Featured Translation: A Legend of the Future by Agustín de Rojas

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There were over 450 new translations published this year, and trust us, we know from experience, keeping track of them all can be a maddening exercise. Each weekday from now until the end of the year we’ll highlight a different title that you may have missed. From short story collections to epic novels, from award winning works of the highest literary caliber to trashy romantic beach reads, we’ll feature the very best, and the very worst that 2015 had to offer, one book at a time.

Legend of the Future by Agustín de Rojas / Translated from the Spanish by Nick CaistorThere are no “rules” that I’m aware of that state that I’m not allowed to fall in love with a translator. I mean, I probably shouldn’t write them semi-creepy love letters or anything, but if letting them know how I feel, in the form of a book review written as a note addressed specifically to them is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. And if said letter leads to them contacting me and awkwardness ensues, well so be it, that’s life. What I’m trying to say is that if I am/was in love with the translation skills of Marlaine Delargy, then the time has probably come to face the fact that I have a big old man crush on Nick Caistor’s abilities as well. Just look at this, or this, or this, and it becomes painfully obvious that I’m a fan of the man’s work. Can I help it if he gives good interpretation?

Clearly I’m not the only one who feels this way about him. With a whopping seven translations from Spanish published in 2015 Caistor’s services are in high demand. It’s his work on Cuban author Agustín de Rojas’s science fiction epic, A Legend of the Future that we’ll focus on today. Legend marks the first time Rojas’s work has been translated to the English language, though it is actually the second book in a conceptual trilogy that plays with themes around societial maturation and the idea of multiple possible futures.

The year is 2038, and the crew of the spaceship Sviatagor are in trouble. Heading out on an expedition to Saturn’s moon Titan the craft is severely damaged in a collision. With several people killed in the accident, the surviving crew members decide that attempting a return trip to Earth is their best hope for survival:

I suppose you must be anxious to hear what happened… I’ll try to sum up the little I know. While you were asleep, there was a fault in the magnetic field. Pavel and Kay had to go outside to repair it. While they were, it seems we collided with a meteorite. I lost consciousness. I must have banged into something, I don’t remember what. Thondup found me unconscious in the lab and helped me come around. He didn’t know what was going on either… We agreed that he would go to the bridge to see how he could help Alix, while I came to wake you up, so that… But the hypnotron was broken, and I saw that… that you weren’t well. I brought you up to the sick bay less than five minutes ago, and… well, you woke up.

What follows is an all out struggle for survival which will push the crew to the edge of their physical and psychological limits. Was Agustín de Rojas a bit of a nut? You be the judge. His author bio concludes with the interesting statement: He spent his final years persuaded—and persuading others—that Fidel Castro did not exist.

You can learn more about Agustín de Rojas by reading this interview.  You can read an excerpt from A Legend of the Future on the Restless Books website.

A Legend of the Future was translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor and published in June by Restless Books.

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About Aaron Westerman

Aaron Westerman is the Manager of Web Architecture for a national human services organization. When he's not busy tearing sites apart and rebuilding them, he spends his ever shrinking free time trying to keep up with his twins, reading works of translated literature, and watching far too many Oscar nominated movies.