Karl May Friends

History Of My Karl May Translations (Personal Log) - and what can happen along the journey in the form of interludes that were slightly annoying, somewhat disruptive, but a decade later strike me as exceedingly entertaining slapstick episodes.
But there were incredible HIGHLIGHTS during the thirteen-year period of translating Karl May's Winnetou stories, and they far outweigh the obstacles that needed to be overcome first. Not so long ago I mentioned to someone that it still hasn't 'sunk in' what kind of achievement the thirteen years, and the thirty-five English Karl May books represent. That may be so, yet there are a large number of readers who expressed (and continue to express) their delight at my translations, see Reader Feedback and Comments page; every month I have reason to thank Karl May fans in various countries (and different continents) for their interest in my labour of love.


Videos To The Books

(Note: Since 1962, almost all of Karl May's stories as published prior to his death in 1912, are available in the public domain; I gratefully acknowledge the Karl May Gesellschaft for their work making those texts accessible to the public.)

During July 2012 I wrote a series of casual facebook posts about the evolution of my creative writing pursuits and the resulting books, including my English Karl May translations. I have put those pertaining to Karl May together below, and augmented them with a few additional explanations about my choice of titles, and other details.

In January 2004 I read an English translation of Karl May's Winnetou, which I had purchased from Amazon.com, and was utterly disappointed: it was boring to read, and the two sections I was really looking forward to, the adventure with Old Death, and that with Sans-Ear, were missing.

HIGHLIGHT ~ Mid-2004, after the release of Pierre Brice's autobiography, Winnetou und Ich, I contacted Mr Brice's public relations office in Germany, and a few weeks later held a copy of the book in my hands, signed by 'my Winnetou'. I thorroughly enjoyed getting to know the person behind the actor who had so wonderfully portrayed Karl May's Apache chief in the movie productions made during the 1960s, and later went on to embody Winnetou for the rest of his life. Not three weeks after reading Mr Brice's autobiography, I decided to create a more faithful English translation of the Winnetou trilogy. But I needed to practice on a shorter novel to start with - a trilogy is quite an undertaking.

My English version of "Holy Night!" (Karl May's "Weihnacht!"), for which I started translation in 2004, has seen two incarnations; the first with BookSurge*, a publisher who was later bought by Amazon, and who is now known as CreateSpace; however, I wasn't entirely happy with both the formatting and quality of presentation by BookSurge, as well as the illustrations. The second edition for which I re-edited, and re-formatted the text, as well as re-designed the cover, and removed the illustrations, is now independently published, like all my creations, by Lulu.com. The working title for Karl May's "Weihnacht!" was "Christmas!"; however, he changed his mind and ultimately used the German term "Weihnacht!".

(*Books published via BookSurge/CreateSpace were listed on Amazon.com, where their ghosts [out of print, or still available from the 'used books' section] stalk the virtual shelves; the BookSurge incarnation of Winnetou II, for example, is listed at a whopping $US874.83 - mere pennies for a serious collector. Those interested in my Amazon phase go here.)

Weihnacht translates not to 'Christ's Mass', but to 'Holy, or Sacred, or Divine, Night', which is a much more poignent description for the two major scenes in this book, which both take place in the middle of winter, in deep snow, half a world, and half a life-time apart. I chose 'Holy Night', as that phrase most readily conjures up the notion of 'Christmas'. The double quotes, as well as the exclamation mark are a part of Karl May's original title. "Holy Night!" is a tale about a Christmas past, and a Christmas in the Rockies, and some not-so-holy intentions of a handful of villains. Actually, it's a story about a gold treasure, and about the damage grown-ups can do to children in the name of 'education'. Like I always say: Karl May's novels have many different layers of meaning.

In 2005, while I was working on completing "Holy Night!", I translated a short biographical work that Karl May wrote as a promotional piece, The Joys & Agonies of Being Karl May; it stood alone, at first, and the initial version is still on the German Karl May Society website; however, I've re-edited it in the meantime, and then translated a short story of the Wild West, and a brief tale of the Orient, which, in my opinion, go well with May's tongue-in-cheek biographical etude. And so, in 2008, the not-so-big book The Joys & Agonies of Being Karl May was born. The German title: Freuden und Leiden eines Vielgelesenen, may be translated in many different forms; I have not found a sufficiently clear short English term to satisfactorily translate the title; instead, I've settled on: The Joys & Agonies of Being Karl May.

As an aside: my first desk stood but 2 metres away from the television in the lounge room. I still had an old IBM computer with a clackedy-clack keyboard. So, "Holy Night!" was typed on a rattling keyboard, next to the television on which my husband attempted to watch his cricket matches. There was no way a second Karl May translation would EVER see the light of day in that situation - where the veranda was at that point is now a new loungeroom with a large television, and the old loungeroom is now my Karl May corner - both rooms are in opposite corners of the house. Subsequently, my husband, David, became test reader, proof reader, spotter of German syntax, and general safety-net to catch the sins in my rough-draft texts. His dedicated involvement in all of my Karl May translations is lovingly appreciated.

Then came 2006, and circumstances that prompted me to translate volume two of the Winnetou trilogy before any other; following the advice of a 'pay-to-have-your-book-published' publisher (that someone else had already translated Winnetou I and Winnetou III), I naively acquiesced; but, soon it was evident that the advice had been, let's say: driven by ulterior motives. Never mind - I didn't 'pay'. Winnetou II was then also first published under the BookSurge banner, but as was the case with "Holy Night!", CreateSpace simply wasn't quite 'me'.

I re-edited, and re-formatted the text of Winnetou II, adjusted the cover to fit in with the new design, which features Karl May's portrait on a rosette, and in 2008 (together with all others I had translated by then) published its new edition on Lulu.com.

But wait! There's more! 2006 was one of 'those' years. I started on the translation for Old Surehand - Book 1, but at the time, it was still called Old Surehand I. Book titles are not copyright protected (unless trademark comes into play, but that's a different matter); yet, to appease sensitivities in that direction expressed by the German source, I then titled Old Surehand II to read Old Surehand Quest II. Both volumes were published in 2007, also via BookSurge. Ultimately, when I left BookSurge/CreateSpace to utilize Lulu.com, I decided to also slightly re-design the covers, and give the two-volume edition of my Old Surehand translation a title that set them apart from any previous German or other language edition: Old Surehand-Book 1, and Old Surehand-Book 2; this also prevents confusion with Karl May's own three-volume edition, titled Old Surehand I, II, and III of 1894/95/96 respectively.

And while on the subject of Old Surehand - Book 2 ... What about Karl May's own three-volume edition, titled Old Surehand I, II, and III?

Some of the unrelated tales told in May's original Old Surehand II of 1895, have been translated and incorporated into other works: Old Shatterhand-Genesis, Inn-Nu-Woh To Merhameh, Out Of Vandaemonia, and The Rodriganda Romances. The sequence in the Jefferson City Hotel (the framework that May created to integrate said stories) has been left intact with minor adjustments where the individual texts had been inserted by May.

Readers may argue that May's original Old Surehand II ought to have been translated as it had been assembled, it is a fair comment; however, the interruption to the Old Surehand story (represented by Old Surehand II, 1895) between Old Surehand I, 1894, and Old Surehand III, 1896, in my opinion, is far too long, and many readers may lose interest, or at best, skip the unrelated stories. In the interest of Old Surehand, one of the best Wild West adventures May wrote, the alternative, two-volume treatment of the tale is the preferable choice - always noting that it is my personal opinion as translator. More about the change from the three original volumes of the 1800s to the modern two-volume presentation in the introductory section of 'Book 2'.

2006 was also the beginning of another adventure...an idea was born, the idea of Karl May's biography, enveloped within and charted via his tales and novels, focussing on Winnetou. The work didn't have a name as yet; two years later, it was going to become the first English language biography of Karl May, titled Savage To Saint: The Karl May Story.

(Footnote to Savage to Saint: in December 2006, I offered the manuscript [the first English language biography of Karl May] to a famous publisher in Germany. After waiting for several months, I enquired whether or not my email had reached them. The secretary replied: '[The proprietor] is on holidays, you will have to wait.' - I don't think so.)

The journey of translating Karl May is not simply one of 'churning through oodles of text', on the contrary, it is a fascinating event, during which I have made the acquaintance of some remarkable people.

Still in 2006 - a collaborative effort saw two other Karl May translations being published, both of which I would later re-translate to make them entirely my own work. About them a little later. Old Surehand - on hold in 2006 for the duration of the two works in question - would be published the following year.

In 2007 I was drawn to Karl May's plethora of short stories, and some of them are real gems; between the Wild West, and the first incarnation of Winnetou, when he was still known as Inn-Nu-Woh, the Sioux chief (he morphed into Winnetou soon after that publication, Inn-Nu-Woh never made another appearance), and the far-away Oriental desert, where the esoteric figure of Merhameh, the girl named Mercy, weaved her magic, I followed Karl May's globetrotting route through Russia and Siberia, the Mongolian Desert, China, to the South Seas, into the Bay of Bengal, to South Africa, up to the Aleutian, and a sleigh ride through Lapland beneath the wondrous Aurora Borealis.

I chose twenty short stories for Inn-Nu-Woh To Merhameh, and a selection of snippets from Geographical Sermons (one of May's earliest works thought to be lost, but rediscovered after his passing), as well as other short interludes, with which the short stories are interspersed.

Inn-Nu-Woh To Merhameh was first also published with CreateSpace in August 2008, but moved to Lulu.com in 2009.

While the early part of 2007 saw the two-volume edition of Old Surehand published, during the later part of the year, after most of the short stories for Inn-Nu-Woh To Merhameh were translated, I once again looked towards one of Karl May's novels; this time, and because research into the origins of my family (which can be traced back to 1581 and the Black Forest) took me to South America, namely Chile, I decided to focus on Karl May's three South American adventures, The Inca's Legacy, as well as the double novel From The Rio De La Plata To The Cordilleras. Initially, I had chosen a different title for the latter, but naively advertised it prior to its publication, which resulted in a 'pay-to-have-your-book-published' publisher hastily putting up their own version under exactly that title. However, the title I then designed (From The Rio De La Plata To The Cordilleras) more readily gives the reader the locality of the adventure.

I made a start on 'Inca' around November or December, 2007, but 2008 was just around the corner, and so was Murphy with his law. 'Inca' would not be published until early 2009, with the double-novel even further down the track.

The Inca's Legacy, a delightful adventure novel, was also published on CreateSpace, before I moved it to Lulu.com.

But ... six months before the memorable year of 2008, one particular date in 2007 became equally memorable; in fact, so memorable that I've jotted it down in my diary - it was the 3rd of July 2007. Just after 7pm, the phone rings, and a 'very important lady' from the US introduces herself. During the long phone call (and a lot of B.S.) the lady informs me that she had paid $900,000 to a German company for the sole right to use the name 'Winnetou' world-wide on anything she liked (books, films, merchandise - you name it), and that I was actually doing something illegal by translating any 'Winnetou' novel and calling it by that title. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? But, if I were to join forces with her - by which time she dropped the names of who-s-whos in Hollywood - I would soon 'make it'. She went as far as to tell me that Mr Costner of 'Wolves' fame had read my Winnetou II, was delighted, and wanted to make a movie from it. (I'm fairly sure that Mr Costner was unaware of 'my' Winnetou II, as well as the lady in question). I asked for her email address, so that we could continue the conversation in writing (I'm a stickler for things in writing, cos 'talk is cheap'), and sent off a very short email to 'make written contact', but have never heard from her again.

During the closing months of the same year, someone I shall call 'Tom Thumb', from another equally important German Karl May interest 'body', made contact with me with the view to 'publish my translation of the Winnetou trilogy under their banner, but for a "funny gag" with the first 19th century covers'. Wow! Murphy and his laws were just around the corner!

The plan for 2008 was to head into the translation of From The Rio De La Plata To The Cordilleras after The Inca's Legacy. Karl May titled this double novel set in South America El Sendador first, and then the book edition On The Rio De La Plata and In The Cordilleras (vol 1 and 2 respectively). A difficult choice for a title, as neither gives an immediate recognition of it's content, an action packed adventure set during turbulent, revolutionary times in several South American countries. Does anyone know what a 'Sendador' is? Do the individual titles convey the connection between the two novels, that volume two is the continuation of volume one?

Conveying the journey in the title FROM The Rio De La Plata TO The Cordilleras, and including 'Karl May's South America Adventure' prominently on the cover, seemed the best solution to me. Because of my own 'jumping the gun' I was forced to more closely look at this title; each of my title choices undergoes lengthy considerations.

But the best-laid plans can go awry if Murphy has a hand in them. Because 2008 would become a year to be remembered. From The Rio De La Plata To The Cordilleras (like The Inca's Legacy) would have to wait with translation and being published until later.

But first - another HIGHLIGHT - During the first week of March 2008, while researching Deadly Dust, the first half of Winnetou III, I came across some peculiar 'Spanish-sounding' expressions, for which I could not readily find an explanation. With the help of the marvellous invention of the Internet, I soon made the connection to Josiah Gregg and his two-volume work Commerce Of The Prairies. Although others had earlier made suggestions of the 'possibility that Josiah Gregg's work COULD have been a source for May's depiction of the Llano Estacado' (notably Eckehard Koch, Manfred Rauch, and Wilhelm Manig), by comparing the online edition of Gregg's work with May's passages, there can no longer be any doubt: text passages in Winnetou III (Deadly Dust), Old Surehand, and particularly Black Mustang, are based on Gregg's travel narratives. May's poetic spiel about why the Comanche chief is called 'Black Mustang', and always rides such a horse, in his 'boys adventure', Black Mustang, is especially delightful, because of the 'Wild West myth' of the fabled white mustang as penned by Gregg. Until July 2017, I made Karl May and Josiah Gregg, as well as The Story of Old Shatterhand's 'Magic' Rifle, available as a free, downloadable PDF. In August of the same year, I combined the two separate documents, because the former contained an earlier, shorter version of the latter, and amalgamated the 'Magic' Rifle texts; the book is now available as a pocket paperback from my Lulu spotlight.

Murphy came into my life late 2007, and by early 2008 was turning into a white elephant. Remember my penchant for having everything in writing? Tom Thumb did not believe in contracts ... ugh. Nevertheless, putting aside the South America Adventures, to heed Murphy's call, wasn't so bad at all. I go by the principle of never putting my eggs all in the same basket, so while I toiled away for Murphy, for each of the eggs I put in Murphy's basket, I put one in my basket as well. The result?

HIGHLIGHT - In 2008, I became the first author/translator to have translated and produced the entire unabridged Winnetou trilogy from Karl May's last authorised version of 1909; it is the first publishing of the unabridged trilogy as a homogeneous work by a single translator in English (including editing and proof reading, design and formatting, as well as cover art). As of 2017, it is still the only unabridged translation of Karl May's Winnetou that has been created by one single translator.

HIGHLIGHT - In 2008 I also published Savage To Saint: The Karl May Story, the first English Karl May biography - the 2016 edition is listed on wikipedia. As of 2017, Savage To Saint is still the only English biography of the enigmatic German author, Karl May (1842-1912); the publication earned the commendation:"(...) one of the most important books I have ever read!" by best-selling German author Walter-Joerg Langbein. Like Walter-Joerg Langbein, a sincere Karl May aficionado, I also believe that Karl May's unbelieveable success story has not yet been fully explored.

Murphy and his elephant, however, produced some waves, with the only consequence that I decided forums are, after all, not for me. After my forum signature was hacked, and spam deliberately left in my posts, and after repeated blunt attempts to discredit my work, all intended to 'dissuade' me from further research and translations of May's work (because in May's modern universe, all and sundry claim to be the sole owner of May's ideas and works), I shrugged my shoulders, and continued with my hobby. In 2014, I successfully concluded what I set out to achieve, and that was to translate all of May's Winnetou stories (and a few others just for good measure), the disruption Murphy's Law created became an amusing interlude of the thirteen years I spent with Winnetou, Old Shatterhand and their friends.

But wait, there was another 'surprise' around the corner ... in the form of a 'distinguished visit' from Germany by two representatives of yet another Karl May interest 'body'. Egad! They had come to visit the Karl May translator in Tasmania, because they weren't happy about having the translations published by 'that other mob'. The cruise on one of Pennicott's famous inflatables was a raging success (wonderful views of the tallest sea cliffs in the southern hemisphere), but I've never in my entire life heard such a continuous tirade about how evil and wrong everyone else is (I wonder if they stopped prattling even the once to look at Tasmania's vistas during the 'whirlwind tour') - my ears still ache.

To top it off, I had to hear that the learned Karel May expert, with whom I had thus far maintained regular correspondence about Karl May, and whom I shall call 'Vitzliputzli**', had changed his email address, because of too much spam. Is that why I was unable to contact the 'Karl May friend'? He had obviously taken offence when I explained to him that May never wrote a story with 'Vitzliputzli' (because THAT story is a component of Satan & Isharioth with a nameless 'scattered professor', yet is, in the separate form with a named professor, adjusted by someone else after May's death, under someone else's copyright), and without as much as a courtesy 'bugger off' simply threw me into the spam folder? Oh, dear ...

Or perhaps the failed circumventing of the copyright by means of an invented Granny who found a long-lost copy of said story in question - in her attic in Australia no less - was still stuck in his craw. Be that as it may, Vitzliputzli preferred the infamous forum as a means of taking his revenge - alas, one cannot argue with the truth, and Vitzliputzli's translation about the scattered professor called Vitzliputzli never eventuated. Ah ... such is life.

(**About Vitzliputzli and that darn story ... Once upon a time, Karl May wrote a long novel that included a romantic part, which involved Old Shatterhand, and which played in his homeland, Germany; there was a scatter-brained professor in it, yet he did not have a name. But, at the time, in the 19th century, the romance set in Germany was not what the publisher and readers wanted, and so, the editor cut the romantic bit out. After May's death, one of a number of writers, who also wrote their own Karl May stories, took said romantic part, gave the nameless professor a name - Vitzliputzli, a misspelling of the name of an old Aztec god, attributed to Heinrich Heine, and given to the nameless professor on account of his obsession with ancient languages. Because this story [the missing part in the long novel] was never published during May's lifetime, the later publishing date of the adjusted story has effectively brought this story under the continuous copyright of the German publisher. It is not in the public domain, like the rest of the novel is [Satan und Jsharioth]. But for some reason, a Karel May expert had a fixation about translating and publishing the story with Vitzliputzli - the later version - and tried all kinds of tricks to circumvent copyright; hence, I took the liberty of dubbing that expert 'Vitzliputzli'.)

By August 2008, the white elephant had turned very dull. I turned my back on Murphy and his law, and went by Frank Sinatra's tenet: "I did it my way", with my own basket of eggs. By the end of 2008, I had published almost all of my Karl May translations to that date on Lulu.com. After a false start in 2005 with Booksurge (a once independent POD publisher then bought by, and now part of, Amazon.com, called CreateSpace), I migrated my works to Lulu.com (unlike Booksurge/CreateSpace, and many others who charge hefty fees to authors, and might call $1550 'reasonable', which, in my opinion, is a slap in the author's face after the months and years researching, working, and creating a worth-while book, Lulu does not hold an author to ransom). Because I regarded (and still regard) my translating of Karl May's Winnetou novels as a hobby, I also dispensed with ISBNs. My English Karl May books are therefore available only from my 'spotlight' at Lulu.com, and that's just fine with me (see comment at the end).

Somewhere between Tom Thumb, Vitzliputzli, Murphy, and the white elephant, someone called 'Morning Dove' (yes, without the 'u'!) took offence at my horses (the ones I painted for the covers of my translations), and in another guise sent me a series of queer sounding 'interview questions', the purpose of which still eludes me, but the IP address does not; because, the owner of 'Author's Den', where the bogus interview was placed on my message board, was able to tell me where it originated: SURPRISE! ... somewhere in South D. in the 'New World' - an old acquaintance from the infamous forum (see 'waves' above).

Joining dots:

- 'Murphy's Law' "A supposed law of nature, expressed in various humorous popular sayings, to the effect that anything that can go wrong will go wrong." - so explained by Google.

- 'White Elephant' "A possession that is useless or troublesome, especially one that is expensive to maintain or difficult to dispose of." In the above case, having my translation of the Winnetou trilogy published by a 'distinguished Karl May body' in Germany was slowly turning into a monstrosity that threatened to get away from me - and take the rights to the translations with it.

- 'Very important lady', 'distinguished visitors', Tom Thumb, Vitzliputzli, Morning Dove, et al, are the names I gave to individuals who took it upon themselves (alone or jointly) to aggressively undermine my enjoyment of translating Karl May's writings (which entailed a thirteen-year long, dedicated, and disciplined work schedule that included translating; researching culture and use of language of the 19th century; researching geography, history and culture of especially American native cultures; enrolling in a program to study the function of an editor, as well as the practical application of 'editing'; actually inventing methods of successfully including traditionally painted components in digitally created/rendered files for use in cover work; formatting the text block, and finally publishing the work [why translate something if I can't hold the end-result - a book - in my hands?]). Those individuals were the actors and actresses in the various slapstick episodes. This, unfortunately, is a direct result of the fragmentation of Karl May's modern universe; I am not sufficiently curious about how this came to be and can therefore not say why it is so.

At last, in 2009, I was able to catch up on the translations I had planned for 2008: Karl May's South America Adventures The Inca's Legacy, and the first volume of From The Rio De La Plata To The Cordilleras were published in 2009, and volume two in 2010. With Murphy gone, and Lulu.com to explore, 2009 became a joyful year; after finishing the South America translations, I revisited Winnetou, this time Karl May's very last novel: Winnetou-Book 4. Again, the title was chosen to set my version of this enigmatic tale apart from others (of any language, past or present), and also apart from the actual Winnetou trilogy. Although May writes in his introduction that it is the conclusion to his Winnetou trilogy, he also states that Winnetou-Book 4 is, at the same time, the conclusion to Old Surehand, as well as his epic Satan & Ischariot.

The years 2007, 8, and 9 had been rather busy with not only a plethora of Karl May projects, but also perniciousness from various quarters, and 2010 seemed to develop in a similar vein. In the second month of that year, there was a peculiar occurrence on wikipedia, as this wiki-shitstorm details. Once that was taken care of,  I set about collecting those Karl May stories that charted the evolution of the 'young German greenhorn' in the Wild West; how he, the future Old Shatterhand, and Winnetou, his best friend and greatest chief of all Apache, developed into the blood brother pair of the later best-selling 'green books'. Old Shatterhand-Genesis was published in May 2011, and is dedicated to Lex Barker, THE Old Shatterhand of the 1960s big silver screen productions.

HIGHLIGHT - No further disruptions to the enjoyment of my hobby eventuated after the wiki-shitstorm had abated.

While translations for Old Shatterhand-Genesis progressed, the edit for the translation of Karl May's last novel, which was first published in 1910, also moved along as intended. My English edition was then published later in 2010, one hundred years after its first German language appearance.

HIGHLIGHT - The edit to Winnetou-Book 4*** became the first collaborative effort involving an entire manuscript between Karl-May-Friend Mr Philip Colston, and me. Understanding the finer points of anachronisms, and period-correct expressions were particularly valuable lessons and later gave me the confidence to embark upon my own Karl May novel (Out Of Vandaemonia).

(***In 2006 an earlier collaboration with another Karl May translator resulted in Winnetou's Heirs, bearing my cover design; it is still ghosting on Amazon.com, but is out of print. In my opinion it is warranted to point out that I refused to have my name on the cover of Winnetou's Heirs; because of its many faults originating with that collaborator, I chose to create an entirely new, and far more faithful translation: Winnetou-Book 4.)

HIGHLIGHT - To celebrate the centenary of Karl May's last novel, I not only issued Winnetou-Book 4 as a paperback, but also as an 'Expanded Edition' in hard cover, with a personal tribute to Karl May by recreating the reading of Winnetou's testament in the 'Passiflora Room'. More about Winnetou's testament in the introduction of Winnetou-Book 4, 100th Anniversary Expanded Edition.

In the same year, I finished and published the translation of Black Mustang, which I had begun towards the end of 2009****. To let the 'Jugenderzaehlungen', the 'boys adventures', or 'adventure novels' stand apart from May's 'travel fiction novels', I had re-designed the cover with the pale gold background for The Inca's Legacy; at the same time, I decided to introduce Winnetou's portrait, as well as an extra by-line, 'An Adventure with Winnetou' (in the case of an adventure novel), or 'A Winnetou Story' (on the covers of the travel fiction novels) on all my translations that tell of Winnetou.

(****see above: Black Mustang is the second of two works that I had already partly translated in 2006 during an early collaborative effort with another Karl May translator, it is still available on Amazon for between $US68.06 and $US213.15, and also features my initial cover design.)

During December of 2010, I prepared my next Karl May novel translation for 2011, The Treasure In Silver-Lake.

As the translation took its course, The Treasure In Silver-Lake developed into a truly international creation. Karl May friends from Europe, America, Indonesia, as well as Australia, turned Karl May's most acclaimed novel into a special work, and a worthy publication for the 2012 Karl May anniversary year. It was published in March, 2012, to mark the centenary of Karl May's last public appearance, a speech in Vienna - and victory over his adversaries, eight days before he passed on.

Because the English version of the movie, Der Schatz im Silbersee carries the title The Treasure of Silver Lake, or Treasure of Silver Lake, it has been suggested that an English language translation of Karl May's novel ought to also carry the title '...of Silver Lake'. I disagree; the novel title is Der Schatz im Silbersee, and it is about a treasure submerged in the lake. 'Silbersee', a German compound word (silver + lake) may be translated in two ways: Silver Lake, or Silver-Lake; because  the word 'silver' (in itself a common noun, requiring no upper case initial) attains proper noun status by being used as the name of a lake, a hyphen in this case is simply personal choice, to more closely resemble May's one-word German compound name of the lake in question, 'Silbersee', as is my preference for the preposition 'in', denoting the treasure's true location, 'in the lake'.

HIGHLIGHT - The work for The Treasure in Silver-Lake, which filled the year 2011, would become a truly rewarding endeavour. Karl-May-Friend Mr Philip Colston, designed Old Shatterhand's 'Magic' Rifle (the fabled 'Henrystutzen') especially for Silver-Lake. Detailed drawings and Mr Colston's technical explanations of the firearm's mechanism are a part of the 2012 publication of the book. In addition to this, as well as editing, Mr Colston also worked with me on 'that incredible search for the route to the lake'; finding one map in particular was - as far as my Karl May translations go - the find of the century: A map that gave us a SILVERLAKE DESERT, exactly where May had placed his fictional Silbersee.

HIGHLIGHT - Karl-May-Friend Mr Pandu Ganesa (2015) graciously detailed the history of Karl May's works, which reached Indonesia in the form of Dutch translations, as well as Karl May's continued fame in his country, and generously allowed me to reproduce some of the Indonesian Karl May book covers in the introduction to Silver-Lake. Messrs Reiner Boller and Walter-Joerg Langbein generously gave a German view of Karl May's continued popularity; and Mr Friedrich Abel, who found a life in the 'American Wild West', told how Karl May still today inspires Germans to visit America's 'Indian Lands'.

The Treasure In Silver-Lake was the twelfth full-length Karl May novel I translated since 2004; Savage To Saint: The Karl May Story, the first English language Karl May biography; Inn-Nu-Who To Merhameh, Old Shatterhand-Genesis, and The Joys & Agonies of Being Karl May, the three short story collections (counting thirty-three short stories in all, including those contained in Savage To Saint), completed the count for 2012 - for the time being, as a large new project was already well underway.

The multi-volume novels are also available in one-volume hard-cover editions, with the Winnetou trilogy in an additional, six-volume, pocket-sized edition.

Later in 2012, two bereavements highlighted how fragile life is. I was very close to both, my brother and my best Karl May friend, and they, in turn, were two sincere supporters of my endeavour to translate Karl May's Winnetou novels. There would be no new Karl May translations published in 2013. However, the months were filled with work on Satan und Jsharioth, which received the English title of The Travels of Winnetou & Shatterhand.

HIGHLIGHT - Of particular pleasure creating The Travels of Winnetou & Shatterhand, was the recreation of the 'missing' part. The original publisher in the 19th century had simply cut out the delightfully romantic part because it played in Old Shatterhand's homeland, and not in exotic, foreign locations.

Again, the title choice has been considered at length, as the words Satan und Jsharioth slightly over-emphasize the religious aspects of the work; it has no more, and no less, religious content than any of Karl May's travel fiction novels. The English title points out that the novel features the Apache chief,  Winnetou. Also in 2013, I completed the translation for The Bear Hunter's Son, and The Phantom of Llano Estacado. The two boys' adventures (or adventure novels) would be published at the same time as The Travels of Winnetou & Shatterhand, during the second half of January, 2014. In The Phantom of Llano Estacado, the intrepid, tetchy, travelling scholar and pseudo scientist, Hobble-Frank, takes the opportunity to correspond with his fans on a personal basis, and to recount one of his own adventures.

For Easter 2014, I presented a small, pocket-sized translation of four stories with a difference. Karl May wrote short adventures for a group of catholic publications, end-of-year calendars. Of course, they have more religious content; however, the calendar publications were one of May's most widely distributed promotional tools, they even took his works to America. Faraway Fables contains three Winnetou stories, and one story set in South America, where his fictional character, his alter ego, travelled under the name of 'El Rastreador' - contemplations for a peaceful Easter period.

In July 2004, I started my first translation of a Karl May novel; it was "Holy Night!". Ten years later, in July 2014 I was celebrating the milestone - translating Karl May's Winnetou and South America novels, as well as a large number of short stories - with two special publications of my Karl May art. Drawings, sketches, paintings, photography, as well as extensive digital work accompanied my translation endeavours throughout the decade. The 2015 calendar Karl May Art 2004 - 2014 features the riders that grace many covers; the publication is no longer available; however, two 'perpetual calendars' are permanently available here. The second publication, a 'picture book' titled Old Shatterhand & Friends: Karl May Art 2004-2014 comprises thirty-five pages of my Karl May art: sketches that have never before been published, digitally coloured costume photos of Karl May 1895/6, and Old Shatterhand as he travelled in Australia.

August 2014 saw the publication of Captured at Sea; in movie terms, this story could be described as a 'costume drama' or 'period drama'. The timing of the adventure can be placed during the American Civil War. Winnetou becomes involved in a chase to bring murderers and pirates to justice; the hunt takes the Apache chief to Germany for the first time, on board the sailing vessel 'Swallow'.

The last of my Karl May 'Winnetou' translations, though completed as draft in 2014, was published in January 2015: The Oil Baron. Winnetou, Old Shatterhand, Hobble-Frank, Aunty Droll, Sam Hawkens, and his side-kicks, Will Parker and Dick Stone, guide settlers through the Wild West, and foil the plans of the evil oil baron, who intends to defraud an unsuspecting banker with a massive oil swindle.

During the decade between 2004 and 2014, I have translated all Winnetou stories that Karl May ever wrote; they are:

Captured at Sea, The Bear Hunter's Son, The Phantom of Llano Estacado, The Treasure in Silver-Lake, Winnetou (1,2,3), The Oil Baron, Old Surehand (Book 1 / 2) Black Mustang, The Travels of Winnetou & Shatterhand (Satan & Jsharioth; combined in one volume), "Holy Night!", Old Firehand (1875), Winnetou (1878, re-write of Inn-Nu-Woh), An Oil Fire (The story with Red Olbers), A Blizzard (An American Double-Duel), The Scout, Old Cursing-Dry, A Mother's Love.

In 2012, I began making notes about an idea I had. Gradually, the notes grew into a manuscript; during the ensuing three years, I would gradually research the project, which would enable me to create an adventure featuring Winnetou and Old Shatterhand in Australia, accompanied by Frick Turnerstick and Hobble-Frank, in an authentic setting of Australian colonial culture, with life depicted as it might have played out during the early to mid-70s of the 19th century. In 2016, Out Of Vandaemonia then underwent extensive editing, and in December of the same year, has become the latest addition to the expanding Karl May universe.

HIGHLIGHT - The creation of Out Of Vandaemonia was without a doubt one of the most enjoyable research projects, equal to the months spent researching The Treasure In Silver-Lake, yet closer to home - set in Australia, where Karl May had repeatedly stated he had travelled. Both projects entailed co-operation with wonderful Karl May aficionados from around the world, and the exchange of ideas and thoughts in a courteous manner one expects in vain to find in forums. Mr Philip Colston's dedication, in particular, and his indefatigueable enthusiasm for Karl May's works stands out for me.

HIGHLIGHT - During 2014 and 2015, I created colour illustrations**** to accompany the new Winnetou adventure (I am an artist, after all). After trialling an electronic stylus on tablet, with various computerized painting programs on my iMacs, I found to my delight that I could do a lot more digitally than I had been able to do with traditional tools.

HIGHLIGHT - In early 2015 I received a wonderful enquiry from one of the most renown Karl May fan-fiction writers and publishers, Mr Reinhard Marheinecke, from Hamburg in Germany. Mr Marheinecke intended to have one of his Winnetou novels translated into English. Winnetou and the Old Judge became a wonderful addition to the many adventures in Karl May's imaginary Wild West that I had the privilege to experience. During the process of a translation, the translator is invariably whisked away into the imaginary world on the pages of the novel. Riding into Mr Marheinecke's plot of Winnetou and the Old Judge was a splendid adventure, and a rewarding experience; the English language novel is available here.

The last of my Karl-May projects completed on 15 September 2017. After a number of years toying with the idea of a Waldroeschen translation (for that held my interest since translating Old Surehand, because of the similarity between Dr Sternau and Old Shatterhand in many ways, and because of the Mexican adventures in May's Old Surehand II of 1895), I finally relented and in March 2014 began to chart a course through the gigantic monstrosity - the introduction to the adaptation details that course (the generous preview on the Lulu.com website features the introduction for everyone to read). The work is titled: The Rodriganda Romances - Dr Sternau's Odyssey on Three Continents. While the  original 'Waldroeschen' of 1882-4 consisted of more than one million words, the adaptation is abridged to around three hundred thousand (without compunction on my part; to paraphrase another Karl May translator who expected to 'get rich overnight': '[...]one can have much fun with May[...]').

HIGHLIGHT - Although this is not the first translation of part or parts of May's Waldroeschen (details are in the introduction to The Rodriganda Romances), it is, nevertheless, a formidable tome and represents three years of enjoyable research, abridging, synchronizing, and ensuring the various threads and arcs would, at the conclusion, find each other.

The Rodriganda Romances - Dr Sternau's Odyssey on Three Continents is an 800-page book of twenty-five chapters and just as many illustrations - one plate per chapter*****. The colour plates for The Rodriganda Romances are also available from RedBubble, as a poster and as a scarf, and as a 'sampler' booklet from my Lulu spotlight. Dr Sternau thus completes my Karl May adventure. Because of health concerns, doctor's orders are: much less computer and keyboard. And so, my life is changing once again, and other exciting projects are awaiting me.

(*****NOTE ABOUT COLOUR PRINTING AND P.O.D. - Print-on-demand cannot yet readily accommodate books with colour page inserts. A book would have to be printed on the more costly paper in its entirety. Therefore, the novels feature the greyscale renditions of the illustrations, and the colour images are available either in a companion booklet / sampler, from my Lulu.com spotlight, or as individual prints from RedBubble [@ 'My Karl May art' below or from the link on my Lulu.com spotlight].)


My English Karl May books, which focus for the most part on Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, are independently published by me via Lulu.com,  and available world-wide. They are the result of an idea that began with one book in 2004; it developped into an adventure and subsequently came to a rewarding conclusion.

My English Karl May Books: http://www.karl-may-friends.net.

My Karl May art: http://www.redbubble.com/people/tasmanianartist

facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KarlMayFriends

twitter: http://www.twitter.com/karlmayfriends

Excerpts of my Translations: http://karlmayfriends.wordpress.com

My Youtube Channel @ CoppingHeights: https://www.youtube.com/user/CoppingHeights/videos


Note about ISBN:

My Karl May translations (and all other publications) carry no ISBN.

There are two answers to the question 'why not?'.

One is long and involves explanations about the expenses, obligations and unpleasant consequences of attaching an ISBN to a publication.

The other is the short answer: Personal choice.


I created these Karl May translations primarily for my own enjoyment; ultimately I made them available to other Karl May friends and fans. My lulu.com author spotlight is the only place from which readers can purchase them; it is also the closest thing to purchasing them from the author directly - Lulu.com is a wonderful printing and shipping system for authors, making for a very efficient pipeline from author to reader, as well as the possibility of a superior value for readers.

Thank you for your interest in my Karl May books.


Marlies Bugmann, Tasmania, !5 September, 2017


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