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Lavie
Posted on Sunday, April 03, 2005 - 07:38 am:   

Since Frederik Pohl's short-living International SF in the late sixties a truly international science fiction magazine has never been attempted again. InterNOVA is intended be a showcase of contemporary sf writing in all those countries that are generally neglected by the anglo-american centered sf markets. American and British writers will not be excluded but the main intention is to feature stories and essays by writers who are rarely published outside their home countries. We will try to be as international as possible, advancing our editorial work into countries and areas that are rarely associated with science fiction.

InterNOVA will be published twice a year (Spring and Autumn). To make InterNOVA available in as many countries as possible the magazine published in English language which has become the lingua franca of the international sf community. As its German counterpart InterNOVA is a pure science fiction magazine, no fantasy, horror and so on (no offence intended!). We will try to reach as high a literary standard as we can. We are looking for intelligent, stylish and entertaining modern sf stories, original in idea and conception.

***

The first issue of InterNOVA - The Magazine of International Science Fiction - has just been published!

The magazine is perfect-bound with a glossy colour cover by Danial Gonzalés (Argentina) and an introduction by Brian W. Aldiss (Great Britain). It contains the following stories and authors:

Thursday's Child by Eric Brown (Great Britain)

God's Gut by Eduardo J. Carletti (Argentina)

The Fabulous Yesterdays by Arthur Goldstuck (South Africa)

Her Destiny by Guy Hasson (Israel)

Let's Talk Abouth Death, Baby by Sven Kloepping (Germany)

Peak Time by Gerson Lodi-Ribeiro (Brazil)

Mouse Pad by Wu Yan (China)

The Tetrahedron by Vandana Singh (India)

What Colour is the Wind? by Aleksandar Ziljak (Croatia)

Furthermore a classic reprint of Red Rhombuses by Lino Aldani (Italy)

Articles by Richard Kunzmann (South Africa) and Lavie Tidhar.

InterNOVA - http://www.nova-sf.de/html/en/index.shtm
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Simon Owens
Posted on Sunday, April 03, 2005 - 11:35 am:   

Sounds pretty cool. Good luck.
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Lavie
Posted on Sunday, April 03, 2005 - 01:43 pm:   

Just to clarify - the editors are Ronald M. Hahn, Michael K. Iwoleit and Olaf G. Hilscher. Contact details are at http://www.nova-sf.de/html/en/legal.shtm

I'm just the messanger. :-)
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Sunday, April 03, 2005 - 02:38 pm:   

Lavie --

Do you know who will be translating the stories? I didn't see any info on that on the magazine's website.
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Lavie
Posted on Sunday, April 03, 2005 - 04:42 pm:   

Hey John,

Some were translated by the authors, some were written in English, and some had translators - they're listed in the magazine if you want me to post them. Eric Brown did the proof-reading.

It's a d
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Clarkesworld
Posted on Monday, April 04, 2005 - 08:45 am:   

This sounds very interesting. I'm hoping that I'll be able to order copies for our store.

-Neil
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Luís
Posted on Monday, April 04, 2005 - 06:16 pm:   

Awesome, Lavie, I've been looking forward to this!
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Bob Urell
Posted on Tuesday, April 05, 2005 - 06:06 am:   

Very cool, Lavie. Very, very cool.
Pithy, ain't I?
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Lavie
Posted on Tuesday, April 05, 2005 - 06:31 am:   

Neil, I've passed that along. I like Clarkesworld... :-)

Personally, I think it's pretty amazing something like InterNOVA even exists. I'm even more pleased by how good - and how professional - it looks (I think I'm one of the first people to have gotten a copy, as yet) and I'm also dead chuffed to be in a ToC with friends - among them Guy Hasson, Richard Kunzmann and Wu Yan.

I also think it is time to generate a mature discussion on international SF. _World SF_, the old organisation with Harry Harrison and Brian Aldiss and Malcolm Edwards, never quite took its first baby-step. Maybe now, with the Internet, new printing techniques, and new writers and fans and communities springing everywhere, a new kind of _World SF_ would become possible. I hope so.
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Bob Urell
Posted on Tuesday, April 05, 2005 - 06:46 am:   

I think it's already begun, Lavie. Really, British writers had such an extremely difficult time over here (US), and I know it's not gotten easy, as yet, but certainly the new technologies and new perspectives endemic to the web culture are tugging the seams close together as we go. It won't be very long before it's diversity, rather than homogenization, that's the norm in the international reading experience.
Okay, that was much less pithy than before.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, April 05, 2005 - 01:25 pm:   

When did British writers have a difficult time and how? I've seen novels by plenty of British sf writers being published in the past 5-10 years. Or are you talking about short fiction? If so, what kind of difficult time.

Non-English sf/f has had difficulty in being published in the US because of the lack of access to good translations. That I can agree with :-)

I think it's great that a magazine is publishing non-English stories in English. hooray! for them and good luck.
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Bob Urell
Posted on Tuesday, April 05, 2005 - 02:35 pm:   

I keep hearing how British SF is "too smart" for American readers, Ellen. Mike Harrison comes to mind immediately. Without Night Shade, would we have gotten COURSE OF THE HEART or THINGS THAT NEVER HAPPEN over here? Maybe, I don't know. Perhaps it's a mistaken impression I've been carrying around, but there it is.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, April 05, 2005 - 05:08 pm:   

Bantam is reprinting all his Viriconium books. If the books sell it's certainly possible that they'll reprint more older ones and commission new ones.

As you know, Mike writes different kinds of books: everything from cat fantasy to his lovely and mysterious SIGNS OF LIFE and THE COURSE OF THE HEART. I love SOL and TCOTH.

But frankly, a book like THE COURSE OF THE HEART would be better off with a publisher like Vintage, that is reissuing PK Dick-- than with a genre publisher.

Publishers buy what they think they can sell. If SIGNS OF LIFE had sold really well for St Martin's, I'm sure they would have jumped to buy the next-which was THE COURSE OF THE HEART.

Graham Joyce is doing fine here. Iain Banks does ok with a mainstream publisher over here. I believe Justina Robson's novel has recently been bought. China Mieville's a very obvious example and so is Susanna Clarke. Whatever you may think of these writers they certainly write "smart" books and US publishers are buying them.

What UK writers have tried to sell over here who haven't?

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Martin
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2005 - 03:55 am:   

Iain Banks does ok with a mainstream publisher over here.

I don't really agree with what Bob said but this but Banks might be a good coutner example. He doesn't really do OK at his mainstream publisher hence The Algbraist at Night Shade.
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Lavie
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2005 - 05:25 am:   

I think a discussion of UK novelists is moving away slightly from the issue of non-English SF being - or not being - published, but to jump in anyway:

Many UK writers do very well in the US. Neal Asher, Alastair Reynolds, China Mieville are three recent examples. And some UK writers - Liz Williams for instance - were published first in the US and only picked up in the UK later. The "problem" with writers like Harrison is not their being UK authors but more to do with how commercial they are percieved as. Some of the UK's most interesting new writers - Adam Roberts, James Lovegrove, Roger Levy - are _not_ published in the US, do not expect to be published in the US any time soon, and a part of that is writing fiction that might be percieved as non-commercial, particularly to the American market.

Nevertheless, UK writers - or most writers using English as their primary language - still have a major advantage over the primarily non-English writers featured in InterNOVA. The purpose of the magazine is to showcase mainly what is written in other cultures and other languages.

Ellen said: "Non-English sf/f has had difficulty in being published in the US because of the lack of access to good translations. That I can agree with."

I don't actually agree with that. Good translators are always available - if they are paid. I have friends in Israel and France who work as genre translators - but there is no work going the other way around, into English. The reality of both UK and US publishing is that translations are seen as non-commercial - that there is no market for them. With the exception of the Harvill Press in the UK, which specialises in translation (though mainly of novels that have made best-seller in their original tongue) there are no outlets for writers writing in languages other than English. The only genre writers I can think of to have been translated recently include German Andreas Eshbach (small press publication, I think), A Lai (the Tibetan-Chinese editor of SF World magazine) whose novel Red Poppies is non-genre, and a recent French fantasy writer whose name I can't remember at the moment. The irony is that many of these writers are published widely in translation - the Europeans in particular are very good on that count, while the Chinese have always published Russian and Japanese material alongside American/British translations. No, I think it's a general attitude, not a lack of translators.

Is that attitude justified? I don't know, but I think that's what InterNOVA is trying to answer.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2005 - 07:55 am:   

Actually, Course of the Heart came out <u>before<u> Signs of Life. I tried to buy it for St. Martin's but we weren't able to work out a deal.

I agree with Bob U. that a lot of British writers have a tough time finding an American audience. I don't know the reasons, but I can say that Iain Banks's books have never sold as well in the US as they did in the UK (nor have Iain M. Banks's books, for that matter). How many years did it take for Justina Robson to find US publishers for her books? Chris Priest is another case of a British writer who has had a tough time finding his US audience. Brian Aldiss has never had the success over here that he had in England. And now that I think of it, I can remember US editors in the early 1990s asking why why why doesn't Terry Pratchett sell as well in the US as he does in England. (I think his US sales are now up to the British levels, but it took a long time.)

One example of a publishing success is M. John Harrison's Light, which I'm told has sold well for Bantam. And I think Alastair Reynolds's novels are selling well for Ace (yes, I know he doesn't live in England, but I still consider Al a British writer). Neil Gaiman's a good example of a British writer who has been successful in the US, but it helps a lot that he lives in the US and can do promotions here. Another interesting case is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which at least one US science fiction editor rejected because he thought it was too British to sell well over here. That editor still believes (and I think he's right) that it was the fact that the book came out from a mainstream house (Harmony/Crown) that made it an American success. That and the radio plays of it.

Reasons for the disparity probably go back to the disputes that Henry James and H. G. Wells had a hundred years ago. But that's just a guess, and one theory among many.

But to get back to the original topic of the thread, I'm glad too to see InterNOVA. And I agree with Lavie that in the US, translations are generally not commercial. The exceptions -- like Smilla's Sense of Snow (or Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow, as it was called in the UK) -- tend to be one-offs; Peter Hoeg's next book didn't come close to the commercial success of Smilla. I put most of the blame on Hollywood -- since America exports so much more in the film industry than it imports, Americans tend to expect their fiction to dominate the market also.

By the way, Andreas Eschbach's Carpetmakers is finally coming out in the US in book form.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2005 - 08:48 am:   

Lavie,
The reason is that most editors won't commission a translation (I won't ever again). I ran two Japanese stories in OMNI but they came to be already translated. I ran a Russian story for which I commissioned the translation. I was happy with the Japanese stories and ended up hated the Russian story. It wasn't the translator's fault. It wasn't my fault. All I got was a summary of a story and one can't tell the quality of the "writing" or the type of writing from that.

Obviously, if more editors were multi-lingual this wouldn't be a problem.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2005 - 08:49 am:   

Gordon, I didn't remember the time frame of the two Harrison books.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2005 - 08:50 am:   

Lavie,
I never said there were no good "translators." I said "translations"--for the reasons I've mentioned above.
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Lavie
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2005 - 11:11 am:   

Ellen, I'm not arguing with you there. As an editor you'd be in an awkward position commissioning stories you can't read!

I also know cost goes up a lot with the translator's fees included, which is another disadvantage. All I'm saying is, a lot of it goes in one way - English into other languages - and very little goes the other way. It's the reality of the market.

I wouldn't necessarily care, but some of the books I most enjoyed in recent years were translations - The Dumas Club and Miss Smilla's Feeling For Snow are two - and I'd love to read more. When I was at Utopiales a couple of years ago I saw a lot of French steampunk novels I wished I could read - still do... :-)
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2005 - 11:51 am:   

Lavie, and I agree with you :-) I loved both The Club Dumas and Smilla's Sense of Snow (as they were translated in the US).

I've found that the translater and writer often make a deal (for short story translations) so that the overall cost is not onerous.
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Guy Hasson
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2005 - 05:01 pm:   

Actually, Lavie, Ellen, and Gordon, I don't think the main problem for foreign writers has anything to do with translations. I think the main problem is that their (our) countries are small, which means that even if we enjoy the same popularity in our countries that's proportionate to the popularity of certain SF authors in the US, the number of our readers is always significantly smaller. Which means that a book that sells really well doesn't really sell well. Which means that the foreign SF books can't break into foreign markets, like the US, after having proved that they're cash-making machines.

Many US SF books sell abroad by virtue of being a best seller. I'm not saying books are chosen because they are best sellers. I'm saying books are chosen FROM the best seller list. Publishers abroad assume, and rightly so, that these books are a pretty safe bet.

This doesn't work the other way around, because the numbers aren't the same.

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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2005 - 05:11 pm:   

Guy,
I've only been talking about short stories (except for the UK diversion :-) )
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Guy Hasson
Posted on Thursday, April 07, 2005 - 09:11 pm:   

Sorry Ellen,

Naturally you were. I thought the detour was part of the main road.
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clarkesworld
Posted on Monday, April 11, 2005 - 05:09 pm:   

>>Neil, I've passed that along. I like Clarkesworld... :-) <<

Thanks! (twice over) Looking forward to hearing from them.

-Neil
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Jörn Grote
Posted on Monday, April 11, 2005 - 11:22 pm:   

It may be that the source material is just not that good in some subgenres of SF. For someone who likes the "modern" kind of space opera, there is just nothing (as an example) in german that comes close to what has been published in english in the last decade.
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AndyHat
Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - 03:58 pm:   

I love the idea of InterNOVA, but how does an American order a subscription? According to the web site, one has to send a check or money order to a postal address which I am unable to find anywhere, and it would anyways cost me a ridiculous US$30 to get an international bank draft drawn in Euros and there's no info on US$ pricing. The other option given is to transfer money via IBAN or SWIFT-BIC, but those systems aren't available in the US.
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Lavie
Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - 05:38 pm:   

Andy, I believe they are trying to organise US distribution, and I expect that at least the online genre specialists will be offering it soon. I'll try and find out.

Jörn, I hear what you're saying, and I don't know the answer. I think a lot of the appeal of InterNOVA is in the finding out of what is being written elsewhere - it would be interesting to see if original space opera is big elsewhere. But what about Perry Rhodan?? :->
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Jörn Grote
Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - 10:23 pm:   

Perry Rhodan has the same problem Star Trek and others had, cyclomania, a absolutely dated background and yesterday philosophy (if any at all) without real thinking about the future.
While I don't like much that is written today in germany, I like the fact that the SF/F/H scene itself seems to be growing a spine (especially in the short fiction sector), trying to reestablish local authors and finding it's own voice. My problem is that I like hard SF, modern space opera, radical future visions, and that is where they are lacking big time (no german Charles Stross, Greg Egan or John C. Wright sadly).

But I must admit the idea of InterNOVA is cool, hopefully it's successful.
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Clarkesworld
Posted on Monday, May 02, 2005 - 08:09 am:   

Lavie, do you have some contact information other than what is listed on their site? I'm not getting any responses to my email.

-Neil

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