Romanian and Chinese Covers

I love it when I get to see covers of my books in other countries, and today I have the pleasure of showing you covers in two different countries. First, here are the covers of the books in Romania, the books having recently been announced here:

If you want to see the covers in more detail, here is a much larger picture. The books aren’t out yet (in Romania or elsewhere), but the first apparently will be soon.

And now, the Chinese covers of OMW and TGB:

If these look a little fuzzy, it’s because they’ve been scanned in from an ad on the back cover of Science Fiction World, the Chinese SF magazine that’s in fact the largest circulation SF magazine in the world. Can’t complain. This was sent along to me by reader Joel Martinsen, to whom I am in debt, and who also posts more clear scans of the covers here (OMW) and here (TGB). The books don’t have a release date on the ad (or so I’m told) but since it’s an ad, I imagine the release it will be soon.

I think all these covers are pretty cool, actually.

46 Comments on “Romanian and Chinese Covers

  1. WOW. Do you get copies of your international editions? If so, your bookshelves must be so cool. I’d love you to post a picture.

  2. Those are nothing short of awesome, particularly the Chinese covers. Any way you can ask for that artist’s input on the cover for the next in the OMW series?
    And BTW, any thoughts on the Hitchhiker’s series pick-up by Colfer?

  3. Remember the days when any and all foreign editions of science fiction novels had a half-naked endangered woman slapped onto them and the art director called it a day? Good times. Good times.

    This beats those days all hollow.

  4. I really dig the art for the Chinese covers. Very cool.

  5. @john: those chinese covers make me green with envy. not that ours are no good (on the contrary, i think they’re great!), but i love the dominant white of their overall design.
    @fiona: he’s going to get the romanian editions, that’s for sure :)

  6. Remember the days when any and all foreign editions of science fiction novels had a half-naked endangered woman slapped onto them and the art director called it a day? Good times. Good times.

    It’ll be a sad day when there is a Bechdel’s Test for covers too.

  7. sometimes i have to wonder whether or not people read a book before they come up with the cover art for it *cough* German covers *cough*

  8. The PRC covers invoke the abstract themes of the books very well.

  9. They’re all very nice. The ones for the Chinese versions seem to capture the basic starting point. Shows someone read and got the books. :-)

  10. Man, you’re a lucky guy with your covers… Aside from that German spider thing. ;)

    I kind of wish I read Chinese so I could get that edition of OMW… That is stylish graphic design.

  11. I remember seeing that documentary series on China that Ted Kopel did. He was talking to various young artists, architects and photographers. What struck me, and Kopel, was that almost to a man (and woman) they saw themselves as great technicians of their art form but ultimately directive. They truly believed that art, architecture and fashion were no good unless it came from the West. In fact many developers refuse to hire architectural firms unless they are headed by a Western architect.

    If these covers are any evidence, I’d say they’re over that hump.

  12. ARGH! Stupid spell check!

    “…but ultimately directive.”

    should be:

    “…but ultimately derivative.”

  13. So…
    How many languages is that now?
    Any word on an official Klingon translation?

  14. yadda yadda, welcome our Chinese cover designer overlorblabbity blab

    Yes, me likey. I love that cookie duster on the old man. And the TGB concept is just, “Yeah!”

    Now for Chang’s sake put some socks on. Nobody wants to see those dogs.

  15. BJS:

    Fourteen languages, including English. We have an agreement, actually, for the fifteenth, but the contracts are not signed. No Klingon. Or Elvish.

  16. Those Chinese covers scare the pi** out of me. Cool, but I think I’d be scared to read them. Just sayin.

    The Romanian ones are pretty cool though.

  17. In case you were curious, Sparth is definitely the artist for the first and last Romanian ones, though I’m not sure about the middle one.

  18. I love the Chinese artwork — took me right back to the reactions I had the first time I read each book. Covers with spaceships and explosions make little impression on me these days, however beautiful the art; most could apply to any of hundreds of titles. (“Pull me another painting from bin #18!”)

  19. Heh, I noticed the Romanian ones mention a Hugo on the covers. Don’t they read your blog posts? ;)

  20. OK, 14 languages now and 15 soon. Which ones? I remember English, German, Russian, Hebrew, Korean, Chinese and Rumanian, but that’s only 7.

  21. @domini: i do read john’s blog posts; but i also read the marketing department’s directives :) that hugo mention will stay or will go, i have to decide that… but there’s still time. as there’s also time to change the images (but i love sparth’s work and probably won’t).

  22. I like the Romainian covers better then the Chinese. Actually better than the English version, congradulations John. Hope they do well in those markets too.

  23. @hnu – Ha, didn’t realize you were a part of the Romanian-edition publishing team. My response is more amused than anything, given I recall that the blog post and/or comments about the fan Hugo mentioned what marketing departments might try to do with it. I personally don’t care, since it’s inevitable that *someone* would think to use it, but it’s not like *my* opinion is important here.

    I’m just vastly amused. Which isn’t a bad state to be in.

    – Domini-the-perpetually-amused

  24. @domini: yes, i’m part of the Romanian publishing team. in fact, i kind of am half the team :)
    i’ll be leaving the marketing department aside (actually, we don’t have a marketing department at millennium press, but we do consult with the marketing department of our main distributor, and they keep hurling at us phrases like: “we want award winning authors” and “science fiction fans don’t buy novels that have a white dominated cover” and “spaceships sell better than abstract illustrations”)
    – my main reason for putting the hugo on the cover was this: it’s not the book that won the award, but the author, and the award mention is right beneath his name, and so the whole thing is meant to be read like this: “john scalzi, winner of the john w. campbell 2006 and hugo 2008 awards”
    – on the other hand, OMW was first published here, on Whatever, so in a certain measure, the best fan writer award was also won for the novel :)
    that’s why i genuinely think that the hugo should be mentioned on the cover along with the john w. campbell. but i will take down that mention in a minute if john asks me to.

  25. @BJS: there’s a french edition as well, for OMW, GB and LC, published by l’Atalante (see here: http://www.l-atalante.com/auteur/49/john_scalzi/detail.html). and i definitely saw a czech edition last month in prague (although i can’t say of which book). and i might be mistaken, but there were rumours of a hungarian edition being underway. that would be ten. what are the other four or five?

  26. Hey Scalzi,

    Do you worry much about translations of your works? Like, in terms of intent being changed by the translator. I imagine many of your jokes just plain wouldn’t work in a language as completely different from American English as Mandarin is.

    And did John Perry get renamed after two musicians from a Romanian band for that country’s edition? Because, frankly, I’m all for humming Dragostea Din Tei while reading Ghost Brigades this weekend, and I’d rather not be bizare for doing so.

  27. @34: I imagine that the Romanian edition of John’s works has at least one passage that reads:

    “Vehicolul meu pe pern? de aer e plin cu ?ipari.”

    Or in English:

    “My hovercraft is full of eels.”

    The site where this useful phrase is translated into many languages is here:
    http://www.omniglot.com/language/phrases/hovercraft.htm

  28. Enamoured though I am of spaceships and guns, may I add to chorus of approval for the Chinese covers?

  29. Someone asked about translation differences — well, proving that I didn’t spend four years of education for nothing (yay foreign devils speaking Chinese), here goes. Obviously I’ve not looked inside the books, but the covers are actually very faithfully translated; the first one is a little more poetic than the original (The first two characters, the “old man” part, literally mean “twilight” in Chinese, but that word is very often used in “twilight years” the same as in English, so it’s pretty clear what it means). The second book’s title is spot-on (although I was surprised that the third character does actually mean “brigades” also; the main meaning is “road”).

    As for creativity in the cover designs, I agree that the Chinese covers are way awesome, particularly the front art. However, I must say I swear I’ve seen that kind of gradient background used in a TON of Chinese books and booklets, including localized versions of some medical textbooks an old employer did. Seems like that part, at least, isn’t terribly original, though it’s the images in front that are really captivating anyway : )

  30. The covers of the Romanian editions are looking great. By the way I welcome you and your novels in Romania and I hope you’ll have good luck and success in my country too :)

  31. The Romanian covers – The cover for The Last Colony is the best of the three. The Ghost Brigades cover is at least marginally appropriate. it’s got people, they’re fighting, and they look somewhat scary.

    But Old Man’s War has one of those generic space-ship covers. Boring as hell. I can’t stand them. They’re so generic they could be slapped on the cover of any science fiction novel that has space ships in it. There’s no thought required in using one, just, as hnu has informed us, some marketing drone decided “spaceships sell better than abstract illustrations”. Bah!

    The Chinese covers, on the other hand, are totally awesome. Reminds me of the cover work for Jeff Somers’s latest novels.

  32. “No Klingon. Or Elvish.”

    Fine, no elvish. But the Romainian title “Razboiul Batrinilor”, does look like it should be written on the outside of a ring.

  33. The cover work on those Japanese releases are by far the best so far. The art really captures the feel of the books.

    No slam on the designers for the American releases, those are good too, but the Japanese ones are the best.