The Android’s Dream Wins the Kurd Lasswitz Preis

This was a nice thing to have woken up to: The German translation of my novel The Android’s Dream has been awarded the Kurd Lasswitz Preis in the Best Foreign Novel category, a science fiction prize that is the German equivalent of the Nebula, in that it is voted on by science fiction professionals in that country. TAD had excellent company in the category, including Charlie Stross, Robert Charles Wilson, Jasper Fforde and Grant Naylor, so for the book to get the nod over such work pleases me. It’s good to have these folks as peers. And of course I’m delighted that TAD is getting such recognition; the book’s been overshadowed in the English-speaking world by the Old Man’s War series, so to have it come into its own in other places, and in Germany in particular, is very cool.

I would take a moment to note for special appreciation Bernhard Kempen, who worked as the translator for this novel and as well as (to date) all my other work in German. While it’s certainly true that I wrote the book, if the book had not been expertly translated, it would not have brought as much enjoyment to readers in German. So Mr. Kempen has my thanks for all his work on this and my other books.

And congratulations to the winners in the other categories!

19 Comments on “<i>The Android’s Dream</i> Wins the Kurd Lasswitz Preis”

  1. Congratulations, John, on the award for “The Android’s Dream.” I loved the subtle homage to “The Wizard of Oz.” A nice blend of action, scifi, political chicanery and humor.

  2. Wonderful news!
    Wir gratulier, gut gemacht!
    [Congratulations, well done!]
    (I hope!)

    Austin, TX

  3. Herzlichen Glückwunsch (no, I don’t speak German either).

    I don’t know about the German translation but I loved The Android’s Dream even more than your others.

  4. Congrats on the award, John.

    Oh, what–

    I think I hear a…


    coming from the last line of the post.

    For shame.


  5. I would think the greatest challenge in a novel/book/story being successful in another region of the world would be the ability to properly translate it. Not only is their the issue of finding the words in one language that hold the same meaning as words in another, but there is the challenge of ‘cultural’ translation too. You have to figure out if that country’s society understand the memes, hegemony, and imagery that is being displayed in the novel or how to make it understandable to them.

    All this to say, congratulations to both you and your translator. It must always be a great victory to have true success in other countries. Based off your blog, you are a bona fide hit in Germany. You’re like the literary Hasselhoff.

  6. I’ve always been fascinated by the process of translation. How does Mr. Kempen translate the banter, which is a big part of TAD? What about the neologisms?

  7. I have enough German that I’m sure I would find the German translation of TAD’s first chapter really hilarious. Any chance of (legally) posting at least the opening few pages here, for those of us stateside who are unlikely to be able to see it in German? (Just checked, and there is no “look inside” feature for this book.)

  8. This is excellent – thanks. I can use it along with the original to brush up on my German, something I started doing (but only with SF novels) decades ago when I was last overseas: I have Es Stirbt in Mir by Silverberg, Zeitlose Zeit and Das Orakel vom Berge by Dick, Die Rache des Kosmonauten by Bester, and Ringwelt by Niven (this last had a translation error, giving the speed of the quantum II hyperdrive as four-fifths of a minute rather than five-fourths, but was still enjoyable; it also features Earth turning the wrong direction in the opening pages, as the original Ballantine first printing does – with Louis extending his birthday by shunting from Greenwich to Munich to Cairo to Tehran – so maybe later German editions fixed both problems).

  9. I actually liked ATD quite a bit. I don’t think I have laughed so hard at a science fiction book since Hitchhiker’s Guide. I know you plan a sequal, the sooner the better.

  10. Congratulations, John, and let me add them for Herr Kempen as well. I’ve tried my hand at translation (German and Japanese) and it ain’t easy–and when it fails, it fails HARD. Bad translations, while not the fault of the original author, often reflect poorly on that author in the minds of the readers.

    So kudos to both of you!

  11. I’ll throw in my congratulations, too, even though I’ve only read (and re-read, and then read again) all three of the “Old Man’s War” books. And if TAD is anywhere even close as good as those books, then I’m going to have to wait til my summer masters class is over. Doing homework is already difficult enough.

  12. Congratulations! Loved TAD, great story. And although it is self-contained and ‘complete’, I keep hoping for another story with these characters. They’re too good to let go, imo.

  13. Well, it’s not hard see why TAD won: it’s the only book with a spaceship with lasers on it. No lasers: 12 points deducted. No spaceship: forget it.

  14. It was the first Scalzi book I ever read and it is the standard by which I judge all the rest.

    It is a tough standard… by any standard.

    And I laughed so hard that I nearly choked to death in the first section.