The Last Big Explosion

Among other things that happened over the holiday, a Japanese acquaintance came to visit my wife and I for some help in converting a photograph so she could apply for the green card lottery. While she was here, I flipped a software switch in my iBook that allowed her to read and type Japanese characters so she could check one of her old e-mail accounts.

While she was showing me how she used a Qwerty keyboard to type the characters, she plugged my name into a Japanese search engine and was reading me some of the results. One of the most interesting things was the way the titles of my books changed for their Hayakawa editions:

The Company Man became Corporate Wars I and Corporate Wars II (Hayakawa decided to split that one into two parts… sounds familiar, doesn’t it?).

Desperate Measures became Do Anything for the Big Project, or as my wife succinctly put it, Try, Try Again.

Precious Cargo was a little more problematic. The title used some older characters that our friend had to look up. Their basic sense was that of a type of emissary send by the (pre-WWII) emperor to another country for the purpose of learning. This ultimately rendered Stalked Ambassadors.

The Essence of Evil had the most interesting change, probably since it was a play on words that probably didn’t translate well. It became The Last Big Explosion.

I thought the titles were all appropriate in their own way. I thought it was interesting that they were not catchy or high-concept in the way that we conceive them, but instead described in their own concise way the basic thread of the story.

Now that my curiosity is piqued, I need to look up my Russian acquaintance to see if and how the titles changed on the AST editions.


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