« Moving Target | Main | When A Scalzi Sings »

October 23, 2006

Doomed to Victory!

omwrussia.jpgSo, apparently Old Man's War has now been published in Russia, under the title Обреченные на победу, which as I understand it translates as something like "Doomed to Victory." Which seems, you know, an awfully dour title. "Oh, okay, we'll win, but we won't like it." But, hey, Eksmo (my Russian publisher) knows its market. And now I know definitively how to spell my name in Cyrillic. The cover art is recycled from an interesting place. My first Jim Burns cover! Well, sort of.

I got this picture off the Russian online store linked to above; I don't have my own author copies yet. Come to think of it, I haven't gotten my Hebrew copies of OMW yet either. Hey! I'm the author! Show me some love, foreign publishers!

Posted by john at October 23, 2006 12:37 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Chang, in space! | October 23, 2006 01:15 PM

How do you say Brainpal in Russian?

Maybe I should get this for my new little cousin Myles, nee Grisha. If he remembers any Russian, it could be fun.

I'm surprised the artwork was recycled. I'd think they'd try to go with green faces if not at least something kind of oblique like the Israeli cover.

How do you say Consu in Russian?

Steve Buchheit | October 23, 2006 01:23 PM

Chang, Crainium Comrade for Brainpal.

Isn't that artwork from a role playing game, something about Space Marines?

John Scalzi | October 23, 2006 01:24 PM

Yes, as the link which accompanies the entry shows.

Comrade Chang | October 23, 2006 01:25 PM

I think that's what the link was for, Steve.

How awesome would it have been for this to be printed when the Soviet Union was still in existence. Could you have looked forward to some sort of bland artwork if that were the case or maybe some Socialisst revolutionary artwork with lots of space tractors and people wielding space wrenches.

Nathan | October 23, 2006 01:41 PM

I think the title is an example of the uniquely Russian variation on schadenfreude; the condition of taking guilty pleasure in your own misfortune.

"We win AND we're doomed? Hot Damn!

Russians will be flocking to this title.

Sean | October 23, 2006 02:02 PM

That's what William Mulholland said about Southern Californians as he was building them dams and aqueducts and redirecting water from where it ought to have been: that they were "doomed to succeed."

Sam | October 23, 2006 02:04 PM

Haha, that is sooo funny, the cover is from Warhammer 40,000 "Let the Galaxy Burn." I know that because I bought the 700 page book last month. Seriously couldnt they have photo shopped it and painted the clearly Anglo Saxon guys green. Although it does make your book seem hardcore now.

Synedrian | October 23, 2006 02:09 PM

That's neat. I've been looking for your books in the UK (no luck), but maybe I'll just read them in Russian instead.

Sam | October 23, 2006 02:20 PM

Actually, it looks like thats the 3rd time they recycled that same cover, as far as I can tell. Must be popular with the science fiction community or something. How much money does it cost just to create a new cover? And why couldn't they just use the existing one?

anghara | October 23, 2006 02:29 PM

"And now I know definitively how to spell my name in Cyrillic"

Well, I could have told you THAT *ages* ago, you know...

(Congrats! Nazdrovya!)

anghara | October 23, 2006 02:31 PM

Oh, and PS? That particular Cyrillic version of your name, just FYI, "pronounces" your Z the Italian way - so you're Skaltsi, in Russia. I don't know how you feel about that...

Jim C. Hines | October 23, 2006 02:33 PM

The recycling of cover art is pretty common in Russia. The Eksmo edition of my book Goblin Quest is coming out with a recycled John De Chancie cover. I was quite confused at first, wondering what a dinosaur was doing on my goblin book.

There's at least one Russian LJ user who actually tracks and posts recycled covers from Eksmo and other Russian pubilshers.

Still, it's awfully cool to see your name and title in Cyrillic, isn't it?

Doug M. | October 23, 2006 02:37 PM

English to Cyrillic can produce some interesting results. In this case, your name is literally "Dzhon Skaltsi".

I think that's slightly off, BTW. Cyrillic does have a simple "z" (it looks like a backwards "3"), but they used the "ts" letter instead (looks like a squared-off "U" with a little hook on the bottom). Presumably they thought it was pronounced like the z-sound in "pizza".

But "Dzhon Skaltsi" does have a certain air to it.

Doug M.

Steve Buchheit | October 23, 2006 02:40 PM

Sorry, didn't see the link, also I don't follow all links for fear of contamination because you just never know where Sclazi has been. :)

Helene | October 23, 2006 02:49 PM

According to amazon.fr the french version is coming soon....

Dave | October 23, 2006 03:06 PM

That cover was actually one of the original Warhammer 40k Table Top Boxed Game covers if I remember rightly, 1991ish, somewhere around then.

Joe Rybicki | October 23, 2006 03:10 PM

"Doomed to Victory" -- I like it. Has a nice ring. You can dance to it.

Josh Jasper | October 23, 2006 03:10 PM

I hope Jim Burns was compensated, and agreed with the art being used. Given how allofmp3.com operates, I'm suspicious.

Sam | October 23, 2006 03:11 PM

So whoever made that cover is making serious money in royalties. Normally a cover for books is just used once. I mean its a kick ass cover, but its been around a while. Wonder why they keep using it.

Jeff Hentosz | October 23, 2006 03:52 PM

Said Nathan: ...the condition of taking guilty pleasure in your own misfortune.

Lot of Russians in Cleveland, then. (Yes, I know there really are.)

And it's like the apocryphal quote from Pogo: "We are surrounded by insurmountable opportunities."

PixelFish | October 23, 2006 05:21 PM

Tell us when you get translated into German, or if you are already, and then my bf and I can buy yer books in that language too.

(We're taking German classes, and once we translated your titles into German: Krieg des alter Manner, Die Gheist Brigaden, und Die Letze Kolonie. BrainPal would probably be either a cognate, since it's a trademark, or translated to to GehirnFreund. Any errors in grammar and translation should not be attributed to our long-suffering German teacher.)

Reading science fiction we know already in other languages is fun. We bought Bujold's The Warrior's Apprentice auf Deutsch, where it turns into Der Kadett. Immediately we ran into a sentence which used Uberraschungablenkungsmanover as a word, and eventually put it together as "surprise distracting inspections". Mmmmm....compound nouns.

Eric | October 23, 2006 05:39 PM

Somehow I never pictured OMW as taking place in The Imperium. Guess I should re-read it, there's no telling what else I must have missed if I overlooked that.


Nathan | October 23, 2006 06:37 PM


"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the effluence."

--Sorry Oscar--

Charlie Tangora | October 23, 2006 06:45 PM

Hey, at least the Russian publisher told you they were printing your book. My father once was visiting Moscow and was surprised to find a bootlegged Russian copy of his "Cohomology Operations and Applications in Homotopy Theory" in a bookstore.

Of course he bought it. Wouldn't you?

John Scalzi | October 23, 2006 07:07 PM

Charlie Tangora:

"Hey, at least the Russian publisher told you they were printing your book."

Hell, they even paid me for it!

Jon | October 23, 2006 08:43 PM

At least they didn't translate your first name to Ivan (Иван)

Dave Sorgen | October 23, 2006 09:25 PM

So, uhhhh, John, what's your father's first name??? We might as well figure out the patronymic to go along with all the other stuff.


John Scalzi | October 23, 2006 09:30 PM

It's John.

Jon | October 23, 2006 11:08 PM

So then it's Иван Иванович
(with Americanized pronounciation)

Josh Jasper | October 24, 2006 12:12 AM

Digital media sales sitrs like allofmp3.com in Russia (that *most* nations consider illegal) are possibly legal under Russian law. It's a confused topic. I have no idea if the publicing industry is simiarly un-kind to the people who make they wor sell.

I do look forward to the Orks in the next book.

SFC SKI | October 24, 2006 01:21 AM

If a few misguided Russian 40K fans pick up your book and like it, all the better for you! I still have about 4,000 little plastic minis from my gaming days, waintg on my second childhood.

I would be amazed if it happens, but I'll buy a copy of your book if it gets translated into Arabic. Reading something I actually want to read in a foreign language helps incruease my fluency, alas, the Arabic science fiction market is lacking.

Nsh | October 24, 2006 03:07 AM

Hebrew title.

I've sent you an email a few weeks ago regarding that, you did not responded. Maybe a spam filter problem.

Anyhow I've spoke with the publication editor in cheif and he indicated that the peculiar cover was choosen to target a larger reader group, not just the ones that flock over a nice ships and space picture.

John Scalzi | October 24, 2006 06:52 AM

Nsh --

Go ahead and try to send the e-mail again.

Re: Cover -- I like the cover, so no worries there. I'm mildly curious as to who the artist is, and if the cover (if it's an original) is for sale.

Jim | October 24, 2006 10:04 AM

Hmmm I did a couple quick searches and all I could come up with was this book on Amazon.


And this art shop in the UK.


Alex Avriette | October 24, 2006 11:29 AM

The guy on the front reminds me a lot of "Cable" from the old X-Force comics (that is, about a decade ago before comic books became spandex-skinsuit barbie-chick pr0n).

Alex Avriette | October 24, 2006 11:31 AM

Er, for reference, see:


although that's a little more stylized than I remember.

Nsh | October 25, 2006 02:42 AM

Hebrew title.
Email was re-sent. I will look for the artist details.

Brad | October 25, 2006 09:02 AM

I’d be a little nervous about the cover art if you’re not 100% certain that it’s available for use. The original artwork was commissioned for Games Workshop, a large UK company that manufactures the sci-fi miniatures game Warhammer 40K. I don’t know of *ANY* of their old artwork that’s ever been allowed in to the public domain, nor do I know of any case where they’ve allowed the use of their intellectual property on products not directly related to their game or game backstory in one way or another. They have allowed other companies to purchase temporary rights of usage for things like 40K based collectable card games, and allowed various artists to create ‘coffee table’ books showing their personal collections of 40K artwork commissioned by GW. But in 15+ years I've never seen them allow anything beyond that. Games Workshop is also known for having a rather large and active legal department, as they’ve issued more than a few ‘cease and desist’ orders to popular fan sites that GW felt violated copyright on GW’s artwork and other intellectual properties. I'd seriously check out that issue considering Russia's somewhat sketchy view on copyright. It would suck to be on the recieving end of a massive lawsuit for something a foreign publisher did.

John Scalzi | October 25, 2006 09:05 AM


"I’d be a little nervous about the cover art if you’re not 100% certain that it’s available for use."

I'm not nervous. I have no liability in the issue.

Brad | October 25, 2006 09:56 AM

RE: I'm not nervous. I have no liability in the issue.

Cool! I like your works that I've read to date, and I hate to see anyone get needlessly caught in the legal crossfire when it comes to lawsuits. Unfortunately the legal profession at times seems to favor a shotgun approach over surgical precision when it comes to issuing suits. And familiarity with GW tells me they don't hesistate to 'drop the hammer' when it comes to defending their intellectual property. As long as you bacon isn't in the fire - game on! And you know what they say about Prevention - a single issue is worth 4 or 5 of the Enquirer. ;)

MatGB | October 26, 2006 02:03 PM

Brad; they don't always drop the hammer, they deliberately let Blizzard off for Starcraft, but you're right about direct pick ups.

I used to own a large print version of the art, but that was ages ago; John Blanche or Dave Gallagher if my memory serves. I worked for them for over 10 years, some things stay with you.

It always was one of my more favoured bits, suitably gritty. Russian copyright interpretation is a little bit beyond dodgy for the most part, if they're using that sort of thing regularly, then I'm sure the GW team are already on it. They're a bit hot on direct reasons for some damned fine reasons involving some forgeries that were downright dangerous in the past, unless my memory from the old training bumpf has died utterly.

Nog | October 28, 2006 05:14 PM

I hope to be one of your future Russian fans :) I've not read your book yet but have already bought it and also I've seen some very good reviews of it. But I want to tell about another thing. Unfortunately, russian publishers have a very strange policy of illustrations for foreign books. Often the illustration on the cover has nothing in common with the book. This fact is very upleasant for all us (fiction fans) - but what can we change? We can only hope that once this situation will change. But all the illustrations are bought officially so this is not a piracy :)
I hope your books will be very popular in Russia and in all other contries where they are published!

John Scalzi | October 28, 2006 05:38 PM

Thanks, Nog! Let me know how it is after you read it!

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)