“Der Wilde Planet” Out in Germany

Those readers here who reside in Germany will be happy to know that Der Wilde Planet, the German version of Fuzzy Nation, is now out an available to purchase. It’s translated by Bernard Kempen, who has by every indication done a truly spectacular job of translating all the other works of mine, so I suspect this one will be equally good in translation. And look! A laser shooting spaceship on the cover! It’s your assurance of quality, Germany! And remember to bring a copy with you when I tour your lovely country next month — I will be happy to sign it then.

Update, 3:30pm: The book is at this moment #1 on the Amazon.de science fiction list. Excellent!

37 Comments on ““Der Wilde Planet” Out in Germany”

  1. Hi John, do you know when the Spanish version of Fuzzy Nation will be released?
    My be you have some info to advance.

    I love your books and i can’t wait to read Fuzzy Nation.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Oooh, nice, I am so going to pick that up!

    RE: Covers with spaceships. Blame Perry Rhodan. It kinda started that trend and is still going strong. It kinda set the language for Scifi covers.

    Shooting Starships means: “Science fiction with male protagonist.”
    Shooting starship superimposed with floaty female head: “Science fiction with female protagonist.”
    Shooting Starship with silverspine: “Oh Hai! A Perry Rhodan collection!”.
    Shooting Starships with green/blue spines: “Look, we’re starwars / Warhammer 2000”

    Shooting starships might be replaced by generic scifi person holding a blaster, although that requires care, because “person with sword, blaster in distopian city” is the codephrase for Shadowrun and other cyberpunk, which usually are sorted in the general science fiction area of the book store.

    But it’s not just science fiction:
    Fantasy will have a remotely fantastic dressed up man/woman on a blank white cover. Sometimes substituted with a random celtic knot. (I’m so envious of countries that regulary get Fantasy covers with ACTUAL LANDSCAPE. *gasp*)
    Twilight and its knockoffs will sport a black cover and a random day-off-live object as warning colours or a pink, cutsy-poo carricature of day-to-day stuff with blooddrops added.
    Random Chick with Sword = urban fantasy, more relationshippy than cyberpunk and on the fantasy shelf, although the distinctions often are small.

    But on the other hand, it DOES make it easy to judge a book after it’s cover here, at least regarding it’s a genre.

    (It doesn’t just extend to covers, but to illustratives and magazins too. Tv-programme? Scantly clad white chick on blue background. It’s ALWAYS a blue background)

    Teh world, et is strange.

  3. Carina has pretty much hit the nail on the head @3. I can only add that a historical novel will always feature public domain artwork from approximately the time period in which the book is set ± 100 years. Said art will rarely have much to do with the actual content. Should PD artwork from the period not exist (say because the book is set in antiquity), then they will use PD art from a later date set in that period, like Alma-Tadema or David. There’s a reason you never see German artists nominated for Hugos or Chesleys. The only exceptions to these rules are mega-bestselling authors, like J.K. Rowling or Wolfgang Hohlbein.

    (BTW, I just finished the English version of Fuzzy Nation. Bravo, well done, you. But for the love of Mike, make sure they fix that “vector of direction” in the paperback!)

  4. Laser-shooting spaceship:German sci-fi paperback::dark stains that indicate freshness:brown bag of Powdermilk Biscuits

  5. I assume ‘der wilde planet’ translates to ‘the wild planet’ in English.

    wonder why ‘fuzzy’ didnt make it into the title.

    whats the german word for fuzzy?

  6. Just out of curiousity, are there any German sci-fi books you know of that don’t have laser-shooting space ships on the cover?

  7. It’s… a skimmer. A skimmer with energy weapons, yeah.
    (C’mon, how are you gonna depict a skimmer that’s equipped with a really good sound system?)

    Theophylact @5: Spaceships with lasers are TASTY and EXPEDITIOUS!

  8. @Greg #7

    My German’s not very good so someone out there can correct me but it would “Der Flaumig Volk” – Flaumig = Fuzzy and Volk = People or Nation. Google translate confirmed it for me so it’s strictly correct but in actual usage I could be way off.

    Also, can someone explain why German’s love rocket ships with lasers so much?

  9. I’m still bummed you didn’t name your latest novel “Spaceships Firing Lasers” just to mess with the Germans.

    (“Fuzzy Nation” would be “Fusselige Nation”. Flaumig is soft more than fuzzy, sort of like the feathers on a chick. But it’s an acceptable translation.)

  10. You know, John could get a random image of a spaceship firing lasers, dummy up a cover with Ihr Hass-Mails Werden Benotet, and tell us it’ll be out in Spring 2012, and we’d all believe him.

  11. @10 evolvedape:

    Actually, German doesn’t really have a good word for fuzzy. Marko @11 is right about flaumig being more downy, but I’m not sure fusselig is right either. For me, fusselig is more like a sweater or something. Flauschig might be more appropriate in this instance.

  12. Clearly that’s a Khesss’ja*-class planetary attack craft from the Second Great And Cruel Zararaptor Empire, whose exploration fleet* arrived a week after page 301 to find out what happened to their former First Empire colony world.

    *A legendary general of the First Empire (fl. ca. 70,000 BCE)

    *Literally “The Ships That Taste” in Zararaptor B. Usually followed by “The Ships That Swallow”.

  13. John –

    Now that you are an established writer, when in the process do the German translators get a copy of your work to have at it? The ARC stage? With English-language publication? And how long does it take a translator to do their thing? Is it ahead of your final version so, perhaps, the folks at Roman assume you haven’t added in the laser-armed spaceships to the final draft and that that’s an oversight you will shortly correct?

  14. @10, 11, 13 – The best translation for “fuzzy” in regards to an animals pelt is either “flauschig” or “wuschelig”.
    If fuzzy refers to other things like fuzzy logic or a fuzzy image, different words will be needed.

    Taking the context into consideration, Fuzzy Nation would translate into “Flauschige Nation”, which sounds more like a soundbite for a fabric softener than a novel titel. Besides that, the word Nation doesn’t seem to be very liked in book titels here, even pratchett’s “Nation” got renamed into “Die Insel” – the island.

    Re: Rocket ships.
    Like I said, it’s a clear content marker. Mating Plume. By now it basically it got codified as the penultimate science fiction – and it’s a bit conformation bias. Not every science fiction novel has a rocket ship, but for some odd reasons SCALZI’s novels always get slapped with one. It’s kinda funny, especially when you compare it to the covers of the Honor Harrington series.

    Plus. Like I said, you can always blame the surprisingly successful, surprisingly pulpy Perry Rhodan magazine. If you have a choice between the spaceship and that abonimation I take the spaceship any time. (Ugly the character may be, but in the universe itself, it rocked)

    Huh. I just saw there’s a reboot coming up. Gotta check that out.

  15. Clearly the ship is of the “Shark” class.

    I apologize if you’ve answered this before, John, but do you get copies of each language your books are translated into? If so, that’s gotta be a fantastic library!

  16. Out of curiosity, who picks the title for a translated book? Do you as the author have any input into that?

  17. From posts above I get that “nation” translates into “nation.”
    From the book title “Der Kleine Fuzzy” von H Beam Piper I get
    that “fuzzy” goes to “fuzzy,” so, “Fuzzy Nation” would translate

  18. SpacemanFry:

    The foreign publisher picks the title and as the author, I have no control over that. Although in the case of the Germans, they did listen to me when I pointed that the title they had chosen for the German version of “Zoe’s Tale” translated to “Between Planets,” which is the title of a well-known Heinlein novel. I suggested “Between Stars” instead, which they accepted.

  19. @19, yes and no. Fuzzy is just barely a word most Germans would recognize. You really can’t go by the translation of Piper’s original story. Even today literary translators of any kind are pretty much at the low end of the totem pole, often earning less than half of what can be made doing almost any other kind of translation. Back in the 60s, somebody doing SF translations would be even lower down than today and there is little to no guarantee of any sort of quality. (Even today, the Harry Potter translations are notoriously bad, because they shunted the first one off on some schlub who was grateful for the pittance they paid him and they stuck with him through the whole series. There are whole websites dedicated to pointing out his egregious errors and offering improved translations.)

    That said, another factor in the original translator’s choice of fuzzy may have been comical western sidekick Fuzzy Q. Jones (actor Al St.John). Back in the 60s there was a popular program on German TV that took old western serials, cut them and dubbed them so that Fuzzy (pronounced Footsie) was the hero. OTOH, the original translator may simply not have had any idea what fuzzy meant and left it. Whether the new translator felt any sort of constraint from the original is a different question. Anybody know what he calls the Fuzzies?

  20. PEW! PEW!
    Let the marketers do what they do. What do we know about the german SF market.
    I also can’t help but hear Burn’s voice when I read exelent!
    Just goofy that way. PEW PEW PEW! Kerboom.
    I know, no sound in vacuum. PEW!

  21. John,

    could you please update your “Scheduled Appearances” page and include the dates of your visit to Germany in October 2011 — thanks, that way one always knows where to find such info.

    regarding translations: I always prefer to read books in the original (the language of the author) -if I can grok it- and I always wondered why that isn’t accomodated when authors are on tour (well, I can guess: $$$ — i.e. the publisher in Germany gets their doe from the German version only; nor do they like the US price competition here in Europe – see recent court decisions in Switzerland)

    P.S: here the announcement of your appearance in Stuttgart by the German-American Center (www.daz.org):

    Dienstag, 18. Oktober, 19.00 Uhr
    Fuzzy Nation
    Reading with John Scalzi, Bradford, Ohio
    Get fuzzy for sci-fi! Best known for his Old Man’s War series which is currently being turned into a motion picture, sci-fi shooting star author John Scalzi wows us with his new book “Fuzzy Nation.“
    A reboot of H. Beam Piper’s “Little Fuzzy,“ “Fuzzy Nation“ shows the problems of corporate culture while incorporating ecological concerns. Lawyer-turned-miner Jack Holloway is ready to take his
    big cut from the company when he discovers a find of a lifetime. But because the company’s license only allows them to dig if the planet is uninhabited, Jack encounters a problem when he meets a
    fuzzy …
    – In Zusammenarbeit mit der U.S.-Botschaft, Berlin.
    –Eintritt 5 Euro, ermäßigt 3 Euro, DAZ-Mitglieder frei.

    …and I couldn’t help but smile when I read this (hard act for you to have to follow) :
    Samstag, 24. September, 14.30 Uhr
    Literature after Lunch: Ernest Hemingway’s Journey through the Black Forest
    Reading with Dr. Gary Anderson, Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen
    …will be reading famous excerpts from books and short stories by Ernest Hemingway.
    In 1922, Hemingway, one of the most influential writers of the 20th century and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, traveled to the Black Forest. From samplings of several texts we will get a feeling for his stories and what his time in the Black Forest was like. Relax with a cup of coffee as you gain fascinating insight on the life and literature of famous Hemingway!
    (guess what happened to all the bears there… :-))

    Off-Topic PS: googling, I came across this “Lovely little hotel – Hotel Scalzi, Verona” … ;-) (http://www.tripadvisor.ca/ShowUserReviews-g187871-d237445-r20241416-Hotel_Scalzi-Verona_Veneto.html)

  22. Actually, German doesn’t really have a good word for fuzzy.

    Ha! I knew it!

    “The Teutonic reputation for brutality is well-founded. Their operas last three or four days. And they have no word for “fluffy”. “

  23. My crude German (Großvater arrive as steerage in 1916) tells me that flauschig, which is more ‘furry’ than ‘fuzzy’ is about right for the meaning of of the title so I go with @16. But if the original Piper was “Der Kleine Fuzzy” then they should have gone with “Fuzzy Volk” for consistency.

    John – I had never read Piper before but picked up ‘Little’ based on your interest in. Very Heinlein like isn’t it? I find that interesting because I see that in “Old Mans War” too. I’ll admit to not having gotten to your ‘Nation’ yet (if nobody writes another thing I want to read every again I might be through my reading list by the time I am 150) so I don’t know if it is also in that style. Do you see these guys as influences or was this just naturally your voice? I’d love to write but when I tried it all came out as badly written Heinlein, even when I consciously tried to imitate other authors, so writing voice interests me.

  24. @26

    Unless it’s baked goods, of course. Then you’re talking “locker” or “flockig” or, God forbid, “fluffig”. If your biscuits are “flauschig”, you’ve got a problem.

  25. and here the announcement for Tuebingen:

    Reading by John Scalzi, Bradford, OH.
    Ort: d.a.i. Tübingen
    Datum: 19.10.2011 20:15
    Preis: Eintritt 5 €, ermäßigt 3 €, d.a.i.-Mitglieder frei

    Scalzi updates the plot of H. Beam Piper’s classic Little Fuzzy with new events while retaining the prescient focus on ecological concerns.

    Jack Holloway works alone on planet Zarathurstra. He is happy with his work as an independent contractor for ZaraCorp, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. Then, in the wake of an accidental cliff collapse, Jack discovers unimaginably valuable jewels. Due to ZaraCorp’s the earth-like planet is not home to any sentient species. Therefore, ZaraCorp is able to exploit Zarathurstra without any consequences of the authorities of the Earth. When a small furry two legged creature and his family show up at Jack’s outback home, Jack begins to believe that despite their looks, these are people. He suspects that ZaraCorp’s claims to a planet’s worth of wealth is very vague indeed…and that ZaraCorp may stop at nothing to eliminate the “fuzzys” before their existence becomes more widely known.

    John Scalzi, also the author of Old Man’s War, touches some of the most disturbing questions of living in today´s world and challenges traditional morals and points of view.

  26. I reiterate my desire for a volume entitled ‘Laser-shooting spaceships’, just like you threatened so long ago. Finishing ‘The Shadow War of the Night Dragons’ is also on the wish-list.

  27. John, I thought it is Heyne who gets you to Germany – on their website however, there is no further information other than that, in fact, you will be coming to Germany some time in October. But clearly, some of the signings seem to be confirmed. It would be very nice of you if you could compile a list of the signings or add them to your list of appearances as soon as you get to know them. I so hope that I can make it to one of your signings, and I am really excited about it!

  28. Actually, I’m going to Germany at the behest of the US State Department and Heyne is tagging into the trip.

    And yes, I will post my schedule when I have the full thing.

  29. Yikes. Title fail. There’s _really_ no word for ‘fuzzy’?? What DO Germans call fuzzy things then?

    “Wild Planet” sounds like a Cat Stevens’ song.

  30. >What DO Germans call fuzzy things then?

    To me “Wild Planet” sounds like a scientifiction title.

  31. @Shawn T What DO Germans call fuzzy things then?

    Peaches, for example as “pelzig” (furry), or “samtig” (like velvet).

    That said, another factor in the original translator’s choice of fuzzy may have been comical western sidekick Fuzzy Q. Jones … OTOH, the original translator may simply not have had any idea what fuzzy meant and left it. Whether the new translator felt any sort of constraint from the original is a different question. Anybody know what he calls the Fuzzies?

    The word “Fuzzi” made it into (informal) German language, characterizing a harmless crazy dude, not to be taken serious: http://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/Fuzzi

    So I guess the original translator had the “Fuzzy” known from TV in his mind. Maybe the word is becoming old-fashioned, a possible reason for the new translator to change it.

    I try to come to Tuebingen.

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