Interesting interview Spanish-language site/publisher Literatura fantástica conducted with Christopher Priest

January 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

I saw this on Twitter about an hour ago:  an interview that Spanish-language site/publisher Literatura fantástica conducted (and posted today) with British SF writer Christopher Priest.  Considering the fuss stirred up last year by his negative comments on the 2012 Clarke Awards, there might be some interest in what he says about that, but I think the entire interview is worth reading. 

But since many here cannot read Spanish, I’ll give a few highlights and translate a paragraph or two toward the end (I wonder if there was an English original that might be posted later, but it seems it was likely conducted in English and then translated for publication there), so there might be that odd reverse-engineering effect occurring where the le mot juste is lost between the shift into Spanish and then back into English.

The interview begins with the interviewer and Priest talking about H.G. Wells and the ways in which Wells influenced Priest’s works.  Roughly half of the interview is devoted to Priest talking about Wells’ enduring importance in SF and the ways in which he confronted certain “timeless” issues.  Then there is talk of the ways in which Priest’s Space Machine was a “modern” novel instead of a Victorian-tinged one that aimed to “recreate” some of the conditions that Wells explored in The Time MachineSpace Machine was also recently translated into Spanish (with a forward by acclaimed Spanish SF/F writer Javier Negrete) by Literatura fantástica and from there the discussion goes toward some of the themes found in that particular Priest novel, including the idea of it being a “scientific romance.”  And now to quote (and translate) the last two questions and responses:

Y ahora una mirada al futuro inmediato. ¿Cuáles son sus próximos proyectos? ¿Está escribiendo ahora mismo? ¿Hay en perspectiva alguna adaptación de sus obras al cine o a la televisión?

The Adjacent se publicará en el Reino Unido en junio de 2013 y en estos momentos estoy trabajando en la siguiente novela que probablemente llevará el título de The Mariners.

Mi novela de 1984, El glamour, se va a adaptar al cine en el Reino Unido por parte del director Gerald McMorrow, que hace unos pocos años estrenó la película titulada Franklyn. La película despareció de las pantallas tan rápida como llegó, pero considero que es una de las mejores películas de ciencia ficción realizadas en el Reino Unido en los últimos 20 años. Se trata de una película sorprendente, protagonizada por Eva Green, Ryan Philippe y Susannah York. Si podéis, ¡disfrutad de ella en DVD! Después de ver Franklyn me puse en contacto con Gerald, nos hicimos amigos y ha decidido que quiere rodar El glamour. Tenemos la esperanza que se empiece a rodar este verano. También tengo en cartera una obra de teatro basada en El prestigio, que tiene previsto su estreno en el West End de Londres justo antes de las Navidades de este año. (También estamos hablando de un musical en Rusia basado en la misma novela, pero es un proyecto a dos años vista.)

And now a look into the immediate future.  What are your upcoming projects?  Is it being written now?  Is there the possibility of some adaptation of your works into film or TV?

The Adjacent will be published in the United Kingdom in June 2013 and these days I am working on the sequel, which probably will bear the title of The Mariners.

My 1984 novel, The Glamour, is going to be adapted for film in the UK by the director Gerald McMorrow, who a few years ago released a film titled Franklyn.  The film disappeared from the screens as quickly as it appeared, but I consider it to be one of the best SF films made in the UK in the past 20 years.  This is an amazing film, starring Eva Green, Ryan Philippe and Susannah York.  If you can, watch it on DVD!  After watching Franklyn I got in contact with Gerald, we became friends and he decided that he wanted to shoot The Glamour.  We have hopes that shooting will begin this summer.  I also have in plans a play based on The Prestige, which is scheduled to premiere in London’s West End just before Christmas this year.  (We are also talking about a musical in Russia based on the same novel, but it is a project two years’ away).

Una última pregunta: usted ha sido muy crítico con la selección de los finalistas del Premio Arthur C. Clarke de 2012, ¿cuáles son sus impresiones sobre ciencia ficción y literatura en los últimos años?

El Premio Arthur C. Clarke sufrió el año pasado a causa de la incompetencia de los jueces. No sé en lo que estaban pensando, pero por alguna razón ignoraron la mayor parte de las novelas verdaderamente interesante o ambiciosas publicadas en 2011, y se decidieron por una novela decente (The Testament of Jessie Lamb de Jane Rogers, que ganó con toda justicia), una novela mediocre de China Miéville (Embassytown) y otras cuatro más de la ciencia ficción tradicional menos imaginativas y más comunes. Había muchas más novelas que eran mejores, o más estimulantes, o simplemente más aventuradas en el tema, pero parece que los jueces no las tuvieron en cuenta. Como considero que el Premio Clarke es uno de los mejores y más fiables premios literarios, que en el pasado había dado su apoyo a obras buenas o ambiciosas, tuve la impresión que los jueces de 2012 habían fallado de una manera terrible y muy embarazosa. Lo dije públicamente y por escrito, y en consecuencia tuve algunos problemas. Pero al final, creo que sirvió para que la gente se centrase en lo que debería ser la ciencia ficción moderna y en que se debería animar a los escritores a enfrentarse con materiales nuevos o difíciles.

En cuanto a este año, algunos de los jueces siguen ahí, así que sólo podemos ESPERAR lo mejor, pero debemos temer una repetición de sus valores apocados y conservadores. (Este año hay un par de jueces nuevos, así que es posible que la cosa mejore. Esperémoslo.) En cuanto a mí, me he pasado los últimos 12 meses investigando para mi nueva novela, así que no he leído ninguno de los libros de ciencia ficción publicados en este último año, así que no tengo intención de decir nada sobre lo que ocurra…

One final question: you have been very critical of the selection of finalists for the 2012 Arthur C. Clarke Award. What are your impressions regarding science fiction and literature in recent years?

The Arthur C. Clarke Award suffered last year because of the judges’ incompetence. I do not know what they were thinking, but for some reason they ignored most of the really interesting or ambitious novels published in 2011, and settled on a decent novel (The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers, who won in all fairness) a mediocre novel China Miéville (Embassytown) and four more traditional, less imaginative, and more commonplace science fiction novels. There were many more novels that were better, or more exciting, or more adventurous in theme, but it seems that the judges did not take them into account. As I consider the Clarke Award is one of the best and most reliable literary prizes, which in the past had supported good works or ambitious ones, I felt that the 2012 judges had failed in a terrible and embarrassing manner. I said so publicly and in writing, and therefore I had some problems [with others]. But in the end, I think it served to make people focus on what should be modern science fiction and that should encourage writers to deal with new or difficult material.

As for this year, some of the judges are still there, so we can only HOPE for the best, but we have to fear a repeat of its timid and conservative values​​. (This year there are a couple of new judges, so it’s possible that things will improve. Let’s hope so.) As for myself, I’ve spent the last 12 months researching for my new novel, so I have not read any of the books science fiction published in the last year, so I have no intention of saying anything about what happens

Hopefully, this quick and rough translation (I’m certain Priest worded things in a slightly different fashion than what the retranslation states) will be of interest to readers here.  As for myself, I do plan on reading more of Priest’s works in the near future and perhaps some of the Wells novels that he and interviewer discuss.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading Interesting interview Spanish-language site/publisher Literatura fantástica conducted with Christopher Priest at Vaguely Borgesian.

meta

%d bloggers like this: