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A page for discussion of the SergeiLukjanenko novel, The Boy and The Darkness.  The translation of this from Russian to English was an ongoing toothycat.net project. Progress may be viewed [here].


That's right, for an English translation of Sergei Lukjanenko's the Boy and The Darkness [click here]. Английский перевод "Мальчик и Тьма"  [выложен здесь].


There's also a copy of this translation on the author's [official page] - albeit a rather out-of-date one; the website admin appears to have stopped responding to email about a year ago. While I'm pandering to all you people doing Google searches anyway, [this] is Mr. Lukjanenko's livejournal. Blog. Thing.

While MoonShadow is carrying on the translation in private, the author has requested that internet publication be limited to the first part of the book only.
I assume that viewing can still be arranged? --MJ
Indeed. - MoonShadow




So far a very interesting story.  I've enjoyed reading it and look forward to reading the rest of it(hint, hint :))... -Tringard

Why have you chosen to indicate speech in the way you have?  I think that quotation marks would be clearer, especially considering the frequent mix of speech and narration in the same paragraph.  It's a brilliant story! - Mjb67

It's the way speech is indicated in Russian. Part of the problem is that when I'm translating, I have a lot of trouble thinking in English, and concentrating on English grammar. If I keep the result as close as possible to the original, it will at least be consistent. Part of the problem is that I want to preserve as much of the style of the original as possible. This often results in sentence formations that are not consistent with English written grammar, although they would be OK in speech. I'd like to be consistent with *something*, so I've chosen to be consistent with the original. Part of the problem is I've become used to doing it like that now.

Even though SunKitten is now doing all the typing and could (and often does) change the style of the translation to be more English, there would still be a lot of work involved in going over everything we've done so far and changing it, and I'd rather, if major style changes were going to happen, that they happen as part of a big proofreading run at the end by native English speakers (ie: not me) who've read the entire story and so know what elements are significant and what can be changed or dropped. Does that make sense? - MoonShadow.




That publishing house may be right about new books, but certainly it is the case that you can find the entire texts of the HitchhikersGuide? books on the Web.

MoonShadow has just received email from a PhoenixFeathers reader, pointing him at http://www.baen.com. The email (partially translated) has been forwarded to SergeiLukjanenko.

I've only flicked through a couple of titles on that site and none seem to go beyond 5-7 chapters of the book.  I imagine there is quite a big difference for a publisher between that and a complete text on the net. :/ --Kazuhiko

Ummm - look in the library.  There are MANY full text books on baen.  Usually, the first couple of books in a series are given away, to try and hook you on that series or author.  Frankly, I'd send the baen URL to the snotty and rude publishers rather than to Serge.  It sounds to me like that publisher has been burnt once, but is still in  fundamental 'not getting it' state.  Then again, from what I've heard, the whole publishing industry is a hotbed of NepotismAndIntrigue.  --Vitenka
Note though that that website only puts up books at the request of the author. The letter from the 'snotty' publishers seems to be concerned not about that, but rather about Russian authors who put on the web, without permission, works to which they don't hold the copyright: ie, the English translations of their books. This is copyright infringement pure and simple, so the Baen example isn't relevant as there's no copyright infringement going on. I assume of course that Mr Lukjanenko wouldn't dream of doing this himself; it seems that he has been tarred with the same brush as rogues who do do this, simply because he shares a nationality with them. --ChiarkPerson

Sadly, I get the impression that that's not all of it. Mr Lukjanenko's recent posts to fido7.ru.lukianenko imply that it wasn't just that letter that made him change his policy - it was the fact that in a short space of time, three US publishers he approached - independently of each other - said they liked the book but their lawyers' advice was to avoid touching anything Russian with a bargepole because everyone knows Russian authors publish their works for free on the Internet. :(  - MoonShadow

That sounds like racism, pure and simple, to me.  But I still don't see why he can't find a publisher (such as baen) who don't mind having the works also available on the internet.  OTOP on a completely selfish level, if every pulisher turns him down, for that reason, then he may as well go ahead and stick it on the 'net - since it won't make a blind bit of difference.  --Vitenka

I'm not sure I'd go as far as 'racism', but it's certainly prejudice. however you're still missing the point: reading the letter from the publisher, it's not that they're bothered by him putting his books up on his website, but him putting their books - the translations, which he douesn't have the rights to - up. Baen are quite clear that it's only  authors who can put their books up: him putting up a translation without the permission of the translator is just as wrong as me putting up a copy of Phoenix Feathers without M's permission.
He's never put up English translations of his work without the consent of the translator, who holds part of the copyright. I think in the few cases of a translation being done, the translator in question has asked him for permission and he granted it, rather than he asking them.  If a professional translation is done of a book then the fan translation has nothing to do with it, and can be left up without breach of copyright as long as both authors (Mr Lukjanenko and the translator) agree (although I can see why this might be a sticking point for publishers who still have their heads in the sand). The email from the rude publishers sounded more like they were blaming the general Russian habit of sticking translations up without asking for permission from the translator (professional or not) or original author. In which case, it's hardly Mr Lukjanenko's fault is it? It's like an American publishing company saying to (say) Gainax - 'we don't want to release your anime in America because fans are busy subtitling them and making them available for free.' I can see the problem, but Mr Lukjanenko is not responsible for all the fans translating his work and putting it up without his permission. What can he do about it?
As I said - he seems to have been unfairly disadvantaged because of the rogish habits of some of his countrymen leading to a blanket 'don't touch anything Russian' rule, which is easier to administer than actually finding out whether any particular Russian author is trustworthy or not. A case, it seems, of a few selfish curs spoiling it for everybody.

I read the blog at Baen's, by the way, and it seems to me they'd have a better point of view on this problem - that a book has been put up elsewhere for free without the author's consent or control - than most other publishers, so maybe, if he tries them, he'll get somewhere - SunKitten

That's precisely it, though. The US publishers in question may or may not realise that the author can do nothing about people putting up their works without their permission; AIUI, this is irrelevant - what they want is for Russian authors to cease handing out any permissions at all; they want authors to take a stance against publications of their work on the internet. In Mr Lukjanenko's case, they have succeeded. - MoonShadow

That is a very sad thing indeed.  --Vitenka

That's not what the letter says, though. It says nothing at all about Russian authors 'handing out permissions'. It says: 'Russian authors display their works for free on the internet. Even if they do not belong to them!' - ie, the problem is not them giving permission to others to display their works, but they themselves displaying translations of their works which do not belong to them.

As to 'he may as well put it on the 'net' - well, he may, but the problem is that making good translations is a very skilled job: you have to be able to read the original language and write well in English - and the translations done by amateurs in their spare time are not going to be the best they could be (look at any the risible dialogue in almost any fan-translated Japanese cartoon if you don't believe me).
I disagree - I'm probably biased, but MoonShadow's translation of The Boy and the Darkness is very good, IMHO. That's done by an amateur, in his free time (insert hollow laughter here - free time? What's that?) - SunKitten

Well, the two points here are that fan translations vary widely in quality, from the risible to the professional standard.  And secondly, that the publishers are painting themselves into a corner.  If they won't touch his work whatever he says, then heck with it, he might as well bypass them completely.  (Using 'him' as an example, obviously)  --Vitenka

Yes, he may 'bypass them completely' - and what's wrong with that? The publishers don't exist as a service to authors (no matter how much we might wish they did), but to make money. They are not forced to, and have no responsibility to, take on any book they don't want to, whether because they don't think it's good enough, or because of policies based on the behaviour of others. Similarly, he has no obigation to go through a publisher: he can just put the books and their translations on his website. Where's the problem?

Well, technically there is no problem.  It's just that a good author and a good publisher together are a better thing to have in existence than a good author and a publisher that won't touch him.  I was just observing that it's a shame that they are choosing to hamper themselves (and himself) in this way.  I suppose it's the same "But we always do things this way" attitude which slows all businesses down.  --Vitenka

Indeed, there's no "problem" as such; however, because the author needs to eat and have a roof over his head and is therefore at the publisher's beck and call, we end up in a situation where the author is unable to choose to do as he wants with his own work, even that work which the publisher is not otherwise interested in. This seems a bit unfair and a bit of a shame to me, although I realise this is very very subjective and few wear the same shade of pink glasses I do. - MoonShadow

I may be misunderstanding - what is it that the author can't do with his own work? He can do anything he likes as long as he doesn't see a publisher. If he does seek a publisher, well, there's got to be give and take: the publisher does not run a book-binding charity, but a business, just as an author who hopes to make money must be a professional businessman, and the two of them enter into a mutually beneficial arrangement. At any stage up to the signing of contracts if he doesn't like the deal the author can walk away, as can the publisher. If an author doesn't make the deal he starves; if a publisher is unreasonable no one signs their contracts, they have no books to publish, and they go bust. So both parties have motive to be reasonable and reach a solution acceptable to all. The problem here is that they are refusing to even talk to the author because they are blaming him for the wrongs of others, which is unfortunate, but it's within the rights of any business to choose when they think it's too great a risk to do business with a certain party. How could it be otherwise?




I discovered in passing that the complete text of all the HarryPotter books was available on the web, in lots of places. -- TI
Legally, or just copied? --Kazuhiko
The latter, I would imagine. There was a ton of illegal books on whatever-the-napster-equivalent-at-the-time-was when I last looked, for that matter. As for HarryPotter, they've had a string of prosecutions because apparently people keep finding pages from the new book (the one that's due in a couple of months) in [various] [places] near the publshers, and trying to sell them to the Sun, which promptly reports every one of them to the police.
It had all the hallmarks of OCR with inadequate proof reading, so no - not legally. -- TI




If the letter from the publisher is correct, it looks like some Russian authors have actually been very very naughty in putting up, without permission, works which are the copyright of someone else (ie, the translators) and Mr Lukyanenko has been tarred with the same brush.

On the other hand if the letter is wrong and what has been put up on the web by these other Russians are translations different from the official ones, then perhaps it's a business decision: they reckon they won't sell enough copies of somethign where a different translation is available for free. Which is perfectly reasonable (they are, after all, a business and there to make money, not a charity dedicated to publishing books) but it isn't what their letter implies.

I would note however that there is a lot of Russian sci-fi available in translation, or at least there was in the past: stuff like Roadside Picnic etc.



Moonshadow - did the chapter get taken down?? It's 2.00pm and I can't find it. Can you just email it to me?
The link at the top works for me. Points to Part 2, Chapter 6. --CH
In case you're still having trouble, it's [here]. Try hitting "refresh" in your browser - it might be caching the old version. --MoonShadow

absolutely no success - maybe it's the mac I'm on... Will try later on the pcs downstairs perhaps. If I write some real words in a minute. If I stop arsing about here....

Is it wrong of me to speculatively save copies on my hard drive, just in case they all get pulled? Would I legally be obliged to delete them if it did happen? -- TheInquisitor
Morally or legally? MoonShadow personally has no objections. The author may or may not; he has not replied to MoonShadow's email yet. On [this] page, Sergei Lukjanenko requests that owners of internet libraries holding his texts who wish to build a relationship with authors that is based on mutual cooperation take note of recent events and ensure complete texts or english translations of novels are no longer present. This is the only request he makes; he has yet to remove our translation of the Boy and the Darkness from his own page, for that matter, although he has removed the copy of Labyrinth of Reflections that the site used to hold. If you wish to be legalistic about it, you are not the owner of an internet library, and the Boy and the Darkness is not yet a complete text. I don't think the author can possibly expect everyone everywhere who downloaded a copy to read to promptly delete it now - he just wants to cease distribution.
Is that recent? It seems to imply we should remove the translation now.. unless we can argue that we needn't, because it's not complete. By the argument of the publishers, we should only need to take it down if our translation gets published (for which the publishers would need our consent), anyway... - SunKitten
It's what prompted me to email him. I'm certainly not going to remove it while he's got a copy up on his site unless he explicitly asks me to. - MoonShadow
I meant legally - I want a chance to read it properly - and if it happens to get pulled before my exams are over, that would be very tedious. Morally... Well, if I were you, I'd be really quite put out if permission to translate, and publish such a translation were withdrawn at this stage... But obviously I'll delete it if you prefer. I'd just like a chance to read it first. -- TI
Uh - even I do eventually have to remove it from this site, please don't take it as indication that I want you to delete any copies you might have. I want no such thing, and AFAIK Mr. Lukjanenko hasn't at any point so far said he wants anyone to delete their private copies either. ^^; - MoonShadow




Three notes on rereading this:
'';Are you sure? I'd go for something like 'a killer impatient to become a fugitive'.
Or, going through that paragraph:
The light was behind me as I walked down the corridor. From where I'd been came ranting, less and less distinct; something about my mother, my guilt, my destiny as a little fascist, a killer impatient to become an outlaw. I left the fading noise behind me as I came to a wide space, bright and safe. Lan was there too, his back to me, peering down the corridor that led away from the other side of the room. The sword in his hands was the same one my fingers gripped tight.
('adult rogue' sounds a bit clumsy)
"Outlaw" is the precise word I was looking for :) - MoonShadow

Granny Weatherwax isn't in Small Gods.
I think I know the monologue that's being referred to - something like "if I really believed what you believe, it would burn inside me.." and so on - but amn't sure either that it comes from Small Gods or that it was Granny Weatherwax that said it, although I'm pretty certain it was a witch. - MoonShadow
Granny Weatherwax it was, in Carpe Jugulum. I rather liked that bit - SunKitten

In 2-2, s/ossify/petrify/. "Ossify" means "turn to bone".

Will fix typos and erros sic? tonight - thanks everyone! - MoonShadow



CategoryBooks | CategoryFiction
GoogleFodder: author's name can be (and has been, elsewhere on the net) spelt as Sergej Lukjanenko, Sergey Lukyanenko or even Sergei Lukianenko, or any combination of those.
MaintainMe: Shouldn't this page+links to it be renamed to TheBoyAndTheDarkness?... unless there's any reason for this to keep the old clunky name...?

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