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WAR AND PEACE, June 2005

Now, ain’t that a catchy title? Always wanted to use it. But, modern publishing being what it is, let’s split this one in two volumes.

Volume One

The war of the gods, I mean, and the subtitle of this one should be:

Climbing OLYMPOS, Part Two

Yep, I’ve started the groundwork on Dan’s latest magnum opus. Meaning I’ve taken my postited copy of the galleys (see my previous column) and started to research all the quotes mentioned in the text.

Here’s a rundown of what I’ve found so far:

Lucian, Joseph Conrad, Percy Bysshe Shelley (including a quote from The Fall of Hyperion), Marcel Proust (with a long quote about Auguste Renoir, twice–a mistake, maybe?), William Shakespeare (an obvious favorite), Virgil, Ovid, Seneca, Propertius, Robert Browning (yeah! CALIBAN UPON SETEBOS again), Homer (of course), sportswriter Jimmy Cannon, Laurence Hope, William Butler Yeats, Oliver Hardy (huh?), a totally unidentified quote page 380 (help!), T. S. Eliot, an Orphic Hymn, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, William Blake

–and I’ve stopped here, on page 466.

Thanks to the Web and to Odyssud, my local library, I’ve managed to find French translations to most, though not all, of these quotes, but I still have a long way to go.

And I’ve not mentioned Chapter 36, in which our friend Daeman travels through Paris Crater, where Dan used a text of mine he found in a Paris guidebook I gave him, lo, these many years ago. Since I wrote this one directly into English, I’ll have to translate into French Dan Simmons quoting me. Dizzying stuff.

Now, an important notice to my fellow translators in Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan and elsewhere: a burden shared is a burden halved, or words to that effect–if you have to translate OLYMPOS, don’t hesitate to contact me, and I’ll send you all relevant info relating to my groundwork in identifying quotes.

End of Volume One.

Volume Two

And now, for something completely different, with an appropriate subtitle:

Eternal Love

If you pay attention to book covers, or if you are an art lover, the name Wojtek Siudmak may not be unknown to you. A Polish artist, born in 1942 in the city of Wielun, he has been living in France since 1966, and he has kept busy, to say the least.

There was a time, in the 70’s and the 80’s, when it seemed that every SF paperback had its cover illustrated by Siudmak, not to mention film festival posters, gallery exhibitions, and so on. The man is both good and prolific. He painted a few covers for ANALOG and ASIMOV’S in the 90’s, and he won two Asimov’s Readers Awards and two Chesley Awards.

Siudmak is very popular in France, so popular that he regularly publishes art books entitled L’ART FANTASTIQUE DE SIUDMAK, where his most striking paintings are reproduced for the enjoyment of all. And since he loves SF, he asks SF writers, editors and essayists to write introductions to these hefty tomes.

Enter my friend and neighbor Jean-Claude Dunyach, whose turn came a few years ago.

As he tells it, Jean-Claude didn’t feel knowledgeable enough to write an essay about art. He opted to pen a short story inspired by a painting called “Eternal Love”. And his story was published as an introduction.

Now, let’s go back to the city of Wielun, in Poland. This city was the first victim of WWII for, on September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany started the war by bombing its hospital.

Today, the city of Wielun has decided to become a City of Peace, along with Guernica in Spain, Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, and has asked his most famous scion for a sculpture, a Monument to Peace.

Siudmak decided to build a sculpture inspired by his “Eternal Love” painting, and the Jean-Claude Dunyach story will find itself set in bronze below the work.

All writers should be so lucky.

For the whole story, go to the official Siudmak website (http://www.siudmak.pl), choose the “English” option and click on “monument”. Don’t forget to visit the gallery, either. And dig the blurbs written by Federico Fellini, George Lucas and other luminaries.

Next: more about my progress on OLYMPOS.



Post Scriptum 1: Simmons watch
LE CHANT DE KALI (SONG OF KALI) has been reprinted in February by Folio in their “Science Fiction” line.

This month, the same paperback publisher reprints REVANCHE (HARD FREEZE) in their “Policier” line.

Also this month, Editions du Rocher publishes UNE BALLE DANS LA TETE (literally “A Bullet in the Head”, a.k.a. HARD AS NAILS) in trade paperback.

In the months to come, J’ai lu will reprint HORIZONS LOINTAINS (FAR HORIZONS), the Robert Silverberg anthology featuring “Les Orphelins de l’hélice” (“Orphans of the Helix”).

Pocket announces for next fall new paperback edition sof HYPERION and LA CHUTE D’HYPERION (THE FALL OF HYPERION), each novel being published in only one volume.

Post Scriptum 2: Recommended reading
The name David B. may be unknown to you. He’s one of France’s most respected graphic novel authors, and Pantheon Books has just released an English translation of his magnum opus, EPILEPTIC (a somewhat sensational title, the original – “L’Ascension du Haut Mal”, “Climbing the Grand Mal” – is more poetical). This long and engrossing work, originally published here in six volumes, is at once a family story, a terror tale and the evolution chart of an artist. Jean-Christophe, David B.’s elder brother, was epileptic, and this made for a harrowing childhood, a disjointed family life and some strange, strange dreams. David B.s art can be accurately described as expressionistic, his domain is that of the fantastic and his imagination is breathtaking. Have a closer look at: http://www.randomhouse.com/pantheon/graphicnovels/epileptic.html

Post Scriptum 3: Special thanks
To David Crosby and Graham Nash, for the Paris show on March, 23.


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