A soft time machine: From translation to transfiguration

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Abstract

Japanese culture inspired English-speaking cyberpunk writers, but the transaction was not a one-way street. For cyberpunk fiction also provided the Japanese with a chance to reinvestigate their own cyborgian identity. I clarify the interactions and negotiations, over four decades, between contemporary Anglo-American and Japanese sf, whether print or multimedia. A major focus of my discussion is ARAMAKI Yoshio's New Wave short story "Soft Clocks" (1968-72), which foregrounds the contrast between the imperialist gluttony of "Dali of Mars" and the anorexia of his granddaughter Vivi. In the heyday of the cyberpunk movement, this text was translated by Kazuko Behrens and Lewis Shiner for the January-February 1989 issue of Interzone. While Aramaki in his own way digested and cannibalized outer space-oriented American sf of the 1950s, Lewis Shiner in turn digested and softly transfigured "Soft Clocks" for a later generation and another culture. This kind of "soft translation" or transaction between cultures is becoming more and more significant for the future of global sf.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-484
Number of pages10
JournalScience-Fiction Studies
Volume29
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory

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