Germany Gets Fuzzy
Posted on November 24, 2010 Posted by John Scalzi 27 Comments
Over in Germany, Fuzzy Nation is undergoing a name change to Der Wilde Planet, which I think even those of you without facility for that language can guess means “the wild planet.” It’s actually not an inappropriate title for the book, all things considered. And of course, this being Germany, the cover of the book features a space ship shooting laser beams. One day I will write a novel called Space Ships and Laser Beams, just to see what Heyne, my German publisher will do with that cover. Then again, Germany is my largest market outside the US, so I’m content to let Heyne do what they want, cover-wise. They know more than me about their audience. Besides, I think this cover looks kind of spiffy.
Those of you in Germany who are wondering when you’ll get this book, it’ll be in September, 2011. Hang in there until then, folks.
Can I get that as a poster?
It’s a cool looking space ship, at least. Very PEW PEW! I just wonder if, after reading it, anyone’s going to ask “But vhere vere za PEWPEWs?”
I’d like to put myself first in line for the ARC giveway of Space Ships and Laser Beams. Thanks.
It’s not as if random unrelated-to-the-text spaceships on the cover of a Scalzi novel are anything new. Just look at the Old Man’s War series. (Or even Tor books in general, such as A Fire Upon the Deep.) I honestly think they just commission dozens of paintings of spaceships and then pick one at random for every new book that comes out.
Heyne’s history with foreign authors, specifically Pratchett’s is an interesting read. Have they inserted any soup ads into Old Man’s war? They did with Pyramids, and Pratchett dumped them.
Would I be correct in guessing that the original Fuzzy books were never published in German?
Otherwise this seems poor marketing.
My understanding is they don’t do the soup ads anymore.
Somebody told me once that the cover of A Fire Upon the Deep was Vallejo’s notion of the OOB2 escaping Relay as it fell apart. I can sort of see it, though the ship bears no resemblance to the descriptions in the text.
Space Ships and Laser Beams would be an excellent title for your Tolkienesque fantasy piece.
@John: Right. The soup ads are history. I didn’t see them for a long time in new books.
The cover artwork is nice. But I think it senseless when there is no connection to the story.
I wonder what the german title would be for Space Ships and Laser Beams. The marketing guys wouldn’t like Raumschiffe und Laserstrahlen. Maybe they would do something like Strahlen im Weltraum oder Zwischen den Schiffen instead.
Isn’t Space Ships and Laser Beams the one with all the cute aliens on the cover?
I had to look up “spiffy” – leo.org says it means “schick”. I agree, this will look quite nice in my collection of Scalzi novels.
But it would be nice to never mention the soup ads again. The joke is getting a little old and actually I have the first edition of “Pyramids'” German edition & it does not contain any soup ads. The reason that Pratchett left Heyne was AFAIK that Goldmann bought Heyne out. Bad decision concerning the titles since Heyne was sticking much closer to the originals (compare “Guards! Guards!” “Wachen! Wachen!” (Heyne) with “Reaper Man” “Alles Sense!” (Goldmann) *shudder*). Later the licenses went to Piper otherwise Random House would have owned entire Germany, err, all German Fantasy licenses.
Whatever … the German title for “Space Ships and Laser Beams” will of course be “Krieg der Sterne” – ach nee …
It should be obvious that only Germans can truly understand the existential angst of Little Fuzzies. This angst can only be accurately visually represented by DER SPACENSHIPPES UND DER LAZENBEEMZ. ACHTUNG! GESUNDHEIT! SCHNELL! SCHNELL!
What did I say, over three weeks ago? :P
To be fair, it was a very safe bet.
Yeah, as far as I know the soup ads (and tea, don’t forget the tea) came to an end around the same time US paperbacks stopped having ad cards bound in them. So that would be, what, mid-80s? But they were a real thing. I first encountered them when I was reading some Niven in an effort to improve my German. I think it was in “How The Heroes Die”, when one of the characters stops in the middle of this really tense situation to make himself a cup of tea.
As for the cover art, well it just sucks in Germany in general. Actual purpose-drawn spaceships shooting lasers is pretty good. Historicals usually have something taken from medieval art mashed with some decoration drawn by a nameless graphic artist. Some publishers even cobble together pictures from public domain art. One of the worst examples I’ve ever seen was for a book narrated by a cat about a voyage from France to New York in the late 19th century. The cover featured an old map of the Caribbean, what looked like the Battle of Lepanto through a porthole, and a cat from some Dutch Master that was so distorted to fit the dimensions of the cover that it barely looked like a cat. Be happy with your spaceships, it could be worse.
I also see you’ve got your name above the title. I’m pretty sure that means they think your name sells books. Go you.
Look like landing lights to me.
Also, what’s the porn movie title knock-off of “Spaceships and Laser Beams”?
Der Wilde Planet?
Oh, damn, now I’m thinking of a story idea for Oscar Wilde resurrected on Mars. (Perhaps I could do a mashup with those long-ago notes for a John-Wayne-On-Mars story.) I don’t have time for this, Scalzi, curse you!
In point of fact, I think Germany has been fuzzy for a long time. What? Oh. “Fuzzy.”
Stoic@17: That would be “Spaceships” and “Laser Beams”. Porn, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, and most porn fans will happily fill in the details on something that looks like a euphemism.
If you know what I mean.
You know, this may be the reason that Heyne does not get any more money from me (apart from the fact that what their translator did to some of my favorite books makes me want to kill them…), their covers seem generic. The covers for your books all look rather the same, except that the the ships have a slightly different form and the beams are a different number and color. So, great.
Still, as I do not know the name of your translator (one Bernhard Kempen) it may well be that I try your book in german. Depends when it will be available. If I can get it earlier in english, it will be that one.
By the way, on the heyne.de page you are listed as “John Scalzi ist der Shootingstar unter den jungen amerikanischen Science-Fiction-Autoren.”. So, shooting star and all that, it is true that obviously your name sells books around here. Not a bad feature, and as long as this kind of cover still keeps Germany as your largest market outside of the US, there is nothing to worry about.
The cover might be cost related… ;)
Spaceship is right from a shutterstock image. I was actually looking at that image as a cover possibility myself, so I can’t fault their taste…! =)
Ooh, they used the same model we used for Clonehunter! http://www.pandoramachine.com/films/0904/clonehunterwebimages/index.html (not safe for work, the ship is the fourth image down.)
Reminds me of the covers for Alastair Reynolds’ novels.
You know, checking my latest purchasing of German Science Fiction books, none of them Have spaceships on the cover.
Guess I need to buy more books?
At least one Fuzzy book by H. Beam Piper was published some decades ago in Germany, but went out of print a very loooong time ago. Nobody’ll remember it except for a very small number of Scifi nerds… :-)I understand why Heyne decided not refer to a series so unknown in this country.
Why the name change anyways?