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What if the Cold War never ended. What if it lasted a thousand years.
And then one day in uttermost space....
THE HATE PARALLAX:
From Allan Cole
It was a collaboration that stretched across 5,378 miles. Or, if you were Russian, like Nick Perumov, you would write it as 8,655 kilometers. My end of the literary tether was in Truth Or Consequences, New Mexico. Nick's - St. Petersburg, Russia
On the surface, it might appear that the differences between us were too great. Not only were our nationalities and cultures different, but our two countries were once locked in a Cold War that had kept the world on the edge of nuclear annihilation for nearly half a century.
Nick hailed from a family of scientists, and had served in the military. My late father had been a CIA operative during that period and I was raised abroad in many of the world's hot spots. Before becoming an author, I had been a journalist. Nick a scientist. His ancestors were Russian/Armenian nobility; mine Irish peasants. He was born in 1963. I was born in 1943.
At the time the collaboration was suggested, Nick's English was rather rough. My Russian consisted of only a few necessaries: Pozhalujsta (Please); Spasiba (thank you); Da (Yes); Nyet (No); Vodka (vodka); Nostrovia (Cheers); Gde tualet (where is the toilet); and, most importantly,
Moio sudno na vozdušnoy poduške polno ugrey (My hovercraft is full of eels.)
Yet, despite these apparent differences, we were embarking on the first-ever Russian/ American literary collaboration
The idea was championed by our mutual Russian publisher - Cosmos Books. They'd done an impressive job with the Sten series, which I co-authored with the late Chris Bunch. More than ten million hardback copies were sold, and the books remained at the top of the Moscow best-seller list for well over two years.
Meanwhile, Nick Perumov was a fast- rising star in the Russian fantasy community. A former scientist, Nick was a ardent admirer of Tolkien. When the Soviet Union collapsed, and with it funding for science, Nick threw everything he had into writing. Against all odds, his efforts resulted in a series of critically acclaimed best-selling novels.
Nick and I bonded electronically before we ever met in person. After several months of e-mail exchanges it became apparent that the differences were minor. After all, both our backgrounds were rooted in Western culture dating back to the Ancient Greeks. We were both widely read, politically astute, possessed questioning minds, and were in general agreement that the human race was a funny old thing, with a few more good qualities, than bad - but not many.
We were still pondering the possibilities, when I embarked on a European book tour, financed by my publishers, and arranged by my wife, Kathryn. The itinerary took us from London, to Amsterdam, to Paris, to Munich, to Geneva - and finally to Moscow. (Kathryn and I had visited Moscow before, in the final days of the U.S.S.R.)
It was there that Nick and I met in person for the first time. After an initial shyness, we soon picked up where we had left off on the World Wide Web. By day's end, we had become fast friends and shook hands to seal the bargain.
Kathryn and I returned home and Nick and I began to write. Although our story outline was thorough, we left room for artistic flights of fancy and we encouraged one another to come up with other ideas and plot twists as we progressed.
Nick wrote in Russian, then translated his work into English. As I said, his English at this point was rather rough, and Nick had suggested hiring a professional translator. I was opposed to that idea, worrying that a middleman would spoil the freshness of Nick's writing.
Kathryn provided the solution. The daughter of English teachers (and Chris Bunch's sister), she had been invaluable as my Editor Of First Response from my very first book. Before reading Nick's pages, I fed them to Kathryn. She pored over them, correcting the grammar and spelling, inserting missing words, and smoothing out awkward sentences. She'd underline areas of confusion so I could query Nick.
When she was done, I'd rewrite the whole thing so the styles matched. This wasn't so different from the way I'd worked with Chris Bunch. At the end of every chapter, Chris and I would swap pages, and each would rewrite the other, making the styles seamless. An added advantage, of course, was that our completed first rough draft was polished enough to be called a second draft, giving us a jump on an art form that frequently requires many drafts.
Working that way, it took Nick and I a little over a year to complete The Hate Parallax. The book has already been published in Russia under the title of Armageddon. We are pleased to report that the book not reached best seller status, but was hailed by Russian critics and fans of fantasy and science fiction alike.
And it is our fond hope, Gentle Reader, that this cautionary tale will find equal favor with you.
Allan Cole - January, 2011 - Boca Raton, Fl. U.S.A.