Good news, everyone! Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud’s A Life on Paper is currently one of four worthy titles shortlisted for the Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Awards, Long Form category.
The winning works will be announced at the 2011 Eurocon in Stockholm on the weekend of June 17-19. At that particular moment, Châteaureynaud will be in Mongolia as part of a French cultural delegation. He will probably be in Ulan Bator, though he may already be in the yurt he told me about excitedly when last we met. Maybe they’ll have yurtnet? I’ll have to ask Geoff Ryman.
The ceremony will also honor, with a special award for Services to Translation, the contributions of British author and translator Brian Stableford. No one has more devotedly, and with such consistent quality, brought more French proto-pulp, arcana, and archivalia to light in English, a necessary filling-out of our knowledge of the evolution of speculative fiction in another language.
The award, a worthy initiative spearheaded by the tireless Cheryl Morgan, is in its inaugural year, but I hope that with the support and attention of both the translation and speculative fiction communities, as well as the general reading public, this is just the first of many to come. All my thanks to this year’s jury: Terry Harpold, University of Florida, USA (Chair); Abhijit Gupta, Jadavpur University, India; and Dale Knickerbocker, East Carolina University, USA.
In one of the cooler things ever to happen to a book I’ve been involved in (though alas, neither on account of my translation or the author’s original), editor and publisher Ryan Standfest reports that while artist and contributor Tom Neely was traveling across the border to Canada to attend this year’s Toronto Comics Arts Festival, the five copies of BLACK EYE that he was carrying with him were confiscated by a customs agent on the grounds that the material in BLACK EYE was “obscene.” According to Tom:
“… they took ‘em. I tried to get them to just ship them back to me at home, but they said they were required to send it to Ottawa for review… if they found the material to be “obscene” they would take “further action.” I asked what “further action” meant and he said they would just destroy them. Or there is a chance they might ship them back to me.”
“It was the page of Onsmith’s gags that they first saw… I tried to tell them that it was “parody” and “humor” and the rest of the book had essays on the history of dark humor… they customs guy was really cool and understanding, but he said he just couldn’t let them through. I just hope “further action” doesn’t involve being arrested the next time I try to cross the border…”
Editor Standfest adds:
“An interesting development for BLACK EYE, especially considering the nature of this publication not being so different than a lot of the material in other publications out there right now. Perhaps this customs agent was unusually sensitive.
If any of you are attending TCAF, please spread the word about this. I am wondering myself, what action, if any, I could take. Ironically, the book itself originated in Canada– was printed there and shipped to Detroit!”
The case, though far less severe, reminds of the fate of SFF writer Peter Watts at the hands of Americans, while crossing the other way.