« Two Suns in the Sunset | Main | Feeling Patriotic »

March 26, 2006

Krieg des Alten Mannes und Die Geist Brigaden

Some nice news from other continents: We've sold Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigades in Germany, to Heyne, who also publishes Robert Charles Wilson, Charlie Stross, George RR Martin, but sadly not Ken MacLeod, thus depriving Heyne of a clean sweep of this year's Hugo nominees. Drat the luck. In any event, nice to see that OMW and TGB are getting out into the world.

I am reminded that I took German for seven years in high school and college and so far as I know never learned to read or speak a whit of it. I got through high school German because my German teacher wanted me to date her daughter (both her daughter and I felt differently about it, although we were good friends) and I can't quite remember how it was I passed the language in college. I do believe it was on the philosophy that "D is for Diploma." Nevertheless, I'm tremendously excited about the prospect of my writing in the language. Hopefully my books will do better in German than I did.

Posted by john at March 26, 2006 01:14 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Lars | March 26, 2006 02:13 PM

You should learn to say "Mein deutch ist nicht so gut." That phrase got me through a full week of introductions to German relatives, eliciting charmed smiles and remissive nods whenever used. Plus, it's so handy and compact, it fits right in your pocket.

Gabe | March 26, 2006 02:21 PM

Seven years? Dude! I couldn't have sat through seven years of anything and not at least learned all the good cuss words.

John Scalzi | March 26, 2006 02:27 PM

Lars, the phrase I've actually used is "Mein Deutsch is sehr schlect" -- "My German is very bad." Which is even more self-effacing and happens also to be the truth.

Scott Lynch | March 26, 2006 02:32 PM

Hey, we'll be authors-in-law through Heyne, eventually.

My high school German has devolved to random knowledge of office supplies (Taschenrechner! Pulli!) and useless fuckwittery like "Your momma bakes good cakes."

For publicity purposes, I think my publisher plans to clone me, hypno-train the clone in all necessary languages and social graces, and then shoot me.

John Scalzi | March 26, 2006 02:39 PM

Apparently all the cool kids are bought by Heyne.

I would love to do some publicity on the continent. Nick Sagan got brought over by his Portugese publisher, and apparently was treated like a king. I could stand some kingly treatment.

Magenta Griffith | March 26, 2006 03:52 PM

I can't seem to find an email address, so I figure this will get to you just as well.

The "Being Poor" essay seems to have been working it's way around the internet. I just saw part of it posted in a diary on DailyKos with no attribution. I posted a comment giving your name, and a link to the original entry in Whatever. I hope it doesn't up your traffic too much. When I see something written and I know the author, my impulse is to make sure people know who wrote it.

If you want to look at it, this is the link:

You seem to have hit nerve, and started a phenomena. I'm not sure whether congratulations or condolences are in order.

mythago | March 26, 2006 04:03 PM

I assume you've read Twain's essay on German.

Tom Nixon | March 26, 2006 04:44 PM

If God had really, truly wanted you to learn German, she would not have invented Babelfish.

John Scalzi | March 26, 2006 04:57 PM


Thanks for noting in the comments that I wrote it -- I appreciate that.

This piece has gone around all over the place, mostly with my name on it, but sometimes not. I prefer attribution, of course, but in this particular case I don't worry too much if my name slips off (unless someone is trying to say they wrote it, which is just not nice).

No worries about my bandwidth: I get a very large number of visitors here on a daily basis, so I'm set up to handle spikes.

Mythago: Indeed. Twain was on target, he was.

Gabriele | March 26, 2006 05:40 PM

That's very nice. Congrats.

Tom, Babelfish totally messes with the German grammar. God needs to issue an update. :)

Nathan Sharfi | March 26, 2006 08:20 PM

I am reminded that I took German for seven years in high school[...]

What else did they offer at the time? 18 years later, all they had were Spanish and French, and had just dropped Latin...

Martin Langeland | March 26, 2006 08:23 PM

At least you won't be bothered by Thurber's quote:
"He's having all his books translated into French. They lose something in the original."

John Scalzi | March 26, 2006 08:38 PM

Nathan Sharfi:

Back in the day, Webb (my high school, and apparently Nathans as well) had Latin, German, French and Spanish, and you could take ancient Greek if you managed to get through enough Latin.

doubt | March 27, 2006 04:55 PM

Ach. Mein Deutsch ist auch sehr furchtbar.

Erbo | March 28, 2006 11:11 AM

Hmm...might be interesting to look at those, to see how much I can pick up through a combination of my rusty German (three years in high school, though I remember enough to be able to sing along with 99 Luftballoons) and my knowledge of the stories. Depending on when my wife travels to Finland, and if she goes through Frankfurt, I might have to have her look for them...

Post a comment.

Comments are moderated to stop spam; if your comment goes into moderation, it may take a couple of hours to be released. Please read this for my comment moderation policies.
Preview will not show paragraph breaks. Trust me, they're there.
The proprietor generally responds to commenters in kind. If you're polite, he'll be polite. If you're a jackass, he'll be a jackass. If you are ignorant, he may correct you.
When in doubt, read the comment thread rules.

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)