So, what news from France?
FROM DENIS GUIOT,
EDITOR OF THE YOUNG ADULT SF LINE “AUTRES MONDES”
The editorial board of Fleurus/Mango Jeunesse
has censored Nathalie Le Gendre’s novel, Les Orphelins
de Naja (“The Orphans of Naja”), which
I had scheduled for a May, 2007 publication in the “Autres
The book shall not be published.
The reason why? Nathalie’s novel denounces
pedophilia in a future Church, on a newly-colonized
The editorial board “doesn’t want
any trouble with the shareholders.”
Granted, the line is put out by a publishing
group otherwise known for its religious output, the
number one publisher of missals in Europe, and such
a book would surely look unsightly.
Unless the editorial board changes its mind–which
is highly unlikely–I am thinking of quitting.
Why am I telling you this?
being a friend of mine, Denis Guiot is a critic, essayist
and editor, who launched the “Autres Mondes” line
in 2000 for Mango Publishing. Since then, he’s published
more than forty books, all written by French or French-speaking
writers, mostly novels but also a few anthologies (with afterwords
by scientists like Yves Coppens, Joël de Rosnay, and
The line is a true success story and a lot
of the books have won awards, from the SF community as well
as institutions and YA literary festivals.
Guiot published the works of seasoned YA writers
(Danielle Martinigol, Christian Grenier, Christian Léourier),
mixed with “adult” writers who tried their hand
at YA fiction, with notable success (Jean-Pierre Andrevon,
Fabrice Colin, the late Jean-Pierre Hubert), and, most importantly,
writers he discovered and/or developed, like Christophe Lambert
and the aforementioned Nathalie Le Gendre.
Mango was bought in 2004 by Fleurus, a part
of the Média Participations Group, formerly known,
as Groupe Ampère, the creation of conservative catholic
Remy Montagne (1917-1991). In its various incarnations, the
group had already made the news in “bande dessinée”
(comics) circles, first in 1987 when it bought Dargaud, then,
more recently, in 2004, when it bought Dupuis. A lot of resignations
ensued in the editorial personnel, and a lot of creators switched
wrote this communiqué in early February and has not
heard from the publisher since then. French websites ActuSF
and Le Cafard Cosmique have launched a petition in favor of
Denis, with close to 1,000 thousand signatures as I write
this (late March). A group of “Autres Mondes”
writers have publicly expressed their support of Denis and
Nathalie Le Gendre.
In my humble opinion, the Fleurus/Mango Jeunesse
people intend to play dead until Denis resigns, although he’s
repeatedly said that he’s still willing to discuss.
His departure would mean the end of the most successful YA
SF line in France.
I’ll keep you posted.
Go to the line’s official site:
Meanwhile, back on the ship
Believe it or not, it’s been snowing here
these past few days, which is frankly astounding, after the
sunny vacation I enjoyed last week–more on that later.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like snuggling in
my hammock and listening to the ice crackling and the struts
Yeah, I’m still working on The Terror.
I’ve started to pick up speed and to get more and more
assured as I learn more and more about things glacial and
instance, VEZI asked me in the forum how I would render the
term “sea lawyer.” It happens that my father,
now retired, was a merchant marine engineer, and when it comes
to sailor’s slang, I’m only a phone call away
from an answer. So, how do you say “sea lawyer”
Answer: you don’t. There is no equivalent.
I had to write my way around this one.
As if to compensate, I found French terms when
Dan could only use descriptions. A sailor who is “good
in the rigging” is “un bon gabier,”
So, you see, I’m still sailing along.
I hoped good old Jules Verne could give me a
few pointers, but reading his Capitaine Hatteras
(see my previous column) showed me that, most of the time,
he was faking. The most helpful book I found was Pierre Vernay’s
Tragédies polaires, a splendid little book,
profusely illustrated, about Polar expeditions which went
wrong. Monsieur Vernay knows whereof he speaks, and I urge
you to have a look at his website (in French, but the pictures
alone are worth it):
about that vacation…
My lady friend and I went away from it all–no
TV, no web, a shut down mobile phone–and enjoyed ourselves
on the most beautiful little island you’ll ever see.
Look up “Bréhat” on Google maps, and you’ll
find it easily. Two miles from north to south, a bit less
from west to east, no cars, and only 300 inhabitants–off-season,
This is one of our favorite places in the world,
where we repeatedly go, and, this year, the weather was so
fine that we spent five to six hours each day hiking or biking
along the coast, among a profusion of flowering gorse. Sunburn
Why am I telling you this? Because Bréhat
is, in a strange way, connected to the translation trade,
and to Dan Simmons, too.
During the 60s, a man named Gilles Chahine,
a translator by trade, was living there. A French publisher
contacted him and asked him to translate Ada, or Ardor,
by Vladimir Nabokov, a book you’re all familiar with
after you read Ilium and Olympos.
Foolishly, he accepted.
The following years were sheer hell. Nabokov’s
prose was so beautiful, so multi-leveled, that he couldn’t
hope to be worthy of it. He missed a deadline. Then another.
Nabokov started to fret.
Finally, a lady living on the island, Madame
de Saint-Exupéry–a familiar name, isn’t
it?–decided to help him. She asked for all the young
people vacationing in Bréhat to translate parts of
Young Erik Orsenna, who was quite popular with
the girls, got the more erotic scenes to translate, a real
eye-opener for a teenager.
the work was lost at sea. The publisher hired another translator
to finish up Gilles Chahine’s work, and Nabokov–who
was fluent in French–got to read and approve the finished
Erik Orsenna later became a writer, quite popular
here–he won the Prix Goncourt, got to ghostwrite François
Mitterrand’s speeches and ended up at the Académie
Française–and, a few years ago, he decided to
tell the story of Ada’s storied translation.
His book, Deux étés (“Two Summers”–the
time it took Chahine and Co to come up with a first draft)
wasn’t translated into English, which is a shame, but
Spanish- and German-speaking readers can enjoy it.
Orsenna quotes a poem about translators written
by Nabokov, and, after a quick search on the web, I came up
with this piece, which proved that the author of Lolita
was no stranger to my trade:
Too bad the review isn’t signed. We need
more connoisseurs like its author. I mean, 1,850 pages, and
a happy reviewer!
Teach Your Children
I’ve got to share with you. My six-year old nephew told
his mother the other day: “When I’m of legal age,
I’ll eat my children so that I never get old.”
She was appalled, which I can understand. When she told me
this, I remembered that the little tyke was a mythology buff.
Seems to me he dug the tale of Saturn/Chronos.
Tell you what, I’m going to put aside
one copy of Ilium and one of Olympos, which
I’ll give him for his birthday when he’s of legal
age–or sooner, more probably.
PS: New covers to report:
Sparth, whose work you can see on this site, did the covers
for a new printing of L’Echiquier du mal (Carrion
Volume One: http://www.sparth.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=47&pos=63
Volume Two: http://www.sparth.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=47&pos=62
Full view: http://www.sparth.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=47&pos=64
Go and have a look to the whole of his site–the man
New covers for the Hyperion books from
paperback publisher Pocket–go and have a look on the
website. Unfortunately, the artist’s name isn’t
^top | more News>