Wednesday News: Winds of Winter, bad sex, translators, and adapting Adele
The New ‘Game Of Thrones’ Season Starts In April, But What About That Book? – So now that the start date for season six of HBO’s Game of Thrones has been announced, what can be known about the status of George Martin’s long-awaited sixth book, Winds of Winter? Real answer: NOTHING. 538’s answer: NOTHING, but if we DID know something, like if Martin has actually finished writing the book, we wouldcould definitelymaybe know when the book will be released, because, uh, statistics. No pressure, though, George.
I’ve crunched the numbers behind the varied ways people have tried to predict when “The Winds of Winter” will be published, and earlier this year, I looked at one of the best analyses of Martin’s writing pace, developed by one of his closest observers. The writer — real name Jeff, well-known in the online “A Song of Ice and Fire” fan community as “BryndenBFish,” particularly for his sophisticated analyses of the book series at his blog — projected that “The Winds of Winter” would come out in late 2016 or early 2017. In other words, definitively after the sixth season. – FiveThirtyEight.com
Morrissey Stars on Bad Sex in Fiction Award Shortlist – We make a lot of fun of sexual euphemisms in Romance novels, especially older novels. But is anything produced in the genre of the, uh, caliber, of those books nominated for the Bad Sex in Fiction Award? For more than 20 years now, the Literary Review has ‘honored’ the worst fictional sex scenes, and this year nominees include Erica Jong, Lauren Groff, and Morrissey, for his debut novel, List of the Lost:
“Eliza and Ezra rolled together into the one giggling snowball of full-figured copulation, screaming and shouting as they playfully bit and pulled at each other in a dangerous and clamorous rollercoaster coil of sexually violent rotation with Eliza’s breasts barrel-rolled across Ezra’s howling mouth and the pained frenzy of his bulbous salutation extenuating his excitement as it whacked and smacked its way into every muscle of Eliza’s body except for the otherwise central zone.” – Publishing Perspectives
Q&A with K. E. Semmel, translator from the Danish and 2016 NEA Literary Translation Fellow. – Works in translation are a growing area of publishing, but the process of translation, and the translators themselves, are not discussed and profiled with the same interest as, say, primarily authors. This interview with Danish translator, K.E. Semmel, who has translated work by Jesper Bugge Kold, Karin Possum, Naja Marie Aidt, and Simon Fruelund, among others, has a number of interesting things to say about the art of translation, and about the importance of translation for the existence of “world literature” in any meaningful sense. His comments about how readers sometimes react to translated works is a good reminder of how easy it is to see one’s own language as universal (American English-only speakers, especially, tend to be guilty of this):
Probably the biggest pet peeve I have, though, is related to reader responses of translated texts. I’ve had people ask me what I think of Stieg Larsson’s books in translation. I’ve not read those books, in either language, but invariably I’m told that they’re not well translated. They’re bumpy. Or clumsy. Or whatever. I don’t quite know what to say to that other than, Can you read Swedish? It’s true that a smoothly flowing text will make you forget a book is translated, but the book may not have been so fluid in the original. It might’ve been bumpy or clumsy or whatever. The translator might have, in other words, chosen to hew closely to the original. Maybe the books weren’t well written in Swedish? I have no idea. But the general assumption often seems to be—when readers dislike something—that the translator is at fault, and I find this troubling. The translator is often ignored if it’s a great book, and pilloried if it’s a “bad” book. How many times do you see, say, quotes by Tolstoy or some other famous, oft-cited foreign author without any attribution of the translator’s role in the quote? Too many. – Asymptote
Sir David Attenborough just narrated Adele’s Hello video and obviously it’s incredible – Speaking of translations and translators, this performance by David Attenborough rivals the video of Adele entering an Adele impersonator’s contest for best performance of an Adele song ever. Do not have any liquid near your keyboard as you watch and listen. – ShortList