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 Start to Finish: An Introduction to THE FRENCH SCI-FI PROJECT

Ooligan Press is very excited to announce our newest title, tentatively called The French Sci-Fi Project, publishing in Spring 2024! This book will be a collection of translated French science fiction short stories. These stories cover many topics ranging from language and technology to utopia and health in futuristic contexts.

We are thrilled to be working with
Dr. Annabelle Dolidon
for this project. Dr. Annabelle Dolidon is a professor of French at Portland State University. She teaches French language classes as well as literature seminars and courses on film and comics. She specializes in post-WWII novels and short stories and has a special interest in science fiction. She has published articles on the genre in academic journals and an open-source textbook for all to use, available on PDXScholar, the open educational resources platform of the university. She has also published three other textbooks for the French classroom.

The goal of this project is to introduce the French science fiction genre to English readers and foster discussion. Each of the stories will feature an introduction by Dr. Dolidon and discussion questions to accompany the story and help guide conversation around the topic.

This project is Ooligan’s first translated anthology title, which makes it extra special and allows the press to learn additional skills. Our Rights department has been working closely with French publishers and authors to acquire the rights to the stories and negotiate their terms. At this point, we are in the early stages and still working on acquiring rights to the remaining stories and going through the process of contracts. The translation process for the titles we have acquired is currently taking place as well.

My name is Kyndall Tiller, and I am the current project manager. We have a fantastic team currently working hard on this project! Over the summer our team started working on the beginning marketing stages. We did a lot of market research, which is crucial since science fiction is not a genre that Ooligan works with a lot. In our research, we created personas to best identify who the target audience for this book will be. We also looked at comparative titles and their place in the market, along with their marketing strategies. During the fall term, the team focused on the marketing plan and continued to build our contact list. Some of the marketing aspects we’ve been working on are key selling points, keywords, and brainstorming marketing strategy. Because of how unique this project is, this process has been really interesting and allows for a lot of creativity from the team. We are also working on a fundraising campaign to raise money for the rights and translation costs, so keep a look out for that!

This project is so fun because it is something completely new to the press. We have a longer timeline than the past few titles have had, which is going to give us the opportunity to experiment with some really cool marketing and publicity ideas. It will be a learning process for everyone involved and allows students to work with a new genre and translations. Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting project!

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Sci-fi in Translation

Here at Ooligan we’ve been working on our newest project, the French Sci-Fi Project, a collection of science fiction short stories translated from French, in partnership with PSU’s Language department. We’re excited to expand our horizons into the international scene with this new book and hope that we can continue to publish books in translation in the future.

But for now, if you’re interested in looking past the horizon on your bookshelf into international waters, here’s a list of five science fiction books that have been translated into English from a range of languages including Chinese, German, and Italian. In this list you’ll find mystery, aliens, challenged humanity, and international influence, giving anyone who’s just coming into science fiction a little breathing room to start their journey into the unknown.

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu

If you’re looking for the next science fiction world to dive into with a series, look no further than Cixin Liu’s Hugo Award winning book, The Three-Body Problem. In this first book of the trilogy, you’ll be introduced to the Chinese Cultural Revolution as the military sends signals out into the universe for signs of alien life. The reply? An alien race looking for a new home. Will they succeed in invading our planet with the help of a few of our own? Or will humanity come together to fight back against a global invasion? Pick up the whole series to find out!

The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino, translated by William Weaver

As the French Sci-Fi Project inspired this list, it’s only natural that another short story collection be included, and Italo Calvino’s The Complete Cosmicomics, originally published in Italian in 1965, made the cut. Though Calvino originally published the stories in Italian, he later would publish these short stories in a literary magazine in Cuba, his native country, as well. The stories explore natural phenomena and the origins of our universe, with readers calling Calvino’s writing “nimble and often hilarious.” If you’re looking to think outside of the realms of our reality, pick up this collection!

The Cusanus Game by Wolfgang Jeschke, translated by Ross Benjamin

As a winner of the Harrison Award for international achievements in science fiction, any of Jeschke’s works could be included in this list, but it was The Cusanus Game that won him the Deutscher Science Fiction Preis, a highly regarded German science fiction literary award. The novel, published in 2005, follows a biologist during the aftermath of nuclear fallout in Northern Europe. Jeschke serves up Fallout with a time traveling twist that captures readers interest until the end. Pick this book up if you’re ready to get back to the roots of the science fiction genre while keeping your feet (and the protagonist’s) firmly planted on our home planet.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

An international bestseller from Murakami, one of Japan’s most successful authors, 1Q84 is for anyone who enjoys The Matrix and has been diving too deeply into “ShiftTok” and the concept of reality shifting. The main character enters an alternate reality at the suggestion of a taxi driver. As the two main characters’ timelines overlap throughout the dystopian society, it reveals just how connected everything is. While lighter on the science fiction tropes, this book is sure to please anyone looking for a heartfelt story of human connection.

The Dead Mountaineer’s Inn: One More Last Rite for the Detective Genre by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky, translated by Josh Billings

Want an Agatha Christie mystery novel with some Russian sci-fi humor? Look no further than the writings of the Strugatsky brothers and The Dead Mountaineer’s Inn. For at least three decades the brothers were the most popular science fiction writers in Russia, and the most influential Russian science fiction writers in the world. The novel reads like a Hercule Poirot mystery when the lead detective’s ski vacation is rudely interrupted by a dead body and mysterious events start happening around the chalet. This book, like the last, is for those who want a genre bend to their sci-fi, and want to be sitting on the edge of their seats to find out what happens next.

Add these five international science fiction titles to your list now, and be ready to dive into the world of French science fiction when Ooligan releases the French Sci-Fi Project in Spring 2024!