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Еврей без ярлыков - The Last Ring-bearer
October 3rd, 2010
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The Last Ring-bearer
UPDATE: Second edition!

More than 15 years ago Russian scientist Kirill Yeskov tried to settle certain geographical problems in Tolkien's fantasy world. One thing led to another, and he tackled a bigger project - what if we assumed that it's no less real than our world? His conclusion was that in such a case, the story of the Ring of Power is most likely a much-altered heroic retelling of a major war - but what was that war really about?

The result of this re-appraisal was the publication in 1999 of The Last Ring-bearer - a re-thinking of Tolkien's story in real-world terms. Dr. Yeskov, a professional paleontologist whose job is reconstructing long-extinct organisms and their way of life from fossil remnants, performs essentially the same feat in The Last Ring-bearer, reconstructing the real world of Tolkien's Arda from The Lord of the Rings - the heroic tales of the Free Men of the West written in that world. We have a pretty good idea how well heroic tales map to reality from our own world...

I was impressed enough by this work to spend a few dozen lunch hours translating it to English. (Reportedly, some publishing houses have considered a commercial translation of this book, which had been published in several major European languages, but abandoned the idea out of fear of the Tolkien estate, which doesn't countenance any derivative works, especially in English. Witness the history of its relationship with New Line Cinema. This translation is non-commercial. The Russian original can be found here.) I have been fortunate to establish communication with the author and have the translation vetted (and much corrected) by him. I now offer this work for your perusal. At 139,000 words, this 1 Mb PDF is about 80% of the length of The Fellowship of the Ring. Suggestions for corrections will be appreciated. Please mention how you heard about this translation when commenting. Errata will be published here soon.

UPDATE: I have translated an essay Dr. Yeskov wrote after the first publication of this book. It may answer some of your questions about his motivation and method.</b>

One user has reported a virus intercepted during downloading. The PDF itself is Javascript-free and ought not to have any payload other than the text. It was likely a false positive when a stub of the file matched some virus signature during download. Sendspace has informed me that my account has gone premium thanks to all the downloads, and users should now see no ads prior to downloading. One user has reported encountering Captcha; I've never seen any, but suspect that Sendspace puts them up when the download request comes from a domain associated with bots. There have been thousands of successful downloads; if yours fails, please try again. .odt and .mobi versions are available here thanks to Matthew Wilcoxson.

I have to disappoint the fans of Sauron: His Majesty Sauron the VIII rates only a few mentions in this work, having been nothing more than an enlightened king. Nor does the Ring of Power rate more than a passing mention. Likewise the Hobbits: unlike LOTR, this story is not about them. Finally, no attempt has been made to imitate J.R.R. Tolkien's style - it is deliberately modern and down-to-earth.

I am now working on a second edition, with some corrections (very few, the author was thorough) and, hopefully, smoother prose.


Errata

  • Page 5: read "consciousness" for "conscious." I'm considering a different expression altogether, as it's hard to walk while unconscious. Same on page 71.

  • Page 53: read "Those may very well be needed more than the rest." for "Seemingly, those will be needed no more than all the rest."

  • Page 108: read "had decided to call them Mountains of Shadow" for "had decided to cal then Mountains of Shadow"

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Comments
 
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From:hollyxu
Date:February 20th, 2011 08:07 pm (UTC)
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Linked here via a friend, am snagging the translation, thanks!
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From:rena_librarian
Date:February 21st, 2011 12:19 am (UTC)
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Downloaded after following the link from The Daily What: Geeks. (Post is here.
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From:patlaj
Date:February 21st, 2011 12:37 am (UTC)

Alternate format?

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I feel bad asking this. I know it seems like looking a gift horse in the mouth. I really appreciate your doing this and I'm really looking forward to reading it.

Could you perhaps release a version in ePub format? Or HTML, RTF, or even plain text? PDF is the only document format that I can't convert to something that's easily readable. If it helps, I could do a conversion to ePub for you from a raw format (Word or whatever).

Thanks

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From:harningt
Date:February 21st, 2011 01:54 pm (UTC)

Re: Alternate format?

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I second this request. Would like to read it on my eReader, but I suspect that it would not look good on it as a PDF, given the static formatting PDF applies.

The listed formats of ePub, HTML, and RTF should work good to help capture necessary formatting and be portable formats.
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From:ranwae
Date:February 21st, 2011 01:15 am (UTC)
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thanks for this! :) i found out about this from here
From:genxgirloz
Date:February 21st, 2011 05:04 am (UTC)
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I heard about this download on the website "arts & letters daily" (aldaily.com), from there to an article in "salon.com" by Laura Miller.

Thank you for the translation & download!
From:ropata.wordpress.com
Date:February 21st, 2011 07:18 am (UTC)

More fun than Tolkien's plodding prose!

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Discovered via this popular blog in New Zealand :
http://dimpost.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/quote-of-the-day-when-fan-fiction-gets-interesting-edition/
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From:elyobo
Date:February 21st, 2011 09:05 am (UTC)

Sounds great

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I haven't started reading it yet, but wanted to thank you for your work. I read it on slashdot (http://slashdot.org/submission/1477830/LOTR-Rewritten-from-Perspective-of-Mordor), although you may need to be logged in to see the page.

For those that would like an eBook, I tried epub2go (http://www.epub2go.com/), the conversion seems tolerable, but it loses some of the formatting.
From:manicdee
Date:February 21st, 2011 10:59 pm (UTC)

Re: Sounds great

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Another Slashdoteer here :)
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From:Susy Saki
Date:February 21st, 2011 10:07 am (UTC)
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I heard about it here:
http://www.salon.com/books/laura_miller/2011/02/15/last_ringbearer/index.html
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From:ktguru
Date:February 21st, 2011 01:04 pm (UTC)

Million Thanks

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Thanks much for your poetic translation...very difficult, I'm sure. I saw the Salon review.

I see that Yeskov went the way of "Sita Sings the Blues" relating to copyright horror, eh? ;) Complicated situation. I would love to make a donation somehow, but Tolkien descendants don't seem to be conciliatory yet. I hope my appreciation in words may be enough for you & Eskov.

As an aside, I'm curious if can you ask Eskov if his writing Ringbearer was triggered by experiencing the horrible transition period in Russia, post-Cold War, to offer a narrative from "the other side." (My russian is limited to, when only drinking vodka.) ;)

Thank you again!
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From:tridus
Date:February 21st, 2011 01:33 pm (UTC)
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Found the link for this on slashdot.org. Thanks so much for the effort. :)
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From:littlemiss_aj
Date:February 21st, 2011 02:38 pm (UTC)
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I'm looking forward to reading this (I was linked to the Salon article). I love the other side of a well-known story, such as Wide Sargasso Sea vs. Jane Eyre. Tolkien was one of my first forays into fantasy and, as much as I appreciate the enormity of his work, his world is a little too perfect for me. So this should be interesting!
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From:Jesse Winkler
Date:February 21st, 2011 04:28 pm (UTC)

Elves can see in starlight

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"and besides, for Elves starlight is not light at all, they need the moon... "

If this is just the orc's belief, that's totally fine, but it's well established in The Silmarillion that elves can see in starlight.
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From:lord_semjaza
Date:February 21st, 2011 04:44 pm (UTC)
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Followed a link from Slashdot for this. Thank you for all the hard work you've done in translating this.

From what little I've read so far, it seems like it'll be a rather enjoyable read. Thanks again for doing this and making it available.
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From:Michael Herman
Date:February 21st, 2011 04:45 pm (UTC)

Sources

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Heard about this from Salon.com. Very excited to read it!
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From:ateji
Date:February 21st, 2011 04:53 pm (UTC)
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Found via an e-friend's Twitter (@thebestsophist), who found it through Tumblr. Never read LotR all the way through (or watched the movies), hoping this is much better prose. ;)
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From:renkinshenjou
Date:February 21st, 2011 04:57 pm (UTC)
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I wanted to take you for taking the time and effort to translate this - that it has not been done so before now is really a shame.
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From:Dick Kovar
Date:February 21st, 2011 05:00 pm (UTC)
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Throwing a book /at/ her would be appropriate.
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From:tahariel
Date:February 21st, 2011 07:02 pm (UTC)
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I got here from Salon.com following the link in the article :)

When I downloaded the file though it says the file cannot be opened :( Not sure why, but nobody else seems to be having problems.
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From:kovucougar
Date:February 21st, 2011 07:46 pm (UTC)
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I look forward to reading it. Think of offering it in an e-book friendly format?

(This page has gotten on slashdot)
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From:MartinEliasson
Date:February 21st, 2011 08:04 pm (UTC)

Found out about this from Twitter

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Found out about this book on Twitter and http://www.salon.com/books/laura_miller/2011/02/15/last_ringbearer/index.html
Thanks for the free download!
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From:srevans
Date:February 21st, 2011 08:56 pm (UTC)
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A friend of mine (no LJ) recommended this project to me-- it sounds fascinating. Thank you.
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From:shakauvm
Date:February 21st, 2011 10:45 pm (UTC)

Banewreaker

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Have you ever read Banewreaker, by Jacqueline Carey?

It deals with a lot of the same themes.
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From:ymarkov
Date:February 22nd, 2011 12:21 am (UTC)

Re: Banewreaker

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I've just gotten started on the Kushiel saga, but looks like I'll need to take a detour to the Sundering.
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From:the_sl0th
Date:February 21st, 2011 10:57 pm (UTC)

TYVM

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Just wanted to say thanks for the work you've done and for making it freely available!
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From:Arun Menon
Date:February 21st, 2011 11:26 pm (UTC)

good one

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looking forward to reading this.
thanks for the effort
cheers
Arun, India
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From:zenonah
Date:February 22nd, 2011 07:00 am (UTC)

Awesome

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A friend put a link in facebook to slashdot which has a link to here. And I'm certainly going to forward this.

I just downloaded this and I'm going to read it right away. Just the idea is great and I'm very curious to read it. Thank you both Dr. Yeskov and You.
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