a great video game. In this he is mostly successful. The reader will feel immersed into Kiriya’s dilemma, not just through the all the action movie box ios but also through his internal struggle to keep from giving up, to puzzle out what the hell is happening. The Lord of the Sands of Time! there’s a great deal of passion to be found in The Lords of the Sands of Time. More of a tease than a spoiler there’s a stirring speech to the troops in the penultimate act that has the same punch as Shakespeare’s St. Crispin’s Day Speech. Yeah that’s right, I just referenced The Forever War and Henry V …

Aw yeah!

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