Meanwhile, in China

In the mail today, copies of the Chinese versions of Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades, both of which appear to include an introduction from me, which first struck me as a bit odd, since I didn’t remember writing an introduction. But then I remembered that a version of OMW appeared a couple of years ago in Science Fiction World, the Chinese SF magazine whose circulation (between 300 and 500 thousand, depending on whose numbers you use) utterly dwarfs anything here in the Western world, and I wrote an into piece for that. So there you have it.

Given SFW’s readership, there’s a significant chance that more people have read OMW in Chinese than in English, which is an interesting thought if you think about it. I hope the translation was good. Regardless, these editions of the books look pretty cool.

31 Comments on “Meanwhile, in China”

  1. I agree. The covers are awesome.

    I do hope somebody who is bilingual will have a look at them and comment on the translation. There are horror stories (ask Lois Bujold about the German translation of “Memory” sometime).

    I’d love to see what they do for “Last Colony” and “Zoe’s Tale”.

  2. Yeah, those covers are great. Why are foreign covers always cooler than the US versions? Do you get a say in how they look or is that something the publisher decides?

  3. How do you score all of the good covers? Did you single handedly save the Graphic Artists of the entire world from enslavement or something? Or do you just threaten to sic Kodi on any artist that doesn’t meet your high standards for cover art?

  4. Love the covers too. I’m amused that they show the English title though. Wonder why that is?

  5. Serena:

    I have no say on the covers whatsoever. I would have to sell a lot better to have that happen.

    As for why I get the cool covers: Beats me. I won’t complain, though.

  6. MarkHB:

    If you get the books, and can read Simplified Chinese, there’s an excellent chance. Otherwise, no, because the original is lost in the archives somewhere and I’m not going to bother to try to find it.

  7. Wonderful covers!

    Mr. Scalzi, what version (in English or in a foreign language do you find to have the best cover, if I might ask?

  8. Both of these are pretty slick-looking. I’m surprised to see the one on the right with something that looks like a skull, given the way that such things are (apparently) censored in China.

  9. That’s really cool artwork.

    Please make sure your publishers here see it (hint, hint) and find out who the artists are…

    And tell us who they are, I purchase commercial art from time to time…

  10. Congratulations, and I hope those books cause lots of trouble for those in China who keep the Chinese repressed.


  11. Mm. I forgot to say, I really do like these covers – they cover (ahaha!) the content very nicely indeed. That’s the best thing about doing sci-fi cover art: You get to slob around reading sci-fi, months before it comes out…. and it’s WORK! Heeheehee…

    Shame about the forwards. You tease, Scalzi.

  12. According to my wife (native speaker), the titles are, sans accents:

    “Chue mu jr jan” =
    Dusk’s/End of an Era’s/End of Life’s Fighting/War


    “Yu ling lu” = Ghost/Spiritual Brigade

  13. I’ll get a copy of the books brought over from China and see if I can’t take a crack at reading them.

  14. You two are just copying them ’cause they’ve got a third of the planetary population.

    God. You’re so mainstream. I’m gonna go paint my bedroom black and listen to The Cure. At least they get it.

  15. Best covers I’ve seen yet. Much better, in my humble opinion, then the covers here.

  16. Ditto as everyone on the covers….really cool stuff there.

    I honestly never wondered if sci-fi is big or not in China…hmmm I wonder if there are any Chinese authors that have been translated into a language I can read…

    Now I’m curious, and suffering from insomnia…bad mix.

  17. MUCH better than the Sci Fi Essentials cover.

    I have to say, I loathe the Essentials cover, but I really am digging this one. I suppose that’s more a comment on my preferred aesthetic (industrial, neo-gothic) than anything else.

    In an unrelated note, we’ve never talked, but hello. I’m a fellow writer, read some of your stuff and got interested in the blog. Sorta lurked for a while, decided to post today, and went with it. I’m actually in the middle of writing myself, perhaps once I’ve done more on it I could have you give your impressions. Eh, just a thought.

    Anyhow, keep up the good work, this is really the only blog I’ve kept interest in lately.

  18. I like the covers as well. In fact I will just go ahead and say that they are much better than your American edition covers. I assume you won’t take offense since you are pretty hands-off on that.

    On a related note, I write a bit myself but also work as a 3D artist. Because of that I think my head would explode if I ever got to publish a novel and didn’t have at least a choice between pre-selected covers. Ah, what am I saying, I’d just be happy to get a novel published.

  19. Loved the Chinese covers, as many others, much more than the American ones. (but hey, they sell here, so…)

    Am absolutely gobsmacked that the chinese science fiction mag has such a huge circulation. VERY cool. Folks who were introduced to your work in the mag will no doubt pick up copies of the book, making you a best-seller in China.

    How COOL is that!

  20. Where can US readers order copies of these? I have a Cantonese-speaking friend who would love them.

  21. Congratulations.

    Whenever I go to a European Worldcon, I find pirated editions of anthologies with stories of mine, which I did not know existed, let alone was never paid. Alas, I had to skip the first Japanese Worldcon, and the jaunt to Beijing, and thus have not seen if I’m pirated in China.

    But I have been getting more (highly technical) nonfiction published lately in India and China, just to hedge my bets as to who runs the world when I’m 149 years old, in 2100 A.D.

    And in the 2 novel mass I’m trying to finish lately — “Axiomatic Magic” and “Fast Times at Stuyvesant High” — I do think about the Asian market. I just found a “missing chapter” of the latter, about 3 years old, which I’d written on a public PC and not (I thought) backed up. Turns out I had emailed it to myself on Yahoo, so I cut and pasted and reformatted in in Word and emailed it to my Gmail account, and forwarded it to some friends & family for informal review.

    Darwinian Evolution by Natural Selection of Texts — who knows what translations in what languages will be read on what planets in a millennium? Best to continue being prolific, and with a diversified portfolio.

  22. My wife (a native speaker/reader/writer of chinese) would like to get a copy of the chinese translation. How do we get one? Can you get a copy for us? I’ll be happy to pay for the book and shipping. Or if you could just give us a website.

    She tells me that the title translation are good.

    My comments on OMW, GB and LC. MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE!!!!

  23. As noted before, I have no idea how to get the Chinese editions, or indeed, most of my foreign editions, other than to suggest that if there’s a Chinese version of Amazon (either the real company or something like it) see if they will ship it here.

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