German Dreams

The cover for the German version of The Android’s Dream, which comes out in January 2009:

Like the other German covers to my books, I’m not entirely sure what the spaceship pictured has to do with anything in the book, but since the books are selling well (the German version of The Last Colony just came out and is in the Top Ten of the SF list) I have to conclude Heyne knows what they’re doing and am content to let them do their thing. And they just made an offer on Zoe’s Tale, which I’ve told my agent to accept, so you readers in Germany will have another book to look forward to as well (in, I would suspect, the summer of ’09). Danke, for reading them.

31 Comments on “German Dreams”

  1. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang at the gates!


    That thing at the top does look like a heiny!

    This reminds me of Peter Watts question about the German cover of his book Maelstrom.

    His book also has a heiny.

  2. What’s with the notation “ROMAN” on the books? Does this denote a typeface style or something? I noticed it on both <> and <>….

  3. I like the sheep on the cover much better. This cover seems to be a bit hardcore military SciFi for Android.

  4. i am a native german with polish origins. i read all my scifi in english. this way i don’t have to wait for a translation and i don’t have to miss anything that won’t be translated. it is also a good practice for the english language. education is great :).

    Danke für die tollen Geschichten und schöne Grüße aus Deutschland.

  5. I’m reading your books in Berlin, but I’m bringing them in from the States. I just got The Android’s Dream in Tor edition and I thought it was cute- it’s a play on Dick’s novel, right. The cool spaceship cover doesn’t really have the same connotation.But it is cool. There’s lots of interesting stuff in SF and YA here if only I could reach enough German to understand it… and I was wandering through those shelves today and realized that Germany age bands. And it age and sex bands too.I hope the US doesn’t go that way.

  6. Ron – Kurz vor Lüneburg, Deutschland – Teetrinkender Rollenspiel-TV-Serien-Fanatiker auf der Suche nach neuen staffelübergreifenden Handlungssträngen

    „Danke“ for writing them.

    By the way: Heyne is always putting strange pictures (with almost no connections to the novel) on the cover of their scifi books. Mostly space ships or space scenary but also computer circuit boards. It’s a kind of weird tradition.

  7. A great cover would have been [spoiler deleted — js] – or something on that order. I miss the covers that depicted scenes from the books – like a lot of the Heinlein covers from the ’80s.

  8. I want a cover with a sheep-shaped circuit board.

    Poor John, he’s got a hot new rad German starship — and doesn’t have a story to fit it into. Yet. Oh, yeah, that’s how authors work. Inspiration — it’s a good thing.

    Dr. Phil

  9. Phil,

    One of the really cool scenes from Northworld was when they put a tank on the cover and then Drake went back and wrote a scene that used said tank. So it does sometimes happen.

  10. In translating a science fiction book, do publishers add much in the way of exposition to clarify cultural references (see, e.g., the source of vension in chapter one), or do they really just try to translate the text properly into the new language and leave references to American pop culture (or, say, DC geography) left as an exercise to the reader?

    btw, is that pronounced “new-GENT-e-uhns” or “new-gen-TEE-uhs”?

  11. The ship is cool. Someone should write about it.

  12. When I did cover art for Baen books (namedrop, namedrop) it was the bestest possible bit to get shiny new sci-fi months before it came out, and to sit in the pub reading it off my PDA.

    With a pint.

    And it was work! I love my job sometimes. Picking out sexy bits to build imagery around is just more fun than a collie pup.

    That’s a sweet vessel, even if it’s pertinant to neque androids neque sheep.

  13. I don’t suppose the ship on the German cover looks anything like a frigate belonging to the bad guys in the book? Didn’t want to give out spoiler material so this is intentionally vague.

  14. It has spikes, and laser guns.

    Those are important design elements that were sadly neglected when they came up with the design for the STS orbiters.

    What good is a taxpayer-funded spaceship design program when they won’t even put spikes and lasers on the damn thing?

  15. It sounds a little more smooth in plural. The singular version (Androiden-Traum) sort of begs for an article. The plural version reads fine without an article, which makes it more compact and “punchy”, if you will.

    Then again, I don’t work for Heyne, so I officially have no clue, either. I was, however, a bookseller apprentice in Germany once upon a time.

  16. Pathetic Earthling, it really depends on the individual publisher and translator what happens to cultural references, etc… The current trend seems to be to leave cultural references as they are, though in the past it was more common to substitute German references. I once even came across a translated YA book which contained a sort of glossary of unfamiliar cultural practices.

    SF and fantasy tend to fare fairly well in German translation compared e.g. to romance novels, which can be butchered pretty badly by the less prestigious publishers. Though China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station was published in two parts in Germany, which I only realised when a friend whom I’d given the German edition for her birthday complained about the abrupt ending. I eventually got her the second half for Christmas.

  17. I’m showing my geek here, but if you look at the ship, it looks like the artist copied the Centauri battlecruiser from Babylon 5, then grafted on a great honking jet exhaust and the blocky bow structure. I realize it’s not uncommon for artists to copy others work for book covers. I remember a book cover from the 80s, where an assassin was depicted wielding a Millenium Falcon toy as a gun. I kid you not.

  18. I agree about Heyne covers. When I was in Germany a few years ago I bought a couple of Terry Pratchett books in Heyne paperback form. One had an appropriate cover; the other had the cover art from “The Sprouts of Wrath” by Robert Rankin. Well, it was by Josh Kirby who did Pratchett’s UK covers at the time.

  19. Why can’t the ship be one of the destroyers in the book? Nidu or Human?

    I mean, they are minor parts of the story, but still…


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