Margaret Marks of Transblawg posts about a Neil Gaiman interview in which he discusses differences between American and British editions of his books (scroll down to 6) As a Brit living in the US I feel very aware of… – by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) if you want to skip the other questions); Margaret quotes a very amusing anecdote about changing flat, and here are a few more paragraphs:

I’ll happily change words when they mean different things—a pavement in the UK is what an American would call the sidewalk, while the pavement in the US is what Brit would regard as the road. If I have a girl bleeding on the pavement in the US edition, the meaning has changed, so I’m happy to move her to the sidewalk.
A phrase like “It’s all a bit of a pantomime,” would mean something very different in the US to the UK—and not in a way that would make a reader stop and realise that English Panto is a long way from “mime”.
The first time it happened was with Terry Pratchett, when the US editor wanted us to explain things like Firelighters and English Currency in Good Omens, but we had so much fun with all the extra footnotes and things they crept back into the UK edition. So the Gollancz first edition hardback has fewer footnotes and a slightly darker plot than the current paperback versions on either side of the Atlantic. There were other differences—Terry changed my Cheers joke to a Golden Girls joke, because he didn’t watch Cheers but quite liked the Golden Girls, and I changed my demons dance like the English band in the Eurovision Song Contest line to one about demons dancing like a white band on Soul Train because I suspected Eurovision Song Contests gags might not play in Des Moines.
Stardust I worked hard to keep the same—even down to the spelling of grey. The UK edition of American Gods isn’t the same as the US edition—partly because I got the galley proofs back a week apart and I was fairly punctilious about making sure that the US version contained as few anglicisms as possible, but much less bothered if the occasional stray “car park” instead of “parking lot” crept into the UK text.


  1. Your second link there (to the interview) is broken, by the way.

  2. OK, I think I fixed the link. Many thanks.

Speak Your Mind