tad williams (was Re: : fantasy monarchies)
abhillel at hotmail.com
Fri Feb 7 14:41:29 EST 2003
>Just to draw some of the fire from Christian (possibly, or else no one
> >will give a fig), I recently read _Lirael_ and was very disappointed >in
>it, after _Sabriel_.
I LOVED _Lirael_, but I was furious when I got to the point in the book at
which I realised it would be too late to resolve all the open questions in
the remaining pages of the books. I think it is a crime to end a book on so
many cliff-hangers (particularly as I had to wait several months for
_Abhorsen_. I must admit I found _Abhorsen_ dissapointing, because it was
adding nothing new, merely resolving the open questions raised in _Lirael_,
and for that I think it was too long. I would rather these two books had
been one shorter book. Also, perhaps I am a more sophisticated reader than
some, but all the "surprise twists" at the end of _Abhorsen_ were things I
had begun suspecting rather early into _Lirael_. That never happens to me
with a new DWJ: I am acustomed to her style enough to usually read at least
some of the hints correctly, but something always surprises me...
One problem with long books, is that it makes them much more expensive to
publish in translation. This keeps cropping up whenever Israeli SF&F fans
complain about why this book or the other was not translated into Hebrew.
It's a very real problem. For some reason, the standard SF&F book is longer
than standard regular fiction. Translators get payed by number of words.
Longer books are also more expensive to print. The SF&F readership is very
loyal, but small. All this means that it is harder for publishers to profit
off Science Fiction and Fantasy than other forms of fiction, and this genre
gets neglected in translation. Another result, which makes me hopping mad,
is that translators often get payed less for translating Science Fiction and
Fantasy than other genres. Which means either inferior translations by
people doing a quick and shoddy job, or good translations by unhappy and
impoverished translators. It's nearly impossible to make a living as a
translator anyway. I have no point here, just complaining about one of my
favorite pet peeves.
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