The annual SF ga yomitai! has just been published in Japan, and I have the go-ahead to tell you this. In a letter to my agent last month, we were told the following:
Tokyo Sogensha, the Japanese publisher for Michael Flynn's Eifelheim, has just brought us great news. Eifelheim has just been chosen as the "Best SF for 2010." It's a ranking organized by an annually-published SF guidebook, SF ga yomitai! (We Want to Read SF!). The ranking is decided by SF writers, editors and critics; and Eifelheim got a No. 1 in the ranking for foreign SF novels for which Japanese editions were published in 2010.
This is not the Seiun Award, but a ranking voted on as we are told by "writers, editors, and critics." Coming on top of the French Prix Julia Verlanger, Eifelheim seems to be getting more than a few nods elsewhere. (French cover to right→)
The truly remarkable thing is that the main setting (14th century Black Forest) and the context (Aristo-Thomist philosophy, European feudalism) would seem incredibly alien to Japanese readers, although there may be elements of similarity with samurai culture. Well, for SF readers, the exploration of alien worlds may be part of the charm. But I still wonder how they translated some of the terms! Great credit must be given to the translator to take such a particular text and transform it for such an utterly different language. His name, I am told is Youichi Shimada. So a great deal of credit must go to him. (Or her.)