It is widely known among Bond fans that the UK and the US edition of Charlie Higson’s first Young Bond novel SilverFin are slightly different from each other. U.S. publisher Miramax/Hyperion found it necessary to omit a sentence in which young James Bond is wrestled down by Wilder Lawless and feels "her muscular legs gripping him like steel" while she stuffs his mouth full of dead leaves. (page 208 UK, 181 U.S.)
The other known example is a sentence in which James watches an eel coming out of a dead body’s mouth (p. 227 U.K.), which has been changed into the eel coming out of the shirt colar (p. 199). This sentence, by the way has been completely omitted in the German version (p. 225), making this the only known cut from the original version in that edition.
CBn can now reveal (and it remains unclear how this could go unnoticed for so long among a bunch of avid Bond fans) that there is another major difference. Almost a whole page has been cut from the U.S. edition!
On page 160/161 of the UK edition of SilverFin, we learn that Red Kelly has brought some beer in a paper bag and also that he smokes cigarettes on their way to Loch Silverfin. The following sequence is completely missing from the U.S. edition, after the sentence "Yes, but it gets steeper from here on in.":
"And you can tell that just by looking at the map?"
"Come on, I’ll show you."
The struggled to the top and done on a pile of fallen stonework.
"Look," said James, unfolding the map again "These are countour lines; the nearer they are to each other, the steeper the ground, so you can see, we’re here, and ?"
"All right, all right, save your breath," said Kelly. "The map’s your area. Now how about a drink?" He pulled a bottle of beer out of the bag he’d been clutching.
"I don’t think that’s a great idea" said James, laughing. "Is that all you’ve brought with you?"
"Don’t you worry," said Kelly, taking a knife out of his pocket. "This’ll keep me going." He levered the top off the bottle with the blade and took a good long drink.
For a while, Kelly’s prediction seemed accurate; he was glad to be on firmer, dryer ground and he marched along singing, telling rude jokes, asking James all sorts of questions and smoking cigarettes, but slowly began to grow tired and grumpy and started complaining until James had enough.
SilverFin – UK edition
This is replaced only by two brief sentences:
“Steeper? How can it get steeper? I’ve had enough of this, mate.”
SilverFin – U.S. edition
And then both versions continue "Maybe if you didn’t moan so much, you’d have more energy for walking." (p. 137, U.S.).
Subsequently, the U.S. version does not contain a scene in which Kelly offers his last bottle of beer to Meatpacker, right after the line "Me granddaddy was from Shannon."…
"How about a drink, Mr. Meatpacker?" said Kelly, producing the last bottle of beer from his paper bag.
"Don’t mind if I do, " said Meatpacker, and he snatched the bottle, jammed it in his mouth, prised the top off with his yellow teeth and spat it out. He then took a deep breath, tipped the bottle up and drained it in one long gulp. Satisfied, he smacked his lips and let out a long contented belch.
"That’s more like it," he said.
SilverFin – UK edition
Kelly’s following sentence has slightly been altered: "So, [now we’re friends], are you going to tell us what you’re doing up here." (page 172/173 UK, page 148 U.S. edition)
These changes were obviously made for reasons of political correctness. No further comment required.
- The Charlie Higson CBn Interview
- CBn Reviews Young Bond Book 1: ‘SilverFin’
- See the Stars of ‘SilverFin’
- Young Bond Book 2 is ‘Blood Fever’