Speculative Fiction in Translation: An Introduction

Speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, and horror) is written around the world and in many languages, and it is being translated into English with increasing frequency. Since 2016, when I started the website SFinTranslation.com, I’ve realized just how much speculative fiction in translation (SFT) allows Anglophone readers to experience stories and language traditions that they otherwise wouldn’t, and this in turn helps Anglophone speculative fiction be in more direct conversation with the genre around the world. French epic fantasy, Russian horror, Japanese science fiction, Arabic dystopia, Korean surrealism, Hebrew magical realism: all of this and more is available to Anglophone readers because of dedicated translators and (often small) publishers who take a risk and promote books, collections, and stories by authors who are usually unknown outside of their home country.

While it is incredibly hard to choose just a couple dozen works of SFT to highlight this month, I will do my best to offer GLLI readers a rich, diverse sampling of what has been published since the turn of the twenty-first century, when SFT really took off in the Anglophone world.

So if you already know about SFinTranslation.com because I constantly talk about it on Twitter and Facebook, perhaps here you’ll discover some books you missed before. If you are new to SFT, thanks for coming on this journey with me!

SFinTranslation.com

SFT group on Facebook

SFT on Twitter

Rachel Cordasco has a PhD in literary studies and currently works as a developmental editor. She founded the website SFinTranslation.com in 2016, writes reviews for World Literature Today and Strange Horizons, and translates Italian speculative fiction, some of which has been published in magazines like Clarkesworld Magazine and Future Science Fiction Digest. Her translation (with Jennifer Delare) of Clelia Farris’s collection Creative Surgery came out in September 2020 from Rosarium Publishing. Rachel’s book Out of This World: Speculative Fiction in Translation From the Cold War to the New Millennium is forthcoming from the University of Illinois Press.

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