Translations Destroy Podcasts on StarShipSofa! (Not really)

So. Something’s been brewing behind the scenes at StarShipSofa. Something we’re sure you’ll all be excited about.

But some backstory first.

It goes without saying that all of us at the District of Wonders welcome stories from all over the globe. We’re an international podcast, and naturally interested in finding stories published in another language. With English-speaking (particularly American) stories dominating the market – and understandably so – it can be quite difficult to get work translated from another language into English to reach a wider audience, and even harder to find them once they have. We have authors such as Andrzej Sapkowski and Cixin Liu rising to popularity, but for the vast majority of non-English authors it’s maddeningly hard to shatter that language barrier and find an audience they deserve.

So I’m doing something about that.

Starting soon, StarShipSofa will be playing one whole month’s worth of stories translated from other languages as part of our Translations Month Special. These four stories are diverse in content and sub-genre as they are in country of origin. Ranging from cyberpunk to time travel to transgressive dystopian, our stories come from France, Japan, Russia, and China. The table of contents are below:

 

  • “The Smog Society” by Chen Qiufan, translated by Ken Liu and Carmen Yiling Yan (translated from Chinese).
  • “Sense of Wonder 2.0” by Laurent Queyssi‏, translated by Edward Gauvin (translated from French).
  • “White Curtain” by Pavel Amnuel, translated by Anatoly Belilovsky (translated from Russian).
  • “Violation of the TrueNet Security Act” by Taiyo Fuji, translated by Jim Hubbert (translated from Japanese).

 

Half of these were picked up directly from slush, the other half were procured with assistance from John Joseph Adams and the team at Skyboat Media. A big thank you to them.

This project has been a long time in the making. We’re looking very much to bringing these incredible stories to you, showcasing the international diversity of science-fiction and the different favours that each country specializes in. And of course, we’re always open to broadening our horizons and welcome both more translated stories, and authors and narrators from all territories. But for now, I hope you enjoy what’s on tap this month and all the stories to come.

If you like our stories and the work we’re doing, please consider making a donation on Patreon. Every bit helps to cover our server costs and work towards becoming a paying market. The District of Wonders has adapted and published over a thousand stories over a decade-long period, and with your help we’ll go for another decade yet.  The link is here: https://www.patreon.com/districtofwonders

As always, let us know what you think of this project and the stories on Facebook, Twitter or email. And please, enjoy this special Translations Month, coming soon to your earholes in a podcast near you.

 

 

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Tales to Terrify, Rabid Puppies, Hugos, oh my!

I normally don’t talk about topical subjects here. I figure there’s enough of that stuff floating on the interwebz as it is and I don’t want to rally my voice to that pot. But this time I’ve been drawn into it. We all have.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’d have heard about the Puppies, especially of the Rabid variety. If you haven’t heard of them, best to keep it that way. Abandon all hope yet who continue reading.

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I’m not going to go into that now – enough ink and pixels have been spilled in just that. No, I’m going to talk about something else, something that concerns me and the whole team at District of Wonders.

Tales to Terrify, our horror podcast, earned itself a Hugo nomination.

It was on the Puppy slate.

The Rabid Puppy slate.

Yeah.

There’s a lot of stuff going on about the nominations, the places/people on the slate, and if it’s worth withdrawing solely based on the fact that these items were on the slates. George R. R. Martin nails it brilliant over on his blog where he says that withdrawing is the absolutely last thing anyone should do. It’ll give a certain glorified troll power and one sane person wants to do that.

On that same note, sending a Noah Ward (no-award, that is) nuke to anything on the slate as well? Also insane. Because Mad Max: Fury Road, Star Wars, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, etc, were on the slate, it means we should punish them with a No Award, even though we’d have voted for them anyway? Beyond insane. Again, John Scazli, George R. R. Martin and others nail this far better than I ever could, check out their words on the matter.

But coming back to Tales to Terrify, the entire team has found ourselves in a very difficult position, none more so than Stephen, Scott, Philip and Laura. We’re in the middle of a mud fight we didn’t know we’d be dragged into. And it sucks.

But something has got to be done.

We’ve written out a letter for Tales to Terrify, distancing ourselves from the Rabid Puppies and their mangy jaws. You can find it over here. Please give it a read and share it around. It’s important people know we’re not a part of this mess and that we had no idea we were on the slate.

I’m not going to lie when I say this wasn’t easy. All the editors at Tales to Terrify were gutted – Stephen wasn’t able to sleep last night and Scott mentioned that he felt like he’d been kicked in the stomach. We hate the fact that we’ve been caught up in this. But we’re not going to pull out. It’s not about us. It’s not about hiding in a corner and waiting for it all to blow over. It’s about fandom as a whole. It’s about telling the Rabid Puppies that their bullying tactics are not okay. That we’re not going to dance to their tune. If we withdrew, we’d be telling them that they can do this every year and to everyone.

It’s a long, bitter and bumpy road ahead, and every bit helps. We’re prepared for the criticism, the smearing, and negative attention and whatever else comes with it. Because we refuse to give Day an inch and because we want to play it straight. Whatever happens, we’re standing our ground. We feel we’ve got something of worth going over at Tales to Terrify, and we’re not going to let the Rabid Puppies ruin that. We owe it to fandom. We owe it to the hundreds of authors, narrators, editors and fans we’ve had the privilege of having on the show. We want their work and their contributions to mean something. We’re not letting Day and his band of semi-literate misfits destroy that.

Sympathies to anyone and everyone caught up in this nonsense. It sucks harder than a baby whale. Amoung other things.

Stiff drinks all around.

Interview over at SF Signal

It’s been a busy week, I’ll tell you that much. I’ve reached 9.6k for my new space opera novel. That’s roughly 1k a day, and will be more if I manage to reach 11k by the end of today. But I want to take the time today to really cement the fundamentals of the world in my head and have that high-concept, ultra-epic coolness that helps the universe stand out from the rest. I’ve literally got a note stapled above my screen that reads “up the weird, add the cool, mix it up”. And that I will do!

But in the meantime I also managed I do an interview over at SF Signal, talking about me, my writing process, my job as an editor, how I managed to get onboard as an editor for a Hugo-winning podcast at the age of 19, etc. If you ever had a burning sensation to know what it was like working with William Gibson, Christopher Priest, Robin Hobb, and George R. R. Martin while Season 5 of Game of Thrones was airing, you can settle that satisfaction right now! It was almost surreal, typing that all up and realising just what we managed to achieve.

Anyway, the interview is here if you want to check it out. Enjoy!