OMW in the UK

Got official word of this, so now I can share it; Old Man’s War is now going have an official UK version, which will hit stores there on the first of June. This is opposed to the current situation, in which OMW is available only as a US import.

You ask, “are there going to be any major differences between the two editions”? I’m glad you asked. Here are some of the revisions we are thinking of making.

1. Rather than being green, all the CDF soldiers will be an enchanting paisley.

2. In the scene where the characters are eating together for the first time, the American style breakfast will be replaced with a fry-up.

3. John Perry will now be the spitting image of Hugh Laurie back in the A Bit of Fry and Laurie days. Jane Sagan now looks just like Kate Bush around about the Lionheart era.

4. John Perry is no longer from Ohio; he’s from Croydon.

5. There will be a 60% increase in British in-jokes, mostly in snippets of dialogue lifted from Monty Python, Blackadder, Red Dwarf and Little Britain, and snarky bits from record reviews in 1980s editions of Smash Hits. Chief among these is when John Perry, severely wounded, can be heard to utter, “I’m not dead. I think I’ll go for a walk.” Also, Jane Sagan now weighs the same as a duck.

6. CDF battle unitards replaced with chav-tastic tracksuits and white trainers.

7. The cover of the UK version of Old Man’s War will resemble the original hardcover artwork, except in this case, the old man on the cover will be the spitting image of Sir Cliff Richard.

8. The scene featuring the future advertising icon “Willie Wheelie” will have Willie replaced by Denny the Red Devil, a future mascot of Manchester United.

9. At least one alien species in the book previously assumed to be incomprehensible will be discovered to merely have been speaking Glaswegian.

10. While not specifically UK-related, the UK edition will add in a formerly-excised scene in which Jane Sagan is revealed to be both red-headed and John Perry’s mother, sent forward in time with the help of her twin male clones. When this is revealed, the nipples of every character in the scene immediately go spung. This scene was removed from the original book by editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden, who noted, “science fiction already has an altogether sufficient number of spunged nipples, thank you very much.”

This is all very, very true.

60 thoughts on “OMW in the UK

  1. 8. The scene featuring the future advertising icon “Willie Wheelie” will have Willie replaced Denny the Red Devil, a future mascot of Manchester United.

    Assuming, of course, that Manchester United’s cheque clears.

  2. Ha ha! I just (yesterday) got it from Amazon (US) because there was no UK version avaiable. Am currently at chapther four.

    2. In the scene where the characters are eating together for the first time, the American style breakfast will be replaced with a fry-up.

    Apropos; because of you, and the American style breakfast in OMW, I just made Belgian waffles for the first time.

  3. Methinks you have been spending entirely too much time with Charlie Stross to know that much about the UK.

    Awesome post though, I’d buy it all over again based purely on the Glaswegian alien!

  4. John, there’s an extra ten quid in it for you if you can get the editors to work in a Kirsty Maccoll reference.

  5. Spung, okay, but the question still remains. Just how do I un-sping, un-spenge, un-sponge… ah, to heck with it. I’ll just buy heavier shirts.

    “Watery tarts, handing out swords… and this is how the chain-of-command is structured?”

  6. Disappointingly, the other foreign editions are far less well tailored. In the Russian edition, it looks like Scalzi just threw in the phrase “and then they drank some vodka and ate some borscht” every few pages. Also, countless characters are now described for no particular reason as “a great admirer of Dvorak,” who wasn’t even Russian.As for the Chinese edition, the acknowlegement giving “very special thanks to Ms. Rosie O’Donnell” pretty much tells you all you need to know.

  7. Are there going to be British spelling of words: i.e. “metres” instead of “meters” and etc? That would be very classy indeed.

    Also, can you use the word “Wanker” at least once? I find the term hysterical, and personally, I don’t think we use it nearly enough here in the colonies.

  8. “will jane be wearing a kilt with a variety of weapons hidden beneath it?”

    I think it more likely that John would be the kilt-wearer. Him or Sergeant Ramirez.

  9. Jim: I was going to request someone be called a “prat.” That kills me.
    John: Kate Bush, say-wah? [remembers a white body stocking and "The Man with a Child in His Eyes."] OK, here’s a personal first: I’ve never typed the following letters in this order —
    SQUEEE!
    That is all.

  10. This list? Brilliant. So much goodness (especially for an ageing child of the 80s and recovering Anglophile).

    The one that made me laugh out loud: At least one alien species in the book previously assumed to be incomprehensible will be discovered to merely have been speaking Glaswegian.

  11. Jeff: Yeah “Prat” is good too.

    Also recommend that all Colonial Assault ships include a wet bar in the Officer and NCO messes. And all Colonial bases have a Fish and Chips franchise (or is that franchize? Bugger me, where is my American/British dictionary? I’m such a wanker when it come to these things).

  12. I sent a short story to a friend as a thank-you for something they’d done, and was quite amused to find they were delighted to discover that Marmite survives in the 29th century… We Americans have so few things to be so passionate about — pikers.

    Dr. Phil

  13. Nathan, unless you actually ARE the Queen of England I most strongly recommend that you behave yourself. You never know who’s reading this, remember how the whole Harlan Ellison thing ended up? She might actually be reading this, and then she really will be not amused. Just saying, your Majesty.

  14. And the favourite flavours characters should tend more to Bovril(TM) than to jam.

    Cheers for the Glaswegian speaking aliens. It’s time someone reminded the Scotts that we poor Yanks can’t figure it out!

    And the phrase “I’m stuffed” will take on a whole new meaning…. (I have made that mistake myself).

  15. So, um, “spung.” The inverse of sprung? Because I have no idea what this word means, and neither does dictionary.com.

  16. Actually, I liked Hugh Laurie best from Jeeves and Wooster. Can’t beat Wodehouse.

    I can understand Glaswegian. But then again, I’m from the Northern Territories.

  17. I wonder if the lilliputians, will make a come back in the Last Colony. I thought it was funny how no one wanted to die at their hands.

  18. Ah, dear, sweet Kate in any era. I always wanted to be the father of her love-child; if she had ever toured again I might have treasured her restraining order forever, but alas, it was never to be….

  19. Please also make sure that the UK version of the BrainPal uses a sort of Peter Jonesy voice. Preferably that of Peter Jones himself. Also, when the UK BrainPal is first initialized, it should display “DON’T PANIC” in large, friendly letters across the user’s field of vision. Thank you.

  20. So, urban dictionary defines Spung: Something that is so appalling and terrible that words cannot describe it. So now I am more confused than ever!!

    Ack! 42.

  21. “Spung” is, unless I’m badly mistaken, a word Robert “Pervy Old Bugger” Heinlein actually used to describe the behavior of one of his female protagonists’ (and we must consider the term used loosely here) nipples, upon arousal. This is tied into the red-headed clones comment, which is another (to my knowledge, never explained) plot device RAH seemed to have A Thing with.

    Number of the Beast if memory serves.

    I know you’re wondering, so I’ll admit to having reread it recently. Turns out it’s not as good as when you’re a sophomore in an all-boys high school.

  22. “And the favourite flavours characters should tend more to Bovril(TM) than to jam.”

    Once upon a time, Bovril was beef extract. Then the world was introduced to mad cow disease, and now Bovril is vegetable extract.

    Enquiring minds want to know what the hell the ‘Bov’ is supposed to represent, given it once (like the product) derived from ‘Bovine’.

  23. Joe Rybicki:

    “Turns out it’s not as good as when you’re a sophomore in an all-boys high school.”

    There are so many things for which this is true.

  24. I understand that the shipping charges for the UK edition will be about 20% higher. The book’s heavier, you see. All those extra “U”s.

  25. Erbo – using Peter Jones for BrainPal would involve contacts beyond even our august host, seeing as the great man went to the Green Room in the sky in 2000. Still, we are talking science fiction here…

    It is still ‘franchise’ over here.

    You are aware than Man U are the Mets of the Premiership, the team every other fan despises (not because they’re succesful but because they believe they somehow deserve to be succesful) You could lose a lot of sales that way. Would you consider a more neutral reference – the MK Dons? Hartlepool? (they hang monkeys there)

    As for impenetrable Glaswegian accents (and I only live 200 miles away) Have you ever heard Glaswegians talking amonst themselves? Such perfect queen’s English they could come from Boston. Its the secret, you know, the secret…

  26. Erbo – using Peter Jones for BrainPal would involve contacts beyond even our august host, seeing as the great man went to the Green Room in the sky in 2000. Still, we are talking science fiction here…

    It is still ‘franchise’ over here.

    You are aware than Man U are the Mets of the Premiership, the team every other fan despises (not because they’re succesful but because they believe they somehow deserve to be succesful) You could lose a lot of sales that way. Would you consider a more neutral reference – the MK Dons? Hartlepool? (they hang monkeys there)

    As for impenetrable Glaswegian accents (and I only live 200 miles away) Have you ever heard Glaswegians talking amonst themselves? Such perfect queen’s English they could come from Boston. Its the secret, you know, they can’t let anyone else know the secret…

  27. Er… sorry about the double post. Carry on while a 14th Century man struggles with 19th Century technology…

  28. Is Glaswegian as bad as Cork dialect?

    I’ve lived here for almost one and a half year and I still have problems understanding some of the locals, especially some of the taxi drivers.

    I recall sharing a taxi to the city center with someone also not a local. We arrived, asked the price and he said what sounded like “Eh?”. We asked a few times more, each time getting the same reply (only louder and more slowly each time) until we understood that he meant eight.

    To our defense, it was very ealy in the morning and neither of us had had any coffee yet, but he must’ve thought we we either stupid, semi-deaf or both.

    Also to our defense: we both don’t have English as our native language. (Ehm – I should really have some coffee before attempting to phrase something like that. Yes? Three attempts and it still sounds wrong)

  29. I’ve loved all the UK and SF references in the above posts. I’d forgotten that Heinlein used *spung*, although it should have been obvious to me from John’s paragraph about it!! Well done guys….I’ve been sitting here giggling, while my significant other, who isn’t a big SF fan, wanders in and out and wonders…did he really marry a nut??

    You’d think he’d be sure by now he did ;)

  30. “John Perry is no longer from Ohio; he’s from Croydon.”

    Yes, but will he be referred to as “bloody John Perry from Croydon”? Cos it’s not worth doing it if he isn’t, really.

  31. from a Glaswegian alien (well, I’m living in Yorkshire now)

    Glaswegian: “Oy, Scalzi! – can your mother sow?”

    Bemused look from author

    Glaswegian: “Get her to stitch this!”

    (Sharp implement’s trajectory intersects with author’s face…….)

    (Only joking – It’s an ancient Glaswegian war-cry)

  32. Joe Rybicki | February 2, 2007 10:16 PM

    “Spung” is, unless I’m badly mistaken, a word Robert “Pervy Old Bugger” Heinlein actually used to describe the behavior of one of his female protagonists’ (and we must consider the term used loosely here) nipples, upon arousal.

    Quite how a man who was married more than once (and a sailor to boot!) had such a poor understanding of the female nipple is probably a novel all to itself.

  33. Nikitta | February 3, 2007 07:08 AM

    Is Glaswegian as bad as Cork dialect?

    I’ve lived here for almost one and a half year and I still have problems understanding some of the locals, especially some of the taxi drivers.

    I recall sharing a taxi to the city center with someone also not a local. We arrived, asked the price and he said what sounded like “Eh?”. We asked a few times more, each time getting the same reply (only louder and more slowly each time) until we understood that he meant eight.

    The Corkonian dialect is more or less modern Anglo-Irish with tonal characteristics and a speed at last double that of London speech. Then add some Elizabethan quirks, such as our retention of the second person plural ‘ye’ [analogous to the Southern y'all], odd bits of local slang [norries, feckers and dubs aren't people who'd be welcome in polite company], and the occasional lapse into gaeilge (ye’re all a bunch of fecking amadáns), and you have a pretty unique dialect.

    It’s been said that Corkonian is one of the closest living dialects to the language of Shakespeare as he is spoke, although I don’t recall ever hearing the bard calling someone a fecking langer.

    But Glaswegian? I remember that there was a show about a Weegie Scunner named Rab C. Nesbitt on the box, when I lived among the Sassenachs. I took advantage of the subtitles on Ceefax[*] once, because even my Celtic ears couldn’t decipher his speech oinly to discover that the subtitles were in Phonetic Glaswegian! Some fecker in BBC Scotland was probably laughing himself sick.

    [*] Ceefax

  34. I’m American, but I did spend about a year living in Scotland a while back.

    When I was able to interpret directions given over the phone in Glaswegian, I was both proud and having the revelation I had probably been there too long…

  35. Scalzi, you’re an anglophile of the first order.
    Said anglophile should hotfoot it over here for the launch – I’ll put you up.

  36. -Look, mate, I know a dead CDF trooper when I see one, and I’m looking at one right now!
    – No, no, he’s not dead. He’s resting. Remarkable soldiers, aren’t they? Beautiful chlorophyll.
    – The chlorophyll don’t enter into it!

    -‘Tis but a scratch.
    – A scratch? You’ve got no lower jaw left!
    – Oh, chicken, eh? Come back here, you yellow bastard, I’ll bite your knees – oh, bugger.

    “Sergeant Wilson did two things on his seventy-fifth birthday. He visited his wife’s grave. And he joined the Home Guard.”

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