Hungarian Old Man’s War Cover

There it is. One of the few with an actual old man on the cover.

For those of you in Hungary, it will apparently come out on May 10, which just happens to be my birthday, so that’s nice. For everyone else, well, it also comes out on May 10, but you may have more of a challenge getting it.

42 Comments on “Hungarian Old Man’s War Cover”

  1. You might want to make sure they cleared the rights to use that image of the new Battlestar Galactica….

  2. Frankly @ 7.49a:

    “I like this cover a lot of” is how that came out of Google Translate. I also like the cover.

    Ó, szép új világban, amely a Google-t is.

  3. Love the cover. I was wondering if you get artists’ proofs of all your covers to frame and display. Just curious.

  4. I would actually love to know how to get a copy in Hungarian. I lived there from 2000 – 2002 and spoke the language pretty well (not so much anymore) and it would be great language practice to read this in Hungarian.

    If you or anyone knows of a relatively straight-forward way to order the Hungarian version, let me know.

  5. Yes! Put Michael Hogan’s face on the cover, and the ‘adjust’ the premise of the book so that it becomes where all old men get put in the bodies of young, attractive, Cylon women… but only for the Hungarian version. You know, just to see who’s actually paying attention to what they’re reading. However, that is mildly astonishing that they put Galactica on the cover without checking up on the image.

  6. Doesn’t that make the second time that the RAD of one of your books (in some iteration or other) has fallen on your birthday?

  7. If I was looking in a bookstore and saw that cover I would totally check out the book. It looks almost frame-able.

  8. Mr. Gersstorff @11.36:

    I ran my English sentence into Hungarian using Google Translate. I have no knowledge of Hungarian whatsoever!

  9. I like the realism of his Romanesque face overliad on the epic canvas of stars & starship. If I saw this cover in a bookstore I’d have to grab it & read the back!

  10. Mr. Gerstoff:

    Interestingly enough, several years ago I was asked to write a Battlestar Galactica novel. I turned it down because I didn’t think it was the right thing for me to do at that point. That said I don’t think there’s anything wrong with doing a tie-in novel, if you like the universe and/or could use the money.

    Also, of course, Fuzzy Nation is me writing in a universe someone else created (albeit rebooting it entirely).

  11. Back in the eighties, the first Star Trek:TNG novel Ghost Ship featured an upside down Battlestar Galactica on the cover. Nothing ever came of it, as far as I know, and that was a US edition cover. The Hungarian OMW cover should be fine with the Galactica cover as well.

  12. A two word title. So one presumes that Hungarian has a handy single word for “old man” or else it has a way of modifying nouns.

    In English, Geezer’s War or Pensioner’s War wouldn’t really be quite right.

  13. “Vén” means “old”, and can be used as an adjective or a noun. (It should only be used with people, though. Old things are “régi”.) “Vének” is the plural form. “Háború” is “war”, “háborúja” is the third person singular possessive form, his/her/its war. It seems odd that they used the singular instead of the plural form (háborújuk) with a plural noun; my Hungarian-fu is not quite strong enough to figure out why they did that.

  14. “Háborúja” is definitely not “Wars”: that would be “Háborújai”. Google Translate is an imperfect tool, especially with such a weirdly agglutinative language as Hungarian.

  15. Ooh! Ooh! Hungarian grammar questions!

    1. Hungarian is basically the awesomest language ever. Ever.

    2. It’s *nothing* like English. I’m native English speaker, took way too many years of German, and have passing familiarity with Romance languages. Hungarian blew my mind when I learned it.

    3. Interesting features include extensive use of separable prefixes (a verb will have a prefix that moves around in the sentence depending on where you want to put the emphasis and other factors), lots of grammar crammed into suffixes (instead of prepositional phrases, for instances) and the even have in-fixes! Who knew? Word order is also less rigid than in English ’cause it’s used to convey emphasis. In English you have to convey that with your voice “I saw the *DOG*” vs. “*I* saw the dog” but in Hungarian you can rearrange the words: “A kutyat lattam” vs. “En lattam a kutyat” (I’m leaving out diacritical marks ’cause I’m lame).

    4. For this title: “vén” means “old” (as in the adjective) and adding a -k to the end of something is how you make a plural. So the extra “e” is there just ’cause “vénk” isn’t how it’s done and instead you get “vének” which is basically “elders”. (Literlaly: “olds”.) Next is: “háború”. That just means “war”. The “ja” ending is possessive: you can think of it as being sort of like the English word “of” (although the word order is wrong) so you get “elders war-of” or–playing with the word order–“War of [the] Elders”.

    You could also stick a suffix on vének to make it clear who the war belongs to: véneknek háborúja, but since vének is the only other word around, that would be overly obvious and it’s dropped. In long Hungarian sentences the -nak / -nek suffix (it alternates based on the vowels in the word you are attaching it to) is essential to trace out what belongs to what. Seriously: you have to diagram these sentences with arrows all over the place to figure out what is possessed by what and which verb prefixes have been detached from their verb-roots and so on.

    5. Obviously a naive Hungarian speaker could do better than me (I’m unclear on vén being pluralized, since I thought it was an adjective), but I wrote this because it was fun and because I love Hungarian.

  16. I always find it fascinating how many OMW covers prominently feature an old man. Yes, I realize cover art and content seldom mesh in novels. But this strikes me as funnier than Harry Dresden’s hat.

  17. Nathaniel Givens:
    Searching for the Hungarian word for “bookstore” at
    google dot hu gave me some bookstores that show
    search results for “Asimov.”
    It’s probably best to wait until after the release date
    to look.
    Google dot hu doesn’t have a shopping program (site,
    database, shrug) such as froogle, and way back be-
    fore froogle google I’d put a “$” in the search terms to
    reduce the number of results for places that don’t list
    prices, and I’m now remembering the .hu currency
    symbol as “Ft” for their Fluorine.
    Advice: try to use a credit card that does not charge
    currency conversion fees.
    I’m tempted to ROT 13 about how somebody who
    understands something (like a language) does better
    with that something’s whatever or something.

    Aside: While this page was reloading from my clicking
    ‘post comment’ I had a thought: “[That post looked just
    like really annoying spam]” and Yup, the site’s filters
    ate it: Thus the “google dot hu” etc. in this one.

  18. Steven desJardins:
    I wish it were autocorrect but sadly, no.
    I remember “forint” as having a feminine suffix and
    at least fifteen of “i” in it.

  19. Steven desJardins:
    BTW, I don’t have anything that autocorrects my pslelgni.
    I do have red underlines that tell me that the word is not
    in spell check’s dictionary.

    And if anything did try to autocorrect me I would consider
    that action a severe and perhaps fatal error.

  20. And now, a humble contribution from a genuine hungarian commenter.

    First, congratulations, Mr. Scalzi. Agave is a pretty good publisher, they have very good translations and covers. That being said, this cover is a bit of a letdown. I’m pretty sure the artists buy their materials from stock photo catalogues – not a bad thing, but this turned out a bit cheap. But I’ll probably buy it anyway.

    Vének háborúja is grammatically correct. Google translator is usually wrong when it comes to hungarian grammar. Vének = old people, háborúja ~ their war. So it’s basically Old MEN’s war.

  21. Sorry fbdbh, but I gotta put my pedant hat on and respectfully disagree. Vének is plural, but not gender specific. Elders’ War is the best translation we have so fat.

    Nathaniel! Good call on reading translations of novels you’ve already read in English. I did the same with several books when I was living in Hungary, and, lazy linguist that I am, found it far more enjoyable than slogging through something in my second language for the first time.

  22. Your publishers seem to have stumbled into a hornets’ nest (I know, see what follows) here. Translating is a delicate business sometimes, and no, usually it is quite straightforward.

    Let’s take your novel as an example. I would honestly say it has zero sexism in it, and yet “man” in the title begs for an explanation in some translations. In Hungarian the title would translate somewhat literally into

    Az öreg férfi háborúja

    but it just seems wrong, wrong and wrong. férfi is ‘man’, but no it isn’t, it means a human male in a manly man mode, but I’m certrainly wrong here. That word just isn’t used in such normal circumstances as ‘man’. Others have mused over the issue here and the title is, as far as my opinion fares, a good one, even if it has some undertones your novel doesn’t really have. Speaking of undertones… You can say ‘human being’ in English but you don’t,usually. Yet a word like that is used in a number of languages as a normal way to speak about men or women. Yes, really!!!!

    If your novel ever gets translated into Finnish or Estonian, yeah, well…

    Vanhan miehen sota


    Vanamehe sõda

    might be the titles. I think the Finnish title would really be ‘Vanhusten sota’ but the Estonian title is brilliant, and it is quite a literal translation.

    Just one story about the titles of well-known novels. My lady friend speaks Russian as a native language. When she visited Finland she saw a novel by Bulgakov (if you don’t know Bulgakov, I strongly recommend you to read his novels): ‘Satan arrives in Moscow’. She was curious to know about the novel. The truth is that the novel is just so translated from the original Russian, which is also literally word-for-word translated into English as ‘The Master and Margarita’. Sometimes I’m baffled by some translation, BTW, why is it The.Master and not just Master (There is “Master of Orion” and many others.)?