and when I like stuff, I tend to like it a bit too much

I was going through the Wiedźmin saga again (fanart research), and I felt that the first two volumes are exactly the format of storytelling I prefer: a series of short stories tied together by a common thread. Short stories have a sense of closure about each; besides, they tend to be better vessels for showing off writing technique. Although I plain adore the way pan Sapek writes everything.

And that brings me to questioning whether the English-speaking readers are going to get an equally impressive experience out of the saga. The translated snippets I come across online, in the Witcher wiki and on the forums, they are rather … tame, for lack of a better word. Plain and featureless.

The Russian translations have their weak points. Sometimes there are errors even, ranging from omissions of important characterization bits to mixing hooks with buckles. But they have… vigour.

Polish and Russian are similar in many ways. So it’s to be expected that a good Russian translation would be easier to do than an equally good English one.

And yet.

It seems nobody even tried.

Actually, the way pan Sapek weaves voices and narrative techniques, it’s fairly rare in the English-speaking SF/F that I have read. Especially that last story in the Sword of Destiny (that story!! B’vec, what a story)… the way it’s written, it only brings to mind one ‘obscure text’ by the (infamous) Michael Kirkbride, an ex-dev of the Elder Scrolls series.

// ‘Obscure text’ in the TES lore fandom means material written by a developer or former developer, but not explicitly included into any official published source like a game, an art book, a licenced novel or what not; whether these are ‘canon’ has been a part of one too many ‘canon war’ //

Here it is – Lord Vivec’s Sword-Meeting with Cyrus the Restless , and while I am head over heels in love with this story, I have no idea if it’s actually readable unless you are well-versed in TES lore. It’s written from a mercilessly in-universe POV – which I actually find _the_ way to do SF/F (immersion!! sense of mystery!! the satisfaction of figuring it all out!!), but I may well be in the minority.

That’s how pan Sapek’s stuff should feel in English. IMO.

And hey, if you happen to be that non-TES fan who actually bothers to read the story, would you please let me know what it was like to you?


2 thoughts on “and when I like stuff, I tend to like it a bit too much

  1. Bookmarked this to come back to later. I’m taking up your suggestion to not read the Witcher book in my TBR pile until I pick up the next one that’s published in English. I think you said there was some chronology issues. So I’m fine with waiting; I’ve got 150+ books in that TBR pile still waiting to be read. Eek.

    1. Yeah, it seems that the second and third volumes were switched, and the second one is very important. So after The Last Wish, it’s the Sword of Destiny, and only then Blood of Elves.

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