One of the writers I find most inspiring (not just because of his works, of which I’ve read far too few) is Joseph Conrad, who was in his twenties when he learned English (and French before that), and yet his stories are counted among the finest in that language. I can only try to become as fluent and confident as he, even though it certainly isn’t easy.

Recently I discovered that there’s a LiveJournal blog about “World SF”, i.e. SF written by people from countries other than the usual suspects like the US or the UK. The latest entry contained a link to writer Aliette de Bodard’s blog, where she explains why she’s writing in English (her first language is French), and what it means to her. If you exchange “French” with “German”, most of what she says applies to me as well – thinking in English, associating English with speculative fiction, feeling freer with English than with my first language, the glamourisation of English as a poetic and musical language.

In addition, there’s also another thing to consider in my case: I am conscious of the market for the stories that I want to write, and the simple truth is that the biggest market is the English language one. I might just be able to write a SFF story in German, but getting it to sell would be tough. Also, from what I can tell from my infrequent perusals of German bookshelves, the jacket design of  SFF novels often leaves a considerable lot to be desired. But I’m biased, and I admit that.

I’m doing the best I can to imitate Joseph Conrad with his mad language acquisition skillz. However, I believe that I may have to move to another country to do that, which is why I’ve given serious thought to doing just that eventually (i.e. in about twenty or so years).

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