Features / SFT Universe
The SF in Translation Universe #10
Welcome back to the SF in Translation Universe! Thankfully, it’s a new year, which means a whole new stack of exciting SFT to read. Korean SFT, in particular, is continuing to make a strong showing (thanks to publishers like Honford Star and Kaya), plus we’ll be getting the very first anthology of Greek SFT, thanks to Francesco Verso, Francesca Barbini, and Luna Press Publishing.
The first three months of 2021 are bringing us several tantalizing novels and collections (as well as the aforementioned Greek anthology). In terms of science fiction, Galileo Publishers is offering us Mountains Oceans Giants: An Epic of the 27th Century by German author Alfred Döblin (tr Chris Godwin). In this far-future dystopia, the elites of the world try to melt Greenland’s icecap in order to make room for the Earth’s growing population. Of course, their plan to tap into the planet’s heat via Iceland’s volcanoes doesn’t work out and…well, you’ll have to read to find out what happens. Other science fiction includes Robot by famed Polish science fiction author Adam Wisniewski-Snerg (tr ?), in which BER-64 tries to figure out if it’s man or machine; and Bug by Italian author Giacomo Sartori (tr Frederika Randall)–a wild story about family dysfunction, robots, bees, and more.
If you’re looking for fantasy (broadly defined), look no further than The Route of Ice and Salt and Eleven Sooty Dreams. Translated from the Spanish by David Bowles, Route is Mexican author José Luis Zárate’s unique reimagining of Dracula’s journey to England. Eleven Sooty Dreams is the latest book in English from one of Antoine Volodine’s post-exotic heteronyms—Manuela Draeger. Translated from the French by J. T. Mahany, it’s set in a burning building in which a group of young leftists is trapped and moves between their minds and memories about their childhood and struggle to survive in a dystopian world.
Turning to collections, we can look forward to two by Korean speculative fiction authors and one by the multi-talented Brazilian author, translator, and editor Fabio Fernandes. Tower by Bae Myung-hoon (tr. Sung Ryu) is made up of interconnected stories set in a 674-story skyscraper that is also a sovereign nation. We learn about how the people living in the tower navigate the complex power relations of this particular society. Out a month later is Bo-Young Kim’s On the Origin of Species and Other Stories (tr Sora Kim-Russell), which moves freely between science fiction, fantasy, and myth, focusing on how humans and non-humans try to survive via biological, technological, and social evolution. Fernandes’s collection (tr from the Portuguese by the author)—Love: An Archaeology—includes fourteen stories that span space and subgenres but ultimately focus on love and its discontents.
Both Love: An Archaeology and the anthology of Greek SFT will be out from Luna Press Publishing, which has been bringing us an exciting array of SFT for the past few years. Nova Hellas: Stories From Future Greece, edited by Verso and Barbini, includes fiction from some of Greece’s most acclaimed authors, including three who have published in English before (Stamatis Stamatopoulos, Natalia Theodoridou, and Michalis Manolios). This is a wonderful chance for Anglophone readers to learn more about Greek speculative fiction and its intersection with contemporary Greek social and political concerns.
In terms of short fiction, the anthology Ab Terra 2020, which comes out in January from Brain Mill Press, includes my translation of the Italian story “Chronotope” by Raul Ciannella. Set in a future data entry center, “Chronotope” imagines how a group of individuals, who have become subsumed by their digital work, might escape by combining their human senses.
Hopefully, we have much more short SFT to look forward to this year from magazines like Future Science Fiction Digest, Samovar, Clarkesworld, Mithila Review, and new publications like Constelación and Eita! Magazine.
Thanks for reading, and I’d love to hear what you’re reading now and what you’re looking forward to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time in the SFT Universe!