ymarkov: (Face)
Last year I e-published an English translation of Dr. Kirill Yeskov's The Last Ringbearer. The work got more publicity than I expected thanks first to a story in The Guardian and then Laura Miller's sympathetic review in Salon.com.

I've received several helpful suggestions and notices of mistakes, so over the past year I've spent some time here and there going over the original text and the translation again. The mistakes and typos have been fixed, some clumsy turns of phrase altered (although no doubt many remain), and about 800 words I've missed have been added (nothing serious or plot-shaking). In addition, the first edition had vaguely phonetic equivalents of runes; for this one, thanks to Dan Smith's fonts, I've replaced them with Certhas Daeron runes as used in the original Russian text. Finally, I've added an appendix explaining some non-English words and the more obscure cultural references, based mostly on Dr. Yeskov's notes to his Spanish translator, and another consisting of his essay on why he undertook the project in the first place (published in translation by me and reproduced by Salon).

Eric Celeste of Tenseg put quite a bit of his time and effort into creating .epub and .mobi versions of the updated text. The runes gave him a hard time; apparently, some e-readers don't like the way Epub embeds fancy fonts and strip them out or plain refuse to recognize them. (He ended up using images.) My heartfelt thanks for his efforts. In another unexpected twist, concept artist Kevin Kobasic drew and put up a picture of the two Mordorian protagonists - not the way I imagine them, but a rather traditional look - worth checking out.

A German fan has rendered my English translation into German. Russian to German would've been better, of course, but this is what we have (see below).

And, for something completely different - Sergeant Tzerlag's Orocuen stew! (the page has died :-( )

Downloads
First edition (for reference?)
German translation (PDF, 2 Mb)

Second edition:
PDF, 975 K  .Epub, 602 K  .Mobi, 727 K .epub and .mobi at Eric's site
ymarkov: (Default)
This essay was written at the close of the 20th century, but still reads pretty fresh.


A Response to Fukuyama
By Kirill Yeskov
10/22/2010

"The end of history?" You should live so long!

"All attempts to make a detailed prediction of the future appear ridiculous if not pathetic a posteriori."
Boris Strugatzky


It's really amazing how the magic of a surrepticiously approaching round date affects the minds of apparently sane people like yours truly, prompting them to truly strange actions. I'd never imagined I'd be writing down my opinions on the future of human civilization, a sort of "soziologische-futurologischen Uebungen," if you pardon the expression...
Наш ответ Фукуяме
Кирилл Еськов
22/10/2010


("Конец истории?" -- "Не дождетесь!..")

Все попытки как-то детализировать облик грядущего выглядят aposteriori смехотворными, если не жалкими.
Борис Стругацкий

Нет, удивительно все-таки, как магия подкравшейся на мягких лапках круглой даты воздействует на умы вполне вроде бы здравомыслящих людей, вроде вашего покорного слуги, понуждая их к поистине странным поступкам. Вот уж никогда бы не подумал, что сподвигнусь на печатное изложение своих взглядов на будущее человеческой цивилизации; эдакие, извиняюсь за выражение, "soziologische-futurologischen Uebungen"...

"There are many kinds of fools. Now, will everybody please sit still until they're called upon specifically to rise? I had been all kind of fool except one." I have to interrupt the quote at this point because it's not treasure hunting (which is what O. Henry's character was about to engage in) that deservedly requires the dunce cap with bells as a uniform, but rather predicting the future.
"Дураки бывают разные. Нет, прошу не вставать с места, вас пока не вызывали! Я бывал дураком всех разновидностей, кроме одной..." -- но на этом месте справедливость требует прервать цитату. Ибо отнюдь не кладоискательство (коим надумал заняться герой О'Генри), а именно прорицание будущего заслуженно числится крайним в ряду тех поприщ, где в качестве спецодежды потребен колпак с бубенчиками.

Anyone surveying the pictures and sketches of the future will be more amazed by the authorship of some of them than by their almost universal incogruence. Mendeleyev, who thought that the biggest technical challenge of the impending 20th century would be how to deal with huge amounts of manure (since the population of horses was going to grow at the same rate indefinitely, of course); Einstein, who claimed that it was at least a hundred years before any practical use of nuclear energy about a dozen years before Hiroshima; Bernard Shaw, who envisioned the future map of Europe thusly: "France? Germany? These queer old geographical expressions which you use here from old family habit do not trouble us. I suppose you mean by Germany the chain of more or less Soviet Republics between the Ural Mountains and the North Sea. France, by which I take it you mean the Government at New Timgad, is too busy in Africa to fuss about what is happening at the ends of your little Channel Tube." This list can be continued ad infinitum. If the most brilliant minds of their time keep missing the target in their predictions of the future, what can a fool like me count on?
Любого, кто отправится на ознакомительную экскурсию по маршруту незабвенного Луи Седлового, поразит не столько даже несуразность буквально всех картин (и набросков) Описываемого Будущего, сколько авторство некоторых из них. Менделеев, полагавший самой сложной технической проблемой следующего, двадцатого, века утилизацию огромного количества навоза (ведь поголовье лошадей, ясное дело, будет и дальше прирастать прежними темпами); Эйнштейн, заявивший, буквально за дюжину лет до Хиросимы, что до практического использования атомной энергии дело дойдет лет через сто -- никак не раньше; Бернард Шоу, видевший политическую карту будущей Европы так: "Франция и Германия? Это устарелые географические названия... Под Германией вы, очевидно, подразумеваете ряд советских или почти советских республик, расположенных между Уральским хребтом и Северным морем. А то, что вы называете Францией -- то есть, очевидно, правительство в Новом Тимгаде, -- чересчур занято своими африканскими делами...". Список этот при желании можно продолжать до бесконечности. И уж если в своих попытках предугадать будущее постоянно попадают пальцем в небо даже самые блестящие умы своего времени -- на что тут рассчитывать дураку, вроде меня?

Read more... )
ymarkov: (Default)
Well, it seems like the translation has been making some rounds. Never mind the panning it has received from some readers for style; some comments posted exhibit a profound misunderstanding of the purpose of the book. Here, then, is a backgrounder Dr. Yeskov wrote in 2000 for a Russian sci-fi fanzine Семечки ("Semechki," meaning "sunflower seeds." Eating toasted sunflower seeds is associated with idle relaxation.)

How and why I wrote an apocryphal treatment of The Lord of the Rings
Read more... )
ymarkov: (Default)
The following is my translation of a short story by Maxim Shapiro. The story was recommended by [livejournal.com profile] zyama_krendel and translated with the author's permission.

Stylistic and other suggestions for improvement are welcome (English is not my native language).



Respect For Traditions

The shuttle docked with the spaceship and the passengers boarded for the trip down to the planet. Jammar, working to maintain the indifferent and unscrutable facial expression befitting a man, traversed the aisles and finally found his seat. His next-seat neighbor turned out to be an old woman.

"First time to a new planet, young man?" she asked with a smile.

Jammar, annoyed that his inexperience was so easy to detect, nodded and turned away, indicating unwillingness to carry on a conversation. "For shame!" he thought. "An old woman using make-up, and no head covering! Like some whore!"

It's been over ten years since the men from the stars came to Mirjal, but none of the Free People had so far managed to get used to their degraded customs.Read more... )

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