One thing about fantastical fiction that I like is it’s a universal condition — you find examples from all over the world of writers expressing themselves through the fantastical because sometimes there’s no other way to get across a unique idea or perspective. Everywhere, too, this impulse or way of thinking about the world is different — sometimes in subtle ways, sometimes in vastly different ways. So in addition to fiction in English from overseas, it’s important to promote and fund translations. As someone who unfortunately only reads in English, I want to make sure my creative world is as cosmopolitan and modern as possible, and sometimes translations are the only way to have a more complete view of world fiction.
That’s where StoryBundle comes in. It includes fiction from the U.S. and Australia, but also from Norway, Germany, and Finland—not to mention my new anthology, The Bestiary (here’s a link to a fun excerpt over at Tor.com: http://www.tor.com/2015/12/14/animal-author-bios-from-ann-vandermeers-the-bestiary-anthology/ ), which in addition to work from Cat Valente and China Miéville features work from Serbia, the Philippines, Iran, Sweden, and elsewhere. In The Best of Spanish Steampunk you’ll also find work from Venezuela, Spain, and Chile, among others. But the reason we’re running the StoryBundle is to set our sights even farther afield, with the monies we receive going into research into fantasy from India and Pakistan, as well as continuing to explore the untranslated work of Latin America, among other regions. Translations are expensive and setting aside the time for the research is also expensive. It’s sometimes a bit like detective work and luckily we’ve maintained relationships with people all over the world over many years.
So here’s some information on a few of the titles—and here’s hoping even more readers will pick up StoryBundle. It’s a great deal. Several of the titles are not available anywhere else.
Leena Krohn: Collected Fiction. The critically acclaimed 850-page omnibus—starred review in Kirkus, on the best-of-year lists of the New Yorker and the Onion’s AV Club. From cities of giant insects to a mysterious woman claiming to be the female Don Quixote, Leena Krohn’s fiction has fascinated and intrigued readers for over forty years. Within these covers you will discover novels that feature a pelican that can talk and a city of gold. You will find yourself exploring a future of intelligence both artificial and biotech, along with a mysterious plant that induces strange visions. Including two novels not previously published in English. One of Finland’s most iconic writers, translated into many languages, and winner of the prestigious Finlandia Prize, Krohn has had an incredibly distinguished career. For readers of Ursula K. Le Guin, Milan Kundera, Virginia Woolf, Tove Jansson, and Italo Calvino. Featuring a foreword by Jeff VanderMeer. (Here’s a link to the New Yorker’s favorite books of 2015 which includes this one: http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/books-loved-2015 )
The Bestiary, all original fiction anthology edited by Ann VanderMeer. A modern bestiary of made-up fantastical creatures organized from A to Z, along with an ampersand and an invisible letter, featuring some of the best and most respected fantasists from around the world, including Karen Lord, Dexter Palmer, Brian Evenson, China Miéville, Felix Gilman, Catherynne M. Valente, Rikki Ducornet, and Karin Lowachee. With an introduction by Jeff VanderMeer. Currently available only via this StoryBundle for now.
Crandolin by Anna Tambour. The World Fantasy Award nominated novel, for the first time in e-book form. In a medieval cookbook in a special-collections library, near-future London, jaded food and drink authority Nick Kippax finds an alluring stain next to a recipe for the mythical crandolin. He tastes it, ravishing the page. Then he disappears. The only novel ever committed that was inspired by postmodern physics AND Ottoman confectionery.
Not Dark Yet by Berit Ellingsen. Brandon leaves his boyfriend in the city for a quiet life in the mountains after an affair with a professor ends with Brandon being forced to kill a research animal. It is a violent, unfortunate episode that conjures memories from his military background. In the mountains, his new neighbors are using the increased temperatures to stage an ambitious agricultural project in an effort to combat globally heightened food prices and shortages. Brandon gets swept along with their optimism, while simultaneously applying to a new astronaut training program. However, he learns that these changes—internal, external—are irreversible. A sublime love story coupled with the universal struggle for personal understanding, Not Dark Yet is an informed novel of consequences with an ever-tightening emotional grip on the reader.
The Best of Spanish Steampunk, edited by Marian & James Womack. Featuring stories from Spain, Mexico, Venezuela and Chile, as well as from writers in Spanish living in Germany, Dubai and the UK. They are authors who write from the margins, using Steampunk to investigate themes such as the ethical questions posed by scientific and technical developments in our globalized culture of rapid change, and how that leaves countries not from the dominant culture behind. Through Steampunk these authors are offering alternative retellings of their countries’ histories, “critically” reimagining key moments such as the North-American-Spanish Cuban war, the Mexican war, or the Anarchist revolts of the 1930s in Andalusia. They are also attracted to a genre that foreshadows our actual economic problems, high unemployment levels, and frustration with increasing social inequality.
About the Author
Over a 30-year career, Ann VanderMeer has won numerous awards for her editing work, including the Hugo Award and World Fantasy Award. Whether as editor-in-chief for Weird Tales for five years or in her current role as an acquiring editor for Tor.com, Ann has built her reputation on acquiring fiction from diverse and interesting new talents. As co-founder of Cheeky Frawg Books, she has helped develop a wide-ranging line of mostly translated fiction. Featuring a who’s who of world literature, Ann’s anthologies include the critically acclaimed Best American Fantasy series, The Weird, The Time Traveler’s Almanac, Sisters of the Revolution, and the forthcoming Big Book of SF (Vintage).