No Longer Stepping So Harshly on Robert Heinlein’s Toes

Behold! The new title of Zoe’s Tale in German:

Some of you may recall that previously ZT’s title in German was intended to be Zwischen den Planeten, which translates to Between Planets, which is, of course, the title of a Heinlein juvenile novel. I asked if we might not be able to change it just a little, and so now it’s Zwischen den Sternen, or Between Stars. This still gets the feel of what my German publisher was going for without looking like we were bonking Ol’ Bob over the head and then riffling through his pockets for titles, so I am quite pleased.

Speaking of RAH and German editions, I recently completed the foreword to a new German edition of Stranger in a Strange Land, this one using the “uncut” version of the novel that surfaced a couple of decades ago. I was of course delighted to be able to give my thoughts on it, and specifically about how it compared to the 1960s version of the novel. In what might look like a bit of waffling, I like them both; the 1960s version has an economical punch to its delivery, while the 1980s version feels like you get to explore more of the details of the world. It really depends on what you’re in the mood for, basically.

I’ve been lucky enough this year to write intros for new editions of The Forever War, Stranger and the upcoming Subterranean Press edition of The Martian Chronicles. Writing intros is like the writer’s version of opening up for your favorite bands, so you can imagine the fun I’m having doing these (I’m also doing intros for Howard Tayler and Mary Robinette Kowal’s upcoming work — in those cases, hopefully it’s telling people who like my stuff to, hey, check this out, too). It’s all a reminder that, hey, my job doesn’t suck.

25 Comments on “No Longer Stepping So Harshly on Robert Heinlein’s Toes”

  1. What *is* it with the Germans and Generic Spaceships Firing Lasers At Unseen Targets?

    At least it’s not the spider-like ship that’s on the Heyne covers of all three previous OMW novels, so there’s progress, I suppose.

  2. sonicbiscuit – When I am sad I write bad poetry. When I am not sad I am amused by it. I will put the poetry here and a translation into human on twitter for the world to share my amusement with myself. I am the sharing type after all.
    Marcus

    Because that is how we translate “John Scalzi” into German!

  3. Translate? Scalzi writes all his introductions in German. (The ones for the US, the publisher translates into English.)

  4. More to the point, Marko, with that much hull to play with why go for six widdly wingtip beamers when you could have an axial-mount Tube O’Doom that carries a “Don’t Point That At My Planet” rating?

    Tsk. Thought the germans were meant to be good at design?

  5. You want Bauhaus, you should see the current Honorverse renders. I’ve been so anal about the canon I’ve been shoving chunks of coal up my ass waiting for the diamonds to come out.

  6. Is it me, or did “forward” sneak in, instead of “foreword”, in “Speaking of RAH and German editions, I recently completed the forward to a new German edition… “?

    Or is such a spelling considered o.k.?

  7. Daniel Ross – Hi, I'm Daniel Ross, and I'm a nerd. My big joys in life are learning about new things, figuring out how things work, and making things work better. One of the things I spend a lot of time on in the "making better" column is life in general. I've got political opinions ohboy. I probably won't talk about 'em that much here, though. On my own time, I spend a lot of time exploring and having new experiences. That might be as planned as taking a vacation out into the woods to hike a new trail I read about. It might be as simple as hopping a Muni bus and riding until I don't know where I am, or eating somewhere different every time I go out. I also have a shifting collection of other hobbies. I'm an avid reader, and Someday I Will Write a Novel(™); I make chainmail jewelry; and when all else fails, there's always taking your day job home with you by hobby coding.
    Nentuaby

    MarkHB:

    If you look at the nose of the thing, it does appear to have a giant axial muzzle, so maybe they just aren’t firing it on account of being pointed at a planet they might want to live on someday.

  8. Daniel Ross – Hi, I'm Daniel Ross, and I'm a nerd. My big joys in life are learning about new things, figuring out how things work, and making things work better. One of the things I spend a lot of time on in the "making better" column is life in general. I've got political opinions ohboy. I probably won't talk about 'em that much here, though. On my own time, I spend a lot of time exploring and having new experiences. That might be as planned as taking a vacation out into the woods to hike a new trail I read about. It might be as simple as hopping a Muni bus and riding until I don't know where I am, or eating somewhere different every time I go out. I also have a shifting collection of other hobbies. I'm an avid reader, and Someday I Will Write a Novel(™); I make chainmail jewelry; and when all else fails, there's always taking your day job home with you by hobby coding.
    Nentuaby

    Also, I’m glad to not see the Amazing Palette-Shifting Spider again. We can now, finally, refrain from making fun of your German publishers every time cover art comes up.

    (We may choose not to.)

  9. I have not seen any evidence of Spanish versions of your books? Do they exist? Where does one get them? There doesn’t seem to be any Spanish-language Amazon store.

  10. Nentauby: That’s a good point, actually. No point in getting rid of colonies in such a way that you can’t actually use the planet afterwards.

  11. Thank you. Seeing the titles reminds me that you did mention La Colonia Perdida, The Lost Colony, a while back.

  12. R.W. Ridley – Richard W. Ridley is the author of 12 novels, for which he has received three Independent Publisher Book Awards and first place in a Writer's Digest International Publishing Competition. He has also earned semi-finalist honors in the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition for the screenplay version of Never Living, and he has been fortunate to have the opportunity to develop the story for the stage through the help of South of Broadway Theatre’s Second Sunday at Seven (SS7) workshop for playwrights and the Writer’s Workshop sponsored by the Culture, Arts & Pride Commission of the Town of Mount Pleasant. His short play Nonstop to Charleston was performed at South of Broadway’s PlayFest 2015. The stage version of Never Living was a finalist in What if? Productions’ 2015 Playwrights Festival, and was chosen for 5th Wall Productions Rough Draft Readings program. In addition to his pursuit of fame and fortune on the stage and in print, he’s worked in television and advertising in various under-compensated, yet highly rewarding roles. In an attempt to stay relevant in the internet age, he is a paid bi-weekly contributor to the CreateSpace community blog, and his pieces on writing and indie publishing make the occasional appearance in the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing Newsletter. He publishes his novels under the pseudonyms R.W. Ridley, C. Hoyt Caldwell, and Jackson Goddard.
    R.W. Ridley

    Cool cover!

  13. Ask Tim Powers to tell you the “soup” story. Then ask yourself if Heyne did the same thing to the translation of your novels. :-D

    (seriously, a *great* story, as only Powers could tell it!)

    Jerry H.

  14. I’m always in the mood for exploring more of the details of the world, so I’ll have the 1980s remix, please.
    Any chance of some Author’s Preferred Text (expanded, unexpurgated) versions of the OMW books?

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