On August 6, translations of six Tom Clancy novels will hit shelves at the Shanghai Book Fair.
The books are mostly the originals of the Hollywood adaptations that have been popular with Chinese fans — The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, The Sum of All Fears — along with the latest Jack Ryan novel The Teeth of the Tiger and the non-fiction Shadow Warriors.
While this is the first large-scale release of Tom Clancy’s military fantasies on the mainland, most of these books have long been available in pirated extraterritorial and fan-produced editions. Red October even had an authorized translation two decades ago, done by Zhang Zhaozhong, professor of military strategy at the PLA University of National Defense. Zhang also participated in the retranslation (story in Chinese).
In addition to Tom Clancy, there’s another new release readers have been eagerly awaiting. Yu Hua, author of To Live, will debut Brothers, his first novel in a decade, at the fair.
The Shanghai Book Fair will take place August 6-14 in the palatial Shanghai Exhibition Center on Yan’an Zhong Lu, and will feature books from foreign and international publishers alongside displays of old and rare volumes. The theme, “Read, for a more harmonious life,” echoes Hu Jintao’s current push for a “harmonious society.” Not that the fair is any place to go to find harmony; 200,000 people attended over the course of six days last year, and this year is set to be bigger and longer.
But not uncut (story in Chinese). Tom Clancy, at least, does not make it to the mainland in one piece. In response to a reporter’s question, “We all know that Tom Clancy is a right-wing author. How do the Chinese translations address his political leanings?” the series editor Li Yuyao said:
There really isn’t that big of a problem with the other books, but in The Hunt For Red October, there were a few places in which the treatment of the former Soviet Union was troublesome, so we made some necessary cuts. No more than a few hundred words, though.
Shanghaiist makes the bold prediction that SSN and The Bear and the Dragon will not be appearing in your local Xinhua bookstore anytime soon.
Shanghai Book Fair at the Shanghai Exhibition Center, 1000 Yan’an Zhong Lu (延安中路1000号), August 6-14, 1 pm-9 pm daily. Tickets: 10 yuan. All domestic books in the fair are 20 percent off. Tel: 6279-0279.
Tom Clancy translations and their covers
Shanghai Book Fair info from Sina (in Chinese)
This story is cross-posted at Danwei.