Official Statement about Clarkesworld’s Korea SF Project

It has been brought to my attention that one or more individuals in Korea has apparently been—publicly and privately, in Korean—misrepresenting themselves and/or their organizations as being affiliated or directly involved with the Clarkesworld Korean SF Translation Project. These statements are untrue and we sternly caution these individuals against continuing to do so.

To be clear, Clarkesworld is not currently–and never has been–affiliated with or tied to any Korean science fiction organizations, groups, or companies. At this stage in our project, we feel it is best for us to remain entirely neutral and completely unaffiliated with any local SF organizations in Korea, so as to avoid any possible conflicts of interest or undo influence on any side.

Every community has its own politics, conflicts, and disputes to work through. It is not Clarkesworld’s place to get involved in such things, nor is it our desire to be drawn into any such involvement by false assertions of an affiliation that does not exist. We will firmly resist any attempts to use this project, Clarkesworld, or myself to further any such agendas, and strongly urge everyone involved to please respect our wishes on this subject. We appreciate your understanding in this regard. Should anyone have questions, they are welcome to reach out to me.

한국에서 몇몇 개인이 자신 또는 자신의 기관이 <클락스월드(Clarkesworld) 한국 SF 번역 프로젝트>와 관련이 있거나 본 프로젝트에 직접 참여하는 것처럼 공개적·사적으로, 그리고 한국어로 가장하고 다닌다는 사실을 최근 알게 되었습니다. 이런 주장은 거짓이며, 클락스월드는 당사자들에게 해당 행위를 중단할 것을 엄중히 경고하는 바입니다.

명확히 해두자면 클락스월드는 현재 한국 SF 기관이나 단체, 회사와 제휴를 맺거나 연관되어 있지 않으며 과거에도 그런 적이 없습니다. 앞서 언급한 프로젝트 진행 단계를 고려할 때, 클락스월드는 한국 내 어떠한 SF 기관과도 무관하게 완전히 중립적인 입장을 유지하여 이해관계의 충돌 가능성을 배제하고 어느 측에도 영향력을 미치지 않는 것이 최선이라고 생각합니다.

어느 공동체나 풀어나가야 할 나름의 정치적 문제와 갈등, 분쟁을 안고 있습니다. 이런 일에 개입하는 것은 클락스월드의 자리가 아니며, 사실과 다른 제휴 주장으로 이런 일에 휘말리기를 전혀 원치 않습니다. 우리는 본 프로젝트나 클락스월드, 그리고 클락스월드 대표인 저를 이용하려는 시도에 강하게 저항할 것이며, 이런 문제에 대한 클락스월드의 입장을 존중해 주시기를 모든 관계자께 강력히 요청합니다. 여러분의 이해에 감사드리며, 이와 관련하여 질문이 있는 분은 언제든지 저에게 연락해 주시기 바랍니다.

Worldcon Schedule – Dublin2019

I’ll be at the Dublin Worldcon later this month. Here’s the program items I’ll be involved in:

Short fiction of 2018
16 Aug 2019, Friday 10:00 – 10:50, Wicklow Room-3 (CCD)
Alasdair Stuart (M), Jonathan Strahan, Sheila Williams, Neil Clarke

What makes a good short story? Can we find any similarities in the themes of recent short stories? Join our panel of editors for a rundown of the short fiction published in 2018, including the Hugo Award finalists for Best Short Story and the James White Award.

Bridging the language barrier: translated SFF
16 Aug 2019, Friday 12:00 – 12:50, Wicklow Hall-1 (CCD)
Cheryl Morgan (M), Julie Novakova, Neil Clarke, Francesco Verso, Emily Xueni Jin

How has the landscape of translated SFF changed in the last decade or so, both into English and from English into other languages? We’ve seen translated pieces triumph in the genre’s prime awards and gain dedicated magazines, the attention of more readers, and many specialised anthologies. The panel will discuss trends in translated genre fiction as well as possible future directions.

Pitch perfect
16 Aug 2019, Friday 14:00 – 14:50, Wicklow Room-3 (CCD)
Julie Crisp, Bella Pagan, Anne Perry, Navah Wolfe, Neil Clarke

Pitching a story can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to the field or are changing agents/editors. This is your chance to find out what agents, editors, and publishers want from their current writers, from writers fresh to the market, and from writers transitioning to someone new. Hear from the pros about what – and what not – to do when preparing the perfect pitch. (If there even is such a thing…)

Autographs
17 Aug 2019, Saturday 15:00 – 15:50, Level 4 Foyer (CCD)
Darcie Little Badger, Corinne Duyvis, Stark Holborn, Neil Clarke, Michael Swanwick

Kaffeeklatsch: Neil Clarke
18 Aug 2019, Sunday 14:00 – 14:50, Level 3 Foyer (KK/LB) (CCD)

Hugo Award Ceremony
18 Aug 2019, Sunday 20:00-22:00, Auditorium (CCD)

Hugo Proposal for Best Translated Novel

For several years now, I’ve been involved in publishing and promoting translated science fiction. If you haven’t heard, there’s now a proposal to create a Hugo Award for Best Translated Novel. (The only place I’ve seen it mentioned is here: http://file770.com/best-translated-novel-hugo-category-proposed/)

The biggest problem I have with this proposal is the message it sends not only to domestic readers, but foreign authors, editors, and publishers: translated works are not as good as ours, so we’re making a special category for you so you can get awards too. I don’t believe that’s the intention of those who drafted this proposal. I think they approached it with the best of intentions, but simply got it wrong. For years now, I have been making the case that we should be treating translated and international works as equals: stories worthy of standing alongside those we have routinely seen published. This proposal sends the opposite message, and on those grounds intend to vote no.

Translated works are capable of winning the Hugo without any special treatment. As they point out in their own commentary, three translated works have won since 2015, despite the relatively low number of translations published among a wide sea of domestic releases.

If the source of the perceived problem is that not enough people are reading translations to provide a fair opportunity at nomination, though, then I would suggest that a special Hugo is not the solution to the problem and that their predicament is not unique. The same argument can be made for a wide array of self-published, small press, or even limited edition works.

I’ll counter their Wollheim quote with one by Lester Del Rey:

“…our stories are set to large numbers of fans and translators all over the world, while our own authors and fans seldom get even a hint of the work being done in our field by others. We’re in serious danger of becoming the most provincial science-fiction readers—and writers—on earth.” (International Science-Fiction, June 1968.)

That prediction came to pass and those three Hugos—among other things—are demonstrating that we might actually be waking up from that long provincial nap. The stigma of translations is starting to fade and more publishers are beginning to invest in these efforts. That said, there’s still a mountain of progress to be made with the wider community of readers, editors, and publishers. That’s a marketing problem and not one to solve with a Hugo.

I’m also concerned by the decision to specifically single out novels, when translations are possible across all categories. The proposal even draws comparison to the Academy Award’s “Best Foreign Film,” which it could have just as easily argued as a category for the Hugos, but didn’t. If the motivation was based on the body of work in a category, then surely the short fiction categories would have been more worthy of consideration as the greatest variety of translated science fiction and fantasy can be found there. If the selection of novel is based on the prestige of the category, then they are suggesting one of lesser prestige for those works to compete in.

Others might justify the category by saying that many non-Anglophone countries also include special awards for translated works—often in multiple categories. That, however, is often born of circumstances not applicable here. Anglophone SF is something of an invasive species in many markets. Our translated works can saturate a field, sometimes representing more than 50% of the novels published in a year. As a result, these awards have segregated in a way that allows their local communities to flourish. It’s a matter of pride to celebrate one’s own local community, particularly when another’s community dominates—even if it’s only a perception of quality. The inverse is not true. Breaking off translated works on their own reinforces the negative perception that anglophone SF is the king of the hill and that they aren’t welcome or as worthy. Every time a translated work wins, it helps shatter that illusion. Please don’t take that away. 

[Side note: In short fiction, we have a several decades long history of well-meaning people trying to increase the audience for translated works in our field. Often this has been done by bundling translations together and setting them aside from domestic works. People who have an existing bias against translated works–or even foreign films–aren’t going to engage with narrowly-focused efforts. It’s simply preaching to the choir. This category would continue down that path.]

2019 Readercon Schedule

My schedule for Readercon (July 11-14, Quincy, Massachusetts):

Friday
4:00 PM (Salon 4) The Spectrum of Short Fiction SF/F Editing
Mike Allen, Scott H. Andrews, Neil Clarke, Ellen Datlow, Mary Anne Mohanraj (mod), Sheila Williams
This panel of SF/F magazine and anthology editors will discuss different approaches to their work, from very hands-on to very hands-off. What are currently accepted best practices for editing — if consensus even exists on that — and how have they changed over time? Do editors still commission stories and collaborate almost to the point of coauthoring, or is that era over? And how can a writer submitting a story know what kind of editing they’re likely to get?

8:00 PM (Concierge Lounge) Kaffeeklatsches
Neil Clarke, Mary Anne Mohanraj

Saturday
2:00 PM (Salon B) Translation and Embedded Assumptions
Anatoly Belilovsky, John Chu, Neil Clarke, Pablo Defendini, Tamara Vardomskaya (mod)
In an interview with Fran Wilde, Emily Wilson described the effect of embedded cultural assumptions in translating The Odyssey — not only the assumptions in the original Greek, but the assumptions that past English translators have imposed on the text. Panelists will discuss how translators can and should approach these challenges.

You’ll also be able to find me at the Clarkesworld table in the Dealer’s Room.

2019 Chesley Award Winners

The Chesley Awards were presented tonight at Spikecon (aka Westercon 72, NASFiC 2019,1632 Minicon, and Manticon 2019). I wish I could have found a way to make the trip out to Utah to attend, but it just wasn’t in the cards.

The good news is that Arthur Haas won the Chesley for Best Magazine Cover for Clarkesworld issue #140:

and I won the Chesley Award for Best Art Director! What a night!

A big thank you goes to all the members of ASFA for this honor. Congratulations to all the other winners (and finalists) as well. A full list can be found on ASFA’s Facebook page.

2018 Recommended Reading List – BSFotY4

When I’m selecting stories for The Best Science Fiction of the Year anthologies, there are always more amazing stories than I can possibly fit in the anthology. Towards the end, the calls can be very difficult and sometimes influenced by the amount of space left in the book or the availability of the work itself. (Believe it or not, sometimes a story is contractually prevented from being reprinted in a year’s best anthology.)

Here are the stories that I couldn’t include and instead listed in the Recommended Reading section of The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume Four:

  • “You will see the moon rise” by Israel Alonso, translated by Steve Redwood, Apex Book of World SF 5, edited by Cristina Jurado.
  • “Work Shadow/Shadow Work” by Madeline Ashby, Robots vs. Fairies, edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe.
  • “Dandelion” by Elly Bangs, Clarkesworld Magazine, September 2018.
  • “Breakwater” by Simon Bestwick, Tor.com, February 28, 2018.
  • “The Only Harmless Great Thing” by Brooke Bolander, Published by Tor.com Books.
  • “Life from the Sky” by Sue Burke, Asimov’s Science Fiction, May/June 2018.
  • “The Independence Patch” by Bryan Camp, Lightspeed Magazine, March 2018.
  • “The Counting of Vermillon Beads” by Aliette de Bodard, A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman.
  • The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard, Published by Subterranean Press/JABberwocky Ebooks.
  • “Loss of Signal” by S.B. Divya, Tor.com, August 1, 2018.
  • “Phoresis” by Greg Egan, Published by Subterranean Press.
  • “The Nearest” by Greg Egan, Tor.com, July 19, 2018.
  • “Logistics” by A.J. Fitzwater, Clarkesworld Magazine, April 2018.
  • “Icefall” by Stephanie Gunn, Published by Twelfth Planet Press.
  • “Inscribed on Dark Water” by Gregor Hartmann, Interzone, September/October 2018.
  • “Fluxless” by Mike Jansen, Samovar, December 3, 2018.
  • “Cuisine des Mémoires” by N.K. Jemisin, How Long ’til Black Future Month.
  • “Every Single Wonderful Detail” by Stephen Graham Jones, Mechanical Animals, edited by Selena Chambers and Jason Heller.
  • “Grace’s Family” by James Patrick Kelly, Tor.com, May 16, 2018.
  • “In Event of Moon Disaster” by Rich Larson, Asimov’s Science Fiction, March/April 2018.
  • “Porque el Girasol Se Llama el Girasol” by Rich Larson, Shades Within Us: Tales of Migrations and Fractured Borders, edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law.
  • “Broken Wings” by William Ledbetter, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, July/August 2018.
  • “Vespers” by J. M. Ledgard, Twelve Tomorrows, edited by Wade Roush.
  • “Left to Take the Lead” by Marissa Lingen, Analog Science Fiction and Fact, July/August 2018.
  • “Cosmic Spring” by Ken Liu, Lightspeed Magazine, March 2018.
  • “Chine Life” by Paul McAuley, Twelve Tomorrows, edited by Wade Roush.
  • Time Was by Ian McDonald, Published by Tor.com Books.
  • “Mother, Mother, Will You Play With Me?” by Seanan McGuire, Mother of Invention, edited by Rivqa Rafael and Tansy Rayner Roberts.
  • “Longing For Earth” by Linda Nagata, Infinity’s End, edited by Jonathan Strahan.
  • “The Miracle Lambs of Minane” by Finbarr O’Reilly, Clarkesworld Magazine, November 2018.
  • “The Heart of the Matter” by Nnedi Okorafor, Twelve Tomorrows, edited by Wade Roush.
  • “The Hard Spot in the Glacier” by An Owomoyela, Mechanical Animals, edited by Selena Chambers and Jason Heller.
  • “The Streaming Man” by Suzanne Palmer, Analog Science Fiction and Fact, March/April 2018.
  • “Stones in the Water, Cottage on the Mountain” by Suzanne Palmer, Asimov’s Science Fiction, July/August 2018.
  • “Love Songs for the Very Awful” by Robert Reed, Asimov’s Science Fiction, March/April 2018.
  • “Death’s Door” by Alastair Reynolds, Infinity’s End, edited by Jonathan Strahan.
  • “A Study in Oils” by Kelly Robson, Clarkesworld Magazine, September 2018.
  • Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson, Published by Tor.com Books.
  • “Maximum Outflow” by Adam Rogers, Wired, December 17, 2018.
  • “Joyride” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Asimov’s Science Fiction, November/December 2018.
  • “The Wait is Longer Than You Think” by Adrian Simmons, GigaNotoSaurus, May 2018.
  • “Widdam” by Vandana Singh, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, January/February 2018.
  • “Overvalued” by Mark Stasenko, Slate, November 27, 2018.
  • “Starship Mountain” by Allen M. Steele, Asimov’s Science Fiction, July/August 2018.
  • “An Errant Holy Spark” by Bogi Takacs, Mother of Invention, edited by Rivqa Rafael and Tansy Rayner Roberts.
  • “The Persistence of Blood” by Juliette Wade, Clarkesworld Magazine, March 2018.
  • “Kindred” by Peter Watts, Infinity’s End, edited by Jonathan Strahan.
  • “The Freeze-Frame Revolution” by Peter Watts, Published by Tachyon Publications.
  • Artificial Condition by Martha Wells, Published by Tor.com Books.
  • Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells, Published by Tor.com Books.
  • Exit Strategy by Martha Wells, Published by Tor.com Books.
  • “Compulsory” by Martha Wells, Wired, December 17, 2018.
  • “In the God-Fields” by Liz Williams, Women Invent the Future, edited by Doteveryone.
  • “The Clockwork Penguin Dreamed of Stars” by Caroline M. Yoachim, Mechanical Animals, edited by Selena Chambers and Jason Heller.

The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume Four can be ordered from: