Есть у меня две книги. "Лабиринт Отражений" и "Геном". Обе они переведены на английский, о чем вы вероятно не знали. :) Переведены хорошо. Для желающих убедиться - выкладываю под катом фрагменты.
Sergei Lukyanenko Labyrinth of Reflections
We work in the darkness,
We do what we can,
We give what we can.
We work in the darkness.
Doubt now our passion,
And passion our fate.
All else is the art of remaining ourselves
At insanity’s gate.
The Hackers’ Anthem
(with apologies to Henry James)
* PART ONE. THE DIVER *
Can hardly keep my eyes open. That’s not unusual. A gaudy kaleidoscope, glimmering lights, a sparkling, starry vortex—it’s beautiful, all right, but I know what’s behind that beauty.
The Deep, they call it, but I think it sounds better in Russian, my own language. In English, it’s a pretty label. In Russian, it’s a warning. Glubeenah. There are sharks and octopus down there. It’s quiet down there, and an infinite expanse that doesn’t really exist weighs heavy, so very heavy.
By and large, though, the Deep is kind. In its own way, of course. It never rejects anyone. And you don’t have to be strong to dive into it. But to bottom out and make it back up, you do. Big time. The first thing to remember is that without us the Deep is dead. You have to believe and not believe in it, both at once.
Otherwise, there’ll come a day when you won’t make it back to the surface.
The first movements are the worst. I’m in a smallish room. A desk in the middle, computer cables running to the Back-UPS in the corner and on down to the wall socket. A thin lead plugged into the phone jack. A daybed by the wall, a fancy rug hanging on that wall, a little fridge by the open door that gives onto the balcony. Only the bare necessities. Five minutes ago I checked what was in the fridge, so I won’t risk starving to death in the next few days.
I swivel my head to the left, then to the right. Everything goes black, but only for a second. No problem. It happens.
“Are you OK, Lyonya?”
The speakers are set at maximum. I wince. “Yes. Volume down.”
“Volume down.” Windows/Home couldn’t agree more. “Down, down...”
“Hold it there, Vika.”
She’s a good program. Obedient, smart, friendly. Opinionated at times, like everything else that Microsoft makes, but that’s just the way it is.
“Good luck,” the program says. “When will you be back?”
I glance at the screen, at the female face floating in a glittering orange halo. Young, nice enough, but really nothing special. You can have too much beauty.
“I don’t know.”
“I’d like to take ten minutes to run a self-check.”
“OK, but no more than that. I’ll need all resources in ten minutes.”
The face on the screen frowns while the program extracts the key words.
“Only ten minutes then,” Windows/Home says dutifully. “But I need to remind you again that the tasks you set me sometimes exceed the limit of my RAM. Recommend RAM expansion to...”
“Button it!” I get to my feet. “Button it” is an unconditional command and the program isn’t about to argue any more after that. A step to the left, a step to the right... I’m a barrel of laughs today. But I’m not trying to escape from anything. Nah, I’m here because I want to be. I go to the fridge, open the door, get out a can of Sprite, crack it. The drink is cold in my throat. It’s pretty much a ritual—the Deep always dries me up inside. Can in hand, I go out onto the balcony, into the warm summer evening.
It’s almost always evening in DeepTown. The streets are flooded with neon, the traffic rumbles quietly along. And an endless stream of people flows by. Twenty-five million permanent inhabitants in the world’s largest megalopolis. You can’t make out the faces from up here on the eleventh floor. I finish the Sprite, toss the can, and go back into the room.
“Ethical infraction...,” the computer mutters.
Ignoring it, I go into the hallway, put on my shoes, and open the door. The stairwell is empty, bright, and squeaky clean. While I’m messing with the lock, a tiny bug tries to fly in through the half-open door. Some lamer goofing around. With a cynical eye, I watch the little insect’s heroic efforts to get in while a steady stream of air from the apartment keeps pushing it out, until finally the door shuts. The bug gives it one last try, slams into the door, there’s a brief flash of light, and it falls to the floor.
“Shall I lodge a complaint with the landlord?” Windows/Home asks. Now the voice is coming from the silver clips on my shirt collar.
“Sure,” I say. I keep forgetting to mention that the landlord is me.
The elevator’s waiting. Usually I take the stairs down, glancing into the other apartments as I go, even though they’re all vacant. But right now I’m in a hurry. The elevator goes straight down to the ground floor. Once out on the street, I look around for the insect buff. But I can’t see anyone suspicious, and everybody has somewhere else to be. The bug was definitely a stray, a mass-produced job. They get squashed outside and swatted inside, but they just keep coming.
Time was when I used to tinker with that sort of stuff myself, but my bugs hardly ever came back with anything useful.
“Lyonya, Woodland has received a complaint from tenant number one.”
“Round-file it,” I mutter, watching a guy coming down the sidewalk toward me. He’s quite a sight, the sort of thing you’d get if you crossed a young Schwarzenegger with a mature Eastwood. Funny isn’t the word for it. He catches my sarcastic look and speeds up.
I raise my hand and a yellow limo promptly pulls up at the curb.
“Lyonya, your complaint to Woodland, Inc. has been round-filed.”
“OK. No problem.” This can go on forever, and I’ve no time for games right now...
I get in and the cabbie—all smiles, hair impeccably groomed, in a starched shirt—turns to me. This is the kind of cabbie I like best, properly trained and not too chatty.
“DeepTransit is pleased to welcome you,” he reels off, leaving out my name. The program stopped the cab anonymously. “How will you be paying?”
“Like this,” I say, pulling my revolver out of my pocket and smacking the guy hard on the side of his head. He tries to ward me off, but too late. I stare into his ashen face, shake him by the scruff of the neck, and tell him, “Al-Kabar.”
“There’s no such address,” he says. He’s scrambled, and there’s no fight left in him.
“Al-Kabar. Eight seven seven three eight.” That simple little code gets me into DeepTransit’s address files. I could have done it without smacking the cabbie, but then this trip would have been logged into the company database.
“Order accepted.” The cabbie’s all smiles again and eager to please. The car pulls away.
I look out the window, watching the residential districts, thick with the high-rises that house DeepTown’s small fry, flash past, followed by huge, sumptuous office blocks. Back there I can see IBM’s long, gray campus, Microsoft’s magnificent palaces, AOL’s filigree towers, and the more modest establishments of other movers and shakers of cyberspace.
It’s not just computers though. You’ve got the offices of companies selling furniture, food and real estate, the HQs of tourist agencies, transport companies, clinics... Just about any outfit that’s even remotely viable wants a presence in DeepTown.
And it’s precisely this sort of wretched excess that DeepTransit thrives on. Walking around the city is way more trouble than it’s worth.
We zoom along the freeways, brake at intersections, veer into tunnels and cut across junctions. I wait it out. I could tell the cabbie to take the shortest route, but then he’d have to contact dispatch. And I’d be leaving a trail.
The city stops abruptly, as if the palaces and high-rises had been sliced through by a giant knife. There’s the ring road and beyond it the forest. It is dense and impenetrable, and anyone who wants to keep a low profile can do just that out here.
“Slow down,” I say, once we’re past the mango groves and are cruising by some perfectly average, Russian-looking thickets. “Pull up by that next path.”
“It’s still quite a ways to Al-Kabar,” the cabbie says.
The car stops. I open the door and move a step away. The cabbie waits obediently. So do I, for a break in the traffic. We don’t want any witnesses, right? Then at last...
I aim and fire. The revolver doesn’t kick much or make a lot of noise, but instantly the car is a fireball. The cabbie just sits there, eyes front. A few seconds later, DeepTransit is short one cab.
Fine. It’ll look like some punks got wasted and decided to have a little fun. I head off into the forest.
“Ethical infraction...,” Windows/Home mutters from my collar-clips.
“Have you finished the optimization?”
“Well then, I need some help. Search for the cache code-named Ivan.”
“The shining tree,” the program tells me.
by Sergey Lukyanenko
The author is fully aware that many will deem this novel cynical and immoral. And yet, with humble respect, he dedicates the book to people capable of Love, Friendship, and Hard Work.
Operon I, Recessive. The Speshes.
Alex gazed into the sky.
The sky was strange. Irregular. Unprecedented.
The kind that happens over worlds still unspoiled by civilization. The kind of sky that might happen over the Earth, humanity's home planet, a world trashed and flushed clean three times over.
But over Quicksilver Pit, the industrial center of the sector, a planet of three shipyards with all the necessary infrastructure, this kind of sky simply should not be.
Alex gazed into the sky.
Clear, iridescent blue. Disheveled threads of clouds. Pink glow of the setting sun. A glider gamboling as playfully as a silly young puppy in a snowdrift. Never before, not through the hospital window, not on the planetary news programs, had he seen such a sky over Quicksilver Pit.
There was something odd about the whole city today. The setting sun splashed a warm pink over the walls of the buildings. The last remnants of dirty snow clung to the support columns of the old monorail, stretching along the highway. Once in a very long while, a car would rush by, as if afraid to tear the silence, slipping away so fast it seemed in a hurry to escape this suddenly unfamiliar, pink world.
Or maybe this was the way the world should look to a person just emerging from five months' confinement to a hospital ward.
"No one meeting you?"
Alex turned to the guard, whiling away his time, bored, in his plexiglass booth. The guard cut a strapping figure. Ruddy cheeks, shoulders three feet wide, a stun-gun on his belt, and a bullet-proof vest over his uniform -- as though someone planned to storm the hospital.
"I don't have anybody."
"You from far away?"
'Uh-huh." Alex reached for his cigarettes. Drew the smoke of the strong local tobacco deep into his lungs.
"Need a taxi? You’re dressed kind of light for this weather, friend..."
The guard was evidently eager to help.
"No, thanks. I'll take the rail."
"Comes once an hour," warned the guard. "It's free public transport, for the naturals..."
To be honest, he looked like a natural himself. Not that you could tell anything by looks.
"That's why I'm taking the rail, 'cos it's free." The guard gave Alex a once-over. Then glanced at the hospital buildings behind him.
"No, no, I am a spesh," explained Alex. "I’m just broke, that’s all. Work insurance plan. I couldn't have paid for the treatment myself. They could have brought me here in a basket... well, maybe they did... I don't remember."
He slashed a hand across his own waist, indicating the invisible line that, five months ago, had divided his body and his life in two. He felt an overwhelming need to share, to talk to someone who hadn't seen his medical charts, someone who would listen, appreciate, click his tongue...
"Rotten luck," sighed the guard. "Well, now you're all right? Main parts back to normal?"
Alex stepped on the cigarette butt and nodded in response to the guard's conspiratorial smirk.
"Like new... Well, thanks."
"For what?" replied the guard in surprise.
But Alex was already on his way to the road. He walked fast, not looking back. They had really done a splendid job of patching him up. He couldn't have wished for better treatment... especially in his situation. But now, since having signed the last insurance document half an hour ago, affirming that he had no complaints against the medical personnel and proclaiming his condition 'identical to pre-trauma state,' nothing connected him to the hospital any more. Absolutely nothing.
Or to this planet, for that matter. But leaving Quicksilver Pit would be much harder.
On the side of the highway, he waited for a speeding car to pass, a luxurious, sporty, bright-red Cayman. Crossed over to the monorail support column, walked up the spiral staircase -- the elevator, of course, was out of order.
"Well, we’re on our own again, just you and me. Right, Demon?" he said into the air. Then glanced sideways at his shoulder.
Alex's clothes really were all wrong for the weather, even during the unexpected thaw which had burst upon the city on the eve of Independence Day. His jeans and shoes, bought for pennies donated by a local charity fund, were more or less all right. But the leather vest over a sleeveless jersey looked weird.
At least his Demon seemed to be having a good time.
It lived on his left shoulder. A color tattoo some four inches tall, a small demon with a pitchfork in its hands, who stared into space with a gloomy and disapproving air. Its long tail was wrapped around its waist, probably to keep the Demon's legs from getting tangled up in it. The Demon's short gray fur looked like a set of fuzzy clinging overalls.
For a while Alex stared suspiciously at the Demon's little face. It wore an inquisitive, calm expression. Self-assured.
"We're gonna make it, bro," said Alex. He leaned over the guardrail of the train stop, looked down below, spat onto the shiny steel rail.
There was nobody around, except for him and the Demon. Maybe the free municipal transport was unpopular, or maybe it was just that kind of day. A day of a blue sky, a pink sunset, the end of a holiday. Yesterday the whole hospital had celebrated... Even Alex, formally still a patient, was given some alcohol, mixed with glucose and vitamins.
Here at the height of some thirty-two feet, gusty wind reigned supreme. Alex even considered going back down and taking shelter behind the column while he waited for the train. But, after all, it was more interesting up here. There was a panoramic view of the city, its even rows of skyscrapers, its grid of straight roads already strewn with bright flashes of ads. It was a very geometrical city. On the other side, beyond the empty, long-derelict fields, he could make out the dim outlines of the spaceport. The port was too close to the city, Alex thought... Well, maybe that was what had saved his life. His doctor had once let it slip that the life-support IC unit, to which Alex had been connected, spent its back-up battery power and clicked off just as he was put onto the operating table.
Who could have ever guessed he would actually need his comprehensive insurance policy one day? Someone in the office of the Third Freight-and-Passenger station would gnash his teeth signing off on the medical bills. Well, they didn't really have a choice.
"We'll make it," he promised his Demon again. Spat once more onto the rail. Felt a slight tremor. The monorail car was drawing near.
It moved at a very leisurely pace. Alex estimated its speed at thirty point two miles per hour. It was completely covered with spirited graffiti, as though the car was trying to compensate for its lack of speed by the intricate brightness of its coating. It was almost dusk, and some of the signs and drawings gave off a dim phosphorescence; others sparkled, flowed, changed colors.
"Don't you dare not stop..." murmured Alex anxiously, but the monorail car was already slowing down. With a hissing sound, it opened its wide door, decorated with a fairly talented caricature of Quicksilver Pit's president, Mr. San Li. Alex smiled at the thought of how much better this would have looked in the hospital than the obligatory copies of the president's portrait in every ward. He entered the monorail car.
The inside didn't look any better than the outside. Hard plastic seats, a derelict TV screen on the dead-bolted partition separating the passengers from the driver.
The passengers fit right in.
A dozen young hoodlums, sprawling in their seats in the back corner of the car. Typical naturals of the type that make do with dirty work. All were drunk. All were dopers. All were staring at Alex with the same torpid curiosity. Just a few paces away, dozing off in her window seat, sat a girl of about fifteen, as dingy and scruffy as the rest of them, dark circles under her eyes.
Я хочу опубликовать обе книги в электронном виде - на "Амазоне", "Киндле" и так далее.
Откуда взялись эти переводы, почему я хочу их издать именно в таком виде - я сейчас рассказывать не буду. Как-нибудь потом.
А сейчас мне нужен ваш совет.
1. В каких именно форматах, для каких "читалок", на каких "издательствах" данные книги опубликовать? У меня достаточно много зарубежных френдов, посоветуйте. Как вы понимаете, в первую очередь публикация нацелена на англоязычную аудиторию.
2.1. Мне хотелось бы снабдить эти книги приличными обложками. Имеет ли смысл их рисовать (ряд хороших художников занят, да и срок потребуется немаленький). Или достаточно "строгого" оформления - автор, название, аннотация? Все равно все нормальные читалки черно-белые, а для айпадов по хорошему надо делать интерактивные книги...
2.2. Мне кажется, что правильно было бы сверстать эти тексты, а не выкладывать в таком виде. Я готов оплатить эту работу, но сложность в том, что доверить ее могу только лично знакомому человеку. :)
3. Кто-нибудь может помочь с короткой аннотацией к обоим романам? В несколько строчек. На английском. Никогда не умел писать аннотации к своим книгам.
4. Ну и основное - после публикации я был бы признателен всем, кто сможет так или иначе создать некую рекламу среди англоязычной аудитории, в первую очередь на тех ресурсах, где книги будут продаваться.