A resolution by Mark Richards, Chris Barkley and Juli
Marr has been added to the Dublin 2019 Business Meeting agenda. It has been
designated B4, (although there was another item which had that number.)
B.4 Credit to Translators of Written Fiction
Resolved, it is the sense of the Business Meeting that, for the written fiction categories of Best Novel, Novella, Novelette, and Short Story, when the winner in one of these categories is a translated work, the credited translator shall be awarded a Hugo alongside the author.
Mark Richards explains the purpose of the resolution with these comments:
The choice of translator can make the difference in the impact of a work of fiction in translation, in comparison to its impact in its original language.
Fluency in the original language may be enough for a good translation. We feel that familiarity with the context in which a work was written adds to the quality of the result, and that a translator’s contribution there can make a difference.
For example, Liu Cixin’s Three-Body Problem wouldn’t have been nearly as successful had Ken Liu not gotten all of the nuance of Chinese history during the Cultural Revolution and been able to transmit that emotional impact.
And there’s a collection of connected short stories, Kalpa Imperial, by the Argentine author Angelica Gorodischer, Any decent translator, I imagine, would have given us a good translation. It was the late Ursula Le Guin, however, whose prose style was perfect for giving us as fine a work in English as it presumably was in the original Spanish.
Closing, we feel that a translator’s contribution to the success of a story merits recognition in the awarding of a Hugo.
Chris M. Barkley, Juli Marr, and Mark Richards have submitted an motion to create a new Hugo Awards category for Best Translated Novel. It will soon be listed on Dublin 2019’s New Business Agenda. (Update Barkley says this is the text they submitted, but some minor tweaks will be made to the language before it is posted online.)
D.1 Short Title: Best Translated Novel
Moved, to amend the WSFS Constitution for the purpose of creating a new Hugo Award category for Best Translated Novel, by inserting a new subsection after existing Section 3.3.4 and revising sections 3.2.5 and 3.2.6 as follows:
3.3.4: A science fiction or fantasy story of forty thousand (40,000) words or more that was translated and published into English for the first time within the previous calendar year. The Award will be given both to the writer(s) of the work and the credited translator(s) of the novel.
3.2.5: In the story categories (3.3.1-3.3.56 and 3.3.78), an author may withdraw a version of a work from consideration if the author feels that the version is not representative of what that author wrote.
3.2.6: The categories of Best Novel, Novella, Novelette, and Short Story, and Best Translation shall be open to works in which the text is the primary form of communication, regardless of the publication medium, including but not limited to physical print, audiobook, and ebook.
Provided that unless this amendment is re-ratified by the 2022 Business Meeting, this Section shall be repealed and; and
Provided further that the question of re-ratification shall automatically be placed on the agenda of the 2022 Business Meeting.
Proposed by: Mark Richards (Attending Member), Juli Marr (Attending Member) and Chris M. Barkley (Attending Member).
Commentary by Chris M. Barkley and Rachel Cordasco:
Eighty years ago, in July 1939, NYCon 1, the very first World Science Fiction Convention was held in New York City.
The title “World Science Fiction Convention” was a bit of a misnomer; it was about as accurate and plausible as baseball’s championship title “World Series” is today. It was named as such in honor of the World’s Fair exhibition being held nearby in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
We have no doubt that while many of the convention’s participants (and those who were excluded for political reasons) imagined science fiction and fantasy literature had a future, at the time the only thing they could be sure of at that time was that war was on the immediate horizon.
As the decades passed, sf and fantasy literature not only took hold in North American and England, it became a worldwide cultural phenomenon.
And as the Hugo Award grew in stature, so did its reputation outside the confines of the English speaking nations where it was born and nurtured.
Until recently, a majority of the nominated writers in the fiction categories have been dominated by English language authors. In 2015, Cixin Liu’ s The Three Body Problem (translated by Ken Liu) became the first novel translated from another language to win the Hugo Award.
Since then there have been very few non-English language nominees in the fiction categories although there have been two winners in the short fiction categories (Hao Jingfang, also from China and Thomas Olde Heuvelt of the Netherlands).
We feel that it is high time that the World Science Fiction Society honor writers from around the world with one of literature’s highest honors.
Each year, US/UK/Australian publishers are giving us more SF in translation (SFT) to read from countries like France, Iraq, Argentina, Japan, Finland, Israel, and many others. In recent years, the number of translated speculative novels has risen to 60-70. After several decades of speculative fiction flowing mostly from the US and UK into other countries, the tide seems to be turning and people who grew up reading translations of Anglophone science fiction or fantasy have been inspired to become translators themselves. Plus, more presses and magazines are open to SFT, and we now have two online publications that actually specialize in international speculative fiction (Samovar Magazine and Future Science Fiction Digest).
The Hugo Award, like the annual Worldcons, are sponsored by the World Science Fiction Society, and it is this inclusion of the word “world” that is at issue when discussions of a “Best Translated Novel” come up. As Donald Wollheim once wrote, “We science fiction readers whose native language happens to be English-…tend to a curious sort of provincialism in our thinking regarding the boundaries of science fiction. We tend to think that all that is worth reading and all that is worth noticing is naturally written in English. In our conventions and our awards and our discussions we slip into the habit of referring to our favorites as the world’s best this and the “world’s best that.”
Shouldn’t the Hugo Awards recognize more than just those texts originally written in English? SFT is more popular than some people think, and if given the opportunity to recognize a non-Anglophone novel, SFT readers would probably jump at the chance. It’s time to shrug off our Anglocentric perspective, especially in relation to a genre that encourages us to look beyond our immediate environs and learn about those who are sometimes radically different from us.
Simply put, if the Best Novel Category is the equivalent of the Academy Award for Best Picture, the Best Translated novel can serve as our Best Foreign Film. If France, Spain, Israel, China, and other countries can successfully include a “Best Translated Novel” category in their SF awards, so can the US/UK-dominated Hugos.
As the noted philosopher and American football coach George Allen once sagely noted, “The Future is NOW.”
The Lunarians will hold Lunacon 2017 from April 7-9, 2017 at the Westchester Marriott Hotel in Tarrytown, NY.
The Marriott previously hosted Lunacons from 1986-1990.
Stuart C. Hellinger, Lunarians (2) President, outlined the reasons behind these decisions.
After Lunacon 2016, we spent some time reviewing everything that happened during the convention and we realized that even though our hotel had hosted 22 of the previous 24 Lunacons, it no longer fit the convention’s needs or that of our attendees. There were issues with the function space, the hotel layout, other concerns that worked against the convention and its enjoyment by our members. Accordingly, we decided to reevaluate what we were doing and reach out to other hotels to see if we could find a better property that would enhance the Lunacon experience.
The Westchester Marriott will nicely fits our needs. The primary function space is on one level, with only a handful of smaller, breakout rooms on another floor, easily accessible by the hotel’s elevators. In addition, the Marriott has more than enough bedrooms and two excellent restaurants on site. There is even a major supermarket practically next door. In the event that there are additional bedrooms needed, there are other hotels a short distance away, including a Courtyard by Marriott.
John W. Upton will chair the convention. His Guests of Honor will be announced as soon as they have been confirmed.
For information about memberships rates, follow the con on social media.
Hellinger also explained why the convention is being held in April, although past Lunacons have been in March.
When the Marriott advised that our preferred dates in March were not available, but offered the first full weekend in April 2017, we looked at a calendar and made the decision that, while the date change would not be ideal, the later dates had many advantages to benefit Lunacon and its attendees.
Mark Richards, who resigned as the Lunacon chair last December saying that circumstances did not allow him to present the kind of con he envisioned, is returning to conrunning as chair of HELIOsphere. The new convention will debut March 10-12, 2017 in Tarrytown, New York.
The website explains the theme:
The Heliosphere is the bubble-like region of space dominated by our sun, extending way past Pluto…to where the solar wind gives way to interstellar space.
HELIOsphere is our bubble, our world within a world for a weekend. Where fans of science fiction and fantasy participate in a shared appreciation of all things other-worldly.
Our group is comprised of fans who have come together to reimagine fandom…and to host a convention in the greater New York area for a new generation. A convention that aims to be a diverse, imaginative and all-inclusive experience.
The con’s guest of honor will be Jacqueline Carey, author of Kushiel’s Dart and three trilogies set in the world created for that novel. She is also the author of The Sundering series, high fantasy considered from the “dark” side, as well as the dystopian novels Santa Olivia and Saints Astray, and the paranormal Agent of Hel series.
The committee members are: Mark W. Richards, Chair, Elizabeth Crefin, Mary Catelynn Cunningham, Gabby Morel, Tara Walsh, Debi Chowdbury, Joni Brill Dashoff, Ira Donewitz, Maria Daggett Eskinazi, Larry Nelson, Andrea Senchy, Wrenn Sims, Ken Winter.
HELIOsphere 2017 will be at the DoubleTree in Tarrytown.
The convention’s parent organization is New Amsterdam Science Fiction and Fantasy Fandom (NASF3).
The 2016 Lunacon chair position, vacant since Mark Richards resigned at the end of December, has been filled by a three-member Executive Committee of former Lunacon chairs: Mark L. Blackman, Stuart C. Hellinger and John William Upton.
The New York Science Fiction Society (Lunarians) board of directors’ announcement explained, “This way, the remaining management work will not be a burden on any one individual and we will be able to rely on their knowledge and experience.”
The directors also announced the deadline for convention pre-registration from February 22 to February 29.
The convention is scheduled to take place March 18-20 at the Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook, New York.