While rooting around on the ReLIRE site, I discovered some big names among the English-language writers whose translated works may be found on the list. For those of you just tuning in, the ReLIRE registry is the official list of “unavailable books from the 20th century” that will be digitized under new French legislation and the rights to them transferred to a collective licensing agency. The registry went live on March 21st with a list of the first 60,000 books to be processed.
Among the authors I found in the registry are Harlan Ellison, Ursula K. Le Guin, Samuel R. Delany, and R.A. Rafferty. You won’t find them by searching for their names in the author field, but the anthology in question shows up in a free text search using their names. Although ReLIRE doesn’t present the catalog details, apparently it does use them to present search results. Here is the catalog listing from the Bibliothèque National de France.
From there I started to wonder which of these authors’ stories were included and how to notify them. The list of titles in the anthology wasn’t available in the library’s catalog, so I tried Google and found the information on the site of a bookseller specializing in rare French books. Unsurprisingly, several other well-known authors are also included in this anthology, including Roger Zelazny, James Sallis and Vonda McIntyre. Here’s the complete list along with the translated and original story titles:
George Alec Effinger : La guerre à finir toutes les guerres (All The Last Wars At Once)
James Sallis : Ceux qui font l’histoire (The History Makers)
Harlan Ellison : Toute une vie, dont une enfance pauvre (One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty)
Robert Silverberg : Dans les crocs de l’entropie (In Entropy’s Jaws)
Gordon Eklund : Memphis, par un été torride (White Summer in Memphis)
R. A. Lafferty : Grinçantes charnières du monde (Groaning Hinges of the World)
Ursula K. Le Guin : Ceux qui partent d’Omelas, variations sur un thème de William James (The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas)
Gene Wolfe : La mort du doctor Ile (The Death of Doctor Island)
Roger Zelazny : Nuit sans lune à Byzance (Moonless in Byzantium)
James Tiptree, Jr. : Le plan est l’amour, le plan est la mort (Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death)
Samuel R. Delany : Le temps considéré comme une hélice de pierres semi-précieuses (Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones)
Vonda McIntyre : De source, sève et sable (Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand)
Many of these are award-winning stories. The pdf of Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand is available for download (free) on Vonda McIntyre’s site. According to Book View Café it won FWA’s Nebula Award. It is the first chapter of Dreamsnake, which won the Nebula, the Hugo, the Locus, and the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Awards.
The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas (Wikipedia entry) won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 1974 and was nominated for the Locus Award.
The Death of Doctor Island (Wiki page) won the 1974 Nebula and Locus Awards.
Love Is The Plan the Plan Is Death (Wikipedia entry) won the Nebula Award for Best Short Story in 1973.
Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones (Wikipedia entry) won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards.
Of course, it’s not unusual to find prize-winning stories in an anthology of short stories in translation. However, it is surprising that the authors don’t have a say in how the translation of their story, which ought to be considered as a derivative work, can be used. Seghers had to acquire the rights before publishing Henry Luc Planchat’s translation. Who is able to opt out of ReLIRE now? Henry Luc Planchat? The original authors? In any case, the main challenge now is to notify them so that those who can still do so have time to take action.
Update April 13, 2013: Léa silhol has started a website to provide assistance to foreign artists lost in the French-only ReLIRE platform. Construction of the website is still in progress, but you can already find some helpful links and contact information here.
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