Edogawa Rampo's "The Fiend with Twenty Faces" is now in print, thanks to translator Dan Luffey.
Edogawa Rampo has a well-deserved reputation for ero-guro literature, but this was written for schoolboys in an age when schoolboys were still considered nice and naive. The good guys are real good, and the bad guys not all that bad, and the plot is pure Rampo.
As announced last year, we have been working on a translation of "The Strange Tale of Panorama Island" together with "The Case of the Murder on D-Slope," both by Edogawa Rampo. Panorama Island, of course, has been long recognized as one of Rampo's finest works, and we were very excited to be able to finally make it available in English.
All of Rampo's works are made available under non-exclusive agreements, which means that as long as a publisher contacts the rights holder (Rampo's grandson is managing all rights at this time), basically all his works are available in all languages. We knew this when we signed to translate and publish Panorama Island, and figured that once our version was out, it was unlikely anyone else would bother to make a new translation. It was a reasonable risk.
Just recently, the University of Hawaii announced that it would publish its own translation of Panorama Island in late 2012. Well, that is certainly their right, and they clearly had no obligation to tell us about it, but it would have been the courteous thing to do. We are a bit amazed, not at the fact that another publisher is as fascinated by Rampo as we are, but by the fact that a publisher as prestigious as the University of Hawaii would simply ignore us entirely. They didn't need our permission or blessing, but it is so unreasonable to expect a little professional courtesy?
Our publishing schedule puts publication in early 2013, and as the University of Hawaii will publish this year, there is really no point in continuing with our project. We have decided to cancel this title.
Our fascination with Rampo remains unchanged, however, and we will continue to translate and publish other works by him in the future.