Friday, September 11, 2015

Welcome to Zeitfuge!

Zeit what? You may be asking...this is the title of Hollow World novel translated into German.

I really like the cover that HEYNE did for this novel - and I only wish I could read German, as I'd love to see how it differs from the English version. If you read German, and are into time-travel novels with a twist, this might be the book for you. And if you do read it, please let me know what you think.


  1. Interesting choice of words. My wife says she would never use "Fuge." "The future begins now," works, though.

  2. Yeah, I have no say over what words are used when doing translations - It's out of my hands.

  3. I'm no translator, but I would guess the problem with translation, in general, is found in the differences between what words across languages denote and connote. (Two ugly words that offer no clue as to what they mean.) Are there words, phrases, and sentences in both languages that provide the literal and implied meanings? Doubtful. The more literal your translation, the more likely you are to lose the subtleties and implications of the words in the original text. But shoot for the subtleties, and you probably lose literal meaning. And then there is the issue of remaining faithful to the original text Does that matter? I don't know.

    Having said that, the title here attempts neither, I think. The Oxford online dictionary says "fugue" can mean "to run away," which is what Ellis does. He runs away through time. Meanwhile, "Hollow World" implies something completely different. This certainly is not an attempt at literal translation. See, only discussing the title, and I've already tied myself into a pretzel. Translation is difficult, and a translator can end up being hammered by everyone.

  4. I think "Zeitfuge" is a catchier title than the German translation for "Hollow World" - "Hohle Welt" just doesn't sound very cool. In "Zeitfuge" you have the hint to time travel which immediately places it in the Science Fiction genre.
    I'm a bit sad that they didn't use the original cover. Maybe it wasn't looking scifi-y enough?
    Since Heyne has one of the best SF programs in Germany I assume they know what they are doing when choosing the title and the cover.

  5. I am a reader from Germany and I read the English original. I like the German cover better than the original cover and thats what intrigued me to the book. Once I was intrigued, I decided to buy the English original because I usually prefer to read in English; I had bad experiences with German translations.

    I really liked the idea of "Hollow World", that a man, terminally ill, builds a time-machine to find a cure somewhere in the future. That attracted me to the novel. And from the beginning, I like the book and the story. There are so many books about dystopial worlds, that makes "Hollow World" a rare exception. As a reader, I really felt how much thought the author gave to present this future world and what events shaped it.

    But then after the first half of the book, the story changed - instead of telling more about time-travel or the crimes, there was much talk about religion. That was the point where I began to dislike the novel more and more. It began with the character of Ellis Rogers and that he is a religious person. Sorry, but as an Atheist I have a problem with religious beliefs. A character, driven by religious beliefs, is not someone I can have a connection with. I belief religion are fairy tales and nonsense and organized religion is a really dangerous thing and the world would be much better without it. And I did not like the socio-scientific discussions, sorry that is something I don´t want to read in a time-travel-novel.
    However, I continued to read the book and I finished reading it, but it did not became as good anymore as it was in the first half.

    So, I am a little bit disappointed because trime-travel is usally something where I never go wrong. And especially time-travel connected with religion, that´s a very good combination! (I said, I don´t like it if the protagonist is a religious person and the belief is responsible for his actions.)
    For example, "The Jesus Video" by German author Andreas Eschbach, is one of the best books I have ever read, and I read a lot. It is about a mysterious video camera which is found in a 2000-year-old grave in Israel; and it is camera which will not be on the market for a few years. The question ist, where does this thing come from and is there somewhere a tape hidden? A very good book and a great example of a fantastic time-travel-story with religious components.

    Althoug I am not so enthusiastic about "Hollow World", I think I would still be interested in a sequel, hoping that it would be without religion.

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