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"readers who might actually get hooked"

Happy birthday to angelinehawkes and early birthday to idwoman! May you both enjoy many happy returns of the day.

I have a few links to share:

* From The Guardian: it's a "hellishly difficult" quiz on literary apocalypses!

* From The New Yorker: "The Humbug: Edgar Allan Poe and the Economy of Horror."

* From John Scalzi: "Really the Only Thing That Has to Be Said About the YA Thing."

* Librivox.org has released a number of new unabridged readings of classic Gothic and SF-related works:
- The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison
- Tom Swift and His Electric Runabout by Victor Appleton
- The Book of Dragons by E. Nesbit
- The Thing from the Lake by Eleanor M. Ingram
- The Stars, My Brothers by Edmond Hamilton
- Niels Klim's Journey Under the Ground by Baron Ludvig Holberg
- A Journey in Other Worlds: A Romance of the Future by John Jacob Astor (IV)
- Rebels of the Red Planet by Charles L. Fontenay
- The Beetle by Charles Marsh
- The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Version 2) by Robert Louis Stevenson
- The House of Seven Gables (Version 2) by Nathaniel Hawthorne
- The Machine Stops (Version 2) by E.M. Forster
- The Librivox Short Science Fiction Collection 13 by Various Authors
- The Librivox Short Science Fiction Collection 14 by Various Authors

"Yes, how horrible it is that some of what’s being hailed as the best science fiction and fantasy written today is in a literary category designed to encourage millions of young people to read for the rest of their natural lives. Because God knows the last thing science fiction and fantasy publishing needs right now is whole generation of new and enthusiastic readers who might actually get hooked into the genre until they die."
- John Scalzi, "Really the Only Thing That Has to Be Said About the YA Thing"



( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
May. 5th, 2009 12:27 pm (UTC)
You're most welcome! I was excited about that, as well. :)

He does rock, doesn't he?
May. 2nd, 2009 03:34 pm (UTC)
I was at the library the other day to pick up Leviathan 99 and thought it was in their Sci Fi section so headed there first. Came to find out that the entire Sci Fi section had been moved into the Teen section as a new subsection of Teen. That disconcerted me. There was only one Bradbury book on the shelf, which seemed very wrong, even though it's a very small branch library. Then discovered most Bradbury books were in the Fiction section, not Sci Fi, and yes they had more than one. Was still disquieted about the Sci Fi section move, even though I admit to having read most Sci Fi classics of their day before I was 12.

My daughter has never read (much) for pleasure, despite my Hercluean efforts during her childhood to foster a love of books. Happily, she is now devouring Harry Potter - this at the age of 22. Hopefully, it will lead to other things, more substantial... or even not more substantial.

Edited at 2009-05-02 03:35 pm (UTC)
May. 5th, 2009 12:44 pm (UTC)
Good grief, I can't believe that the SF section had been moved totally to the teen section! That's incredibly disturbing. I don't even know where to begin. *splutters and shakes in outrage* Talk about the pendulum swinging wildly: just because YA SF is thriving doesn't mean that adults should be deprived of the genre!

It's wonderful to hear that the Harry Potter series has captured your daughter's imagination. I've been amazed at the number of university students I've had in class who didn't really fall in love with books until they read the series, and then they became voracious readers.
May. 5th, 2009 02:15 pm (UTC)
I don't dare to dream yet that she will become a voracious reader... but, oh, what a wonderful thought! The past few times she visited with me (overnight) she had her latest HP volume in tow and read it before bed and even in some moments where we weren't doing anything in particular. You have no idea how much that warmed my heart, because I have always wanted for her the great gift of a joy of reading.
May. 2nd, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the librivox updates.

I like a lot of the YA sci-fi and fantasy. It's good for quieting your mind. Is that what people have a problem with? YA literature is a bit more simplistic. I like simplistic every once in a while *cough* all the time.
May. 5th, 2009 12:52 pm (UTC)
You're most welcome!

One thing I've realized as I've been reading the YA dystopias is that good YA SF seems to be really tightly written, perhaps since the expectation for word length is often (although of course not always) shorter than for voluminious, multi-volume adult SF series that seem to sprawl in all directions (sometimes rather self-indulgently). Tighter writing, or more aggressive editing, seems to produce some really strong storytelling. I'd definitely put the best YA SF up against the best "adult" SF any day of the week at the moment. Right now I'm reading Nancy Farmer's The House of the Scorpion and I'm really enjoying it.

It's good for quieting your mind. Is that what people have a problem with?

Good question! I think you may be onto something there.
May. 2nd, 2009 10:56 pm (UTC)
Excellent. I really do wish that some of the readers on Librivox were a tad more skilled; the fellow who read the very first Sherlock Holmes story massacred the piece. I have great hope that some of these classics will have a good set of readers.
May. 5th, 2009 12:55 pm (UTC)
Me too! In my experience, the quality varies; I've listened to some that were difficult to get through, while others have been every bit as polished as professional recordings. I particularly like when longer works are narrated by the same reader throughout, and it looks like that's the case with several of these new ones. My fingers are crossed!
May. 4th, 2009 02:36 am (UTC)
The Worm Ouroboros
I must admit to having an adolescent mancrush on Brandoch Daha.
May. 5th, 2009 12:56 pm (UTC)
Re: The Worm Ouroboros
ROFLOL! Well, after all, he "carrieth himself light and dainty as a silver birch tree on the mountain."
May. 6th, 2009 12:59 am (UTC)
Re: The Worm Ouroboros
That would explain it.

Thank you for the Birthday Present! We loves it forever (or two weeks, whichever comes first).
May. 4th, 2009 04:58 am (UTC)
*HUGS* Just because.

And I loved your quote today. Loved it. I started reading a blog entry earlier today that was advocating a kinder, more contemplative approach to the world around us (which I liked the idea of), then was brought up short by the author saying that one should dismiss sarcasm from one's life. What what? Dismiss sarcasm? I'd rather be considered unkind and thoughtless (by those who don't know the Greater Me, of course) than live without sarcasm...
May. 5th, 2009 01:03 pm (UTC)

Sure, dismissing sarcasm is exactly what we need to do. Why didn't I think of that? That's all that would be necessary to end war and prejudice and scarcity and natural disasters, to repair the ozone layer and refreeze the polar caps and spontaneously remove all nukes from the planet. It might even reverse Fox's cancellation of Firefly and bring Elvis back to life. Silly me.

*insert bland voiceover* This comment has been brought to you by Snarky Sarcastics Not-So-Anonymous (members of which fully endorse the contemplative life, just not at the expense of dark, dry wit)

May. 8th, 2009 03:43 am (UTC)
bring Elvis back to life

What?! Have I missed something...?

Best of luck with your busy, exciting schedule - you get to wear so many cool hats! And the loveliest thing is that I don't think you'll ever have to change that hat size. *hugs*
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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