Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 204

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 204

…I don’t suppose Ace is a single man???

Scroll-Spells

This adventure has a Harry Potter feel to it

“This parchment is so pristine, so refined, that it is almost beyond human means to produce it.”

Sarah the librarian is exhausted by the sheer depth of this experience.

“We appreciate your expertise, Miss Sauer,” Constance retrieves the scroll from her hot little hands and begs their departure.

“Keep it sealed tightly and out of direct sunlight. I don’t know where you are going with this, but you must be on a mission of some sort.”

“You could say that. We are part of a battle right now,” stating the simple truth. “If you’re interested, and you seem to be, keep your eye on the Billy Graham Crusade, he is touring the Midwest and may be coming this way.”

She hands the librarian a CCPI business card, “If you flash this around, it will open some doors, seeing that we have more than a few friends involved in behind the scenes stuff, in fact, we are going to meet up with the Crusade to deliver this,” she raises the scroll, “to Mr. Graham himself. May we use your telephone, my dear?” she motions at Ace to call the Graham Telephone Switchboard. “Find out where they are and where they’re headed.”

“You’ve got it CC!” he responds mockingly-joyfully. The exact status of their relationship is not in plain sight.

While Ace is on the other side of the long front desk, Miss Sauer mentions, “He sure is dashing, in an Errol Flynn sort of way. Is he in the movies?”

“He is dashing, is he not? He flies airplanes, is an explosives expert, drives an Alpha Romeo convertible and has stared down the devil in person.”

“I don’t suppose he is a single man?”

“He is, but given the chance, there is more than one woman who would fight you over his hand (inferred: including me).”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 172

Top 10 Best Sellers – WIF Bookshelf

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Best Selling Novels

of All-Time

91109-top-10-books2

Since these are the bestselling novels of all time, you will not find any non-fiction, religious, or political books, like The Holy Quran, The King James Bible, and Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung. If we were to include them, they would be the top three in the order that they are listed.

 We chose to exclude those books because people had a spiritual or political reason to buy them. Would these books have become mega bestsellers without religious or political pressure? Who knows, but it is a major influential factor, so they have been left off the list.

nstead, these are all fictional stories that were written by a single person who sprung the idea from their head.

10. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown: 80+ Million

On this list, you will find some of the greatest books that showcase some of the most esteemed authors to ever live. And then there’s The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. This book that has its own Wikipedia page dedicated solely to people’s criticism of it, ranging from its historical and religious inaccuracies to its poor literary quality. Despite this, some people must have liked it because 80 million copies have been sold since it was published in 2003, and the series it’s a part of has inspired not one, but three disappointing movies from Tom Hanks and Ron Howard.

The book starts off with a murder in the Louvre in Paris, and Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is called to the scene because the victim, the curator of the museum, wrote a coded message in blood. Soon, Langdon and cryptologist Sophie Neveu Abraham are following clues to uncover a secret that has been protected for over 2,000 years. Since there are 80 million copies out there, then there is probably a good chance you know that the secret is Jesus Christ had children with Mary Magdalene. If you didn’t, well, at least now you don’t have to read The Da Vinci Code and you can pick a better book to spend your time reading.

9. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis: 85+ Million

Irish-born Clive Staples Lewis went to Oxford University and specialized in literature and philosophy. After school, he was given a teaching position with Magdalen College, which is a part of Oxford. While there, he joined the literary discussion group, the Inklings, which included another author on this list, who wrote the book in our #6 spot.

Lewis was a prolific writer, but he is best known today for his seven-book series The Chronicles of Narnia. The most famous book and introduction to the series, and the bestselling book of the series, is The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, which was published in 1950.

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe takes place in 1940 and tells the tale of four English siblings who are sent to the English countryside because of the Blitz. While there, they discover a magical wardrobe that is a gateway to another world, Narnia, which is full of talking animals and magical creatures. When the children arrive, the world is in perpetual winter because the White Witch has cast a spell to keep Narnia frozen. To help their friends in Narnia, the children must work together to defeat the White Witch and break her spell.

At first, the critics didn’t love The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, but readers did. It’s estimated that over 100 million copies of it have been sold. The other books in the series were also bestsellers, but none of them reached the levels of the first book.

8. Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin: 100+ Million

One of China’s greatest novels is Dream of the Red Chamber, or The Story of the Stone, which was written by Cao Xueqin, a writer and painter who was homeless and drank too much. He wrote the book in chapters during the 1750s and he exchanged the chapters with friends and family, often for food or some wine. He died in his 40s in 1763.

A collection of the chapters formed into a novel wasn’t published until 1791. However, even today, it is debated what the true version of the story is. There have been alternate endings that have survived and even completely different manuscripts have popped up. Today, there is an academic field solely dedicated to studying the variations of Dream of the Red Chamber called “Redology.”

Often compared to Gone With the Wind, Dream of the Red Chamber is a sprawling saga about the decline of a wealthy family and it is full of astute observations about life in 18th century China. It’s a massive book, the English edition is over 2,500 pages long, and there are over 400 characters and several different story lines. One of the most famous storylines involves a man named Jia Baoyu, who is in love with one of his cousins, but he is forced to marry a different cousin and this leads to a terrible tragedy.

The book was a massive hit in China, especially after a TV version was released in 1987, and it is believed that over 100 million copies of the book have been sold.

7. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie: 100+ Million

Arguably the most famous crime writer of all time is Agatha Christie, who is also considered the bestselling author to ever live. In total, she wrote 66 novels and 14 short story collections and she supposedly sold 200 billion of them; which is 28 books for every single person on Earth. Her bestselling novel of all time is And Then There Were None, which has a plot line that is so famous that you’ve probably seen dozens of variations of it in movies and television shows.

In the book (which had a really, really unfortunate original title), 10 strangers are lured to an island under false pretenses. The only thing that all of them have in common is that they were all somehow involved in the death of another person, but managed to avoid punishment. Then at dinner, they are accused of their crimes and told that throughout the night, they would be killed one-by-one. Sure enough, the characters start to die in a manner that resembles the lines in the nursery rhyme “Ten Little Indians,” which is where the novel gets its name, because the last line of the rhyme is “And then there were none.” The killer and how they performed the murders is then revealed in a post script.

The book, which is considered to be Christie’s masterpiece, has sold over 100 million copies to date.

6. The Hobbit by J.R. Tolkien: 100+ Million

While he was a professor of linguistics at Oxford University, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was grading some papers when he suddenly wrote a line about a creature called “a hobbit.” From that line grew the book The Hobbit, which was published in 1937. At first,The Hobbit was considered a children’s book. However, that view continued to evolve with the publication of the Lord of the Rings trilogy in 1954 and 1955 and this expanded its audience.

The Hobbit has never been out of print and got a resurgence when the Peter JacksonTolkien movies were released. In total, it’s estimated that over 100 million copies of The Hobbit have been sold.

Of course, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is also a mega-bestseller. According to Forbes, over 150 million copies of the trilogy, which includes single books and all three in a single collection, have been sold.

5. Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling: 107+ Million

The story of Joanne Rowling, better known as J.K., is almost as Cinderella-esque as the protagonist of her blockbuster franchise, Harry Potter. Rowling was a single mother living on welfare in Edinburgh, Scotland, and she typed the original manuscript on a typewriter; meaning that if she changed one paragraph, she had to change anything that followed it. When she finished the manuscript in 1995, she looked around for a publisher, but was rejected by a dozen of them. One of the big problems with The Philosopher’s Stone (which is called The Sorcerer’s Stone in the United States) is that it was twice as long as the average children’s novel.

The winds of fate changed for Rowling when the chairman of a small publishing house called Bloomsbury let his 8-year-old niece, Alice, read the first chapter of the book. After she did, she demanded that he give her the rest of the book. Bloomsbury agreed to publish the book and gave Rowling a $2,400 advance. They also told her to get a day job because people didn’t make a living from writing children’s books.

Today, Rowling is worth about $910 million (she was a billionaire, but dropped off of Forbes billionaire list in 2012, because of charitable donations and Britain’s high tax rates), and it all stemmed from that book that couldn’t find a publisher and no one thought would be successful. That first book in the series has sold over 107 million copies as of 2010.

The rest of the books in the Harry Potter series were also smash hits and it is considered the biggest book franchise of all time. As of 2013, before the release of The Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, there were 450 million Harry Potter books in print.

4. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: 140+ Million

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was a French aristocrat, writer, and pilot. After the Fall of France, Saint-Exupéry went into exile and ended up in New York City, where he continued to write. In the second half of 1942, he wrote and illustrated his magnum opus, The Little Prince. The novella was published in 1943 in North America, even though it was originally written in French because Saint-Exupéry spoke English poorly. It wouldn’t be published in France until 1946, an event that Saint-Exupéry wouldn’t live to see. In 1943, he joined the Free French Air Force and in 1944, he disappeared while doing a reconnaissance mission over Germany. His ID bracelet was found 50 years later in a fisherman’s net off the coast of Marseilles, but his body has never been found.

The Little Prince looks like a children’s book, but it actually has a lot of keen observations and insights regarding human nature and relationships. The book is about a pilot who crashes in the Sahara desert and meets a young boy with curly blond hair. The boy tells the pilot that he’s a prince that fell from a small planet called Asteroid 325, however on Earth we call it Asteroid B-612. The Prince left his home after he fell in love with a rose and he caught her in a lie, so he is traveling across the universe to cure his loneliness.

While the story and the pictures are a bit simplistic, the complexity of the emotional impact has resonated with readers for decades. It has been translated into 250 languages and two million copies are sold every year. Altogether, it’s estimated that 140 million copies of The Little Prince has been sold since 1943.

3. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: 150+ Million

Famed Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho’s beloved novel The Alchemist was published in 1988, and it is about Santiago, a young Spanish boy who has a dream that urges him to go to Egypt. Before he sets out, he learns about the Personal Legend, which is something that someone always wanted to do with their life. If someone decides to follow their own Personal Legend, then the universe will try to help them. And the universe is a very powerful ally. If the universe will bend to help a person on their Personal Legend, then it’s possible to do the impossible, like alchemy, which is the process of turning lead into gold.

The book and its message of following one’s dreams has made it a favorite of many famous people. Pharrell Williams gets choked up when he talks about the book, whileWill Smith thinks of himself as a metaphorical alchemist. If you know anything about Oprah, you shouldn’t be surprised that Oprah loves it. She suggested it to Madonna, who said that it was life changing.

Of course, non-famous people also love The Alchemist as well, quite a few of them in fact. In under 30-years, 150 million copies of The Alchemist have been sold.

2. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens: 200+ Million

Charles Dickens was born into a poor family in England in 1812. When he was just 12-years-old, his dad was put into prison over debt and Dickens had to drop out and work in a run-down factory labeling cans. He was able to go back to school when he was 15, but only for a short time before he was forced to drop out again to work as an office boy to help out his family. A year later, Dickens started working as a freelance reporter. He also became a notable cartoonist who published under the name Boz. His work as a writer and cartoonist eventually led to his first novel, The Pickwick Papers, which was published in 1837.

22-years later, Dickens’ published the book that would go on to be his bestselling and arguably his greatest piece of work, A Tale a Two Cities. The book takes place before and during the French Revolution and is set both in England and France. It follows over a dozen characters, both peasants and aristocrats. It’s a rich and complex book that has been a bestseller since it was published in weekly installments from April 30 to November 29, 1859.

While it is impossible to figure out the exact number of copies that have been sold in the 150 years since it was released, most estimates put the sales figure at around 200 million copies.

1. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra: 500+ million

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s Don Quixote does have a huge advantage over the other books on this list; mainly it’s centuries older than all of them.

Don Quixote is considered the first modern novel and was published in 1605. It follows the adventures of Alonso Quixano, an elderly man who lives in La Mancha, Spain. As he loses his sanity, he reads books about chivalry and decides to become a knight. He declares himself Don Quixote de La Mancha and sets out on his old horse, Rocinante, with his loyal assistant at his side, Sancho Panza, to right wrongs and dish out justice. However, nothing goes right from the start and he gets into a bunch of hilarious adventures.

The book was an instant hit when it was released and it was reprinted six times in its first year, but Cervantes didn’t profit much from it and died poor in 1616. After his death, the popularity of the novel continued to flourish and the book is still popular today. In 2005, which was the 400th anniversary of the original publication, 10 publishing houses released a version of the book. One version from the Royal Spanish Academy sold out their entire stock of 600,000 copies in two months in Spain and Latin America.

To get an estimate of how many copies of Don Quixote have been sold since 1605, the website Lovereading.co.uk, calculated how many editions and how many translations classic novels have gone through. By their estimates, Don Quixote has been translated into 25 languages and there have been 963 editions, which calculates to over 500 million copies.


 Top 10 Best Sellers

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– WIF Bookshelf

Movie Adaptations – WIF Bookshelf to Movies

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Movie Adaptations to

Convince People

to Read the Book

There are a variety of reasons for this, like having to condense for time, and having some things that work in book format simply won’t work on the big screen. So many times, changes are necessary; characters and subplots are chopped, and the story is streamlined. The result is that in most cases, you simply can’t get away with watching the movie and then claim you read the source material. But then there are a select few movies that are so faithful that you can watch them, tell people you’ve read the book, and no one will tell the difference. Students doing book reports, you’ll thank us later for this list.

10. Charlotte’s Web

After being published in 1952, Charlotte’s Web grew to be a beloved children’s novel. The story of a runt piglet befriending a spider that can spell things in her web screamed for a film adaptation, but an adaptation wouldn’t become a reality until 21 years later when Hanna-Barbera released an animated version of the story.

For those who aren’t interested in reading the book, the movie is very faithful to the story, the characters, and the plot points. But if you want to claim you readCharlotte’s Web after just watching the movie, there is one major difference you should know about – the musical numbers are only in the movie. There are no songs or rhymes in the book. In fact, that was the part of the film that source author E.B. White hated about the film. So as long as you don’t mention any songs, you should be good discussing the book Charlotte’s Web.

9. The Outsiders

The similarities between the book and the film The Outsiders starts with the very first line, “When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home…” From there, the film goes on to be a very faithful adaptation of the book that was mostly written when author S.E. Hilton was only 16-years-old, and it was published in 1967. The movie was directed by Francis Ford Coppola, who of course directed all three Godfather movies, and was released in 1983. The film also stars a ton of (at the time) up-and-coming stars like Patrick Swayze, Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, C. Thomas Howell, and Matt Dillon.

The Outsiders is about two rival gangs, the poor Greasers and the rich Socs, and things escalate when one of the gangs kills a member of the other gang. Luckily for those who don’t feel like reading the book, the movie has the same story verbatim. Beside the story, all the characters from the book are in the film, as is most of the dialogue. The major difference between the book and the film is that in the book, Dallas Winston is notable for having blond hair, while Matt Dillon was cast in the role, and he has dark hair. But, really, that’s pretty much it. You can simply plunk down for 90 minutes and watch the film, then talk about reading the book without even cracking its spine.

And a bonus with the movie that you don’t get in the book is that you get a cheap laugh from seeing Tom Cruise before dental surgery.

8. The Silence of the Lambs

Published in 1988, The Silence of the Lambs was adapted into an Academy Award winning film in 1991. With The Silence of the Lambs being a well-liked, but gory bestseller, people weren’t sure what to expect when the movie came out. Amazingly, the film kept all the same characters, story, and even the grotesque gore. The only difference that is noticeable to the casual reader/viewer is one ofthe most famous lines. In the book, Lecter says “A census taker tried to quantify me once. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a big Amarone.” Whereas in the movie, the census taker tried to test him once and he had a Chianti instead of an Amarone.

One critic went as far as saying that the film was actually scarier than the novelbecause the feeling of dread is thick on screen, whereas the book reads like a hard hitting newspaper article. So not only can you actually lie about reading the book, but watching the movie can be a more suspenseful way to enjoy the story.

7. To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee’s brilliant novel To Kill a Mockingbird was a bestseller, winning Lee the Pulitzer Prize in 1960. Two years after being published, the book was adapted into a film, and much like the book, it was a huge hit. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards and took home three. One of the awards was for Best Adapted Screenplay.

One thing that definitely helped the film’s success was that it is incredibly faithful to the original novel. Another aspect was the perfect choice of casting Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch. It’s impossible to read the book without picturing Peck as the brave lawyer. With that being said, there are slight differences between the film and the book. For example, some of the subplots involving Scout and Jem are dropped, but they are not significant to the story and this makes the adaptation a leaner, but ultimately faithful telling of the story. The differences are so minor that they are forgettable and unnoticeable to the casual reader/viewer. Unless you’re debating the finer details of the book with someone who wrote their Master’s thesis on To Kill A Mockingbird, feel free to watch the movie and tell people that you read the book.

6. The Age of Innocence

Arguably the most unusual film in Martin Scorsese’s impressive filmography is 1993’s The Age of Innocence. The period piece drama was adapted from the 1920 Pulitzer Prize winning book by Edith Wharton and it was the first book by a woman to win the Pulitzer. The book takes place in New York in the 1870s and is known for its amazing depiction of the life of people living in high society at the time. The story involves a young lawyer who is about to wed, but who starts to fall for the bride-to-be’s cousin, who in turn has just returned to the family home after separating from her husband.

Besides just being an odd choice for Scorsese, which he directed between Cape Fear and Casino, the film is also known for being incredibly faithful to the book. It was so faithful that it was a problem with some critics because the characters are a bit stiff in the film. But if you’re looking to just watch the film so you can talk about the book, The Age of Innocence is an ideal candidate.

5. Atonement

If sweeping epics are your thing, but you just don’t want to take the time out to read one, check out Atonement, based on Ian McEwan’s 2001 novel of the same name. The book and movie are about how even little lies can have monumental effects on people’s lives. The story starts off in 1935 in England, where a young girl misunderstands a sexual encounter that she witnesses between her sister and the son of a groundskeeper at her family’s home. The story advances through World War II until the present day.

McEwan’s writing style is quite poetic, but luckily the style of the film has thesame vibrancy of the novel. Basically, the movie looks as pretty as the words on the page. So if you talk about how nicely written Atonement is and remember plot points from the film, no one will realize you haven’t read the book.

4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

The first book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, is an exciting book with a solid mystery that hints at the greatness of the Wizarding World yet to come. When the adaptation was released in 2001, Potter-Mania was in full bloom. The fourth book had been released just the year prior and people had high expectations for the movie franchise. The good news for many fans was that the first movie is a pretty literal adaptation of the book. While there areslight differences, there are no major changes to the plot or the characters.

It is important to note that you can only get away saying you’ve read the first book; after that, the stories get trimmed down for the films and a lot is left out (don’t get a die-hard Potterphile started on SPEW). Someone who has read the book and saw the movie will probably call you out if you try. No need in getting humiliated over a children’s book series.

3. All Quiet on the Western Front

A book published in 1929 and originally written in German, about German soldiers in the First World War, is probably not at the top of most people’s reading lists. The good news is that if for some reason, like a school assignment, you are forced to read it, you can skip over it and watch the 1930 adaptation of the book.

Both the film and the book are anti-war stories about a group of German soldiers who are stuck in the trenches. During their time there, they become disillusioned with the war and undergo extreme mental and physical stresses. When they return home after the war, they feel emotionally distant from the society that they fought to protect.

The movie won the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director, and is considered one of the best anti-war movies of all time. It was nominated for Best Screenplay as well, but lost. Perhaps they lost because they did not get creative enough with the screenplay, since it’s known as one of the most faithful adaptations ever brought to the screen.

2. Brokeback Mountain

One problem that many adaptations have is trying to stuff too much detail from the book into a film that is only a couple of hours long. That was not the problem with Brokeback Mountain, which is based on the novella by Annie Proulx. In fact, depending on your reading speed, it might be quicker to read the novella than watch the two-hour-plus film. Of course it also helps when one of the people adapting the story is Pulitzer Prize-winning author Larry McMurtry.

The film is almost identical to the short book. In fact, Proulx said, “I may be the first writer in America to have a piece of writing make its way to the screen whole and entire.” Since the source material is only 55 pages long and an average length movie script for a two-hour movie is 120 pages, it should explain why the film is rather light on dialogue and story and focuses more on the pastoral aspects of the scenery.

So depending on your feelings about slow movies, in the case of Brokeback Mountain, you can actually read the book and then brag that you saw the movie.

1. No Country for Old Men

Cormac McCarthy’s 2005 novel, No Country for Old Men, is a sparse novel that almost reads like a movie script. This made Joel and Ethan Coen’s job much easier when they adapted the book into the Academy Award winning film. It is almost word-for-word taken from the novel. In fact, they wrote the script with one of the brothers sitting at a computer while the other one held the book open.

There are a few slight changes in the adaptation, including the monologues of Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones). They are used throughout the book, but are only used at the start and the end of the film. Aside from that, much of the dialogue is word-for-word taken from the book, along with the storyline, characters, and jarring scene changes. Then there are also some slight differences in style. For example, the main antagonist, Anton Chiraugh, isn’t known for his hair. Instead, his distinguishing feature is his very blue eyes.

Other than those slight changes, the film is very faithful to the novel. In fact, some people prefer the movie to the book because McCarthy’s writing can be a bit vague and too abrupt, and that can be off-putting. But with the Coen brother’s film, there is a visual component and the adaptation is essentially McCarthy’s words with pictures.

Movie Adaptations

WIF Movies-001

– WIF Bookshelf to Movies

Chinese Knockoffs – The Copycat Craze

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Chinese Knockoffs

of Unexpected Things

China has an unusual place in the world’s economy. It is the home of some of the cheapest manufacturing in the world, but it’s also known for its insane amount of piracy and copyright infringements. Meaning that companies take a big risk sending their products to China to be manufactured, but they do it anyways because of how inexpensive it is. Due to this dichotomy, the country has a thriving black market and knockoffs have become an ingrained part of their society that is likely here to stay, at least in the foreseeable future.

10. Receipts

fakereceipts

An incredibly popular knockoff product for Chinese citizens is fake receipts. These receipts are illegal, and people have been executed over them, but they are still peddled on the streets or they can be bought on websites that advertise on signs in Chinese cities. People can buy any type of receipt, including travel receipts, lease receipts, waste material receipts and value-added tax receipts. Then the buyers submit these receipts to evade paying taxes or to defraud employers. The receipts are also used for much larger fraud schemes. One such case involved a British pharmaceutical company who had four senior executives at their operation in China embezzle millions of dollars over the span of six years using fake receipts.

One of the receipt counterfeiters said that for large receipts they take a percentage, usually about two percent, and he claimed that one time he printed out $16 million worth of receipts for a construction company; meaning he made $320,000 for just printing receipts.

9. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey

joendanhse

Based on the name of the product, it should be pretty obvious where Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey comes from. What’s interesting is that one of the unique features of the Jack Daniel’s recipe is that they use specific water that comes from a spring on the property of the distillery. Yet, there are Chinese knockoff sour mash whiskeys with names like Johns Daphne Tennessee Whiskey or Joens Danhse Tenderness Whiskey.

Jack Daniel’s isn’t the only alcohol that is counterfeited in China. In fact, homemade alcohol is big business there. It is believed that out of all the alcohol drank in China, 30 percent are knockoffs that were made in bathtubs. Besides just being illegal, these knockoffs are also considered potentially dangerous because who knows what the people are consuming when they drink it.

8. Rolls-Royce Cars

fakerolls

To some people, nothing implies success more than driving a luxury car. If you want one of those cars, say a Rolls-Royce Phantom, you’re looking at a price tag of at least $400,000. For those not looking to pay that price, there is the Emgrand GE from Chinese car manufacturer Geely, which looks almost identical to a Phantom, but with a price ranging from $30,000 to $40,000.

The Geely Emgrand GE, originally just called the Geely GE, debuted at the Shanghai Auto Show in 2009 with plans for it to go into production in 2012 and it was supposed to be available for sale in 2014. However, as of autumn 2014, Geely’s website does not have any Emgrand GEs for sale.

7. Harry Potter Books

chinesepotter

The seven Harry Potter books created a bit of a cottage industry for Chinese counterfeiters. For example, 10 days before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was published in July 2007, a book with the same title hit the Chinese black market. The knockoff had nothing to do with the actual book written by J.K. Rowling, someone just wrote their own version of the book, stole the title and used Rowling’s name on the cover. That is one of the more ambitious ways that the books are pirated, but it isn’t the only way.

There are also unauthorized translations of Rowling’s books. Finally, there are other copies that have been scanned, reprinted and then sold for a fraction of the cost. The Harry Potter books are an excellent example of how many ways a product can be dissected and sold on the Chinese black market.

6. Microchips for the US Military

microchip

In 2010, the U.S. Military bought 59,000 microchips and these microchips were going into important tools like missile defense systems and radars that help distinguish between their forces and the enemy. It turns out that these microchips were actually cheap Chinese knockoffs. The good news was that they discovered that the microchips were Chinese counterfeits and weren’t installed in the system.

After the incident, the U.S. Military changed their rules when it came to ordering sensitive technology in order to avoid possible “Trojan horse” attacks. Because it would have been morbidly ironic if the American government paid for the Trojan attack because it was the cheapest option, which is the very essence of capitalism.

5. Goldman Sachs

GS-copy6

A disturbing aspect of China’s issue with piracy and lack of copyright rules is that it gives scammers the ability to blatantly defraud innocent people. In August 2015, it came to light that a bank in the city of Shenzhen was calling itself, Goldman Sachs (Shenzhen) Financial Leasing Co., which, of course, is a rip-off of the Wall Street bankGoldman Sachs. When a representative of the fake Goldman Sachs was asked about the name, she said they just randomly chose the name and it was a complete coincidence that there is another bank called Goldman Sachs.

The problem with the fake Goldman Sachs was that the bank was only allowing people to deposit money and they weren’t allowing any withdrawals. So not only does the bank in Shenzhen share the name with Goldman Sachs, they are also very shady as well. At least the rip-off company likes to be consistent.

4. Prehistoric Fossils

fakefossils

In the 1970s, a major export out of China was fossils. Poor peasants would search for them and then sell them for a fairly modest amount. Of course, since there was money to be made from bits of rock that had impressions of animals, plants and minerals, counterfeiters in China started making fossils to sell to willing buyers.

The counterfeits are made from rock and plaster and usually use frog and chicken bones. They are often fused with pieces of a real fossil to make them look more authentic. The problem is so rampant that it is impossible to tell how many fossils in Chinese’s museums are fakes and it is impossible to actually calculate the value of their collections.

3. Jet Fighters

fighterjet

One of the most troubling Chinese knockoffs are jet fighters. The stealth J-31 ‘Shenyang’ debuted in November 2014 and it looks very much like the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. It’s even quite possible that China got the blueprints of the jet from a cyber-attack on Lockheed Martin in 2009. However, that has never been confirmed.

What is known for sure is that the exterior of the J-31 looks a lot like the F-35. One notable difference is that the J-31 jet fighters are inexpensive compared to the F-35 jet fighters. Where this gets troubling for some people is that the J-31s were designed as an export, meaning that countries that America won’t sell to will be able to stock their air force with high-tech weaponry at a relatively low price.

2. Disney World

chinedisney

Construction of the Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park began in 1986 and it finally open in 2006 with the tagline, “Disney is too far, please come to Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park.” Inside the park, patrons can find a large castle, along with depictions of a cartoon mouse that looks very much like Mickey, a duck that looks a lot like Donald and a woman who is unmistakably Snow White. When management at the park was asked about their connection with Disney, they said that they had no agreement with the company, their characters just looked similar. It was just a coincidence.

Apparently, since opening, the Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park has toned down the blatant Disney rip-offs, but the creepy doppelganger aura is still rich in the air.

1. Foreign Cities

ripoffcity

Easily, one of the creepiest knockoffs in China is duplicate foreign cities. Just to name a few, there is a Paris with an Eiffel Tower and an Arc de Triomphe, a Venice that has canals, and a London with pubs in it. The miniature knockoff cities are full of buildings call “duplitectures” and as of 2014, there were 10 of these foreign “cities” in Shanghai. What’s interesting is that these knockoff cities aren’t tourist attractions or part of a theme park, they’re functioning communities where people live. Also, unlike Chinatowns in other countries, these cities were not built by foreigners in China, instead they were designed by Chinese architects.

While many of the landmarks and the buildings will look the same, there will be small differences because the Chinese architects and developers take liberties with the designs. For example, some buildings will be smaller or bigger than the original, or the material will be different. But there is no mistaking the eerie similarities between the cities full of duplitectures and the real cities.

Chinese Knockoffs

– The Copycat Craze