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12:21 AM
@Gallifreyan Well, I've ordered my copy. That was the easy bit.
How is everyone, btw?
3 hours later…
3:33 AM
Q: Understanding Kendrick's reference to Tetris in "Humble"

HamletIn Kendrick Lamar's new single "Humble", he references the game Tetris: Pull up on your block, then break it down: we playin' Tetris A.M. to the P.M., P.M. to the A.M., funk I'm not quite sure what the reference to Tetris is supposed to mean. I've seen several different interpretations of...

5 hours later…
9:01 AM
@Mick Great! Looking forward for questions! It's only ~230 or so pages, so shouldn't take long.
1 hour later…
10:04 AM
Fun fact: in prologue, when Anton recites Shakespeare (which is uncredited in my English version), in Russian original version he recites it in English. That 15 or something year old guy recites Hamlet in English.
10:42 AM
@BESW I edited the final paragraph of my answer after our chat here last night. Does it look better now?
So, who started reading the challenge book?
It's on a government site, so I can't imagine it being unlawfully pirated.
@Randal'Thor I found it before. It appears to be one of the astronaut's entertainment pack
I was actually going to ask a question here about that translation, since it's uncredited there.
@Gallifreyan Is it the genuine full text of HtBaG?
@Randal'Thor Looks like a genuine text, and the length certainly matches
I don't imagine NASA would pull such a joke on one of the astronauts
10:48 AM
A PDF of the full text of the novel also seems to be available here. I assume this must be legal since it's on a government website. — Rand al'Thor 31 secs ago
I can't find the translator! Google books doesn't credit one either
"heir main principle resembles Star Trek's 'prime directive' of non-interference. " <- wrong. The book was printed 2 years before TOS aired, and I don't imagine Star Trek made it through the Iron Curtain.
@Gallifreyan "Resembles" =/= "inspired by".
@Randal'Thor Thank you. Now I can read it! :D
@Gallifreyan It certainly resembles it...
@Mithrandir My thought exactly! :-D
> "That's fine!" said Anka. Here eyes narrowed to black slits. "Let's go! Will we get there by tonight?"
> "What are you talking about? Well be there by noon."
> They clambered up the steep slope. Once they had arrived at the top, Pashka tamed around. Down below was the blue lake with yellow speckled sand bars, and the boat on the sandy beach.
Three typos in as many paragraphs?
That doesn't bode well.
10:57 AM
@Randal'Thor Google Play credits the publication to "Readers Union/The Science Fiction Book Club"
But none of their pages I found actually list this book.
So I have no idea who translated this one.
@Mithrandir Well, they were the first typos I noticed, and already a few pages in.
@Randal'Thor that link isn't working for me...
Now "turned" -> "tamed" came up again ...
@Mithrandir Try this
11:01 AM
@Mithrandir Wait until you're on a computer then.
Actually, I'm going AFP for a little while...
Your problem then :)
@Mithrandir Agence France-Presse? :D
@Randal'Thor It all boils down to two possibilities - either it's a fan/"Readers Union" translation, or it's the Ackerman translation. The latter seems unlikely, as it'd certainly not contain typos, being on the market for ~40 years
OK, I've read the prologue.
The ending was a bit odd, sort of disjointed.
@Randal'Thor Which part exactly?
Also, do we have an -like tag?
> The rusty sign over the road was gently swaying in the wind, and the blue sky gleamed through the hole the arrow had made, Anka sat at the side of the road, her elbows resting on her knees and her chin supported by her small, clenched fists.
> As they were returning home, dusk began to fall. The two boys rowed, while Anka sat at the rudder. A red moon stood above the dark forest and the frogs croaked untiringly.
11:10 AM
Well, now we have
That was a sudden jump.
@Randal'Thor Pfff
They were in the middle of exploring, and then suddenly they're on the way home hours later.
click on that PDf and do shift + delete
I ain't deleting anything!
11:11 AM
It looks like they cut ~100 or so words from the text
@Randal'Thor I know where you're coming from, but I think it's a misguided sentiment no matter how you say it--especially in the context of a novel that's clearly and deliberately riffing on real-world contexts.
@Randal'Thor Oh, wait, it's fine
@BESW But can't it still riff on real-world contexts just by making up a bunch of random initials without specifying what they stand for?
> His eye fell on Pashka. Like a dog sniffing a scent, Don Sarancha
was following the track of the mysterious car. The rusty sign over the
road was gently swaying in the wind, and the blue sky gleamed through
the hole the arrow had made, Anka sat at the side of the road, her
elbows resting on her knees and her chin supported by her small,
clenched fists.
As they were returning home, dusk began to fall. The two boys
rowed, while Anka sat at the rudder. A red moon stood above the dark
forest and the frogs croaked untiringly.
That's the pdf
> He saw Pashka right away: Bon Locusta, bent in two, following the receding tracks of the mysterious car. The rusty disk above the road swayed gently, and the blue sky flickered through the hole in the disk. And Anka was sitting by the roadside, her elbows propped on her knees and her chin on her clenched fists.

On their way back, it was already dusk. The boys were rowing, and Anka was at the rudder. A red moon was rising over the black forest, and frogs were croaking incessantly.
“We planned the outing so well,” Anka said sadly. “You two!”
And that's the 2014 translation
11:15 AM
@Randal'Thor Of course it can. But you're saying that because it could be, we shouldn't make any effort to find out if it is. Also that fully understanding a book is not a worthwhile effort if we already enjoy it for the bits we already understand.
@Gallifreyan And that seems like a weird end to the chapter. Why doesn't the story describe what the boys get up to, rather than just hearing their one-sentence descriptions at the end of the day? And what does repairing a car have to do with skeletons and machine guns?
Q: What details does the "Without Weapons" / "A Man from a Distant Star" stage play add to the lore of "Hard to be a God"?

GallifreyanIt appears that Strugatsky brothers have written a stage adaptation of Hard to be a God, named Without Weapons or A Man from a Distant Star. Wikipedia claims that the play "reveals previously unknown details" about the world of Hard to be a God. What exactly does the play add? What are the diff...

@Gallifreyan Oh, that makes a bit more sense. Pashka found the car whose skidmarks they saw?
@Randal'Thor Because that's not the point, and this is just the prologue. I feel the skeleton part may be made up by Anton, especially given what we see in the epilogue.
(And, you know. Having seen how Gibbons' satire is direct and to-the-point aimed at specific targets in all the bits I do get, it seems very out of character for her to just mash the keyboard in this case.)
11:19 AM
@BESW I'm not saying we shouldn't make any effort. In the first part of my answer I've actually made that effort. I'm more saying that after having put in effort and come up with nothing, maybe we can draw the conclusion that there's nothing to be found. But yeah, your last sentence is a good point - that's certainly not a claim I want to be making, especially on this site.
@Gallifreyan Ah. So in other words, RAFO :-)
I don't see how your last paragraph adds to the answer, except if you intend it to be a frame challenge to the question itself.
Although your first sentence in that paragraph is saying "maybe we can draw the conclusion that there's nothing to be found," the rest of the paragraph is saying something VERY different: it's challenging the asking.
"Asking what they stand for, when it's never stated in the book itself, might be [...] overanalysing"
OK, edited again.
@Randal'Thor Just finish the book, you impatient person! - as a wise man once said on meta.
I still think it's wrong to draw that conclusion, just because it doesn't match the rest of the text's style. But it's not an unreasonable conclusion to draw on the evidence you have.
This time I've tried to say "maybe there is no answer" without challenging the asking of the question.
11:25 AM
In any case, I have to run now. Talk to you later and have a nice time reading :)
I really hope somebody can at least track down the origin of the backscratcher theory.
Oh, I forgot to show you this:
Of course, "canonical" is not what I'm looking for. Reasonably supported speculation is the bread and butter of literary analysis. If CCF --or Gibbons' other works-- mention academic back-scratching or log-rolling as a metaphor for some activity of the idle nobility, that'd be awesome.
@Randal'Thor [amused]
I had a classmate who used the same book report every year for at least four years.
American lit, English lit, research paper, didn't matter if the report matched the assignment or not. He was proud of that paper and he was gonna use it.
A search for "associate back scratcher" turns up only people saying it's what Pookworthy's ABS stands for.
Which is not what I'd expect if it was a phrase some people knew well enough to figure Pookworthy's ABS was obvious and needed no explanation.
Maybe it's a loam & lovechild thing.
11:40 AM
It's odd that we can't find a primary source for this and yet so many different people are saying it.
I admittedly have read next to nothing in the actual L&L genre.
But it's not like loam & lovechild was Gibbons' only target. Far from it.
> 'He’s doin’ one now about another young fellow who wrote books, and then his sisters pretended they wrote them and then they all died of consumption, poor young mommets.’
‘Ha! A life of Branwell Brontë,’ thought Flora. ‘I might have known it. There has been increasing discontent among the male intellectuals for some time at the thought that a woman wrote ‘Wuthering Heights’. I thought one of them would produce something of this kind, sooner or later. Well, I must just avoid him, that’s all.'
Why "Branwell"? Is that a reference to something?
(And would that ^ make a good question for the site?)
Oh, never mind :-P
Yeah, CCF offers biting commentary on movie culture, psychology, literary analysis, religion, the British class structure...
And it's all expressed through very specific instances and examples, not through mimicry that's turned into a joke by substituting a real-life specific thing with a random replacement.
12:39 PM
@DVK @Gallifreyan This one might need some knowledge of Russian language/culture: literature.stackexchange.com/q/2231/17
Q: Why doesn't Anka like to be called Anetchka?

Rand al'ThorFrom the prologue of Hard to Be a God: "You know, Anetchka--" said Pashka. "Don't you call me Anetchka," Anka cut in abruptly. She could not stand to be called by any other name than Anka. Now I know about diminutive forms of Russian names, and that different diminutive forms of the same ...

3 hours later…
3:19 PM
@Randal'Thor @BESW pretty sure that Licensed Log Roller is a reference to sex.
Anyway, I downvoted your answer @Randal'Thor because (1) it doesn't say much that isn't said in the question, and (2) if so many people are claiming this, there's got to be a reason somewhere: we just have to email one of these people or do more research.
Maybe the reason is as simple as "these abbreviations make sense in the context of the wider story."
@Hamlet I disagree with (1), but thanks for explaining your downvote. I'm still hunting for more evidence or a primary source for the "Associate Back Scratcher, Licensed Log Roller" claim, but there doesn't seem to be much information available on the internet.
@Hamlet Those specific words, more than anything else the letters could stand for? Somehow I doubt it, and @BESW who's actually read the book hasn't said anything like that either.
3:57 PM
@Randal'Thor OK, but I would be shocked if Licensed Log Roller isn't a reference to sex
Try emailing one of the people who makes these claims and see if you get a response
4:30 PM
@Hamlet OK, I've emailed Bill Peschel about it. Let's see if he responds.
@Randal'Thor I'm on it. Let's see if I can structure a proper answer.
4:46 PM
@Gallifreyan Re your comment: I thought it sounded like she didn't like anyone calling her Anechka, not just those two boys.
@Randal'Thor As I said, Anechka, for lack of better word, is probably the second most duminutive form of Anna, after Anyusha (Анюша), assuming Anka's legal name is Anna, and not Anka, in which case my prospective answer is mostly moot.
This is not something I can back with data from elsewhere, it's just my experience and observations. I've had few friends called Anna, and all of them preferred to be called Anya. Anna is too formal, everything else is patronising and childish.
@Gallifreyan No worries, experience-based answers can be great. That's pretty much what I was expecting with this question.
@Gallifreyan the one thing I would add to an answer would be some discussion about why Pashka would call her Anechka in the first place.
@Hamlet Of course.
But I think an experienced based answer should be OK when it's (presumably) a basic feature of a foreign language.
4:57 PM
@Gallifreyan ?
I posted it while it was WIP :'(
@Gallifreyan Submitted too early?
@Gallifreyan yeah I usually write answers in a text editor first
I usually do this to answers with a lot of pictures, didn't think I'd ned this here
4:59 PM
You can delete-edit-undelete if you want to be sure not to get downvotes/flags before it's finished.
@Randal'Thor That's wht I did.
Oh, it's still showing up for me, without the "this post has been deleted - click to refresh the page" thing that you normally see.
5:22 PM
Tempted to ask a version of this question about Star Trek on the site
Q: How do humans in Star Trek satisfy their desire for fanciful and luxurious stuff in a post-scarcity world where money does not exist?

user486818My understanding of post-scarcity in the Star Trek world is that humans need not worry about their next meal. There will always be enough for the basic necessities. However, I do not think this extends to everything. My understanding of humans is that there will always be some of them who long to...

I think you can go a lot further than the current answers on SciFi do.
@Hamlet It's only got one answer so far on SFF ... I'm sure others will pitch in sooner or later too.
6:23 PM
@Randal'Thor Phew, finally finished. Now you can downvote :)
> an old trope in Soviet (and maybe in other) literature, that in a group of two boys and a girl, the girl is usually the most level-headed person.
What about in real life? :-P
@Randal'Thor I thought it was obvious that this held in real life :P
@Gallifreyan Finished reading, gave it an upvote.
I'm not convinced of the relevancy of the last section, about Chapaev, but other than that it's great.
@Randal'Thor hence the triple "I'm not sure" at the beginning of it. But it is a documented fact that they changed the name of one of the characters to make it easier for the book to be approved by censors.
> On the advice of I. A. Efremov, we renamed the Minister of the Defense of the Crown Don Reba (he had previously been Don Rebia—an overly simple anagram, in the opinion of Ivan Antonovich.)
From the afterword.
@Gallifreyan Right, but even if the connection is there, how is it relevant to the question?
It's interesting to see why they named the character Anka, but it doesn't really explain why she didn't want to be called Anechka.
6:35 PM
@Randal'Thor I don't think the Anka from the film would like to be called Anechka either.
@Gallifreyan Anagram of what? (I'm not even going to try to solve an anagram puzzle in Cyrillic.)
From the line being "Don't you call me Anetchka" instead of "Don't call me Anetchka", we could deduce that she's particularly irritated by Pashka calling her that. But I hesitate to make that kind of deduction from a translated text. Does the original Russian also support this, @Gallifreyan?
In fact, that could be a good thing to add into your answer. The "Don't you call me Anetchka" suggests she's particularly irritated by Pashka specifically using that name, but the "She could not stand to be called by any other name than Anka" suggests it's more of a general thing.
7:04 PM
I can self-answer.
@Randal'Thor Beats me, I'm not expert in Soviet cryptic politics.
@Randal'Thor The original is "Я тебе не Анечка". I'm ashamed to admit that I don't know if this is a general remark, or addressed particularly to Pashka. Could be either way, really, since we also say "Я вам не...", which can be addressed to a group of people, an in fact to an undefined audience.
@Randal'Thor This one could make a question that @DVK-on-Ahch-To would come back to answer :)
I guess she could have said "Я вам не Анечка" instead of "Я тебе не Анечка" to address both Anton and Pashka, but maybe she was so irritated by the diminutive name she didn't think of it.
5 days, still in HNQ. Almost 22k views 0_o
@Randal'Thor you're in HNQ as well! Congratulations!
7:37 PM
2 hours later…
9:39 PM
Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria (English /ˈbɛriə/; Georgian: ლავრენტი პავლეს ძე ბერია, Lavrenti Pavles dze Beria; Russian: Лавре́нтий Па́влович Бе́рия; 29 March [O.S. 17 March] 1899 – 23 December 1953) was a Soviet politician of Georgian ethnicity, Marshal of the Soviet Union and state security administrator, chief of the Soviet security and secret police apparatus (NKVD) under Joseph Stalin during World War II, and Deputy Premier in the postwar years (1946–1953). Beria was the longest-lived and most influential of Stalin's secret police chiefs, wielding his most substantial influence during and after...
@Gilles Ahh yes, I've heard of him.
Beria -> Rebia. Not even a complex anagram.
2 hours later…
11:41 PM
@Hamlet So I got a reply from Bill Peschel, who said that he got his info from Lynne Truss's introduction. He also gave me a few other possible sources to try, but it looks like Truss is my next lead. Unfortunately she's a more famous author than Peschel, and it'll probably be harder to get into direct contact with her.
11:54 PM
@Randal'Thor disappointing but not entirely unexpected that they would cite something without verifying it's true.
@Hamlet I've just emailed Lynne Truss. Fingers crossed.
@Randal'Thor yeah, fingers crossed
either way this will make for a good answer.

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