Redshirts in German: Out Today!

The German version of Redshirts, called Redshirts, is out today. If you’re in Germany and reading this (and several of you are, Germany is this blog’s biggest readership outside of native English-speaking countries), you can buy it off or, presumably any bookstore that has a reasonable science fiction section. If you would like to read a bit first, there’s an excerpt on my German publisher page (and of course off of the Amazon page as well).

I’m also delighted to see that in the first couple of hours of it being for sale, it’s already number five on’s science fiction list, behind three Perry Rhodan installments and a George RR Martin book (which is fantasy, but never mind that). It’s also at number eight, for the Kindle edition. It’s a nice way to start a day. It’s also got its first one-star review, which is not about the book, but some dude griping about the publisher. I hate that shit.

I’m very excited regardless. I sold the book last year when I was in Germany — my publisher there announced he was buying it at one of my events, which is one of the nicest ways to find out you’ve sold a book, I have to say — and this is the first foreign-language version of the book that’s out (it’s sold in several other languages too, at this point). It’s fun to see it on its way in the rest of the world.

The next country Redshirts is coming to: The UK! This Thursday! You know I’ll let you know about that, too.

29 Comments on “Redshirts in German: Out Today!”

  1. Since you mention it in the post, any thoughts on Perry Rhodan? I liked those a lot when I was a young teen and they were on every spinner rack of paperbacks. I honestly think I liked the back material more often than I did the actual Perry Rhodan novels. It was like Ackerman was running the most widely distributed SF Fanzine in the world hidden in those back pages. And of course, who wasn’t fascinated by those “100 episodes from now,” “200 episodes from now,” “300 episodes from now” teasers – they definitely gave the impression in those pre-Star Wars years that Germany was so far ahead of us in appreciating SF.

    I still have some of these on a shelf somewhere, but for as widespread as they were, they’re not that easy to find in the used bookstores – I think many people kept them for nostalgic reasons. I can’t imagine too many people re-read them (I tried once, and they were pretty painful).

  2. There still may be 2 or 3 German SF fans left, that haven’t converted to English yet…. Good for them ;-)

  3. Jim Kosmicki:

    I haven’t really read any Perry Rhodan, so I can’t really comment on it.

    the ridger:

    I would have to check. At the moment, however, I don’t believe there’s a deal in place.

  4. You mean it hasn’t already been published in the UK? I must have imagined buying and reading it then.

  5. American cultural imperialism continues apace: an English title on a German-language book. I don’t recall too many German titles on English-language books.

  6. But… but where is the spaceship firing its lasers? How are your German fans to know that this is a John Scalzi book?

    Joking aside, the fact that Heyne is willing to shell out a little extra to license the cover art from Tor says they think you’re worth the investment. That’s a good sign. It’s not original cover art, but then almost nobody in Germany gets original cover art.

    BTW, the second link goes to the same page rather than the Heyne page for the book.

    Actually, the linguistic imperialism isn’t so much in the book title as it is in the fact that German SF fans simply took the term over from English-speaking fans to describe the phenomenon. Nobody would have understood what it was about if it was called Rothemden or Rote Hemden.

  7. @John: Congratulations. You were only beaten by Germany’s longest running ScienceFiction series, so that’s just the local bonus.
    @Jim Kosmicki
    These installments are actually “Perry Rhodan Neo”, a reboot of the original. They are much faster and more “Hollywood” :-D

  8. I wonder how well the UK version will be translated? ; – ) (Actually, kidding aside, do they shift spellings and perhaps certain words or phrases?)

  9. I hate in when stores separate SF from fantasy. A
    local Barnes & Noble tried that when it first opened. I think they used the label on the spine. There were series divided. It was harder to find stuff. They gave up in short order.

    I don’t think there is a bright line between SF & fantasy.

  10. Heyne have a long and illustrious history as SF publishers — the very first SF book I read in German way back when was one of theirs — a translation of an A.E. van Vogt novel, Null-A, I believe. Often in those days, given the prices of imports, it was a translation or nothing. As a kid, I thought their uniform black spine/background design was pretty cool, though.
    But Perry Rhodan — I can’t believe that hoary old space opera is still going! Did I read it? I read everything SF & F I could get my hands on. Discernment came later. :D

  11. Why isn’t the words “red” and “shirts” translated into German words on the cover? Or did the english term “redshirts” burrow into the german language like brautwurst burrowed into the english language? Or am I missing something?

  12. @Greg: Redshirts is not a standing term in Germany – if I asked my parents about redshirts, they would not know. However, this has nothing to do with the term itself, but rather with the fact that their knowledge of Star Trek is utterly and devastatingly wrong (that guys with the light sabers, you know?), despite all my attempts to teach them otherwise. Funnily enough, they are teachers, and they are completely resistant to being taught about geek culture.
    So, to cut it short, Redshirts is a standing term in the German science fiction culture, just as it probably is in English speaking countries.

    @Scalzi: Someone already reported the griping one star review. Someone already replied to it. It looks like a pretty flame war in the making, so stay tuned and keep the popcorn handy!

  13. MVS says:
    I wonder how well the UK version will be translated? ; – ) (Actually, kidding aside, do they shift spellings and perhaps certain words or phrases?)

    Now I’m curious, too. I had the UK editions of the first three Harry Potter books, and I remember being quite surprised at all of the small differences when I read the American versions for the first time.

  14. “The German version of Redshirts, called Redshirts”

    Well, that’s surprisingly disappointing. I was hoping it was going to be “Das Rosenshirtenensigninglingers” or something.


  15. I suspect Germany also has the highest population of Americans outside the continental US, so it fits!

    I know I throw a bit of traffic your way every day from south Germany.

  16. Only being beaten out by Perry Rhodan is an IMPRESSIVE thing, actually. Gratz, Scalzi! I’m going to pick up Redshirts, as soon as I have a working e-reader, looking forward to it.

    Anyway, to answer Tizz question:
    Yes, it’s still going on and still going strong. But you have to keep in mind that they’re not initially published as full-length novels, but serial novellas all two months.

    There are currently at least three Rhodan serials going on at the same time – the original that runs since ages, a rerun of that and the reboot Perry Rhodan Neo (which I am less than happy with, because it changed enough to lose the charm, but not enough to stand on it’s own) – and that’s not counting the silverback collections of said story and all the spin offs. :)

    Rhodan is HUGE here, lots of money tied to it too.

  17. I got the german book yesterday and started: The first pages were nice to read,

    But it seems to be an old people’s book. The large printing makes it much bigger than necessary and most likely you have to pay more for that.

  18. I started reading the german ebook some hours ago, but I also found the book at the local Thalia subsidiary. The large imprint is the justification for its, compared to other science fiction books with equal size, high price. (In Germany we have to pay the same price for books/ebooks in every store – there´s no competition, this is forced by german law.) We have to pay USD 17,75 for the book and USD 13,95 for the ebook. The average price for a book would be USD 11, but I guess that´s the price for being entertained in your native language.

  19. Perry Rhodan? Bah! In my late teens, I read:

    1) A late-adult Heinlein in German translation — the one about an old geezer who was oing to die, so he got himself transplanted into another body (which just happened to be female); and

    2) An historical-or-fantasy-novel-transmogrified-into-an-SF-novel, about a guy who got to replicate Djinghis (or Genghiz) Khan’s battles with flotillas of spaceships in stead of squadrons of horses, which may or may not have been a tranlsation from English.

    I can’t remember which one of them it was, or if it was both somehow working together, that made the feel of German SF feel so… Off-kilter. Weird. Warped. Spooky.

  20. I read it … And I have to admit, it’s not your best work … Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to read the 3 codas because it was not … hmm … my taste (to be polite) …

    What I don’t understand are the choices the publisher made … Bringing it out in a big book with letters for blind people and taking 50% more money than for every other book … Moreover the story is much shorter …

    I should really consider not buying such books in future … If everyone wouldn’t accept everything what “they” do, they wouldn’t continue doing this … But I mentioned, your book got a couple of “1 star” ratings because of the format it was published!

%d bloggers like this: