Well, it’s true. Because temperatures of six degrees below freezing really aren’t normal for March. Plus, we haven’t had any rain in weeks now.
Anyway, here are some links:
First of all, there’s yet another entry in the Grimdark debate, for Swan Tower a.k.a. Marie Brennan wonders what gritty and grimdark actually mean and why female writers are so rarely mentioned when gritty and/or grimdark fiction is discussed, even if women absolutely write gritty and dark fantasy, though the utter hopelessness of grimdark seems to be more of a male thing.
The Atlantic has an interesting article about romance novels and feminism. For an article about romance fiction in the mainstream press, this one is surprisingly nuanced and free of condescension, though the usual “It’s all just porn for women” crap pops up in the comments, usually by men who have never read a single romance novel.
Talking of sex in fiction, the Observer celebrates the 1980s bestseller Lace, which was something like the Fifty Shades of Grey of its day (and featured goldfish as sex toys!) and has now been reissued for its 30th anniversary, and interviews Lace author Shirley Conran. Turns out Shirley Conran was something of an early feminist and used to be married to Terrence Conran, the founder of the Habitat chain.
The Observer also has a tie-in article offering a history of the “bonkbuster” (i.e. novels by female writers which shock the public by containing – gasp – sex and go on to be bestsellers), which includes such old favourites as Forever Amber (which is actually a cracking good historical novel, though the sex is quite tame by modern standards), Peyton Place and Valley of the Dolls. Though they forgot Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying.
At Publishing Perspectives, Austrian writer Daniel Kehlmann praises his English translator Carol Janeway, who is also a publishing executive at Alfred A. Knopf and translates in her sparetime. What I find particularly interesting about Kehlmann’s praise of Carol Janeway’s work is the paragraph about academic translation, since apparently translators were instructed to stick as closely to the original wordchoice and syntax as possible. And if the text sounds clumsy as a result – well, translated texts aren’t supposed to sound like texts written by native speakers anyway. This shocked me, because I’ve honestly never heard this. Now most translation classes offered at German universities are geared towards technical, legal and business rather than literary translators and technical, legal and business translation indeed has different requirements than literary translation. But I know a couple of literary translators and all of them strive to make the translated text sound natural, while trying to retain as much of the author’s voice as possible. Maybe “Make it sound stilted and unnatural” was an anglophone only thing. It would certainly explain why translated fiction is so unpopular in English speaking countries and why the few translated books that become popular such as Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy are often blasted for their clumsy writing. For I have long suspected that the alleged clumsy writing of Stieg Larsson is in fact an issue with the English translation, since I’ve never heard any complaints about Larsson’s writing in Germany.
It’s plagiarism season again. A reviewer claims to have detected plagiarised passages in Seeds of Hope, a new non-fiction book by world famous primatologist Jane Goodall and her co-author Grace Hudson.
Matt Smith, who plays the current Eleventh incarnation of the Doctor, is said to be leaving Doctor Who in the 2013 Christmas special. The BBC hasn’t confirmed anything yet, though I can’t say I’m surprised. In fact, I expected Matt Smith (and hopefully Steve Moffatt) to leave after the 50th anniversary special in November.
Finally, I’ve got reason to brag, because my fantasy novelette The Hidden Castle is a number 1 bestseller at Amazon. Okay, so it’s only Amazon France, but I’m still pleased. For more information, see this post at the Pegasus Pulp blog.