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December 2009
In This Issue
Out of This World: International Science Fiction
Also in December
Found in Translation
For Agents, Editors and Publishers
Get Involved

The Wall in My Head

Last Month's Favorites

Don't miss the most-read articles on WWB in November 2009: 

On Packing by Herta Müller, translated from the German by Donal McLaughlin

Three Times Germanyby Uwe Mengel, translated from the German by Uwe Mengel

The Knowledge Holder Doesn't Choke on Cleverness by Feridun Zaimoglu, translated from the German by Kristin Dickinson and Robin Ellis and Priscilla Layne



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December 2009 Cover

image: Michael Kagan, www.michaelkagan.com "These Modern Times," 2009, 34 x 60 inches, oil on linen. 

Out of this World: International Science Fiction
The December Issue

This month we're traveling in the world of science fiction. From nineteenth-century Pakistan to twenty-first century Russia, authors rocket through time and space to explore worlds uncharted yet oddly familiar. Replicants and aliens, spaceships and shapeshifters are all in play; the future mirrors the present, and the intelligence is anything but artificial. Lift off with Stanisław Lem, Tomasz Kołodziejczak, Olga Slavnikova, Zoran Zivković, Hiroshi Yamamoto, Machado de Assis, Liu Cixin, Pablo A. Castro, and Muhammad Husain Jah, and prepare to be launched into the fantastic.

From Man from Mars
In Stanisław Lem's first novel, New York is an alien place
Translated by Peter Swirski
The street sizzled. The clatter of skytrains, the car horns, the rattle of speeding trolleys, the twitter of traffic lights and the massive hubbub of human voices, all seethed in dark blue air, sliced into smithereens by columns of light of all colors and shades. more>>>

Balloon to Solaris
Tomasz Kołodziejczak provides an overview of the legacy of Lem 
Translated by Stanley Bill
Polish speculative fiction has been developing for over two hundred years, although it was only sixty years ago that science fiction began to be treated as a separate segment of the publishing market, with its own publishing series, authors, and critical apparatus. more>>>

From 2017
One hundred years after the revolution, Olga Slavnikova's Russians hunt rubies and dodge spirits
Translated by Marian Schwartz
Suddenly Anfilogov imagined the sound changed, as if the river had turned around. Simultaneously he noticed next to the first prospecting pit, which the rock hounds had long since abandoned due to the meagerness of the find, a woman's silhouette as if through tissue paper.more>>>

Sentimental Education
Zoran Zivković's psychiatrist recovers a patient's memory
Translated by Alice Copple Tosić
"I saw your past all the way up to your arrival at the sanatorium. It's clearly registered on the backup copy." more>>>

From The Stories of Ibis
Hiroshi Yamamoto on role-playing gone awry
Translated by Takami Nieda
"The Celestial is both the name of the club and the name of this starship here. The members of the club are all crewmembers aboard the ship. We all call each other by our character names."more>>>

A Visit from Alcibiades
Machado de Assis's "spiritist" calls forth the illustrious Athenian
Translated by Clifford E. Landers
The form spoke, and spoke perfect Attic Greek. It was he, there could be no doubt that it was he himself, a man dead for twenty centuries, restored to life. more>>>

From Ball Lightning
Liu Cixin's fourteen-year-old sees his parents turned to ash
Translated by Joel Martinsen
The storm that night made it seem as if the whole universe held nothing but the rapid flashes of lightning and our small room. Electric blue bursts froze the rain into solid drops for an instant, forming dense strings of glittering crystals suspended between heaven and earth. more>>>

From Key of Passage
Tomasz Kołodziejczakpaints a future Poland taken over by elves 
Translated by Michael Kandel
The elves' taste could have been better. When they took over Warsaw, they fell in love with the Palace of Culture, Stalin's dreadful gift to the city. more>>>

Pablo A. Castroon the final replication o
f life 

Translated by Andrea Bell
I'm not talking about virtual projections, or those VR machines from last century's B-movies. I'm talking about creating a totally new entity, an exact copy of the person, living just as if he or she were alive. more>>>

From Pakistan, Muhammad Husain Jah presents the world's first magical fantasy epic
Translated by Musharraf Ali Farooqi
We are told that in the bottom of the untold past a group of sorcerers met to create a magical world or tilism by using occult sciences to infuse inanimate matter with the spirits of planetary and cosmic forces. more>>>

New Reviews 


Field of Honour
by Max Aub
Translated from the Spanish by Gerald Martin 
Verso, 2009

Reviewed by Jonathan Blitzer
Field of Honour is a novel of relentless descriptions and namings; its scenes are dense with words." more>>>

Balakian-Armenian-GolgothaArmenian Golgotha
by Grigoris Balakian
Translated from the Armenian by Peter Balakian with Aris Sevag
Knopf, 2009

Reviewed by Mythili G. Rao
On April 24, 1915, some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders were arrested in Constantinople. more>>>

More from the Bookshelf. . .

Also in December… 

From the Blog
Poeboes Podcast: Michael Schmidt by Andre Naffis, Dispatches: Shadows of Your Black Memoryby Geoff Wisner, The Salon du Livre de Montréal by Susan Harris and more

Giving to Word without Borders

As you plan your end-of-year giving, please consider making a gift to Words without Borders. Our supporters make it possible for us to publish the best contemporary international literature, to build a viable market for international literature, and to bring new perspectives to the English-speaking world in an effort to broaden the global dialogue beyond slogans and rhetoric. 
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Found in Translation 
The Words without Borders Quarterly Review of Books

In early 2010 we plan to launch a new quarterly newsletter called Found in Translation focusing on recently released books in translation . Each issue will collect reviews from out site and blog, as well as links to reviews and news from around the Web, recommendations from WWB staff, board, booksellers, writers, and more. 

Because you already receive a newsletter from us twice a month, to receive Found in Translation in your inbox you must opt-in by changing your profile settings

Publishers interested in having titles reviewed or mentioned can contact Fran Bigman atreviews@wordswithoutborders.org.

For Agents, Editors and Publishers

As part of our ongoing efforts to promote the best in international literature, Words without Borders will be launching a quarterly newsletter for agents, editors, and publishers. Each quarter we will recommend international authors that we've published who we believe could find success in an English-language market. We will give you background on the author, including awards won, and the success of their work in their native language, as well as links to the pieces posted on our site, in the hopes that you make a discovery that leads to a new book in translation being published. To receive this newsletter please e-mail info@wordswithoutborders.org. Agents, editors and publishers only please. 


Get Involved 

Call for Syllabi
Words without Borders would like to hear from high school teachers and university professors who are using the WWB Web site and/or anthologies in the classroom. As part of the expansion of our education initiatives we'd like to build a syllabi library for other educators to use as a reference and are looking for contributions. Please e-mail education@wordswithoutborders.org