by Robert Silverberg
Publisher: 四川科学术技出版社 (Sichuan Science and Technology University Press)
Media: Trade paperback
Cover art: Juan Gimenez
A girl who has had a hundred children
A man who has been altered by aliens
A "vampire" who relies on the suffering of others
A bitter interstellar love story
While I was in Beijing, I decided to check out the gigantic Wangfujing Book Store, which has about six floors of merchandise, mostly books. I wanted to see if there were any RS books available in Chinese. A friend had written the Chinese for "science fiction" on a scrap of paper, and I managed to find my way to the right section on the fourth floor. As it turns out, all the sections are labeled in both Chinese and English: FOREIGN SCIENCE FICTION.
Being unable to read the titles on the spines of the books, I simply pulled every single one out to look at the front cover — the section was small enough to make that practical. I came up with two discoveries, this one and a two-volume edition of Lord Valentine's Castle, both published by Sichuan University of Science and Technology.
Obviously, this cover art has nothing at all to do with the story, but it looks extremely familiar, as if I've seen it on another book. As far as I can tell, there is not credit for the artist, though four different editors are listed. If anyone recognizes it, please let me know.
The book is quite nice looking, and the covers fold over to make inner flaps, rather like the dust jacket of a hardback book. On the front flap is a small picture of the first Ballantine edition. What's really odd is that I can tell this picture was taken from right here on Majipoor.com — the cover has a distinctive pair of creases on the left side near the middle. At the start of the book is a biography of RS in Chinese which looks suspiciously like a direct translation of the one I've written here (the same dates appear in the same positions). I'm flattered, though credit would have been nice.
Shortly after I bought it, I took it to the office and showed it to a Chinese coworker. She asked to borrow it. About a week later, she returned it unfinished. She said it was "too depressing" and didn't want to finish it. I loaned her Lord Valentine's Castle in its place, telling her it was much more cheerful. She's still got it to this day.
- Thorns (as 荆棘) (in Mandarin)