Recently I was approached by Anderson Tiago to do a Spanish language interview for the website Intocados. I was very pleased and excited to do it. Although The Farseer Trilogy has been translated into Spanish for some years, by the very adept translator Manuel de los Reyes, only recently has it been published by Penguin for the Mexican market. And soon the Liveship Traders trilogy will be available in Mexico as well.
I am tremendously excited to be published in Mexico, as I am always excited when the stories find new readers. And I am very grateful to Anderson Tiago and Intocados for this opportunity to reach out to Spanish speaking readers.
If you have followed my blog here for a time, you will know that I’ve written before about the difficulties non-English SF and Fantasy writers have in getting their tales to the English reading market.
A quick summary. Often a ‘foreign’ publisher will approach my agent about buying language rights for a different country. My agent negotiates the rights, the publisher hires and pays a translator (who acquires his/her own copyright for the translation) and the work is published and promoted in that country.
But, generally speaking, the Spanish or French or Chinese author of SF or fantasy has a much more difficult path to the English reading audience. Often the writer must commission his or her own English translation, or create it himself. And then he or she must market that translation to the publishers in England or the US or Australia. It takes resources to do that: money to pay for a good translation, and then time taken from writing the next book to try to market a book to the US publishers.
As a result, there is a much stronger flow of English language SF and fantasy going into ‘foreign’ languages than the reverse.
It always makes me wonder what we are missing. It has always seemed to me that of all literature, of all the genres if you will, that SF and fantasy are the ones most worthy of a universal audience. Why? Well, who did you cut your metaphorical fantastic teeth on? Aesop? Hans Christian Anderson? Did you thrill to Captain Nemo, or want a flying carpet like Aladdin’s? Long for Cinderella’s glass slipper? Or did you read in your comics about Thor and Loki? Translate Ovid’s Metamorphoses for your Latin class? Peachboy, anyone? All our fantastic roots are dug into the soil of the entire world. Considering the richness of that motherlode, what is being created that I can’t read due to my monolingual handicap?
Over the next month or so, I’m going to try to open a few doors here, for myself as well as readers, with suggestions for works that are translated into English from their mother tongues. And works that I wish I could read!