The German Cover to The Human Division

Interesting. I do like it, although it’s more about selling the book as science fiction than being 100% accurate to the content of the book (to be fair, there are soldiers in the book). It also keeps with the general German tradition of space ships on my cover, but they aren’t the main focus. They’ve also changed the title, as they sometimes do in Germany. This one means “The Last Unit.”

If you are a German speaker/reader, this edition will be out in December — just in time for Christmas. So that’s one bit of shopping done.

44 Comments on “The German Cover to The Human Division”

  1. I smell some Starfuries… you more often see that kind of media cut and paste in the slavic markets… Interesting.

  2. The cover is cool… but aren’t those Starfuries? [/Babylon5 nerd]

  3. I noticed the Nazi-like helmet. Also John, “Brain in a Box” should be the name of your next band.

  4. Yeah, The Last Unit doesn’t really translate what is actually meant by “human division.”

    Still, I always have loved the word “roman” for “novel.”

  5. The german word “einheit” can also mean “union”, so I think it is actually a pretty good translation if you value maintaining the double meaning of the word “division”.

  6. I can’t see any Star Furries on the cover.

    Oh wait– that’s probably a different book.

  7. I would agree that Einheit is a reasonable choice. A military unit would probably be referred to as Abteilung.

  8. Einheit can, and frequently does, translate as “unity” or “unification”. The day of East/West German Reunification is “Einheitstag”.

    A more accurate reading of the title would be, “The Last Unity”. Maybe “The End of Unification”.

  9. “The tidal forces on that planet must be insane”

    Between the two, if they’re not tidally locked then someone whose attention you really don’t want to attract has been meddling. Very long days with a chance to catch a nap around lunchtime…

  10. Such covers plus the often ridiculous german titles are the reason for me to buy and read the originals.

    @Ej: Afaik “Krieg der Klone” is the german title of “Old Man’s War”.

  11. dumb question: what does the “HEYNE<" in the upper left and "ROMAN" in the middle right refer to?

  12. I’m playing around woth some translators, looking for what might read as a suitable translation for “The Human Division”. Of course, the problem is ambiguity as to the definition of “division” being used.

  13. John, are any of your books translated into Russian? I was in a bookstore in Moscow last month and thought I’d send you a picture of one, but alas not to be found. Nor in the English SF section, either. SF appeared to be very popular there, from the shelf space it got.

  14. Wait, what happened? I thought German Scalzi covers were always supposed to have spaceships shooting lasers.

    I would note that “The Human Division” actually features some spaceships shooting lasers or at least particle beams, unlike some previous German Scalzi books whose covers were previously featured here . . .

  15. I’ve always wondered how publishers get away with straight up ripping off art from other sources. It looks cool but isn’t someone at Warner Brothers going to say hey, you cut and pasted some Starfuries from our property, stop it?

    On entirely unrelated news Old Man’s War is one of the few English sci-fi books I’ve seen available here in Korea. We don’t get much in stores, you’re in good company. For example in fantasy my local place only has Tolkien, GRRM, and Patrick Rothfuss.

  16. Why do so many people get worked up every time some spaceship looks like some other spaceship? Warner Bros has plenty of lawyers, presumably if the Starfury resemblance bothers them they can hash it out with Heyne’s lawyers. Why does anyone else care?

  17. Why isn’t he green. Boo. Seems like a big green guy on the cover would only further clarify the genre. L

  18. Im Westen nichts Neues does not directly translate as All Quiet on the Western Front either. And yet.

    Mage, Abteilung is not used to refer to a military unit in any context I can think of; Itinerant Pedant, “The Last Unit” is a perfectly cromulent translation of “Die letzte Einheit,” whereas “unity” is usually “Einigkeit” (as in “Einigkeit, Recht und Freiheit” (“unity, law and freedom”) in the current German national anthem) and “The End of Unification” would be “Das Ende der Vereinigung.” The holiday to mark reunification is known as “Tag der deutschen Einheit,” so there you do have a prominent example of “Einheit” being used for unity. The United States, on the other hand, are “die Vereinigte Staaten.”

    This is probably more German than all of y’all wanted today.

  19. Doug, Abteilung (Abt.) is sometimes used for divisions in the more administrative sense (e.g. Abteilung Flugbetrieb der Bundeswehr, various Swiss military units — might be more common in Swiss German, actually). More navy division than army division, that is.

  20. I’m far more bothered bout the sudden appearance of two star fury space dominance fighter craft from the B5 universe than a translation of what one would hope is a dead language by the time we have been amongst the stars for a few centuries ;)

    I’m pretty certain that Babylon 5 needs them back ASAP… something about illegal orders, President Clarke, and another division amongst humanity and all.

  21. I hear Jules Verne is hella ticked off at all those early 20th century engineers brazenly ripping off his illustrations.

    @ Greg

    The tidal forces on that planet must be insane.

    Not necessarily. A larger oblate spherical mass of comparable density but orbiting further away will exert less tidal acceleration while occupying the same arc of sky. For example, the apparent diameter of the sun and the moon as seen from Earth are very similar, but our moon exerts tidal forces orders of magnitude greater than our primary star, even though the sun is much more massive. Without knowing the approximate mean diameter of the celestial body in the picture, and even assuming its density is in the natural range for moons and planets (i.e. that is isn’t hollow or have a degenerate core), it’s impossible to calculate the tidal force it exerts on the implied planet in the foreground. We would also need to know the diameter of the foreground planet to know if it’s large enough to experience significant tides. If we could just get the soldier to toss his helmet so we could measure the parabola…

    @ nbs

    I’m pretty certain that Babylon 5 needs them back ASAP… something about illegal orders, President Clarke, and another division amongst humanity and all.

    Nonsense, that’s just alien propaganda from the Minbari-lovers intent on undermining Earth’s hard-won sovereignty. ~ Sincerely, the new and improved ISN

  22. Gulliver: while occupying the same arc of sky. For example, the apparent diameter of the sun and the moon as seen from Earth are very similar,

    I would like to see a photograph of someone in front of the moon filing that much sky. I can’t imagine how you could do it. You’d need a massive telephoto lens and then have the guy stand a quarter mile away?


    oooh, here’s one. like this…


    (google) (google) (google)

    holy crap. it HAS been done. She was 1.5 miles away. and had a 800mm, break the bank, piece of glass. The picture is awesome.–taken-1-5-miles-away.html

    Alright. If that picture was taken by his buddy standing next to him, the moon on that cover should either start undergoing fusion or turn into a black hole.

  23. Well I’ll be dipped in inverse square laws! The moon is 2.38 times as dense as the sun and a quick calculation shows it’s tidal fraction across the Earth is about 2.27 times the sun’s tidal fraction across the Earth. I guess there really are “solar tides” in Earth’s oceans, though I’ve never heard of such. I can’t believe I made such a dumb-ass error. Of course optical apparent diameter follows the same inverse square relationship as gravitational gradients. *bangs head on desk*

    Alright. If that picture was taken by his buddy standing next to him, the moon on that cover should either start undergoing fusion or turn into a black hole.

    Black hole. A sun-sized object of lunar density would be well over the Chandrasekhar limit. Though you may want to take my work with a grain of salt today.

  24. Ach, Studer, thanks! I also want to say that Abteilung has various uses in the org charts of intelligence services, but I can’t think of a concrete example right now.

    Die menschliche Abteilung would still be a sucky title.

  25. Abteilung, at least 1945 and prior, was used to refer to battalions, as in Panzerabteilung. It could also refer to detachments.

  26. So John:
    1) Very good book, loved reading the chap-thingies, thanks. It seems to have stimulated a more episodic style, kind of half way between novel and short story. Interesting and fun.
    2) I’ve read everything you’ve published now, so please write more immediately.
    3) The US cover is cool, so why do you think the publisher feels it necessary to pay for different artwork on the German edition?

  27. @Chris Ashton: I’m not John (obviously), but given that, as far as I’ve observed, covers in different countries are always ALWAYS different, my guess is that the US publisher owns the rights to the US artwork, so the German publisher would need to pay either way, and it’s simpler just to pay for new artwork. While they’re at it they can try for art that’s relevant in the context of current German sci-fi cover trends. My guess, FWIW.

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