DWJ sans frontiers

Kyla Tornheim kyla at sccs.swarthmore.edu
Tue Jun 7 09:41:21 EDT 2005


On Tue, 7 Jun 2005 minnow at belfry.org.uk wrote:

> This doesn't always work.  One girl (too young to remember the days before
> mobile phones, was how DWJ put it) was given the job of changing the
> pre-decimal currency in *The Ogre Downstairs* to its modern equivalents,
> and somewhat overstepped her brief.  Luckily the "corrected" proofs were
> sent to DWJ -- this was the occasion upon which her son seriously
> contemplated getting her a rubberstamp made of the word STET! to save her
> from writers' cramp.  All the jokes had been revised, and the LPs had been
> turned into CDs, and so on and on and on.

Ugh, how horrible! That's even stupider than assuming Americans won't ever
be able to understand that jumpers are sweaters and chips are french
fries. If a book is set in a particular time period, well, it should just
*stay* there. And I'm sure there's stuff about scratching LPs, not just
letting them get dusty; and who goes to a discotheque these days, anyway?
(Was changing the pre-decimal currency really necessary, too? I mean, you
say "crown" and I go, "oh, that's a reasonable amount of money," and you
say "sixpence" and I go, "oh, that's not so much in comparison." It
doesn't really matter, even though I do admit to being distracted in a
recent reading of...*April Lady*, I think it was, trying to figure out how
much our heroine would still be in the hole, if she owed 300 guineas and
got repaid 300 pounds, or something like that.)

> And then there was "parking lot" for "allotment", which was tried on for
> *Black/Aunt Maria* -- and the title itself: "nobody in America would
> understand about "Black Maria" being a card game", they said.  It isn't as
> if it were explained in the first paragraph of the book, right?

And there are never, ever book titles that are confusing, right?

> They also asserted that nobody in America would know what "muesli" was --
> so DWJ sent them the American muesli packet she happened to have in her
> house, with the name writ large on it along with "Made in the USA" or
> equivalent, and she won that argument.  Or at least I think she did.  Does
> anyone have an American edition called *Aunt Maria*, and could they check
> that what Mig is forced to eat in the orphanage is still muesli?

I do, and I have, and although it's capitalized, Mig does eat Muesli. I
think the first muesli I ate was in Sweden, but it's certainly available
here.

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Spike: So. Who do you kill for fun around here?
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