For Those of You Wanting to Practice Your Spanish

Apparently Minotauro, my publisher in Spain, is whetting appetites for the Spanish language release of The Ghost Brigades (Las Brigadas Fantasma) by releasing the first chapter of the book online as a pdf document, which you may find at Scyla, which to my entirely-unable-to-read-Spanish eyes is a news/info site for Minotauro and other related booklines. Here’s the page it’s on; click on the link that says “avance de publicación de Las Brigadas Fantasma” for the pdf. And clearly, if you have Spanish-reading friends who are science fiction fans, by all means point them in that direction. The official release date, incidentally, is June 5th. Start saving your euro-pennies now.

Some of you asked whether LBF would be available here in the US; honestly, I have no idea. I would imagine if you have a Spanish language bookstore near you, you could check or perhaps have them special order it. Be warned that I wouldn’t necessarily expect it to be cheap, however, since the list price of LBF is €18, which at current exchange rates is something like $47,000. I might be off on the math there. Sadly, not by much.

25 Comments on “For Those of You Wanting to Practice Your Spanish”

  1. Hmmmm… That’s a cool cover design. I may have to go practicin’ my spanish.

  2. By the way, using an actual exchange calculator it’s something more like 18.00 EUR = 27.71 USD by the latest exchange rate. Not bargain basement, but not your rather terrifying estimate. :P

  3. What do you mean, “sadly”, when referring to the exchange rate? Just think of all those Spanish royalties, payable in hard currency.

  4. Jared got transliterated to Pared at some point in the description, so when you put the page through Google Translator, his name becomes ‘Wall’. I had a WTF moment, there. I was going along fine, and suddenly I keep seeing ‘Wall’… Having read the book, I’m thinking, who is Wall? But other than that, a pretty nice writeup. It looks like Spanish spellcheckers are also the bane of writers.

  5. I think that’s exactly what Mike meant, Linkmeister…

    Your poor old American peso has taken a bit of a hammering – I mean, the Canadian dollar was stronger than the USD for quite a while there in the past year…

  6. I just keep thinking how Las Brigadas Fantasma would be like the coolest band name ever.

    Especially if that wore that getup…

    Dr. Phil

  7. Any chance someone can explain to me why it’s “Brigadas Fantasma” instead of “Brigadas Fantasmas?” My Spanish has been suffering epic amounts of fail due to lack of practice lately, so I’m sure there’s a good reason. I just can’t figure out what it is.

    As for why they’d change Jared’s name: the j in Spanish generally sounds like the English h. Hence he-SUS for Jesus and HI-meh for Jamie. No idea why they’d go with Pared, though. I’d have probably chosen Yared, which is actually the same name. But I speak Latin-American Spanish, so I can’t really claim to be up on what would look/sound right in Spain.

  8. Mike Scott @3 – Is that the same Mike Scott formerly of UC Santa Cruz in the late 80s early 90s?

    John – Who was the cover artist for that edition, anyways?

  9. @11 AFH:
    Actually, it looks like an auto-correct. Jared is probably NOT in their spellcheck dictionary, but pared is. Also, this is not in the book, but on the writeup on the web-site. It was just a funny, not an real issue.

    On your question, I assume it is a tranlator’s choice. Best guess is it implies that the Brigades are not populated by real ghosts. I saw that OMW got translated as La Vieja Guardia, which is “The Old Guard”. But a bit prettier than Guerra de los Viejos. Who knows? The cover art alone should have them flying off the shelf.

    Final note: John, do you realize how incredibly strange that description of the rock gets in a language that is much more active/passive conjugated? Getting ‘La roca’ out of space is an adventure in itself. Made me recall how colloquial (and rotten) my Spanish has become.

  10. Annalee- some nouns that are also used as adjectives (fantasma) are sometimes not made plural. Don’t know why… something to do with compound nouns, maybe?

    How’s that for a half-arsed explanation?

  11. Brett L:

    “John, do you realize how incredibly strange that description of the rock gets in a language that is much more active/passive conjugated?”

    Being unable to read or speak such a language, why, no. No, I don’t.

  12. Does TOR publish any of their books in Spanish? It seems like some publishers must be printing strong sellers in Spanish for both the burgeoning Hispanic market in the U.S. and to sell south of the border. I guess what I’m asking is would a Spanish speaker/reader in the U.S. really have to order a book from Spain to get it in their preferred language?

  13. Very cool cover art!

    Much better than the American cover I think.

  14. I have an aversion to reading translations if I can read the native language, though I’ll give the preview of this a read for Brett’s description of la roca.

    Incidentally, does anyone know of any science fiction writers in Spanish? I’d like to keep up my Spanish and there’s a decided lack of speakers around here. Gonna fiddle around Scyla, looking for only Latin names, I guess.

  15. Interesting tidbit: the Spanish name for Old Man’s War is “La Vieja Guardia”, which means “The Old Guard”.

  16. Leo en el blog de John Scalzi que Minotauro publicará en junio “Las Brigadas Fantasma”, una novela que todavía no tiene fecha de publicación en el mundo sajón. […] Si este avance te parece interesante, Minotauro ofrece el primer capítulo del libro para descargar gratis (en formato .PDF). […]

  17. Analee @11, I was wondering the same exact thing regarding the use of the singular Fantasma instead of Fantasmas. I chalk it up to a combination of Brett L @13’s explanation, and allowing for variations between regional versions of Spanish. Being from Puerto Rico, where —according to some— we positively mangle the ‘mother tongue’, lends itself to many moments like this.

    Neal @16- No Spanish books from Tor to the best of my knowledge, sadly. I agree that the Hispanic market would be a good place for Tor to dip its foot, but I imagine that publishing in a different language requires acquiring all sorts of specialized production, editorial, and salespeople.

    Jeremy @19, Check out Jose Luis Zárate, Miguel Collazo, Oscar Arango, and -of course- Jorge Luis Borges (who, although not strictly SF, is damn SFnal, particularly in some of his short stories). Latin American amgical realists like Gabriel García Márquez and Ana Lydia Vega may not necessarily be strictly SF either, but their work is very informed by SFnal and Fantastic themes.

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