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Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.

Blog

Fri 18
Nov
2005

More International Jens

Jennifer Government Horrific Swedish cover for Jennifer GovernmentMy local delivery guy is very impressed with my parcels. When he comes to deliver a box, he says, “It’s from New York,” his eyes filled with awe, as if New York is a magical, mythical place, floating above the rest of the world on the back of a giant turtle and inhabited by knights and princesses, none of whom send packages. And this guy is an international courier. He must be exhausted when he gets home at nights, after reading all those thrilling exotic addresses.

But my latest box was exciting, because it had some foreign editions of Jennifer Government fresh off the presses from Spain and Brazil. The Spanish one was especially cool, because I didn’t know it was being published there. But, unless this is some kind of elaborate hoax, I guess it is.

Foreign editions usually come as a surprise to me, because the chain of people required to pass along the news is longer than two, which I’ve worked out tends to be the practical limit. For example, I discovered that there’s a truly amazing Swedish edition courtesy of site member Kalle, who posted the details in the comments here. Kalle was even better than my publisher would have been, supplying a translation of the blurb:

Jennifer Staten is a hard and breathtakingly funny thriller. The government agent Jennifer is struggling against baby-sitter problems in the same time as she has too save the world from aggressive marketing methods like torture, mass murder and strategic nukes… A satire from the wonderful world of the big companies, not too unlike from our own…

The 32-year old bestseller author Max Barry is probably the worst that has happened to the big companies since Michael Moore.

He is definitely the best that has happened too SF-satire since George Orwell.

They say “definitely,” so you know it’s true. Unlike the references to torture and strategic nukes, which I’m pretty sure aren’t in any book I ever wrote. That’s a pretty interesting way to entice readers: advertise parts of it that don’t exist. I don’t know if that’s a sound way to build repeat readers. I’m also curious about their apparent targeting of people who are smart enough to know George Orwell, but gullible enough to believe I’m the best writer in 50 years. And as for that cover… well, at least that would seem to guarantee that very few people will be getting to the end of Jennifer Staten only to wonder, “Hey, where were the tactical nukes?”

I also found out about a forthcoming Chinese version from the translator, a guy called Wayne Fan. I (eventually) wrote back to thank him for letting me know, and then, because I couldn’t resist, said:

I’ve always wanted my books to be translated by a Fan. (Boom boom.)

Wayne wrote back:

Thought you are too busy to return my Fan mails.

Nice. Should be a good edition, then.

Comments

This is where site members post comments. If you're not a member, you can join here. There are all kinds of benefits, including moral superiority!

Tim Ashwood (#595)

Location: Sydney
Posted: 3260 days ago

Awesome comparison - "worst ... since Michael Moore". We know they mean it in a good way too. Or is that to? Maybe just go with 2, huh?

Rob2Kx (#1125)

Location: Canada
Quote: "Anything for laughs even if it kills you"
Posted: 3260 days ago

I don't get it... I thought the Chinese guy was a real translator? Is he just like a fan who knows Chinese?

Peter N.Bernath (#1041)

Location: Stockholm - Sweden
Quote: "Errr... Is that a tree growing out of your head? - Fallout 2"
Posted: 3260 days ago

I saw that cover about twp weeks ago and thought; OMG!!! I have to e-mail Max Barry and let him know what they have done to his fine work!

Ten minutes later when I met my girlfriend I forgot all about it... But it made its way here anyway!

I knew a Swedish translation was in the making, but it never occured to me that they would change the cover. I just hought that they would use one of the existing ones. When I finally saw the cover I decided that I would NEVER buy "Jennifer Staten" with that cover (sorry Max...). It is so ugly it... No, I'm not gonna' get into that. But since I'm Swedish myself I always thought that once the translation would come out, the cover would be better than say, the German one.

I thought everyone in Sweden realized that Max Barry doesn't deserve this degree of humiliation, but sadly i was mistaken. I hope you get over it Max, I know I wont... ;)


Rob2Kx: The translators name is "Fan". Max made a joke about his name.

The translator took it quite well actually... ;)

Justin Holt (#147)

Location: Rochester, NY
Quote: "www.justinholt.net"
Posted: 3260 days ago

The name Jennifer Staten makes it sound like a book about a girl somebody went to school with. The small picture of her sort of looks like what you'd get if you crossed a female 007 with Catwoman. But the part about the nukes and torture is pretty cool. For a second, before I read further, I had to think to myself, 'Dammit, did I miss all of that?'

Luiz Eduardo (#1601)

Location: Minas Gerais, Brazil
Quote: "Guns don't kill people, people kill people"
Posted: 3260 days ago

The spanish one is cool. However, that barcode in the skull wasn't a good idea. The swedish one is okay. The chinese may be a interesting one too...

And, max, how could you don't know that your book was being published?? You are supposed to know, right??

Cogitation (#836)

Location: New York City
Quote: "Think about it for a moment."
Posted: 3260 days ago

"My local delivery guy is very impressed with my parcels. When he comes to deliver a box, he says, “It’s from New York,” his eyes filled with awe, as if New York is a magical, mythical place, floating above the rest of the world on the back of a giant turtle and inhabited by knights and princesses, none of whom send packages." --Max

You mean I *never told you*? We always have traffic jams coming into and out of the city because this reptile never wants to hold still. :p

...and we *don't* send packages. What you got was probably sent by a servant who lives in Jersey.

Greg Karber (#1568)

Location: gregkarber.com
Posted: 3259 days ago

Man, now I really want to see the Swedish cover.

Picto (#64)

Location: United Kingdom
Quote: "Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark or the man afraid of the light? - Maurice Freehill"
Posted: 3259 days ago

Ha! I can see why you couldn't resist. I've just chuckled after reading that too hehe.

Kalle (#1278)

Quote: "Sex is herital. If your parents never had it, chanses are you'll never have it either."
Posted: 3258 days ago

I feel ashamed of my country. Not only do we produce the worst movies in the world(Bollywood doesn't count :D) but we also created that book cover. I have to go and slap myself now.

Machine Man subscriber Roger (#1653)

Posted: 3258 days ago

What the hell is up with the German cover?

Machine Man subscriber Adam (#24)

Location: Morristown, Indiana
Quote: "Why do I blog? Simple, because Max Barry blogs."
Posted: 3257 days ago

(INSERT DATE)

(INSERT WITTY TITLE)

(INSERT INANE BABBLE RELATING TO MAX BARRY)

(INSERT ANOTHER TITLE)
(INSERT MORE BABBLE)

(INSERT STUPID SALUTATION)
(INSERT NAME)

(INSERT PS)


Michael (#1299)

Location: Northern California
Quote: "Chugachugachoochoo"
Posted: 3239 days ago

I'm fairly sure that the 'official text translation' (according to, uh, me) of a rimshot is actually:

"Barumbum..cha!" and not "Boom boom"

I could be mistaken, however.

Machine Man subscriber Craig Barron (#1276)

Location: Leeds, UK.
Quote: "“Trust Elizabeth to get upset over a donut.”"
Posted: 3235 days ago

Logo Land

"Welcome to Logo Land, would you like to by some Logo Land Dollars?."


Have a look at: http://www.thrillermagazine.it/libri/980/
The google translation to English made me laugh !


Peter Moore (#1877)

Posted: 3234 days ago

Hey Max,

I was just in Stockholm and came across this window display in a bookshop in Gamla Stan, the old part of town. It's part of a Christmas sale apparently. Maybe you should offer to go over and sign a few copies.

<img src="http://www.petermoore.net/blog/05_12/max_barry_jen_staten.jpg">

Traveller (#1939)

Location: Amphetamemeia
Quote: ""Surely you didn't mean select THAT button. That button is for serious people.""
Posted: 3226 days ago

Max? How about a sequel to Jennifer Government? Sequel? Sequel? :)

Christine (#1953)

Location: Philippines
Quote: "to live is to suffer, but to survive, is to find meaning in the suffering."
Posted: 3219 days ago

yeah sequel? suequel?

Phillip Watt (#665)

Location: Wodonga, Australia
Quote: "The voices in my head tell me what to do."
Posted: 3137 days ago

High Max.
I've just gone and put a $20 dollar deposit on Jennifer Government. Your one of my favourite authors.

How do you become a freelance editor. My support worker thinks
I have exceptional editing skills.

I suffer from schizophrenia and am on a DSP. I am doing a Dip of IT at tafe, which will take me 2 years.

Have you thought of making Jennifer government JAVA games?

I'm learning java and could probably make some for you eventually when I learn 3D programming.

My nations link is as follows, http://www.nationstates.net/wattstralia

Katy (#2345)

Location: Los Angeles
Posted: 3120 days ago

Sequel? Sequel?


Also, I'm only 15, but I love grammar. Hey, *I* could be your freelance editor. Eh? EH? Forget that Phillip Watt character! (Sorry, Mr. Watt, sir.)

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