Tuesday, November 30, 2010

TNT: The Missing Two Volumes

As mentioned in my reviews of the TNT series, volumes #7 and #8 of the original French series were not included as part of Charter's English translation. Below I've placed the original covers for these missing volumes, published by Editions Robert Laffont in 1979.

First up is #7: Le Grand Chaperon Noir (aka The Large Black Hood). I have no idea what the book is about, but the lady on the cover certainly intrigues me:

And next there's #8: Les Cobras De Lilliput (aka The Cobras Of Lilliput) which sounds unusual, even for TNT standards; it appears that our man Tony Twin is shrunk to Lilliputlian size in this adventure!

The smart thing to do would be for some publisher to release an omnibus edition of the entire TNT series, adding on new translations of these "missing" two volumes. I for one would love to know what we're missing out on!


Jon S said...

I ordered these two from a French seller and have been slowly working my way through a "fanlation" of The Cobras of Lilliput as part of a pandemic 2021 pastime. It's been a process because I'm not fluent, but I'm somewhat literate from my two French courses back in undergrad. Google translate has proved to be a remarkable help and I'm also cross-checking vocabulary choices using a context dictionary website.


Both Benedict and TNT are searching for a man and his children in post-war Cambodia; TNT because he was a friend, Benedict because he holds the knowledge of ancient frescoes and other treasures that the French colonists DGAF about.

The "Lilliput" in the title is an analogy for a massive army of hardcore child soldiers that have overrun the island and seem to be the last vestiges of the Khmer Rouge, murdering or in general terrifying its inhabitants.

So far in my progress (about 115 pages in) I'm wondering if these last two volumes remained untranslated because they are relatively boring. Certainly there has been very little by way of excitement, at least in the first third of "Cobras."

Working through a long chapter where TNT is evading multiple sharks in the Bay of Kompong-Som was a tedious slog that took a couple of weeks for me to complete because it was so boring and I couldn't get a handle on the use of landlubber terminology for underwater action. I'll need to go back and try to shape it up some more but it's difficult to feel motivated.

Additionally, TNT feels characterized quite differently than usual, more human, more fearful, more sensitive, more destructible, less objectified; still very detached, one word responses when he chooses to speak, but also more internal thoughts than I remember from the other books (though it's been a while since my last reads), and a lot less homoeroticism – for instance, no mention of his hands just yet.

There has been some crazy shit (two words: snake orgy), and the degree of specificity characteristic to the series is amusing as always ("he took two steps south on the Champs-Élysées and made a left turn, stepping over a curb, walking into a restaurant, seeing velvet covered chairs and a golden chandelier, yadda yadda" that sort of crap).

Just doesn't seem to have the same immediate magic as most of the others, and I'm wondering if "The Black Hood" suffers from the same.

Anyway, that's the scoop so far. I'll check back in whenever it's finished.

Jon S said...

Sorry for the double post but I wanted to clarify that the title is from a musing of Benedict's that closes out Book 1:

“Oh, he’ll enter [Cambodia]. There he’ll find North Vietnamese who’ll try to capture and shoot him for espionage. In principle, he’ll escape them. And to escape them, he’ll take refuge in the mountains and the forest, where the Angkar partisans survive. Those are no ordinary supporters. They’re basically fanatic, die-hard, ruthless children. And Twin, an immense giant among pure, tough, fanatical children…”

He almost danced a soft shoe, so enthusiastic about the image building in his imagination…

“It will be just like Gulliver in Lilliput.”

Please forgive the awkward translation. As we know the text is incredibly awkward to begin with. I'll massage it when doing another pass for proofing and editing.

Joe Kenney said...

Hi Jon, thanks for the comment! That's super cool you are doing your own translation of these books! I've wondered about them for a very long time. Bummer to hear that Lilliput at least is a little slow-moving. You might be on to something; maybe that's why it was never translated. If you ever feel like sharing your translations, please let me know! I'd love to read them and review 'em here on the blog, of course crediting you for your translation work. Your excerpts above read fine to me, and actually "sound" like Victoria Reiter's translations of the other books. So I'm assuming that curious style must be inherent in the original French editions. Anyway, thanks again, and please keep us posted!

Jon S said...
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