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Sandra Becerril’s Nightmares:
First US Edition Coming this Fall

July 15th, 2021

Thanks to streaming services, it’s never been easier to catch shows from around the world. In the past week, I’ve watched episodes of Lupin (France), 30 Coins (Spain), Babylon Berlin (Germany), and Kingdom (South Korea). I’ve also noticed that many of the best children’s cartoons on Netflix are dubbed imports.

Books, unfortunately, are another matter. They can’t be subtitled or dubbed, and for the moment (at least until translation software reaches something approximating AI capability) the translation process still requires the services of a skilled translator – preferably someone who is an artist as well as an expert in language.

For me, one of the main reasons for mastering a foreign language is being able to read works from other countries in their original. Otherwise, a reader is at the mercy of translators and publishers – with the latter not always having the work’s best interests at heart.

(Consider, for example, the translation of Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris, which for many years was only available in English as the translation of a French text translated from the original Polish.)

A few years ago, The Guardian posited that English language publishing “seems to be becoming a one-way street. Given the recent decline in the teaching of modern languages in our schools, it’s a one-way street that may soon become a cul-de-sac.” In other words, although many books written in English are readily available in other languages, the works of many brilliant authors from around the world are unavailable to those who read exclusively in English.

One of those authors is Mexico’s Sandra Becerril, whose writing I discovered while working on Mick Garris’s anthology film Nightmare Cinema (2019). Sandra’s contribution to the film was is a no-holds-barred slice of grand guignol directed by Ryuhei Kitamura.

Following the film’s release, Sandra edited Nightmares, a Spanish-language anthology featuring stories by herself and three other Nightmare Cinema collaborators. Released by Sustefest Ediciones, the book made its debut at the Sustefest Film Festival in October 2019, with Sandra translating the English-language content.

The book’s table of contents featured the following stories, all appearing in Spanish for the first time:

  • “Transfiguration” by Richard Christian Matheson
  • “Chocolate” by Mick Garris
  • “Ajuste de Cuentas” by Lawrence C. Connolly
  • “Mientras Duermes” by Sandra Becerril

Boasting a terrific cover by filmmaker David Slade (who directed the “This Way to Egress” segment for Nightmare Cinema) the book was a terrific success in Mexico, with Beek Audio releasing a spoken word version shortly after the print release. But as with much of Sandra’s work, the book was unavailable in English. Fortunately, that’s about to change, with Gauntlet Press scheduled to release two new editions in the States this fall. Now available for preorder, the books will feature new story introductions by the authors, a translation of Sandra’s story by Amarilys Acosta, and a foreword by John Skipp.

Here’s the announcement from the Gauntlet Press website:

  • Sandra Becerril, the most renowned horror writer out of Mexico, brings together for the first time three Hollywood masters and legends of the genre for the first time in NIGHTMARES: AN ANTHOLOGY. “Four horror stories that will take your sleep away by soaking you in their nightmares”
  • NIGHTMARES is an edgy anthology, introduced by John Skipp, featuring dark stories about nightmares by Becerril, Mick Garris, Lawrence C. Connolly and R.C. Matheson. The cover art is by the brilliant horror director David Slade. It is quite an impressive package, with thought-provoking introductions by each author.
  • Johnn Skipp will provide an introduction and sign the lettered edition.
  • 500-copy numbered edition signed by all 4 authors is $50
    52-copy traycased lettered edition signed by all 4 authors and John Skipp is $150

Gauntlet Press editions tend to sell out quickly, so readers are advised to take advantage of the pre-order option at the publisher’s website.

Looking ahead to next year, publisher Independent Legions has announced an Italian edition for release in April 2022. It’s also available for preorder.

Founded in 2015 by two-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author Alessandro Manzetti, Independent Legions has released more than 100 books by the most revered and successful writers in the horror genre: Clive Barker, Richard Laymon, Ramsey Campbell, Poppy Z. Brite, David J. Schow, Robert McCammon, Jack Ketchum, Edward Lee, Peter Straub, Charlee Jacob, Dennis Etchison, Jonathan Maberry, Lucy Taylor, John Shirley and many others.

As evidenced by the above roster of writers, Independent Legions has been doing its part to bring English-language voices to an international audience. We can only hope that more US publishers will follow the lead of Gauntlet Press and bring international books to English readers.

As mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been involved in a number of exciting projects this year — many of which will be coming to fruition in the coming months. Stop back here next week to see what else is in the works.

Until then, scop on!