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Reviews in Project: Translation (408)

fantasies light and dark, from and about Japan

Phantasm Japan:

 Edited by Nick Mamatas & Masumi Washington 

1 Oct, 2014

Translation

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For some reason the cover says this was edited by Haikasoru” but that is a stand-in for Nick Mamatas and Masumi Washington. As explained in Mamatas’ introduction, the intention here is de-exoticize so if you’re looking for something to reinforce an impression of Japan as Other and Enchantedly Unknowable, look to other works for support in that endeavor. 

Washington for her part makes a point of thanking the translators; they often go unnoticed (and I think in at least one book I am considering for review, uncredited) but anyone who has read a bad translation next to a superior one will know how crucial they are. Lesser publishers could learn from Haikasoru. 

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A quiet tale of the slow end of the world

Memory of Water

By Emmi Itäranta  

17 Sep, 2014

Translation

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Between our time and that of 17-year-old Noria Kaitio is the Twilight Century, a period of climate-change-driven chaos left the world a much poorer place. Noria lives in the Scandinavian Union, which in turn takes its direction from New Qian. Democracy is a thing of the past, as it generally is in stories like this, and government is very much top down. A sensible person in these circumstances either tries to exploit a dying system for ephemeral personal power or they try to avoid attracting the attention of ambitious people. Noria rejects one and fails at the other. 

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Math Girls

Math Girls

By Hiroshi Yuki  (Translated by Tony Gonzalez)

10 Sep, 2014

Translation

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So the thing about me and math is I took a lot of math classes in high school despite a near complete lack of aptitude and interest in the subject and except for calculus, which for some reason clicked1, I generally had mediocre marks. Some people find math beautiful for itself, perverts good for them, but I was generally only ever interested in it to the extent I could use math as a tool to examine subjects I did care about, which is why I can rattle off mass ratios (as long as Vdelta/Vexhaust is an exponent of e I’ve memorized) or but am crap at most other applications. Which is a long way of saying I was probably the wrong person to review this book.

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Sword Art Online: Aincrad

Sword Art Online: Aincrad  (Sword Art Online, volume 1)

By Reki Kawahara  

27 Aug, 2014

Translation

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2022 AD: thousands of players around the world flock to log onto Sword Art Online, a cutting edge Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game. They soon discover the VRMMORPG has features that even beta-testers like Kirito had no inkling of, the most obvious of which is the total absence of any way to log out of the game. 

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