Science Fiction Tastes Better in Spanish

Science Fiction and Fantasy are literary and film genres renowned for the fanaticism of their followers. Take for instance the opening of a new Star Wars movie, or the release of the last Harry Potter book: children, teenagers, and even grown-ups, clad as their favorite characters, wishing wholeheartedly to be a part of the stories they love. Some of the costumes and gadgets are truly creative and well put together.

Fandom can take many forms. Fans of a specific make and model of car, for example, may pay tribute to their objects of admiration by obsessively cleaning them. More extreme cases may do crazy modifications on them. There are fans of football clubs who put on the uniform and go to the stadium every Sunday, and so on. For a long time we were all encouraged to become outright fanatics by social media and its “fan pages”, until it made us tone down and start simply to like things.

But anyway, back to Science Fiction. I truly believe that Science Fiction tastes better in Spanish. Science Fiction writers tend to have incredible ideas, a great sense of suspense and plot development, but they do come up a little short on voice and register. Asimov, for example reads cut and dried in English. But read Isaac Asimov in Spanish and the experience is completely different. Suddenly, his work reads more like classical literature, with all the embellishments that a Romance language with a rich poetic tradition can provide. A gifted writer can, through translation make a piece come alive without altering its essence.

Translation provides the opportunity for the ultimate tribute and the ultimate fan experience. It’s the sort of remake that you actually want to see done. Its essence preserved, its form embellished and perfected, translation is a far cry from the spattering of CGI all over your favorite film.

Some of the greatest writers have paid tribute to their favorite works and made them, in my opinion, just a little bit better. Poe by Baudelaire, for instance, is beautifully written. Ancient Anglo-Saxon stories, reconstructed by J.L. Borges, are amazing, and the same can be said about Ezra Pound’s translation of ancient poetry.

So do not fear that your meaning will be lost in translation. I can assure a translator, a good writer, will take excellent care of it.