Posts Tagged Were the World Mine
I always appreciate when a friend of the blog broadens my area of knowledge by suggesting an interview subject. This week, thanks to a suggestion from Allison Baker (of MonkeyBrain Books), I present my interview with self-described strange fiction writer Hal Duncan. Here’s a snippet of Duncan‘s bio: “A member of the Glasgow SF Writers Circle, his first novel, VELLUM, won the Spectrum Award and was nominated for the Crawford, the BFS Award and the World Fantasy Award. As well as the sequel, INK, he has published a poetry collection, SONNETS FOR ORPHEUS, a stand-alone novella, ESCAPE FROM HELL!, and various short stories in magazines such as Fantasy, Strange Horizons and Interzone, and anthologies such as NOVA SCOTIA, LOGORRHEA, and PAPER CITIES.” In addition to discussing his theories on fiction as well as his work in general, he and I also discussed a musical recently produced that was written by him–and the experience of writing a screenplay. I always thank folks when they give me the honor of their valuable time, but I have to give Duncan an extra big thanks for the level of detail and consideration he gave to his answers.
Tim O’Shea: Your first novel, Vellum, was translated into several different languages. How much were you involved in that process? Can you think of any country where you were pleasantly surprised to find readers took strongly to the book?
Hal Duncan: With some of the translations I’ve had no involvement at all; with others there’s been a lot of back-and-forth. They’re not the easiest books in the world to translate by a long shot, I know; there’s all manner of poetic techniques, dialect, wordplay, even a mixture of mythical, historical, and alternate-history settings that means passing references could be authentic history or utterly spurious. I regard my translators with a mixture of shame at what I put them through and wonder at the fact they’re tackling it. So if there’s anything I can do to help, I’ll do it. It’s fascinating to see the process anyway.