The New Superstar of the Science Fiction


Which is what Google’s translation software makes of der neue Superstar der Science Fiction, which is evidently what I am according to the Random House/Bertelsmann web page heralding the German edition of ButtPflug — er, Blindflug — which translates as “Blind Flight“, but that’s fine because the literal translation of “Blind Sight”— Blinder Anblick — sounds out phonetically like a couple of attornies-at-law.

Also, according to their catalog, I am a talent who “enters the international science fiction scene as it occurs only every ten years once” — which sounds nice — and “the present shooting star among American SF-authors”, which sounds even nicer until you remember that a) I’m not American, and b) shooting stars are flaming chunks of debris with life expectancies measured in seconds, disintegrating in public.

Not a bad cover design, though. Doesn’t take my breath away, but it’s perfectly serviceable and I see they stuck my name above the title and in an equally prominent font. I seem to remember reading somewhere that that means they’re promoting the author, as opposed to just the book.

I’ve only got one problem with all this: if I’m some kind of superhero, how come I got paid like a sidekick?

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Friday June 22 2007at 05:06 pm , filed under writing news . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

19 Responses to “The New Superstar of the Science Fiction”

  1. buttpflug….i love it.

  2. Excellent – Another Blindsight post, the perfect opportunity to re-reference the “How would you represent Sarasti in film” question from a few posts earlier…

    I’d hire osseus labyrint

    As performance artists, they have found their vocation in using human musculature to present the alien, just look at this movement:
    Pachyderms

    Or this:

    Slugz

    And these clips are nothing compared to seeing them live. I don’t know if they are still performing, but if I were doing a Blindsight film, I’d seek them out to design movement for the likes of Sarasti, or possibly to play him directly.

    If you ever get the chance to see them live, do not miss it.

  3. Hey, you should worry. The Voyage of the Sable Keech translates as Die Grosse Fahrt Der Sable Keech!

  4. The Voyage of the Sable Keech translates as Die Grosse Fahrt Der Sable Keech!

    I will never ever complain about titles again.

  5. bill said

    they have found their vocation in using human musculature to present the alien, just look at this movement: (Pachyderms)

    Massively well-hung, monotesticular pachyderms, at that.

    Sarasti might not be entirely up their alley, though. He might not be alien enough. I could almost see these guys doing scramblers. Not in film, granted — there’s no way the guy-in-a-rubber-suit approach would pass muster in a cinematic environment &mdash but maybe in the context of a live Blindsight ballet. Or maybe one of those Disney skating travesties: Blindsight On Ice, I’m thinking…

  6. I swear I’ve seen those Pachyderms somewhere…a Tool video I think, I just don’t remember which.

  7. Re: osseus labyrint and Tool

    That is correct. They’ve worked with Tool quite a bit (as seen on Google).

    Also? Wow. That is both freakily impressive and impressively freaky.

    razorsmile anonypost

  8. Sarasti’s motion is described as Mantis-Like. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but this video of a mantis effortlessly killing a mouse is something along the lines of how I envisioned Sarasti as moving…

    However, it’s also possible that PW felt the need, as all hard SF authors do, of describing at least one thing per novel as “mantis-like.” No longer having the “teleops” from the Rifters sequence , he had to turn to Vampires. Just kidding.

  9. What is the rational for vampires moving differently than humans at all?

  10. I like the cover. It has a weirdly pleasing Soviet propaganda look to it.

  11. Let’s hope the translator has done a good job (they don’t always…)

    IMO, ‘Blindflug’ is an acceptable title. It has a nice ring to it.

    I’m surprised that the author is always the last one to know when foreign language rights are sold. If I ever get anything published and translated into German, I for one would want a look at the thing before it hits the bookstores!

  12. AR cried challengingly…

    What is the rational for vampires moving differently than humans at all?

    I’m thinking, giant motor-nerve axons, the kind giant squid have. Greater cross-sectional area, lower resistance, faster signal transmission. I’m also positing greater fine-scale motor control, so these guys could adopt odd postures and remain immobile for extended periods. That might help with crypsis; the eye tends to lose odd shapes against complex backdrops (which is why so many coral reef fish have brightly-coloured disruptive patterning). Tricks like that might underlie the vampire’s reputed ability to change form, or to vanish entirely (remembering that the whole point of the wank here is to justify the classic stereotype with handwavey science, *not* to reinvent the species).

    Of course, the real reason is a lot simplper. I just wanted Sarasti to creep people out.

  13. denni, full of youthful innocence, said…

    I’m surprised that the author is always the last one to know when foreign language rights are sold.

    I’m not. When Starfish was translated into Italian, the first I heard of it was when the Italian editor e-mailed me asking for an introductory note. I had to give credit to this obvious pirate, that he would have the balls to approach the author of the very work he was ripping off. Never occured to me that the deal was legit, because surely Tor would have informed me if my own book were being translated?

    Nope. Turned out the deal was completely on the level, and when I asked Tor about it, I was informed in no uncertain terms that they were not contractually obligated to inform me of anything they did with my titles.

    If I ever get anything published and translated into German, I for one would want a look at the thing before it hits the bookstores!

    Good luck. In my own limited experience, authors seem to get left out of the loop almost on general principles. I actually have in my possession an old e-mail exchange between two Tories, discussing how best to avoid answering my questions. (I would never have seen it except one of the participants accidentally hit “reply to all” instead of “forward”. Not exactly ninjas in the Black-Ops department, these guys…)

  14. Speaking of Germany:

    http://halcy.de/past/2007/6/23/google_threatens_to_close_gmail/

    Holy shit.

    “If the Bundesregierung has it’s way, then starting 2008, any connection data concerning the internet, phone calls (With position data when cell phones are used), SMS etc. of any german citizen will be saved for 6 months, anonymizing services like Tor will be made illegal.”

  15. if I’m some kind of superhero, how come I got paid like a sidekick?

    Be happy you’re getting paid like a sidekick – recall that superheroes proper generally don’t get paid at all – Superman had to take a job as a weinerhead gofer at the local newspaper, as did Spiderman. Bruce Wayne is independently wealthy and is happy to work gratis. I’m not enough of that specialization of nerd to know of the employment histories of others.

  16. Canada is in America, this means that politically correctness calls you “Canadian American”? :-/

  17. Canada is in the Americas, not America. It’s like the difference between marine and Marine. Small and easy to miss, but very important.

  18. [Tor] were not contractually obligated to inform me of anything they did with my titles

    What a nice way to talk to authors.

    In my own limited experience, authors seem to get left out of the loop almost on general principles.

    In my limited experience even when they do not have the right to. It has happened several times to me that my articles were reprinted, and permission was only obtained when the magazine was about to hit the stores.

    And a Gyro Gearloose story I worked on was published without telling me, so that I could not get a copy of the story.

    It sort of makes sense, I guess, if you see the author as a supplier for the publisher, rather than a Superstar der Science Fiction.

    I actually have in my possession an old e-mail exchange between two Tories, discussing how best to avoid answering my questions.

    Ooh! Link?

    the literal translation […] Blinder Anblick

    Wikipedia sez: “Rindenblindheit”. Still not as snappy. Did you go for snappy?

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