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Russia is where the Hub is

February 14, 2011 7 comments

I’ve just gotten a copy of the December ’10 issue of the Russian SF magazine Esli (If), which contains a translated version of “The Hub of the Matter.”  Unfortunately, it was rather badly damaged in transit:

ESLI December 2010 cover

But there’s my name on the cover, transliterated as “Kristofer Bennet.”  I don’t think that’s a typo, since it’s repeated within the magazine, yet they spelled my last name right in the copyright credit at the end of the story.  Maybe Russian doesn’t allow for names ending in double letters.

Ooh, and there’s a very Starfleet-ish crashed spaceship below my name there.

What’s really cool, though, is the title page for my story:

Russian "Hub of the Matter" title page

The Cyrillic title, “в гуще событий”, transliterates as “V GUSHCHE SOBYTIY”.  I searched for pages with that phrase and with its individual words and used Google Translate on them, and apparently it means “In the Thick of Things” (or more literally, “In the Thick of Events”).  Which isn’t quite an exact translation and doesn’t preserve the pun, but I guess it’s a similar idea.

But isn’t that a cool illustration?  The credit beside the artwork says “Illyustratsya Vladimira BONDARYA,” and that first word clearly means “Illustrator” or “Illustrated by.”  It’s a very nice interpretation of the characters.  Not quite how I pictured them, of course, but it captures their personalities quite nicely.  David is starry-eyed and gesturing dramatically, Nashira is giving him a surly, skeptical look, and the elaborately attired Rynyan is standing over them looking smug and self-satisfied.  It’s a terrific portrait of the main cast, and I think it’s just about the nicest illustration one of my original stories has ever gotten (and it makes up for the fact that “The Hub of the Matter” is my only Analog story without an illustration in that magazine).

As for the story itself, let alone the rest of the magazine, I have no hope of reading it without help from someone who knows Russian.  But I notice it has rather extensive footnotes which, as far as I can tell, seem to be providing scientific explanations for various terms and ideas in the story.  Also, apparently Russians don’t use quotation marks for dialogue.  They use dashes to set it off instead.

Esli has bought “Home is Where the Hub Is” too.  I look forward to seeing its illustration.

Esli‘s website is here, for anyone who can read Russian: http://esli.ru/