Exploring violence in The Fifth Season / La exploración de la violencia en The Fifth Season

FifthSeason61Spanish translation below the English is by Daniela Toulemonde.

There’s at least a half dozen reasons to encourage you to read The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin, but this post is not a review because, well, I’m about a year late, and there are already great discussions about it here and here. Also, if you’ve read the novel, see Jemisin’s post on it here. This is just a meandering and exploratory post on one aspect of the novel that made me think. It’s the issue of violence.

Everything in this novel creaks and snaps with violence. On the geological front, the earth in The Fifth Season is always erupting, ripping, collapsing, swallowing itself. “Father” earth is not friendly but is interpreted as destructive, unreliable and even evil because the planet goes through repeated cataclysms, known as the fifth season, that crush civilization over and over again.

On a socio-political level, Jemisin’s portrayal of oppression of the orogenes is illustrated in the society at large through depictions of discrimination in the ruling institutions, the elites, and among the common people whose fraught existence in this ever-changing world does not predispose them to kindness toward anything unpredictable, and the orogenes are all that. The novel is full of people of various ethnicities but the orogenes are found across all groups, making this an interesting depiction of oppression that is not confined to the racial framing we generally see. The physical diversity of the oppressed does nothing to diffuse the violence directed against them. Continue reading

A tribute to translators: Q&A with Daniela Toulemonde / Un homenaje a los traductores: Entrevista con Daniela Toulemonde

Spanish translation below the English is by Daniela Toulemonde.

If you believe as I do that translation is absolutely essential for writers who want to share their work and for readers who want to open their minds to seeing the world beyond their own cultural and lingually shaped perceptions, I hope this post will inspire you to join me in supporting translation and translators. We need to celebrate the importance of translation by actively seeking it out both as writers and readers. Yet this is a hollow gesture and poorly accomplished if we fail to honor the skills and talents of the translators who make it possible. Supporting fair contracts for translation services and making prominent acknowledgement of the translator on published works is the least we can do for those who help move us between worlds and introduce us to new ways of understanding ourselves and others.


Daniela Toulemonde

Following is a Q&A with Daniela Toulemonde, a budding 24-year-old translator from Colombia who has been translating the Spanish-language posts you find on this site. Thank you, Daniela, and best of luck in your further studies!

Q: Tell us a little about yourself – where you’re from, what you like to read, future goals, etc..

A: I’m from Colombia, though most of my family is French. I like to read speculative fiction and historical novels, mostly, though lately I don’t have much time to read anything different than what my studies demand, sadly.

I want to be a professional translator, and maybe, eventually, try to get something of my own published. I’m just about to end my undergraduate studies in English Language and Culture (with a minor in French language teaching) at La Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris. I would like to pursue my studies with an MA in Ireland or England (in Translation Studies). I’m sending the applications next week, so I’m really hoping it will work out! Continue reading

The 2015 Nebula Awards nominees are out!

The nominees for the 2015 Nebula Awards have been announced by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), and it is certainly an exciting list. Like last year, I shall be reviewing the nominees in the short story category, and I will try to cover a few of the other nominees, but I’m not sure I can get through all of them with my own WIP sitting on the desk and giving me dirty looks.

Short Story Nominees

Madeleine,” Amal El-Mohtar (Lightspeed 6/15)
Cat Pictures Please,” Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld 1/15)
Damage,” David D. Levine (Tor.com 1/21/15)
When Your Child Strays From God,” Sam J. Miller (Clarkesworld 7/15)
Today I Am Paul,” Martin L. Shoemaker (Clarkesworld 8/15)
Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers,” Alyssa Wong (Nightmare 10/15)

Voting for SFWA members is open from March 1 to March 30, and the winners will be announced on May 14 at the 2016 Nebula Conference at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.

An excerpt from the work in progress / Pasaje del libro que estoy escribiendo

Hello, Dear Readers. Did you miss me? I could give you a number of plausible excuses for not posting in the last month, but the truth is I have been working on the WIP and writing my little heart out. Yes, every writing site and pundit says you should develop your social media platform while you are writing, and some of the time I can handle it, but not always. I suspect my posting frequency will be a bit sluggish this spring because I must prioritize, and priority number one is to get this freakin’ story out of my head and on paper!

As my characters and I fight our way through the middle section of the novel, which I am glad to report is full of conflicts and twists (excerpt below), I will be posting a bit more on what I’m learning as a writer. I’ll also attempt to get out the odd short story, but I have to tell you–every brain cell I have is wrapped up with this novel in a non-mutual symbiotic relationship.

Here’s a scene from Chapter 26

The great hall was packed with people to witness the last of the realm’s official hearings before the new year, in part because there was no knowing when the Queen would resume business after her marriage, and in part because a southern noble had accused a palace worker of theft. Lingli sat alone on the criminals’ bench except for the guard assigned to watch her. She occasionally tried to focus on the words and manners of the judges or the Queen, but her thoughts fell inward onto memories of every bad thing that had ever happened to her. She was sunk in self pity and knew it, berated herself for it, but could not rise above the sorrow that seemed weightier than her bones. Continue reading