melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2017-06-13 06:29 pm
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FMK #14: SF in Translation

Hi all! I am back. I did not get my birthday candle wish of having a different president when I got back to the USA, but at least Theresa May is in deep hot water now, so I guess you all did what you could.

The FMK #13 winner is Discount Armageddon, pulling ahead at the last minute in a very close race! The loser was Pawn of Prophecy, in a not-very-close race, although Man-Kzin Wars put up a good fight.

I brought Rocket Ship Galileo and Tarnsman of Gor with me on the trip as two K winners that I couldn't bear dumping without Having Read. I... am about 30% through Tarnsman of Gor; so far it is not bad enough to make me hate-read it or throw it at the wall, but also not particularly compelling a read. I still want to Have Read it though, I think.

Rocket Ship Galileo is going to be K for Keep, I am afraid. I tried! But a book written in 1947 about teenagers fighting Moon Nazis was going to be hard for me to dislike. :/ The downsides: the random I Will Teach You Physics bits that weren't even plot relevant - I like a good physics lesson in my boys' own SF but not when it's completely irrelevant to the story. And sometimes it just read too much like A Heinlein Novel in character voice and didactic Heinlein Opinions, although it's not bad at all compared to his later stuff and I probably wouldn't have even registered that if I wasn't oversensitized to Heinlein being Heinlein.

I was going to say it avoided being egregiously bad on racism and sexism etc. by not having any diversity, except that actually, at least one of the main characters is almost definitely Jewish. (I might have missed it if I'd read it fifteen years ago, but I'm not sure what else a reference to 'when you stood in front of the congregation and gave your speech and said "Today I am a man."' is supposed to be. And two others are the son & brother-in-law of a concentration camp survivor, although that might have been just as a political prisoner.) So it's Jews fighting Nazis on the Moon and how can I not keep it?

Plot-wise, it is not as ludicrous as that sounds, either - the Moon Nazis are Hydra-style Mad Science Neo-Nazis, not people who have been hiding on the moon since the 1940s. And the "teen boys build moon rocket" works a lot better when it's set in a near-future where intercontinental rocketry and commercial space stations are common - they use mostly off-the-shelf parts and an atomic drive invented by a former Manhattan Project scientist who is leading the project. (And it's interesting that the main character conflict in the book is the adult scientist agonizing on whether it's a good idea to take 18-year-old boys into danger, which is one of several things that make one thoughtful in the context of the 1947 copyright date.)

I'm not saying it's a great book, but if you like old SF it's a pretty good one, and there's nothing in it that makes me as a modern reader actively cringe. (Except that I'm pretty sure even in 1947 you couldn't fire unmodded rifles on the moon.)

Anyway, in honor of my international travel, today's theme is SF In Translation.

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)


Poll #18485 FMK #14: SF In Translation
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 26


The City Trilogy by S. K. Chang (Chinese, 2003)

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F
4 (44.4%)

M
5 (55.6%)

K
0 (0.0%)

The Vampire of Ropraz by Jacques Chessex (French, 2006)

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F
4 (44.4%)

M
2 (22.2%)

K
3 (33.3%)

Han of Iceland by Victor Hugo (French, 1823)

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F
12 (75.0%)

M
1 (6.2%)

K
3 (18.8%)

Malevil by Robert Merle (French, 1972)

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F
3 (25.0%)

M
3 (25.0%)

K
6 (50.0%)

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (French, 1864)

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F
14 (66.7%)

M
6 (28.6%)

K
1 (4.8%)

TSelf-Reference ENGINE by Toh Enjoe (Japanese, 2010)

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F
6 (66.7%)

M
2 (22.2%)

K
1 (11.1%)

Book Girl and the Suicidal Mime by Mizuki Nomura (Japanese, 2006)

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F
6 (60.0%)

M
2 (20.0%)

K
2 (20.0%)

The Next Continent by Issue Ogawa (Japanese, 2006)

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F
6 (66.7%)

M
2 (22.2%)

K
1 (11.1%)

Mortal Engines by Stanislaw Lem (Polish, 1977)

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F
6 (31.6%)

M
13 (68.4%)

K
0 (0.0%)

World's Spring by Vladimir Gakov (Russian, 1981)

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F
2 (22.2%)

M
4 (44.4%)

K
3 (33.3%)

The Final Circle of Paradise by the Strugatsky Brothers (Russian, 1965)

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F
3 (27.3%)

M
4 (36.4%)

K
4 (36.4%)

The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende (Spanish, 1982)

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F
6 (42.9%)

M
8 (57.1%)

K
0 (0.0%)


rachelmanija: (Default)

[personal profile] rachelmanija 2017-06-14 05:35 am (UTC)(link)
I need to re-read Rocket Ship Galileo! Now seems like a good time for Jewish astronauts beating up Nazis on the moon.

I enjoyed Journey to the Center of the Earth but it's definitely a "If you enjoy that sort of thing, you will enjoy this." It has an incredibly vivid sequence of being in hot, suffocating, black tunnels without water.

I have not read any of the others but the first two Japanese ones have amazing titles.