reading this week: stories written by women who destroy science fiction, and literary translations
Science Fiction and the world
Last week, I started to read a short story anthology - it inlcudes more than 20 stories, and several essays - several of the stories deal with war, and new types of soldiers. In one story, the main character can pick up emotions and the hunch of thoughts - and is brought into regions of conflict, to find terrorists. Only that being more sensitive makes you also more human... In another story, the world is dealing with rising sea levels, and with genetic experiments to create “aquatic”-soldiers.. – people who are half human, half water-being. It made me think of the line that science fiction often isn't about the future, but about we deal with this ourselves as a society, and with this world.
Which is a question that created the collection... published by Lightspeed Magazine, this is an all-women-author scifi and fantasy collection, inspired by a troubling aspect of the scifi writing / reader scene: that there are readers, fellow authors and editors who think women don’t belong to the sci-fi scene, that women and the “softer” themes they write about “destroy” sci-fiction. No matter that the classic first sci-fi novel was Frankenstein, which happened to be written by a woman: Mary Shelley. But maybe it would be too idealistic to expect a literary genre to be ahead of its time just because it is future oriented by definition.
This anthology was created through a Kickstarter campaign, and the ironic name of the campaign then turned into its title: “Women Destroy Science Fiction”. Every time I read the title, I have to smile: it’s so good that they didn’t move the odd believe that inspired the book into the editorial, but in an almost punk-way put it right on the cover. Or like one of the editors put it: "We took the rage and hurt and created something beautiful". The issue has both a print and an online part, here are some links:
- Women Destroy Science Fiction online edition
- Women Destroy essays - notes on experiences with and in the genre
- short story: "Cuts Both Ways" by Heather Clithero (the new-type-of-soldier story mentioned above)
- Lightspeed Homepage
Literary Translations: Asymptote
Asymptote is an international journal dedicated to literary translation, with editors who are interested in "encounters between languages and the consequences of these encounters. Though a translation may never fully replicate the original in effect (thus our name, “asymptote”), it is in itself an act of creation."
There was a great piece on translation in the previous issue: "The Space Between Languages" by Herta Müller.
Browsing the recent issues was indeed rather international - so many places, so many stories! Here are some links:
Cubanology by Omar Pérez
"Walking through the streets of Cerro, Santos Suarez, Centro Habana, Las Cañas, you notice the presence of the numbers game, called charada or bolita. Kábala, tómbola, tíbiri tábara. Pythagoras said, life is number. Thursday I go out walking, but only after offering my salutations in the false-gothic church on Reina Street to Jesus and his father Joseph: I ask of the gods that they permit me to ask nothing of them..."
"Until a Hurricane Sweeps Through" by Margarita García Robayo
"My first flight was to Miami. It was the busiest international route in the city, and also the most sought after: I competed and I won..."
The Ears of the Wolf by Antonio Ungar
"My sister is alone on this side of the fence, standing on the red earth, under the noonday light. I am looking at her from next to the columns on the porch. She has done something forbidden and without hesitating for a second she has walked right up to the fence..."
"Farthest from Death" by Elina Hivronen
"I want to get out of this space. The engineer with the slicked-back hair sitting next to me has passed out on my shoulder..."
"Childhood in Madagascar" Christian Dumoux
"It was in Antsaralalana, which meant beautiful road. It was left of the station, with a restaurant, "The Lyonnais," at the end of the street. The house had the peculiarity of being partially collapsed and having three floors: they lived on the third floor..."
Links + More
Reading the world: the collected list of stories is online here: global reading, and a note on the reading journey can be found here: reading the (missing parts of) the world