The Korean Covers for The Human Division
Posted on August 23, 2013 Posted by John Scalzi 9 Comments
I say covers because in Korea, the book will be divided into two volumes. Which I suspect will work just fine, given the nature of the book itself. They look pretty nifty.
Pretty! I wonder if my mom would have any interest.
(In case you wonder, the Korean characters on the top are just a transliteration of “Human Division,” not a translation.)
@Jenny Do you know if that’s normal practice in Korea? I mean, transliterating instead of translating? I noticed that, too, and asked on twitter.
[I have the world’s most useless skill, which is being able to read 한글 without actually knowing 한국말. Well, I suppose it’s useful for being a smartass:
“What’s that say?”
“It says hyuman dibijeon.”
“Psht. What’s it mean?”
It’s not uncommon in South Korea to embrace the word sounds “phonetically” from out of their country sourced products. And Doubt72 pretty perfectly nailed the transliteration back to our alphabet.
As someone who is actively learning Korean (한국어 배우고 있어요) this makes me very happy.
I thought at first it was a North Korean and South Korean edition. But then I remembered the north doesn’t have books.
Do you have a filter that doesn’t allow certain words? I tried to post an innocuous comment about how I originally misread what you wrote, but it won’t let me.
Very pretty. I’ve been known to pick up books just because Iike the covers, but I doubt I’ll ever come across these.;)
Am seriously considering requesting family in Korea ship these books to me. It will help with Korean slang acquisition but still draw on my perturbingly war-and-nation focused Korean vocabulary (thanks grad school).
Also now I’m mentally casting the Korean remake of the American hit film The Human Division….
Well, as usual, way late for this party, but… Since I’m not in Korea anymore, I haven’t seen these editions, but the (lovely!) covers bring to mind the Korean edition of Consider Phlebas for some reason, even thugh they’re actually pretty different. (I’m racking my brains to figure out where I’ve seen that Hangeul font before on an SF book… I think it’s from the cover of Ted Chiang’s book.)
And, again, while I haven’t seen these particular editions, I can say that some SF publishers (especially Omelas and 열린책들) put Western SF publishers to shame, in terms of the beauty and affordability of their hardbacks. (The most enviably gorgeous I’ve seen being the Korean edition of Čapek’s The War With the Newts. The newspaper clippings look like newspaper clippings, without being obtrusively formatted, and so on.)
Oh, and it’s very common for books to get split into two volumes, too. Less so in SF books, but even there it’s not so uncommon. I’m pretty sure The Lord of the Rings got split that way (into six volumes, if I remember correctly) and The Algebraist; I think Cryptonomicon was three volumes, and The Hard SF Renaissance was (IIRC) two volumes (and two different translators). The splitting-up keeps the prices on individual volumes down while allowing good production values to continue on the physical books themselves, I guess, but it may just be common practice from the days when longer literary simply had to be split this way. I’ve seen a couple of older (native) Korean SF books published this way, though the trend seems to be generally away from that. (I do know of one short story collection that was split this way, though: one volume for more fantasy stuff, and another for more SFnal stuff.)
Ha… this reminds me of how people were in a tizzy when Kim Sang-Hoon, a very prominent SF translator, did the first half of Vernor Vinge’s A Fire Upon the Deep but then got busy working on a series of Philip K. Dick novels. People were dying to read for the second half of the Vinge, but had to wait a long time for it. (The publication dates I’m seeing are almost two years apart — I didn’t know it was that long, but I do remember folks impatiently grumbling sometime in winter 2011! Ah, poor, long-suffering Korean SF fandom.)
Which brings me to why I bothered to comment: this practice (and it being accepted in Korea) makes me curious what will happen when the (artificially stifled, proprietary-formatted-into-oblivion) Korean ebook market finally appears with a standardized format and explodes in Korea: will this practice of splitting books continue or expand into fully serializing novels, given the audience is used to buying at least some books in parts anyway? (That said, given the prevalent attitude towards piracy there–most people outright laugh at you when you ask if they pay for music, and music execs have compensated by developing other income streams–an explosion of Korean ebooks will probably be staved off for as long as humanly possible. How long that will be, I don’t know, but probably a while, since unlike in English, the classic/public domain texts in Korea are mostly not written in the same alphabet people use now, but instead in “hanja” (Chinese characters) which most people can’t read a whole book of anyway… so there won’t realy be much of a Public Domain “free ebooks” repository to help kickstart the thing as there was for us.)
Oh, and @doubt72, Yes, it’s extremely common for English to just be written in Hangeul. Especially for “modern” things, titles (Love, Actually was promoted as “Rub Actuary,” ha!) and so on. One marketing major in one of my classes explained to confused exchange students that this is done because English is considered by advertisers and marketers to have a “classier” vibe. (Which doesn’t explain why the title of “American Pimp” got the same treatment, but anyway…)
존씨… 축하합니다! 이 책들 너~~무 예쁘다!