Warriors of Alavna, by N. M. Browne. Children’s time travel or portal fantasy. The first few pages, with a popular boy and an outcast girl stumbling into another world or time, grabbed me despite some irritating word repetition. (Yes, I got that the magical yellow portal mist felt oily the first two times you mentioned it.) Keep.

Can’t Catch Me, by Michael Cadnum. Fairy-tale re-tellings in a charming voice. Definite keep, probable read soon.

The Oracle Betrayed, by Catherine Fisher. Extremely vivid first chapter, in which a girl in a fantasy ancient Greece enacts a ritual involving a brass bowl full of scorpions, to bring death to a god incarnate and rain to her land. Definite keep, probable read soon.

The Complete Fuzzy, by H. Beam Piper. Classic sf that I’ve never read. The opening had nice vivid worldbuilding, and also a playful tone, which I hadn’t expected. It seems fun. Keep.

Shadow Prowler, by Alexey Pehov. Epic fantasy translated from Russian. I have never read any Russian fantasy, so I was excited to read something different from American and British epic fantasy. Then I hit this, on page one: Fortunately, I have yet to run into the demons who have appeared in the city since the Nameless One began stirring in the Desolate Lands after centuries of calm.

Nevertheless, I persevered. And encountered this on page two: The rumor is that the artifact that has until now held the Nameless One in the Desolate Lands is weakening, and soon he will burst through into our world from that icy desert covered with eternal snow. War is approaching, no matter how hard the Order of Magicians and the multitudes of priests try to put it off. It's simply a matter of time. Six months, or perhaps a year—and then all those things they used to frighten us with when we were children will be upon us. The Nameless One will gather together an army and come to us from behind the Needles of Ice, and the horror will begin. Even here, in the capital, you sometimes come across devotees of the Nameless One. And I'm far from certain that the Wild Hearts of the Lonely Giant Fortress will be able to hold back the hordes of ogres and giants. . .

Unless someone wants to tell me that this is actually a brilliant satire, discard.
Tags:
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)

From: [personal profile] sholio


The Fuzzy books were among my favorites when I was a kid and gleefully raiding my parents' SFF shelves. As an adult I find they've aged very oddly -- terribly and even hilariously dated in some ways, fresh and fun in others. I still enjoyed them when I reread them a few years ago.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

From: [personal profile] davidgillon


I came across them quite late, but that sounds like a fair assessment, very 50s-ish in some of the attitudes, surprisingly liberal in others.
kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore


Yeah, they're a very weird mix to me of progressive and WTF, like most of Piper's other works.
yhlee: Sandman raven with eyeball (Sandman raven (credit: rilina))

From: [personal profile] yhlee


I'm so sorry the Russian fantasy is Disappoint.

I have not read them myself, but my sister is addicted to the Witcher books, which are translated from Polish, if you're looking for fantasy in translation. Her only caveat is that not all of the stories have made it into English.
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)

From: [personal profile] recessional


I wonder how much of the thing with the Russian fantasy is artifacts of translation. Because the thing that really throws it into "omg *eyeroll*" territory is the names (you CAN do things that would be different from NorAm/Brit fantasy with the basic premise), and one of my huge problems with fantasy in translation has always been that something that sounds one way in one language sounds just genuinely silly in another. (Elfe in French exists in large part because lutin and fée just cannot be made to sound serious or dignified, so the English word was literally adapted.)

I mean it might not: it could just be terrible fantasy. But I always wonder.
swan_tower: (Default)

From: [personal profile] swan_tower


I had a somewhat similar reaction to Lukyanenko's Night Watch series. "Oooh! Russian urban fantasy; awesome! . . . which is filled with vampires and wizards. Sigh." That one actually did do enough that was fresh and interesting to keep me engaged, but it is not the place to go for original fantasy critters.
swan_tower: (Default)

From: [personal profile] swan_tower


one of my huge problems with fantasy in translation has always been that something that sounds one way in one language sounds just genuinely silly in another

I notice this sometimes with Japanese, on a non-fantastical front. Japanese does a thing where it grafts descriptive phrases onto nouns in a way that often just clunks when rendered directly into English -- we'd be more likely to turn the phrase into an appositive after the noun. But translators don't always rearrange things for good flow in the target language.
lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)

From: [personal profile] lnhammer


But bad translators don't always rearrange things for good flow in the target language.

I fixed your sentence.

---L.
torachan: (Default)

From: [personal profile] torachan


+1

Translating isn't just directly translating all the words and leaving it at that. It often involves some rewriting to make it read well in the target language! What sounds good in Japanese very often sounds like crap or just doesn't make sense at all in English. You have to be willing to rewrite to some degree or it's just going to be a slog to read.
lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)

From: [personal profile] lnhammer


Yup, yup. Even more so with Japanese than, say, Spanish. (Having done both.)

---L.
swan_tower: The Long Room library at Trinity College, Dublin (Long Room)

From: [personal profile] swan_tower


Yes, as soon as you move out of Indo-European languages you're liable to have some major structural weirdnesses to bridge. (Even within it, odd stuff happens: you could tell people in my Old Norse class were getting more fluent with the language as our translations started sounding less and less like modern English. "Then stood he up and went to the king . . . .")

But, as you say, the bad translators often forget this.
starlady: Raven on a MacBook (Default)

From: [personal profile] starlady


Same thing with names in translated Chinese novels. Half the time people still want to translate the meaning rather than transliterate the sound, with the result that you have characters named Green Flower and Little Peach and it's totally Orientalist. The half and half alternative (Little Zhang etc) doesn't sound much better imo.

For all the fact that I thought it was a terrible book and an indifferent translation, the Liu Cixin novel at least didn't do that, so thanks, Ken Liu.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

From: [personal profile] davidgillon


I was reading an English language novel over Christmas that drew on the French Foreign Legion, but couldn't decide what to do with the unit names and ended up translating the full name, while retaining the French acronym, which just looked bizarre.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

From: [personal profile] vass


something that sounds one way in one language sounds just genuinely silly in another.

My favourite corollary to this: sometimes it's silly in the source language, profound in the target. I forget which (French? I think?) famous writer it was who loooooved the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, thought it was amazingly rich and deep, because he read them in French.

Not that I don't like Poe's poems myself, but yeah, I think they gained in translation. Which is awesome.
kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore


You are possibly thinking of Baudelaire? who translated Poe (not the first French translator, certainly the one who popularized Poe there). Mallarmé translated Poe too.
vass: A sepia-toned line-drawing of a man in naval uniform dancing a hornpipe, his crotch prominent (Default)

From: [personal profile] vass


Possibly Baudelaire. I really can't remember, but that sounds plausible.
taelle: (Default)

From: [personal profile] taelle


Pekhov is a readable writer who, sadly, loves using D&D-type plots. He got some more original stuff, but that's not it.

(the popular modern Russian fantasy is in general not very original in worldbuilding. The favorite thing is to have pseudo-every European country ever, with names, cultures, traditions etc.)


From: [personal profile] to_do_list


As a Russian Canadian, I wanted to
(a) second the Witcher series recommendations, although I don't quite know how well they have been translated.
(b) Convey a caution about Russian fantasy, as it tends to be sexist and homophobic, just like so much of Russian mainstream popular culture. Now that I had my feminist and critical awakening, I find myself unable to read most of it. It also seems to wander from taking itself too seriously into having so much humour it feels completely unrealistic... An old favourite, however, was Maria Semyonova, and I think I would still like her books. Many of them also are grounded in Slavic mythology.
swan_tower: (Default)

From: [personal profile] swan_tower


Thanks for the Semyonova mention -- I for one will probably look those up.
astolat: lady of shalott weaving in black and white (Default)

From: [personal profile] astolat


I want to take that Russian one and use it as the basis for a random epic fantasy quest generator, lol
vass: A sepia-toned line-drawing of a man in naval uniform dancing a hornpipe, his crotch prominent (Default)

From: [personal profile] vass


The Russian book sounds like a great opportunity for a game of Mad Libs.
kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore


a girl in a fantasy ancient Greece enacts a ritual involving a brass bowl full of scorpions, to bring death to a god incarnate and rain to her land

SOLD
kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore


Try Master and Margarita for Russian fantasy! ....well it's more magical realism/surrealism plus political satire, but I love it. You gotta plow a little bit through the bits with Pilate, but the other stuff is great.

Man, I know diddly about Russian fantasy/scifi. What about this guy? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Grin He sounds maybe interesting? (I want to check out Red Sails myself now)

From: [identity profile] hamsterwoman.livejournal.com


I read Can't Catch Me, and while the stories varied in effectiveness for me, I defnitely enjoyed the collection on the whole. I think "P-Bird", "Toad-Rich", and the Cinderella stories were my favorite.

I haven't read them myself, but have heard good things about Pehov's Siala (from those who read it in Russian). Now I'm curious to see if the ridiculous phrases are any less ridiculous in the original (possibly! Russian and English tend to be really different in tone, with English skewing a lot more high-flown), because if not, yeesh.

From: [identity profile] selenite.livejournal.com


I love the Fuzzy books as a combination of a good first contact story and an anthropological study of American life in the 1950s.

From: [identity profile] tibicina.livejournal.com


I seem to recall my only problem with the Oracle Betrayed was that it felt like it ought to have a sequel, and, at least at the time I was looking, I couldn't find one.

I will agree with the others that at least Little Fuzzy is wonderful. I haven't read the sequels, yet. (It's on my list of things I think should get made into movies now that we have the technology to do it properly.)

From: [identity profile] axolotl9.livejournal.com

if you liked "The Complete Fuzzy"


don't ever read Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi. He attempted a gritty reboot of the Fuzzy universe. It didn't go well.

From: [identity profile] ethelmay.livejournal.com

Re: if you liked "The Complete Fuzzy"


I have only read Fuzzy Nation and not the original, and it didn't seem terribly gritty to me; I quite liked it. But of course my reaction may not be typical.
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