Old Man’s War Goes to Italy

Hey, today’s a big day for me in the land of (some of) my ancestors! It’s the day that the Italian version of Old Man’s War hits bookstores. It’s been retitled Morire Per Vivere, which if Google Translate is to be trusted translates out to something like “Dying to Live.” Well, that’s not entirely unrelated to the events in the book, so, cool. I’d been hoping for a while that I would get a Italian book deal because with a name like Scalzi, I don’t know. I just felt like it would be nice to be in that market. And now I am. Thank you, Gargoyle Books.

For those of you wondering how I read in Italian, Gargoyle has posted the first chapter of OMW/MPV on its site here; it’s the pdf link down there at the bottom. I took one quarter of Italian in college and did miserably at it, so someone will have to tell me if it’s a good translation. I’m going to assume it is.

In short: tell all your friends in the old country to go and buy it right this very second. Grazie.

25 Comments on “Old Man’s War Goes to Italy”

  1. You should have asked them to change your name to Giovanni Scalzi for the Italian edition.

    Italians might be more willing to buy from an Italian author.

  2. I like the cover. You don’t see enough roller coasters featured on book covers. Seriously though, I do like the cover.

  3. Congratulations!
    If you had a BrainPal™, would you use it to create all these international versions of your books, or would you rather have native speakers do it? I’m curious if you envisioned the BrainPal™ as giving its user a deep enough understanding of the data it provides to allow a fluent, enjoyable translation or merely a competent literal translation.

  4. It sounds like a Fellini film. Can you imagine Old Man’s War/Living to Die by Federico Fellini? I can. It is both sublimely funny and deeply disturbing.

  5. How miserable did you do? I got a 32 (and yes that was out of 100). Worse still, I went home and told my 93 year old great grandmother (born and raised in Italy) that she was mispronouncing her words. Still haven’t lived that down. Needless to say she never made me biscotti again!

    Congrats on the Italian edition. What’s next on the Scalzi wish list … Swahili?

  6. Truly you are now barefoot and bookful in Italy. Huzzah!

    John, you are living the dream.

  7. I think I’ve been keeping up with all the translations but what’s the craziest translated title you’ve seen so far?

    It’s not a Scalzi joint, but I’m tickled by the Spanish title of Shaun of The Dead (a pun that only works in English) – Zombies Party (Una noche… de muerte) which sounds rather more festive than the film actually is. :)

  8. Romeo:

    “Old Man’s War” would be “La Guerra del Vecchio”. “Muorire per Vivere” is a bit hard to translate because it doesn’t quite make sense. My attempt would be something like “Dying in order to Live” or “Dying for Survival”

  9. I read the first chapter posted on Gargoyle. It’s reasonable, except for an imprecision. Near the end “From there you’re in the CDF’s hands” is translated as if it were “From now you’re etc”. And no, I will not buy the book. I have the US edition.

  10. I am happy for you sir. I have just bought one of your books -my first of yours- and i await it’s arrival. It’s “Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded”. bytheway, Do the Tie Fighter-like ships exist in your book?

  11. @JReynolds “You should have asked them to change your name to Giovanni Scalzi for the Italian edition.”

    No need for that, John Scalzi is already a well known author in the inner circle of italian science fiction fans.
    A few of us read directly the original version as soon as a new book is published … and then playfully tantalize those that prefer to wait for the italian translation about “those uber cool books it’s a shame they are not yet translated”. :-)
    And besides that, there are a few articles here and there about a certain author and president of the SFWA, for example:

  12. Tie fighters … Uhm!
    Exactly in these days here in Italy there are LOTS of tv commercials about the 3D re-release of the Phantom menace.

    It makes me wonder how the italian publisher commissioned the cover art …
    Publisher: “You see, this book is about a guy fighting a war in space and on alien planets… ”
    Book Cover Artist: “Like Star Wars?”
    P: “Uhm! Yeah! An there is the 3D edition of the Phantom Menace out soon! Soo …”
    BCA: “So?”
    P: “Tie fighter! We need tie fighters! Lots of tie fighters! Free not-so-subliminal advertising from the movie re-release! Muah! Ah! Ah!”
    BCA: “Oh! Well! At least it’s not sparkling emo space marines!”
    P: “Good idea! But let’s keep it for the next book”.
    BCA: “……”

    It’s more likely that the book cover is from somebody that thinks tie fighter are cool, but i couldn’t resist joking about it. :-)

  13. It’s been awhile, but I geeked out big time on Star Wars as a teenager…and aren’t those tie bombers instead of tie fighters? I figure someone here knows well enough to correct me if I’m wrong.

  14. I read the 1st chapter. It’s not too bad, in fact compared to some translation they put out these days it pretty good. I find that translating english to latin languages is rather hard. Somehow the translations don’t sound natural.
    The translators don’t take the liberties required to make it sound right and you end up with rather dry dialogues. No one will ever speak like that. Ever.

  15. Giuseppe: I can see where that would be a problem. I know that this will never happen, but it would be fun to have an author-translator collaboration, where the author is explaining the feel of the dialogue so the translator could make it natural. Maybe an author-translator-author trio, where the last is an author in the language the book is being translated into.

    Like I said, never happen. Oh well.

  16. Logan: TIE Bombers have two pods, not one, so it’s not strictly a TIE Bomber either. It basically looks like a TIE Fighter with TIE Bomber wings.

  17. I’ll definitely buy it, and let you know if they translated it well. I hope so, obviously, but honestly the majority of books translated from English to Italian tend to disappoint. I don’t know if it has to do with how fast the translators are asked to work, or what else. I do know that I often find cringeworthy errors, omissions, or rather “creative” interpretations.

    Cheers from Italy

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