I don’t want to give the impression that all of the fiction I’ve read this year has irked me in some way. Indeed, I have read a lot of really wonderful stories and novels over the past twelve months — a lot of them from overseas publishers. I find it extremely sad-making that American readers don’t get the chance to read most of what’s published outside of this country. Some is published in English but the foreign rights aren’t bought, and a great deal more is not published in English. Only a fraction of that is translated and sold here.
Foreign rights, if I understand correctly, are a bear, so that’s one issue. Getting a good translation isn’t a cakewalk, either. There are tons of obstacles. I think those could be overcome if American readers demanded more overseas fiction, though. As it is, I think most don’t even think about the issue.
I’ve heard many times that the SF publication with the most readers is a Chinese magazine. I would love to see Chinese SF! James Morrow put together a fantastic volume of European SF that I love and have neglected to pimp all year long. That anthology contains some of the best stories I’ve read in years.
I have a crazy dream of someday starting a magazine that is nothing but fiction from abroad. But I’m not crazy enough to think that it would be easy to do â€“ it might even be implausible.
What do you think it would take to make it worthwhile for publishers to more actively pursue overseas novels and short fiction? Would the impetus have to come from abroad, or could it start here?