Bewildering Stories

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Letters to the Triumvirate -- CruelShowers 2003

Don and Cyrano receive the first of their due:

Hi! I was really glad to find an English translation of Cyrano's Voyage to the Moon online -- I'm teaching a History of Astronomy course here at UC Irvine this quarter and am trying to include some historical science fictionin the supplementary online readings.

The installments you've put online are clearly a labor of love!! How long will it take for you to complete the whole book?

I wanted to let you know that there are some problems with the links -- going from chapter 21 to 22, for example. I found that if I went back to chapter 21's page and simply substituted "22" in the URL, it worked fine, but not if I simply clicked on "Next". That's also true for the "Next" at the end of chapter 22. I noticed that the issue numbers changed from page to page, so when I substituted "issue40" and "23" in chapter 22's URL, it opened a page that indicated the next installment would be coming soon.
Fixed now, thanks -ed

Thanks again for making this available in such a great educational format. I'll include a link to your site on my course webpage (probably on the Week 3 Readings page -- which I'll be constructing this weekend):

Exploring the Cosmos

all the best,

Barbara Becker
History Dept
UC Irvine

And Don's response was:

Dear Prof. Becker,

Thank you for your kind query about my translation of Cyrano's "Other World."

At a rough estimate, it may total about 35 episodes. I hope to complete it in the next few weeks.

Once it's done, I intend to review it from the beginning and revise it where necessary. The current idea is to make the complete edition available as a zipped HTML file suitable for downloading. I doubt PDF will do, since the hypertext notes are such an important feature.

The "back" and "next" links will be self-referencing within the package, of course. A link to the table of contents will be added to each page. It's not necessary at this point, because the menu frame at "Bewildering Stories" more or less serves that purpose for the time being.

As noted in the Introduction, the original text contains no chapter divisions and we're sometimes lucky to get paragraphing. Hence the "episodes": they are more or less self-contained portions of narrative that are short enough to be read easily on screen in one session.

Since I know of no English translations available on the Net and I deliberately avoid consulting any of the printed translations I'm aware of, I just read the novel as I work. That makes it easier for me to write in a style that is both faithful to the ideas of the original and accessible to a general reader of today. At the same time I share the first-time reader's experience and can anticipate the kind of questions that might arise.

Incidentally, that approach to translation is an open secret in the profession: "When you have to translate a long work, don't read it; just do it." And one can always go back and repair any surprises. For example, in episode 22, the introduction mentions that Cyrano and Gonsales break for "lunch." Episode 23 makes it clear that it's dinner. I'll fix that eventually.

Speaking of episodes, my favorite is number 9: "That's one small step for a woman..." I suspect it was also one of Cyrano's favorites. It amounts to an elaborate joke that presents the first "aquastronaut."

Your website for the History of Astronomy course is not only informative, it's one of the very prettiest I've ever seen. Congratulations!

I've never had the opportunity to do more than drive by the Irvine campus, but I was able to encourage one of the very best students I ever had at CSU-Sacramento to enter the Spanish program there on a fellowship.

Thank you for your interest in "The Other World"!

Don Webb
Dept of French Studies
University of Guelph

And from our prolific Mr. R...

Issue 38 maybe one of the best issues yet. Great stories all around. I feel like making special mention of the one by David J. Bernstein as it may be overlooked by readers. Very intriguing, and one of my favorites from the issue.

Also I remember how surprised I was the first time I saw that Wikipedia article. I was just researching Asimov and there was BWS. I must admit my first thought is that if they're reprinting Spud they must not be very credible. (Just joking it was a good article) Neat to find it mentioned here at the site as it confirms I did not imagine it. Here's hoping more BWS articles find themselves so honored.

Well I got a scoot, Zai Jian!

Thomas R.

Glad you liked the issue. So did I. Wouldn't it be just too cool to actually be "A Resource"?

Jerry, the Bottle Washer


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