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2012-01-07"Face of the Dark Palmira" and "The Other Amongst Others" in English

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Лик Черной Пальмиры — translated as Face of the Dark Palmira, or Black Palmyra's Face — is a novella by Vladimir Vasilyev, set in the Watch universe created by Sergey Lukyanenko during the events of Twilight Watch. It's an approved tie-in, being referred to in the main book, and the author previously collaborated with Lukyanenko on Day Watch. Иной среди ИныхThe Other Amongst Others — is a story by Vitaly Kaplan, also in the same general setting, written for a science fiction magazine.

Given the titles in Cyrillic it's easy to find the stories, and there's no shortage of online translation services these days; the main issue tends to be that services trying to translate a webpage on-the-fly often have difficulty with long texts. The legalities are questionable, but even comparatively well-known Russian science fiction / fantasy authors struggle to get books published in overseas markets; there's been no sign at all of this tie-in fiction getting the same treatment as the main novels; machine translation is no substitute for professional work; and if anyone believes that the average Russian-speaker doesn't already know about media being available online, I have a bridge to sell them.

Personally, I found the books at aldebaran.ru and used AbiWord to save the text into .odt files, then used http://translate.google.com/toolkit/ to do whole-file translations. Which isn't bad, to be honest. It helps if you have some exposure to the syntax of other languages, plus some practice at cycling through similar meanings until a reasonable one clicks in, because then you can parse something like "In Nikolayev strong Watch?" into "Is the Watch in Nikolayev strong?" without having to think. Struggle to make each and every sentence fragment make sense and you'll be setting yourself up for disappointment.

I enjoyed Palmyra and the fleshing-out of the setting. Not so sure about the second story, given the subject matter, but am willing give it a go.


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