@Sunspear: let bygenes be bygenes!
@4: Thanks! The reason I didn't put "heart-faced woman" is that I chose to use Wolfe's words.
Thank you, @ecbatan! I read quite a few articles and interviews and I couldn't find any particular reference from Wolfe regarding who the astronaut was, but it was probably Buzz Aldrin all right.
Indeed, @Kirth! I'll have more to say about the nature of the names in the second part of the review.
@Marc, thank you for the observation - I didn't check the short story section (in fact, I was going to check it now, for my article on The Island of Doctor Death). I'm definitely going to read this book again (and maybe Operation Ares) when I finish this rereading, so I can rewrite some of the texts. I also agree with you re: the asynchrony.
@Ethan: I need to reread it at least three more times as well. That's why I left the egg aside. :)
@Peter1742: This essay can be found in his book Strokes (the link is in the text).
@Garry : I would have loved to be on that dinner!
@Teichert: there will be spoilers, I'm afraid. But in Wolfe's case, his stories are so rich and complex that I seriously doubt the presence of a few spoilers in the articles will effectively spoil your experience.
@darthed and @alexander: thank you for the recs!
@Jensen: will do! Thanks!
@scott: The Knight/Wizard duology and The Sorcerer's House are definitely included!
@ScavengerMonk, thank you for the recommendations. I have the Andre-Driussi books, but not the Borski. Will definitely check it out.
Marvelous! I wish I was there.
I'm glad you liked it, Jeff. And I agree wholeheartedly - both anthos have to be considered as one major corpus of Steampunk reference. Unfortunately, we were at a loss of space and could only review one of them - for now, that is. ;)
Hi Magpie! I'm so glad SteamPunk Magazine is back on track! Expect a submission soon!
Indeed we have, CaitieCat! Thank you for stopping by!
@tnh: she acts like she reads "good literature" instead of this
"vague global-warming horror story"misconstrued as "fantasy" - however, when she complained of keeping track of characters, all I could think was: WTF, didn't she ever read CHARLES DICKENS?
Hmmmm. No, I bet my albino direwolf she didn't.
If Ursula K LeGuin could give a damn about this so-called "review" (because, as Amy pointed out, it is most definitely NOT - it offends reviewers), she would tell this so-called "author" (who is also NOT an author) to fuck off.
Sorry all - I had to let off some steam. I couldn't even read the whole NYT article to the end - it doesn't make any sense.
Matthew, thank you for the excellent post. I had already heard of Caryl Churchill's plays before but, sadly, never got the chance to see any of them on stage (to my recollection, none of them was ever staged in Brazil - must check that). But I'm going to read them all now!!
Ryan: thank you very much for this remembrance. I feel exactly like Irene: I first watched ZARDOZ as a child (1o or 11) and I liked it a lot but at the same time I found it incredibly weird and creepy. (I wonder if that's one of the influences behind my writing today.)
I love and loathe ZARDOZ at the same time. I watched it again a couple of years ago - and your article made me want to watch it again! I swear by the festering body of Arthur Frayn, I'll do it!! #Zardozmademedoit
Roz, have your ever considered the possibility of rewriting these marvelous sonnets as twelve short stories? I loved them as they are, but would definitely love seeing them as narratives as well.
Thanks for the excellent list!
The Blade Itself - Joe Abercrombie
Vellum/Ink - Hal Duncan
Anathem - Neal Stephenson
Pattern Recognition - William Gibson
Revelation Space - Alastair Reynolds
City of Saints and Madmen - Jeff VanderMeer
Perdido Street Station - China Miéville
And thanks to your comment, Lia, I could find the S.W.A.G. and join it as well. Will love to be a part of it.
I am in awe of Lavie Tidhar. Can't wait to meet the small wooden box in the next WorldCon and have a couple of fancy beers with it!!
I second that! I only have to thank Liz for all her extraordinary efforts! It was really fun to be part of such a group!
@Jorgec Sheer lack of time. There will be another review soon, (in other venue) with all the stories of the TOC.
Nobody thinks of the so-called Third World, but I think one of the functions of Steampunk is just to act as an eye-opener of sorts, to get readers to acknowledge the existence of the Other, be it an alien, a black man, a Latino, a (fill in the blanks).
The same thing is happening in Brazil - most probably all over Latin America, but, as in Africa, Latin America is far too big for a single analysis to encompass.
You WILL finish writing that novel. And I WILL definitely read it!!!
This is great! Congrats to all involved!
So, what's stopping Brazilian writers from learning English?
Oh, nothing at all. I mean, no physical hindrance. Neither economical, because we have English courses of all flavors, sizes and prices here, it's an easy pick.
But the truth, IMHO, is that many of them simply are just not that much into it right now because thet are trying to consolidate their careers in Brazil, and they think this is something that must be done in two separate stages: 1) Take your country; then 2) Go for the world.
I, for one, think this is not true anymore. you can have the cake and eat it, so to speak. You can strive to publish in your country AND to publish in other countries at the same time. Lavie Tidhar and Nir Yaniv, to mention Israeli SF writers, also think the same and are doing an excellent job internationally. In Brazil, there are a handful of writers there are following that road - I'll talk about it in another article. ;-)
I envy Bulgaria (and Romania, at that), because you translate and publish all the good stuff.
Your haikus are beautiful and intriguing (I used to write scifikus a while ago - only in English, never tried to do them in Portuguese, I can't remember why), and the reference to the Strugatsky brothers is more than adequate. They were absolute masters of the cognitive estrangement (Roadside Picnic, the novel that Andrei Tarkovsky adapted to the big screen as Stalker is fantastic), but I never read anything in the Noon Universe, I'm afraid - will look for it.
As for the backdoor issue, it's a really interesting matter, even though Latin languages can work via a similar system. But the heart of the matter, I think, is what you said here:
I feel I am lucky to be able to draw on three or even four noticeably different cultures.
I know we can never put aside political questions, but we can do our best to use whatever he learned to our own good. As Jean-Paul Sartre once said, Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you. We must strive to learn more languages to be free - maybe it's a dream, but I think it's a nice one.
Miéville's books are becoming sort of fashionable among the knowledgeable Brazilian readers, but, alas, I seriously doubt any of them is going to get translated in the near future. Of course, I really want to be wrong in that respect (I always want to be wrong when I'm on my pessimistic mode, but reality storms my studio, alas). Thank you for reading.
You're right - and you should be writing, because you read English very well, and you know it. (What the hell, you are here now, aren't you? ;-)
I'm not as familiar with the Brazilian market but in terms of the (European) Portuguese reality, any modern reader will be fluent enough in English to be able to read the whole thing in the original US/UK editions.
Same thing in Brazil. With one difference: are live very far away from US and Europe, so (despite the HUGE number of good English courses here), a very small number of Brazilian readers ever gets to break the language barrier.
The most common editorial trend regarding SF (but not only that genre) in Brazil is to keep an eye in Hollywood - that's why so many PKD books got published in the last few years.
@ rezendi :
It's not only about Brazil's GDP: I would rather say things are quite similar to the US of decades ago - we have some small presses dedicated exclusively fo SFF, but they only publish Brazilian writers (no money to translate). We have many medium-sized publishing houses and half a dozen big ones (I say really big ones - Editora Record, Companhia das Letras and CosacNaify are able to have print runs from 100k to a million copies each - provided the author is Paulo Coelho, that is.
@4 Clay Cox
As @5 rezendi mentioned, it's indeed too expensive. But there's pirate editions circulating in the Web - One of my students downloaded a copy of the official Brazilian Dune edition last semester. Someone scanned the novel and uploaded it to a P2P net.
That, however, doesn't happen a lot, as incredible as it may sound - maybe because books are not so attractive to pirate as DVDs or CDs. (exception made to J.K. Rowling's and Stephenie Meyer's books - Brazilian readers are crazy about them.)
Kalafudra @1 :
you can buy Os Dias da Peste via the site of Livraria Cultura - they deliver all over the world:
Yes, you're right - just let me check with my editor, but I'm sure we can find a way to send it to Europe.
percj: wow, I'd really would like to read Russian. (a curiosity: back in the times of the USSR, the soviet consulate in Brazil offered free Russian courses - when I got interested in study Russian, the USSR ended, and the winds of change blew so hard that the embassy couldn't afford free courses anymore. Talk about bad timing!)
I really liked the new Star Trek, but you've got a point here. Elizabeth @3 : you also raised a valid argument today, which we could call the "rise of the shoot-em-up versions", that pretty much transforms the original stories into trigger-happy extravaganzas.
I always wanted to read Earthsea but I was mustering the strength for undertaking such an enterprise - please let us know how it went when you finish it. Maybe you could even do a Re-read it here, what about it? Or that was already the idea?
Teka @6 :
The Chronicles of Narnia were translated in Brazil in the 70s by Paulo Mendes Campos, a great poet and writer who died in the early 90s. However, as C.S.Lewis's language in this work is more conservative (and I mean this in a good way), without neologisms, and dialogues written almost in a Biblical register, the translation still stands. I'd bet you would still find this text fresh in a way.
I would like to know more about this fanwork of yours and how it came to be translated into so many languages. It must be a great experience.
Muito obrigado, Denise! Você muito me honra com nosso belo português aqui!
Yes I did. Burgess was very fond of Borges - he even called the Argentine writer his namesake (both names came from the word Burgos
, after all, and he also used to say they both were bourgeois).
I didn't have this feeling yet, but I had the opportunity to translate my own story The Boulton-Watt-Frankenstein Company
to publish it in a Brazilian anthology. I didn't like my own translation to Portuguese - it felt artificial.
To become the other is, naturally, a metaphor. It's not a sine qua non proposition, nor should a translator try do it each and every time.
I translated approximately 70 books, some of them non-fiction - how could I be an author of a self-help book, or a philosophy for dummies book? (it could be be interesting, but then again, no, thanks).
On the other hand, there are fiction novels that simply don't make the translator comfortable to "merge" with the author. I also translated Michael Crichton's The Andromeda Strain and, much as I like Crichton's story and find him a fine storyteller, there isn't much in that novel to make it more than a technical manual of sorts, and that's something, I guess, that can be easily translated to most Western languages and also to Japanese (the only non-Western modern language I ever dared to study).
riotnrrd @2 :
Indeed, Latin languages usually share many of the same traits when it comes to translation - but even so, every one is singular in its way. I haven't checked the Italian of French translations of A Clockwork Orange, but I know I would like to read the Russian translation - it must have been much more difficult to recreate a thing created from one's own language (after all, the nadsat slang borrows heavily from Russian).
I decided to go bang with my Games class last semester in the university - Gave them all Dune to read. Some of them didn't like it, but I had a wonderful surprise by the end of the semester: almost 20% of them (there were 40 students of 18-20 y.o. in the class) not only read the entire book but also started reading the other books of the saga - one of them even made it to God-Emperor of Dune, and other one was asking me all about the prequels.
Most of those students hadn't any idea of who the hell that Frank Herbert character was - their idea of SF is manga/anime. Now many of them are already asking me what I'm going to give them to read next month, when classes begin again here in Brazil. ;-)
I wish I could have had it too, @toryx. I was too old to have this kind of epiphany, alas.
Crimsonsilk: yeah, people are much too busy discussing story and FX in Avatar and most of them pretty much ignored the creation of the Na´vi language. Another excellent example for the movies is the primeval language Anthony Burgess created for Jean-Jacques Annaud's great film The Quest for Fire. It gave the story more ambience and complexity.
pKp: For me, this is what speaking in tongues is all about. To communicate in more than one way.
(Of course we already do that even when using our native language, but consider how many times we multiplicate the polysemy with every new language we learn!)
felipeaom, Sammy: Thanks. It´s good to be a child and to be able to figure things out for the very first time. I'm not much of a nostalgia guy, but I certainly miss this kind of feeling.
Obrigado / grazie / gracias / merci , chiptotec! :-)
Rhys Hughes. David Marusek. Jack Skillingstead.
I´m also finally going to read it! I just can´t wait!
Bluejo, I liked McDonald's Brasyl - but not as much as Jacques. ;-)
>I've been wondering what a Brazilian would make of it.
That´s an excellent point: Brazil is a VERY large country, with quite different cultures sharing the same territory. Take my case: I´m from Rio de Janeiro (a really beautiful place, sunny and full of beaches and beautiful people) and I´m currently living in São Paulo (the biggest city in Latin America, much more cosmopolitan than Rio, a great place to make a living - and a city that I love!)
Jacques, on the other hand, lives in Recife, one of the prettiest cities in the Northeastern region of Brasil. Recife was colonized not only by the Portuguese, but also by the Dutch in the 17h Century, and that makes it a singular, multiethnical, multicultural city.
I liked McDonald´s book, but I felt at the same time deeply frustrated for the fact that nobody here (including me, sure) hadn´t even thought of writing something like that. (Of course, Ian McDonald only deserve kudos for this novel, he´s most definitely not the object of my rant. ;-)
>I wonder whether it would be possible to do something -- an anthology, a chapbook, a magazine special issue, something -- using a story set in that universe by Ian McDonald (who is a really nice guy, and who does write short stuff too) and some stories in translation (or written in English) by you and other Brazilian writers and call it something like "Angles on Brazil". I'd buy that.
Now THAT´s an interesting angle...
First of all, I would like to thank Brian for this excellent post, and Fernando for the kind comments on Terra Incognita. Much appreciated!
Second, I tend to agree with David Hartwell. That´s why me and Jacques are writing in English. I haven´t given up the Brazilian market (which, alas, is very much prejudiced when it comes to SF literature in Portuguese; the greatest fad here now is vampire novels - not horror novels, mind you, but only vampire ones.
I think we Latin Americans can contribute with fresh views and insights to SF literature. I´ve been reading many New Weird authors that use plenty of Latin motifs in their writings. And let´s not forget the latest Hugo nominee, Ian McDonald´s BRASYL. I only wish a Brazilian guy had written that book. :-)
But there´s plenty of time. I´m trying US and Europe market right now. It´ll take some time, but I´m pretty confident I can publish my stories there eventually.