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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
“The critics agree that the center of the elaborate world in ‘Language of God’ is the language. As you may be aware, language and culture are very closely related. Idiosyncrasy is a great tool for attracting people, and the most efficient medium with which to bring that idiosyncrasy out within a novel is language. On top of that, the novel resonates with the readers as they come to realize the fact that none of the troubles, ordeals, and conflicts that the characters in the novel go through are alien to them. Readers can identify with the deeds and values of the characters within the novel, which is integral to the story,” Nabi said in a single breath.
“All that to say, Mr. Woo, that your skill as an author to deliver such an elaborate world with remarkable stability to your readers has left the globe astonished. There’s even a rumor spreading that your name and age are some of the most searched information on the internet.”
Juho had been a freshman when he wrote ‘Language of God,’ and the novel was still alive and well, influencing many. ‘Grains of Sand’ was the same, bringing the two people Juho had been completely forgetting about while writing into the Literature Club. The short story had moved two people’s hearts. Juho thought back on how the two books had come about. The contradicting personalities between of the timid and the violent protagonists. One, a humble piece of writing exhibited in a small library in some high school, and the other floating around the world. The destinies of his two books were still as polarizing as ever.
“But we can’t stop now, can we?”
“You mean, you actually wanna shoot for the award?” Nabi asked, her eyes narrowed.
“Well, that’s a matter out of our hands now that I’m a nominee. There’s another award that comes to mind when one thinks about the Annular Award. Do you know what I mean?”
Most people who knew about the Annular Award also knew about yet another award: ‘The Hugo Award.’ That was because there had been cases when the winner of the Annular Award had also won the Hugo Award, simultaneously. This phenomenon was referred to as ‘The Double Crown.’ The Hugo Award was one of the four major, international science fiction literary awards. However, unlike the Annular Award, the winner of the Hugo Award was chosen by the readers, while the award ceremony was hosted by the World Science Fiction Society. Because fans held the most power, rather than a company or a publisher, the award naturally tended to stress just how much a book appealed to the masses.
Once an author had been recognized for their literary value through the Annular Award and their popularity through the Hugo Award, they would gain ownership of ‘The Double Crown,’ recognized for the two most crucial, yet contradicting, qualities of an author.
“Speaking of which, the nominees should be announced right around now,” the young author said as he looked at Nabi’s phone on the table inadvertently.
The last five nominees for the Hugo Award would be chosen by that point. Nominees were chosen through a series of votes, and the right to vote was given only to members of the World Science Fiction Society. Unlike the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, whose qualification for membership tended to be rather finicky, the World Science Fiction Society accepted just about anyone, as long as they had the money to support their members. The voting process spanned a few months up to the very day of the ceremony. Although the fact that the winner was chosen by readers made the award much more meaningful, there were still limits since only books translated into English were considered for the award, and over 90 percent of the World Science Fiction Society’s members were Americans.
“Mr. Woo, let’s shoot for the stars while we’re at it. Let’s aim for the ‘The Double Crown,'” Nabi said in a serious tone, but instead of giving her an answer, Juho scratched his head.
“But it’s not like I can do anything to win even if I tried, right? I mean, sure, the same goes for the Annular Award, but the Hugo Award is given to books as well.”
As an author himself, it was unthinkable that he should to intervene with his fans’ assessments.
“I see. It seems like I’ve spoken rashly,” Nabi said, and clearing her throat, she added, “I predict that ‘Language of God’ will be nominated as one of the final candidates, following immediately after your nominations for the Annular Award.”
The truth came out. Frankly, Nabi wasn’t the only person with a prediction like that. Since the nomination for the Annular Award, the possibility of Yun Woo achieving ‘The Double Crown’ was being constantly mentioned by the media overseas. There were quite a few articles in Korea that mentioned the Hugo Award, and it was likely that a significant number of people within the Dong Baek Publishing Company were anticipating Yun Woo’s nomination. The two awards were very closely related. The moment an author was nominated for one award, people waited for news of that same author being nominated for the other. In that same manner, when an author won one of the two awards, people often anticipated news of the same author winning the other.
“I don’t know…” Juho hesitated.
But what about ‘Language of God?’
“There’s yet to be a Hugo Award winner from a non-English-speaking country, especially in the full-length category. As far as I know, the only other foreign winning countries, aside from the US, were either the UK or Canada,” Juho said.
Considering the proportion that translated literature took up within the market, maybe the phenomenon was only natural. Although statistics were indicating an increase in Korean novels being exported to the US, it was nowhere near as much as other countries.
‘But ‘Language of God’ has already been nominated for the Annular Award, and it’s a bestseller in every country it’s been exported to,” Nabi said.
Juho looked up at the ceiling, but the translucent plastic kept the sky from being visible.
“Considering how much the award stresses popularity, I probably shouldn’t be so quick to give up, and it’s not as if there’s no chance. What do you think?”
“Mr. Woo,” Nabi said in a low, serious tone of voice. “I’ve witnessed with my own eyes just how popular your books are.”
Her attitude was rather confident, and she was the person responsible for spreading Yun Woo’s books to as many places as possible.
“Your books are much bigger, more incredible, and more loved than you think.”
Then Juho opened his mouth to speak, but Nabi beat him to it.
“‘Language of God’ is a book that contains the very essence of your sense of language, including some of the most obscure, seemingly insignificant languages of some of the smallest countries in the world. The protagonists and their wishes, the mythology and the traitor, a country and its culture, war and destruction. You have successfully turned all of those things into writing.”
There was a strong desire melded into her every word. Juho remembered his first impression of the publishing agent. Greedy. Ambitious. Nabi had a determined look about her, as if she had to witness the book she was spreading to the world win the award. She exuded the smell from the outside world. The ground that quaked with the thunderous roar of the young author’s fans only fueled her drive even more.
“In my opinion, it’s more than possible,” she said, sounding like she wanted the young author to win the award for some reason.
She fiercely wanted him to win, and sincerely hoped that ‘Language of God’ would receive the rightful recognition it deserved from the rest of the world. As an author, it didn’t feel half bad being around a person who had a burning passion for his work. Considering how ambitious and determined she was, it only made sense that Juho would be taken by her attitude. Part of him wanted to be recognized by the rest of the world, and for his books to spread even further out. And just as Nabi had said herself, Juho hoped that winning the Hugo Award was ‘more than possible.’
“You know, I think I would like that.”
He wanted to soar up to the sky. At that moment, his phone went off, and as he reached into his pocket and took it out, he saw Jang Mi’s name on the screen. Juho looked at Nabi, who also had a phone in her hand. There was vibration on one side, and a melody on the other. The author and the publishing agent were each receiving a call at the same time. Then, locking eyes with each other, they talked to each other through the vibration and the ringtone, which repeated in steady rhythms.
“I think I have an idea of what this call is going to be about,” Nabi said, her eyes already filled with joy. “I asked my coworker to give me a call if the nominations got announced while I was meeting with you, the Hugo Award nominations.”
Three distinctive sounds mixed into a chaotic mess in the air, making Juho feel dizzy. The phones shook precariously, as if they were running out of time.
“I think it might just be what you’re thinking.”
Perhaps it was Nabi’s voice that was shaking. Then, after tapping the screen of the phone, he brought it up to his ear slowly.
“Mr. Woo!” a voice sounded off from the receiver.
“Yes?” Juho answered. Jang Mi’s voice was similar to the time she had called to inform him of his first nomination. Actually, she was ecstatic. Her emotions and sentences were in a jumbled mess, making them incoherent for Juho.
“I’m sorry. Can you say that again?” Juho asked calmly.
Then, taking a deep breath, she said, “You’ve been nominated!”
At that, Juho inhaled deeply, smelling the sweet, floral fragrance in the air that time.
“‘Language of God’ might win the Hugo Award!”
At Nabi crying out and Jang Mi’s cheers, Juho smiled.
“I got carried away for a second there. I apologize,” Nabi said while trying to cool her cheeks, which were still flushed bright red. However, it wasn’t until she had had her share of congratulating the young author that she finally calmed down.
“It’s such an honor to be part of this occasion with you, Mr. Woo,” she said as if she was about to take Juho by his hands and start dancing at any given minute. As the image rushed past Juho’s mind, he let out a chuckle, and Nabi quickly changed the subject. Despite the commotion, her professional attire was still just as impeccable. “Now, we have to start preparing ourselves for the award ceremony.”
Pretending not to see the corner of her mouth flinching, Juho brought his cup of coffee up to his mouth. The joy of obtaining one’s deepest desire had a lasting impact.
“You had mentioned something about having someone represent you instead, right?”
The nomination meant that the nominee would have to attend the award ceremony. Needless to say, it would be an occasion where some of the most famous authors around the world would come together, along with internationally-recognized publishers, editors, and a slew of reporters and journalists from various magazine companies. However, Juho couldn’t be there. He was Yun Woo, after all. He had sent a representative to every award ceremony up to that point, and the young author was planning on doing the same for this ceremony, as well.
So, he had previously asked Nabi to be his representative, and she had said, “I’ll give it some thought.” Frankly, the meeting was essentially an occasion to get her answer.
“After some thought, I realized that I might not be the best fit for the role you’re looking for,” she said, respectfully declining.
“Why not?” Juho asked.
“It’s more than enough that I’m watching from the back. Besides, being on stage is just not for me,” she said, thanking him and apologizing once again. Seeing how firm she was, Juho couldn’t insist.
“Nobody seems to be up for the task,” Juho murmured with a sigh, and Nabi expressed interest in the matter.
“Who else did you ask?”
The translator of ‘Language of God.’ Having showcased his impressive skill, which had brought the novel its nominations, Juho had asked him to be his representative at the ceremony. After all, the nomination wouldn’t have been possible without him.
“Did you meet with him?”
He had spoken with him through Jang Mi. Then, taken aback, Nabi asked, “Didn’t you two exchange emails while translating or anything?”
“No. He told me he didn’t need to.”
While translating, there were often moments when translators wanted to get the opinion directly from the author, and that was when they either met with the authors in person or communicated through email. Juho, too, had sent Kelley Coin a number of emails while translating his book. However, the translator of ‘Language of God’ had emphatically declined to communicate with the author.
“As you know, ‘Language of God’ is a book published by an author by the name of Won Yi Young.”
“And Won Yi Young was considered to be Yun Woo’s rival at one point, and a fight actually broke out between their fans.”
But when the truth was unveiled, only one author really existed.
“And that author turned out to be Yun Woo all along, whose identity is also a mystery. So, the translator seems to have thought that getting my opinion would distract him more so than help him. He told me that he wanted to leave the mystery, veiled in layer after layer, intact.”
As a result, the book had turned out to be a massive success, and that was only further proof that the translator had made the right choice.
“But giving up the chance to meet Yun Woo in person? That’s incredible,” Nabi said sincerely.
“You don’t seem all that curious.”
“Of course, I am! I’m sure he’s holding back with everything he’s got. As long as he’s read Yun Woo’s writing, there’s no way to run from that desire of wanting to meet him.”
“Is that right? Well, he turned it down, saying that he felt weird about representing someone whose face he didn’t even know.”
“That’s understandable,” Nabi said. Because not many people knew what Yun Woo looked like, choosing someone to attend an award ceremony on his behalf came with challenges, and Nabi expressed her concerns for him.
There were still other ways. There was another person in Juho’s mind, and he was intending on getting a hold of him that very day.
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