China has been called the world’s largest market for science fiction. However, in the construction of the bibliography I was only able to come across one work translated out of that huge pool. This is a bit of a disappointment. It should signal to publishers and translators that there is a huge need. Hopefully, future bibliographies will have more material to work with.
Wang, Lixiong. China Tidal Wave : a novel. (Huang huo). Translated by Anton Platero. Folkestone: Global Orient, 2008
Categories: Nuclear War, Political Science Fiction, Apocalyptic, Dystopic, Environmental Science Fiction, Bioengineering, Nuclear Winter
In China Tidal Wave, Wang imagines a scenario in which China begins to collapse and envisions the consequences. After China and Taiwan’s conflict goes nuclear, a missile winds up in Russia. The nuclear powers launch a first strike against China’s capabilities, resulting in a nuclear winter. The Chinese government responds but exiles 500 million people. The result is a wave of Chinese refugees that cause global instability, which threatens nuclear annihilation of the entire planet. However, all hope is not lost as Earth faces nuclear winter. China Tidal Wave’s narrative style is tight and shifting, similar to a Tom Clancy novel.
The Czech language has a rich history in science fiction. One only has to point to the classic play R.U.R. and the coining of the term “Robot” to show how deeply Czech works have impacted global science fiction. Continuing this literary tradition is the single work translated from Czech in this volume. While not strictly a science fiction story, its quality won it a spot as a finalist in the first Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Awards.
Ajvaz, Michal. The Golden Age (Zlatý Věk, 2001). Translated by Andrew Oakland. Champaign, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 2010
Categories: Satirical, Post Modern, Travel Narrative, Surrealist
Published as part of the Czech Literature Series at the University of Illinois, and written as a mock travel guide, Ajvaz’s book is a meditation on laziness. The novel contains elements of postmodernism (especially in its construction) and has elements of fantasy. It’s a book that loosely adheres to genre norms. This book was a finalist for the first Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Awards.
Science fiction translated from French into English has the most established place in the English science fiction cannon. The reason can be summed up in one man: Jules Verne. Despite his presence, French science fiction is just becoming more available in English language translations. Interestingly, the bulk of this material tends to be translations of classic French pulps, as opposed to new authors. This is largely a result of Brain Stableford and Black Coat Press. Black Coat and Stableford have published over half of the French books in this bibliography. For his efforts, Stableford received an award in recognition of his work at the first Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Awards. Despite the push of older novels being translated for the first time, several of the contemporary titles are of extremely high quality.
Arnaud, G.-J. The Ice Company (La Compagnie des Glaces, 1980). Translated by Jean-Marc Lofficier and Randy Lofficier. Encino, CA: Black Coat Press, 2010
Categories: Dystopic, Post-Apocolyptic, Social Science Fiction, Corporations, Ice Age, Bioengineering, Spy Craft
The Ice Company is the first book in a popular French series that takes place in a future in which the Earth is locked in the grips of the Ice Age. The cold is so extreme that man can only exist in a series of movable dome cities that ride on rails. These railways are of course dominated by mega-corporations who battle each other for control.
The story follows a glaciologist, who comes across something he shouldn’t while doing work for the company. This of course plunges him into a series of political intrigues and adventures. While the story was published in the 1980s, it has more in common with pulp stories from the past. Its main character clips along with a strong sense of morality, brash forwardness, and womanizing.
Balzac, Honoré de. The Centenarian, or, The two Beringhelds. Translated by Daniele Chatelain and George Slusser. Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press, 2006
Categories: Proto-Science Fiction, Immortality, Adventure
The Centenarian, or, the Berignhelds, is an early work by Balzac that spans several literary formats common to the time of its writing. Much of its literary construction is similar to gothic novels in the style of frankenstien. However, while the novel is compared to both Frankenstien and Dracula, the text has several passages which describe events, which while fantastical are supposed to be rooted in science. As a result it holds its place as an early work of science fiction. The Centenarian, or, the Berignhelds, was published as part of Wesleyan’s, Early Classics of Science Fiction series. It’s an updated and annotated version of a 1976 translation.
Bérard, Sylvie. Of wind and sand (Terre des autres, 2004). Translated by Sheryl Curtis. Calgary: Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, 2009
Categories: Colonization, Aliens, Bioengineering, survival, sociological science fiction
Of wind and sand is a French Canadian novel about human beings stranded on a desert planet attempting to adapt to the planets difficult conditions. The planet is also inhabited by a race of lizard like aliens. The interaction between the native residents and the human aliens forms the nexus of the books narrative arch.
The book itself is constructed around a series of short vignettes that follow the course of interactions between the human’s and the native species. The book is as much about reconciliation with the other as it is about the clash of civilizations and although the book never reaches a satisfying conclusion, it does put forward a compelling narrative about encountering and living with the other.
Bodin, Félix. The Novel Of The Future (Le roman de l’avenir, 1834). Translated by Brian Stableford. Encino, CA: Black Coat Press, 2008
Categories: Futurism, adventure, social science fiction, criticism
First published in 1834, The Novel Of The Future, was an obscure book until it was enshrined in the cannon of french science fiction in 1972. The book imagines the future in the last half of the 20th century. While Bodin’s technological predictions are limited by his time, his social predictions are much more accurate. Bodin’s incomplete novel (there was a second volume planned) is accompanied by several works of criticism, important in establishing the idea of Futurism. Black Coat Press’s reprint represents a significant push in popularizing this work, copies in the original French are purportedly hard to find. Stableford’s book is reviewed in SF Studies #108. It includes annotations, with an afterwards and an introduction by Stableford.
Briand, Mathieu and Foucard, Daniel. Ubïq : a mental odyssey (2008). Translated by Paul Buck & Catherine Petit. Paris: Dis Voir, 2008
Categories: Drugs, Pirates, dystopia, space exploration, consciousness, ravers
Ubiq is an art book, whose postmodern narrative mirrors the effect of the drug that it talks about. It is disjointed and constantly slips through different time frames and narrative modes. The story title is a reference to the work by Philip K. Dick, and the themes in this book are largely explored in Dick’s novel’s including mental illness, drug use, and consciousness. The book also features comics by Argentinian Daniele Riviere.
Caroff, André. The Terror of Madame Atomos. Translated by Brian Stableford. Encino, CA: Black Coat Press, 2010
Categories: Mad Scientists, Radioactivity, Giant Insects, Zombies, Dark
The Terror of Madame Atomos is a collection containing two novels; The Sinster Madame Atomos (La Sinistre Mme Atomos, 1964) and Madame Atmos Sows Terror (Mme Atomos Sème la Terreu, 1965) featuring the title character as well as an origional short story by J.-M. Lofficier (“Madame Atmos X-Mas”, 2009). Madame Atomos is a mad scientist archetype, who seeks revenge on the United States for the death of her family. Swearing revenge for dropping of nuclear bombs on Japan, Madame Atomos unleashes Zomibes in New York and Giant Spiders in Texas. She is opposed by an FBI agent, a scientist, and an agent of the Japanese secret police. Black Coat Press plans on releasing the entire Madame Atomos series in 9 omnibus volumes.
Madame Atomos’s story is told with a grim prosaic style reminiscent of science fiction in the United States, written at the same time. Unlike the American science fiction, Madame Atomos’s exploits are truly horrific, and the dark parts of the novels are laid bare for the readers to see. While the descriptions aren’t graphic the acts still have a quality of horror to them.
Dantec, Maurice G. Babylon Babies (1999). Translated by Noura Wedell. New York: Ballentine Del Ray, 2008
Categories: Mafia, Near Future, human trafficking, cyberpunk, genetic engineering
Babylon Babies is Dantec’s first novel to be published in English. Although the first edition published by Semiotix came out in 2005, it was published as a mass market paperback in 2008 with a movie tie in cover. I have electted to include it, in part because the release of the movie version, titled, Babylon A.D., may have been a point of introduction to the author.
Babylon Babies, has a slightly plodding pace, although fans of crime thrillers may not be as turned off by the authors description of the various players, moves, and back stories that are introduced. Due to its construction and the limits to film, there are considerable discrepancies between the film version and the book.
—. Cosmos Incorporated (2006) Translated by Tina A Kover, New York: Ballentine Del Ray, 2009
Categories: Cyborgs, Cyberpunk, Assassins, AI, Distopia, Space Colonization
Cosmos Incorporated is a typical, well constructed cyberpunk novel. The main character is a cyborg assassin, whose memory has been wiped. As he struggles to remember his mission, his emerging memories and his new relationships complicate the plan. The book lacks the freewheeling paunchiness of Grand Junction’s prose, but moves significantly faster than the occasionally plodding narrative of Babylon Babies. It’s Dantec’s most accessible work in English, and a good read.
–., Grand junction (Grande junction, 2006). Translated by Tina A. Kover. New York: Ballentine Del Ray, 2008
Categories: Religious Science Fiction, Artificial Intelligence, Plagues, Cyborgs, Apocalyptic, Zombies
Grand Junction is a novel about a dystopia in which a computer virus has destroyed almost all technology. Because many humans had cybernetic and bioengineered implants most of humanity has died of as well. The book focuses on a figure, Link de Nova, a not thinly vieled the second coming. Grand Junction is the 2nd book in Dantec’s Christian Futurism series. As the virus begins to attack human consciousness, and new dangers arise, Link and his friends prepare for the final battle.
The book itself is a punchy read. The text of the translation is strikes out to the point of being almost choppy. The narrative drags a bit, and is crouched in asides of theology, and musings on Rock and Roll.
de Chousy, Comte Didier. Ignis : the central fire (1883). Translated by Brian Stableford. Encino, CA: Black Coat Press, 2009
Categories: Utopian, Robots, Peak Oil, Satirical, Proto-Science Fiction
As a satirical scientific romance and one off, Ignis, had little influence on future works. However, Ignis, is a notable text because it predicted several future tropes and themes which would emerge in science fiction. In particular, Ignis, features the first revolt by mechanical humanoid atmophytes (robots). The book features and introduction and annotations by Stableford. Stableford uses the 4th edition of the book as his source text but also provides text that appeared in the first edition in his footnotes as well.
de Parville, Henri. An Inhabitant of the Planet Mars (Habitant de la planète Mars, 1864). Translated by Brian Stableford. Encino, CA: Black Coat Press, 2008
Categories: Proto-Science Fiction, Parody, Aliens, Mars
A work of proto science fiction, Parville’s fake dispatches share a lot in common with Orson Wells ’s radio broadcast of war of the world. Both are taken within the context of their medium. Parville wrote his work as if it was written by a correspondent covering America’s civil war. As a result it’s a novel in the form of letters. Stableford’s translation includes annotations, and an introduction that both situates the work as well as provides a biography of the author.
Féval, Paul, fils. Felifax (Félifax, 1928) Translated by Brian Stableford. Encino, CA: Black Coat Press, 2007
Categories: Adventure, bioengineering, pulp
Felifax is a work of pulp fiction which unlike many of the Black Coat Press translations predates comic books rather than a trend in science fiction literature. The book is made up of two novels by Paul Feval fils. The novels are notable for two reasons, First is their meandering stories and loose plots. Stableford characterizes the arch of the two novels as at its peak reaching a sort of comedic melodrama. The second reason is that its hero and many aspects of its narrative structure mark it as a precursor to comic books.
The novels represent Feval’s attempt to meld adventure and detective fiction through, pitting Felifax against an English detective Sir Eric Palmer, in an attempt to create a Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes synergy. In addition to the narrative problems of Feval’s style, Felifax isn’t helped by Feval’s prose, which is filled with the sort of ornamental sweeping construction that typifies much of pulp and general fiction.
Valtat, Jean-Christophe. Aurorarama. New York: Melville House, 2010.
Categories: Political Science Fiction, Steam Punk, bioengineering, Artic, Adventure Stories
Although not strictly a translated work. Valtat wrote this book simultaneously in English and French I couldn’t pass up including it. It is hinted at in promotional interviews and blog postings that as part of the creative process was that Valtat and his editor translated and smoothed the text in both English and French as the book was being written. Aurarama itself is an adventure story that ties together class consciousness, genetic engineering, elements of classic adventure stories.
Verne, Jules. The Meteor Hunt: La chasse au météore : the first English translation of Verne’s original manuscript (La chasse au météore). Translated Frederick Paul Walter & Walter James Miller.. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2006
Part of the Bison Frontiers of Imagination series published by the University of Nebraska. The work is the first English translation.
—-. Amazing Journeys: Five visionary classics. Translated by Frederick Paul Walter. Albany: SUNY press, 2010
Categories: Adventure stories
Five of Verne’s classic works bound together in new translation. Contains new translations of some of Jules Verne’s travel based adventures. This volume includes: Journey to the center of the earth, From the earth to the moon, Circling the Moon, 20,000 leagues under the sea, Around the world in 80 days.
Short Fiction Collections and Anthologies
de La Hire, Jean. Enter the Nyctalope (Assassinat du Nyctalope, 1933). Translated by Brian Stableford. Edited by Brian Stableford. Encino, CA: Black Coat Press, 2009
A new translation of the Nycatalope’s origin story. In addition to the novel this volume also includes commentary and 3 new tales of the Nycatalope, by contemporary author’s influenced by the classic french pulp hero.
Despite a historically rich flow of works translated between English and German, there are surprisingly few modern translations of science fiction. One would have to extend recognition to such works as Nightwork by Austrian novelist Thomas Glavinic, or Frank Schätzing’s horror work in order to expand the category. Both of the novels listed below are of unsettling high quality, and should serve to direct publishers to investigate further the work of contemporary science fiction authors writing in German.
Eschbach, Andreas. The Carpet Makers (Haarteppichknüpfer, 1995). Translated by Doryl Jensen. New York: TOR, 2006
This work straddles the border between 2005 and 2006, with its hardcover edition being published in 2005, followed by a new paperback edition coming out in 2006. A search of library and bookseller catalogs reveals that most contain separate entries for both editions. As a result I feel justified in including this work in the collection.
The work itself is a series of well-written and -translated short stories, which have been masterfully crafted into a novel. Each story tells some aspect of life on a planet where the entire focus of industry is on making carpets made from human hair. After the Galactic Empire is overthrown, the carts are still sent to his “palace,.” This mystery of the carpets becomes the focus of the book. With its gripping narrative style the reader can’t help but be pulled along.
Schätzing, Frank. The Swarm: A Novel of the Deep (Der Schwarm, 2004). Translated by Sally-Ann Spencer. New York: Harper Perennial, 2007
Categories: Enviromental Science Fiction, Hard Science Fiction, First Encounter, Disaster Fiction, Bioengineering
In The Swarm humanity must grapple with a series of natural disasters as the ocean turns against humanity. The Swarm is a science fiction story that borrows some measure of its form from modern mystery/thriller and horror novels with large scope such as The Stand. The tale of the sea rising against man is a science heavy narrative told from multiple viewpoints. The Swarm was an international best seller, but failed to capture the same status in the United States.
Many Americans are familiar with Japanese Science Fiction; it’s one of America’s significant external cultural influences. The bulk of this influence is primarily through visual media; especially comics (or manga), and video (or anime). Despite the prominence of visual media’s influence Japan’s contemporary literary merit is extremely high, and internationally recognition has increased. For the last several year Japanese author, Haruki Murakami, has been a favorite for the Nobel Prize in literature. As a result of these two trends Japanese novels and short fiction are increasingly being published in English translations, especially works in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genera. Deserving recognition for its prodigious and increasing output is Haikasoru, an imprint of the Manga publishing juggernaut VIZ. Another press that specializes in Japanese Fiction is Kurodahan Press, which has less of an impact in part because it is actually based in Japan. Kurodahan offers a smaller, but less poppy selection of science fiction, weird, and fantasy literature; and also publishes English translations of Serbian author, Zoran Živković. Because the publishing houses most tied into producing Japanese science fiction in English, the translation cycle tends to be faster than those of other languages, and Japanese represents the largest and most diverse language grouping, with the exception of French.
Asamatsu, Ken. Queen of K’n-Yan (Kun Yan no joo, 1993). Translated by Kathleen Taji. Fukuoka: Kurodahan Press, 2008
Categories: Chulthulu, Dark, Bioengineering, Horror
The Queen of K’n-Yan is a revision of the Cuthulu genera pioneered by H. P. Lovecraft. The introduction to the book is a fascinating essay about Lovecraft, Japan, and the connection of the two. The story itself is an intense story of horror with the spice of a techno thriller. It follows a genetic biologist as she is brought into a huge arcology and given the chance to sequence the DNA of a strange mummy by a firm with connections to the Chinese military. What follows is a slow descent into Lovecraftian horror.
Kambayashi, Chōhei . Yukikaze. Translated by Neil Nadelman. San Fransisco: Haikasoru, 2010
Categories: Alien Invasion, trans-dimensional, Military Science Fiction, Air Combat, Artificial intelligence, Colonization
Yukikaze is a fairly incredible book about post-humanism wrapped in a fairly standard fight the alien in a pline book. I blame the translator for that though, because the book involves a lot of stylistic skill for such a plain textual voice. The novel is on face about a battle waged on another world, by pilots of advanced jet fighters. The stories main narrative ark focuses on the Yukikaze, a long range reconnaissance fighter and her pilot, Lt. Rei kuai. The story focuses on the relationships between humans and machines. A high point of the stories construction is its tendency to end sections cliffhangers which often make the book hard to put down.
In addition to the novel the book also includes: A fact sheet on the Yukikaze. A note from the author indicates that the work translated is a new edition of a book originally published in 1984, in japan. This indicates that the narrative drag may be the product of translation. In addition it features an essay of criticism and an overview of the themes of Yukikaze by Ray Fuyuki.
Kishi, Yuske. The Crimson Labyrinth (Kurimuzon no Meikyu, 1999). Translated by Masami Isetani and Camellia Nieh. New York: Vertical Inc., 2006
Categories: Psychological, Cyborgs, Dark, Adventure
The Crimson Labyrinth is a psychological science fiction story with strong elements of adventure narrative. The plot involves a man waking up in a maze with amnesia. He’s quickly drafted into a game with strong notes of extreme reality TV. Partnered with young women, he struggles to find his way out of the labyrinth. The winner receives a wad of cash, while the losers pay with their lives. The story is fairly straight forward although there are allusions to Philip K. Dick stylistically.
Nojiri, Housuke. Usurper Of The Sun (Taiyo no sandatsusha). Translated by Joseph Reeder. San Fransisco: Haikasoru, 2009
Categories: First Contact, Aliens, Space Travel, Artificial Intelligence, Nanotechnology
Usurper Of The Sun, is hard science fiction novel examining the impact that first contact has on the psyche and life of humanity. The story is a third person narrative that tells the story of Aki Shiraishi a high school student who discovers the Alien presence, and becomes intimately involved in humanities first contact with an alien race. At the start of the book the alien presence is confined to an aurora around the sun, and then grows into global threat as their strange device begins to encircle and blot out the sun. Set against this back drop of existential threat, the novel examines how long distance space travel would work, artificial intelligence, and first contact would function.
The prose of the book is fairly dry and dark. The result is that Aki has almost a sociopathic feel, which may be an exploration of the costs of childhood fame. While over the novel tells of a fairly successful and happy story, it is shaded by a stressed and determined feel that seems to come from the main character despite its third person narrative. This is likely present in the original work as the other translation by Joseph Reeder, isn’t weighted down by such a heavy narrative presence.
Ogawa, Issui. The Lord Of The Sands Of Time (Tokisuna no o, 2007). translated by Jim Hubbert. San Fransisco: Viz, 2009
Categories: Time Travel, Alien Invasions, Artificial Intelligence
If The Lord Of The Sands Of Time were longer it could be described as a time opera. Similar to a space opera it focuses mainly on character development and a central love story between a mysterious cyborg warrior and fictional Japanese princess as they battle for the salvation of mankind in ancient japan. It mainly features combat against an insect like foe, and the bonding between the cyborg and the princess.
—-. The Next Continent (Sixth continent, 2003). translated by Jim Hubbert. San Fransisco: Haikasoru, 2010
Categories: Space Exploration, Economic science fiction, The Moon, First Contact
In The Next Continent Humanity returns to the moon. This novel tells the story of a private Japanese effort to build a moon base and is a spectacular, almost classic, exploration of human expansion into space. The book presents a vision of capitalism very different from the one we experience today, a vision where businesses exist for their products and not just for profit. This gives the book both a technical and social edge to its science fiction, and may provide an unique allure to western readers interested in business and economics, as well as science and adventure.
Sakurazaka, Hiroshi . All You Need Is Kill (Oru yu nido izu kiru). translated by Alexander O Smith. San Fransisco: Haikasoru, 2009
Categories: Alien Invasion, Mecha, Military Science Fiction, Time Travel, Nanotechology
All You Need Is Kill is a well written military science fiction story. The main character begins as a freshly recruited soldier, being sent into battle for the first time. The story follows him as he dies, and begins to relive the same day over and over again. The novel involves nanotechnology, tachyons, time travel, and of course an alien invasion. The main character eventually finds love and salvation in the arms of Full Metal Bitch an elite U.S. Special Forces soldier. Tension revolves around this relationship and
Slum Online (Suramu onrain). Translated by Joseph Reeder. San Fransisco: Haikasoru, 2010
Categories: Video Games, Romance, Social Science Fiction
Slum Online is a novel about video games and disconnection. It is told in two spaces and two voices. The voice of Etsuro Sakagami, a disconnect youth, occupies the real world portion of the narrative. Sakagami is directionless, and often skips college classes, and his real life friends to play his video game. In versus town an MMO version fighting game, Sakagami is Tetsuo an up and coming champion. The tension between the virtual and the real becomes palpable as the directionless slacker begins to realize that there is a cost to his online habits, while at the same time in game drama begins to bleed out into the real world.
In many ways this book bears some influence from the work of Haruki Murakami. The disconnected narrator bares a strong resemblance to protagonists in Murakami novels. As the book develops and the lines begin to blur the book also begins to take on a Murakami like surrealism. While the work never reaches the same levels of literary achievement that Murakami does, its concept and tone, almost make it the pulp equivalent of a wild sheep chase.
Suzuki, Koji. Promanade Of The Gods (Kamigami no puromunaado, 2003). Translated by . New York: Vertical Inc., 2008
Categories Alienation, Media, Romance
Promenade Of The Gods, is a thriller with heavy commentary about religion and the media. In Promenade Of The Gods, the main characters investigate a series of disaperances linked to a cult. Things aren’t what they appear, and Shirow the protagonist must wrestle with his sense of duty and his growing feelings for his friend’s wife.
Promenade Of The Gods, is not a novel that involves science fiction artifacts in its narrative, though it’s expression of alienation and technology, have a lot in common with the best cyberpunk. The book is a novel related to Suzuki’s Ring Series. That series, which spawned several movies, involves themes of horror and science fiction. By the third book, Loop, the narrative has shifted to more of a techno-thriller, but because of the thematic nature I’m classifying the trilogy as horror.
Takami, Koushun. Battle Royal (Batoru rowaiaru, 2000). Translated by Yuji Oniki. San Fransisco: Viz, 2009
Categories: Media, Distopia, Youth, Dark
Originally published in 2003 by Viz, it was republished in 2009. Included because the new edition adds a translated interview with the author about the book.
Tsutsui, Yasutaka . Paprika: A Novel (Papurika). Translated by Andrew Driver. Richmond, United Kingdom: Alma, 2009
Categories: psychedelic, dreams, psychological, Mind Control
Paprika is a mystery thriller set in the near future. Pyschiatrists and Psychologists have discovered a way to monitor and influence people’s dreams as a way to treat mental disorders. When a powerful prototype is stolen from a lab, people start going mad. As the barrier between reality and dreams begins to collapse, Paprika, the dream detective races to find the missing devices.
Initial publication occurred in serialized form in Marie Claire. It was translated into a manga which was published in 2003 in Japan. It was turned into Anime in 2006 by famed director Satoshi Kon. Kon’s interpretation differs in signifgant ways from the novel, though both follow similar plot.
Ubukata, To. Mardok Scramble (Marudokku Sakuranburu) Translated by Edwin Hawkes. San Fransisco: Haikasoru, 2010
Categories: Cyborgs, Post-Apocalyptic, Urban, Noir, cyberpunk, Sexual Abuse, Dark
The Mardok Scramble is an extremely dark book. Taking place in the far future after a way between two ill-defined country humanity crowds in a megalopolis called Mardok City. The story is about a child prostitute, who as a result of escaping a fiery death, is given incredible powers and the opportunity to hunt down her killers. The story features disturbing although not over graphic descriptions of sex, violence, and depravity that can make it a challenging read for sensitive audiences. The narratives construction is noireish with more than taken from movies like Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell, and Akira.
Short Fiction Collections and Anthologies
Hayashi, Jyoji. The Ouroboros Wave (2002). Translated by Jim Hubbert. San Fransisco: Haikasoru, 2010
Categories: Artificial Intelligence, Cyborgs, Space Exploration, Colonization, Short Fiction
The Ouroboros Wave is a series of interlocking short stories. Revolving around a group formed to tame a black whole and use its power to colonize the system. The narratives of each story are different, some being first person, some 3rd person and some a mixture. Each story has a short essay/explanation before it starts. The tone of the transitional essays is a bit like reading prompts found in college readers.
Tsutsui, Yasutaka . Salmonella men on Planet Porno: Stories. (Poruno wakusei no sarumonera ningen (1979)) Translated by Andrew Driver. New York: Pantheon Books, 2008
Categories: Short Fiction, psychedelic
In a documentary which accompanied the Paprika DVD, Yasutaka Tsutsui, was called the master of the avant-garde novel. This collection of short stories highlights the collision between the fantastic and the mundane. The stories run the gambit between science fiction and magical realism. The stories can be quite bawdy at times, with the title story, “Salmonella Men on Planet Porno.” being the worst offender. Readers who are fans of the American writer Kurt Vonnegut may enjoy this collection, as well as those who enjoy works with a less then literal take on reality.
van Troyer, Gene and Davis, Grania [ed].Speculative Japan: outstanding tales of Japanese Science Fiction. Various translators. Fukuoka: Kurodahan Press, 2010
Categories: Short fiction
Abstract: Speculative Japan is a collection of short stories published in Japan over roughly the last 5 decades. Its publication was followed up with a second volume with more contemporary focus in 2011. It includes several essays by Japanese translators and writers on the subject and development of Japanese Science Fiction.
Yamamoto, Hiroshi. The Stories Of Ibis(Ai no Monogatari, 2006). Translated by Takami Nieda. San Fransisco: Haikasoru,2010
Categories: Cyborg, Androids, AI, Distopia, Virtual Reality, Short Fiction
The Stories of Ibis is a series of short pieces interlinked by a meta-narrative which takes place in the intermission. While the initial stories leave something to be desire the narrative grows largely supported by the meta-story in which they are situated. The meta narrative begins in a dystopia ruled by machines, but as the book progresses it becomes clear that not all is what it seems.
Glukhovsky, Dmitry. Metro 2033 (2009) translated by Natasha Rabdall. London: Gollancz, 2009
Categories: post-Apocalyptic, dark, surreal, coming of age, mutants, magic
2033 is a dark coming of age story. Set in the subway tunnels beneath the ruins of a radiated Moscow, the book tells the coming of age story of . has a dark secret of a mistake he and a friend made several years before. In the present day , is tasked with warning the rest of the underground about the dangers he has unleashed and finding an organization with the knowledge to save the remnants of humanity from total extinction. The prose is very readable, and plotting moves at a fast pace.
Scandinavian general fiction has garnered significant attention as Steig Larson’s Millential Trillogy has dominated the best seller list. There are several other well know mystery writer writing in Norwegian and Finnish as well. This attention has not as of yet translated into a publishing boom, however, Scandenavia has a thriving Science Fiction Community. Mikael Niemi, is one example of how Scandinavian authors are encountering genera fiction, and bending its tropes to their own creative will.
Niemi, Mikael. AstroTruckers (Svålhålet, 2004). Translated by Laurie Thompson. London: Vintage, 2008
Categories: Space Travel, Aliens, First Contact, Virtual Reality, Spirituality, Social Science Fiction, Humorous Science Fiction, The big bang
Astrotruckers is a difficult to classify collection of short vignettes that examine the impact of space travel and future technologies on the human spirit. The book gyrates from bar humor, to black comedy, to slightly introspective satire as it’s narrator takes us around the cosmos. While some of the stories have a standard beginning middle and end, some of the vignettes have a postmodern construction that leads the reader to some corner of the universe that he never expected them to arrive at.
When I started this project I was happily surprised to find translation of Tamil fiction. The entries in this category belong singularly to one press, Blaft. Blaft is based in India and specializes in translating work into English. Their publication lists boast Japanese translation as well as translations from the languages of the sub-continent.
Rakesh Khanna [ed]. The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction. translated by Pritham K. Chakravarthy. Chennai: Blaft Publications,2008
The first volume of, The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction, is an extremely well done collection of excerpts and translated short stories coupled with focuses mainly on contemporary work. It’s well bound and features extensive notes on the authors contained within. An added bonus is the extensive reproductions of the art of Tamil pulp both in black and white and in color.
The Blaft Anthology, focus is mainly on pulp, and contains only a few science fiction stories, however, those stories are of high quality, and the collection would be of interest to any fans of the mystery thriller genera. There is a 2nd volume published in 2010 containing 7 translated Novellas none of which are science fiction.