Pixel Scroll 1/6/23 I See Pixels Scrolling Down Broadway And Park Avenue With A Tiny Scottie Dog By Their Side

(1) WHO HOLDS THE RECORD? Scott Edelman notes that Lightspeed has published a new short story of his titled “A Man Walks Into a Bar: In Which More Than Four Decades After My Father’s Reluctant Night of Darts on West 54th Street I Finally Understand What Needs to Be Done”. And Edelman says, “I wondered how that compared to with other titles in our field, and dug out a science fiction book of list from 40 years ago which included a list of the longest titles” — The SF Book of Lists by Maxim Jakubowski and Malcolm Edwards, published in 1983. 

It shows Michael Bishop’s “On the Street of the Serpents or, The Assassination of Chairman Mao, as Effected by the Author in Seville, Spain, in the Spring of 1992, a Year of No Certain Historicity” as #1, with 31 words.

My story is also 31 words … but his is 169 characters to my 161.

When I sold the story to Lightspeed, I asked on social media for input on long titles since the time that list was assembled, and no one came up with anything longer.

Edelman appeals to File 770 readers, “With your vast intellects… do you know of any?”

The gallery below contains the three-page list – click for larger images.

(2) A STEP BACK. Publishing Perspectives reports industry decline in “AAP: US Book Publishing Revenues Down 9.3 Percent in October”

…In the October 2022 StatShot report, total revenues across all categories were listed as being down 9.3 percent over October 2021. As has happened throughout 2022, of course, observers look at year-over-year comparisons carefully, mindful that 2021 was the second year of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic‘s effects on the marketplace, both in the States and abroad….

(3) IRRESISTABLE TARGET. [Item by Jennifer Hawthorne.] Slate’s book critic Laura Miller did something rather unfair(-ish) and did a review of the first chapter of a fantasy book that Ross Douthat, conservative NY Times columnist, is writing.  I thought it contained some interesting points about how NOT to start a fantasy novel. “Ross Douthat’s fantasy novel: first chapter of The Falcon’s Children, reviewed.”

New York Times opinion columnist Ross Douthat recently revealed that he has written the first volume in a trilogy of fantasy novels. Titled The Falcon’s Children, it has not been a hit with the “reasonable list of reputable publishing houses” Douthat says he’s submitted it to. In an end-of-year what-the-hell mood, the author posted the prologue and first chapter to his otherwise dormant Substack. “Why,” New York magazine’s Choire Sicha asked on Twitter, “are publishers not desperate for Ross Douthat’s fantasy novel? History tells us this the one thing you actually do want a tortured moralizing Christian to write!” In keeping with Douthat’s good-faith request for feedback, here’s a good-faith critique that might help answer Sicha’s question…..

(4) FAAN VOTING BEGINS. Nic Farey today distributed The Incompleat Register 2022, the voters’ guide and pro forma ballot for the 2023 FAAn awards. Voting is open and continues until midnight (Pacific time) Friday March 10, 2023. The award recognizes work in fanzines.

The awards will be announced at Corflu Craic in Belfast, Northern Ireland on April 2 2023.

Voting is open to anyone with an interest in fanzines, membership in Corflu is not required.

(5) GEARHEADS. “For ‘Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio,’ a Star Built From Tiny Gears and 3-D Printing” – the New York Times finds out how it’s done.

…He likened the mechanics inside puppet heads to components of a Swiss watch. “Those heads are not much bigger than a ping-pong ball or a walnut,” he said, explaining that the animator moves the gears by putting a tiny tool into the character’s ear or the top of its head. “The gears are linked to the puppet’s silicone skin, enabling the animator to create the nuances you see on a big cinema screen,” he said.

The introduction of geared heads was part of a series of overlapping waves of innovation in stop-motion that brought visuals to the screen that had never been possible. Nick Park and the artists at the British Aardman Animations sculpted new subtleties into clay animation in “Creature Comforts” (1989) and “The Wrong Trousers” (1993). Meanwhile, Disney’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993) showcased the new technology of facial replacement. A library of three-dimensional expressions was sculpted and molded for each character; an animator snapped out one section of the face and replaced it with a slightly different one between exposures. Then the Portland, Ore.-based Laika Studios pushed this technique further, using 3-D printing to create faces, beginning with “Coraline” (2009).

For “Pinocchio,” which debuted on Netflix a few months after Disney released Robert Zemeckis’s partly animated version of the story, most of the puppets were built at ShadowMachine in Portland, where most of the film was shot. Candlewick, the human boy Pinocchio befriends in the film, “has threads set into the corners of his mouth which are attached to a double-barreled gear system,” explained Georgina Hayns, an alumna of Mackinnon and Saunders who was director of character fabrication at ShadowMachine. “If you turn the gear inside the ear clockwise, it pulls the upper thread and creates a smile. If you turn it anticlockwise, it pulls a lower thread which produces a frown. It really is amazing.”…

(6) ONE SIX. “A Jan. 6 Comic Book Asks the Terrifying Question: What if the Coup Had Worked?”Vice interviews the creators.

…The first wave of the mob breaks into the Capitol and ascends the stairs from the first floor to the second. Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman backs up to the top of the steps to try and divert the marauders. Goodman tries to get the crowd to go left. Instead they go right, overrunning him, and happen upon Vice President Mike Pence, who’s just off the Senate Floor. It’s a disaster. 

This a nearly-real scene from new, four-part comic series “1/6“ from Harvard law professor Alan Jenkins and author and activist Gan Golan.  It’s a speculative telling of the January 6 insurrection and coup attempt in an oppressive and authoritarian world where the mob, and Donald Trump, succeeded. (You’ll be able to find it on Amazon, in comic shops and in book stores starting on Jan. 8.) …


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 6, 1905 Eric Frank Russell. He won the first Hugo Award given for Best Short Story at Clevention in 1955 with “Allamagoosa”, published in the May 1955 issue of Astounding Science FictionSinister Barrier, his first novel, appeared in Unknown in 1939, the first novel to appear there. What’s your favorite work by him? (Died 1978.)
  • Born January 6, 1954 Anthony Minghella. He adapted his Jim Henson’s The Storyteller scripts into story form which were published in his Jim Henson’s The Storyteller collection. They’re quite excellent actually. Genre adjacent, well not really, but he did write an episodes of the excellent Inspector Morse series, “Driven To Distraction”. (Died 2008.)
  • Born January 6, 1955 Rowan Atkinson, 68. An unlikely Birthday perhaps except for that he was the lead in Doctor Who and The Curse of Fatal Death which I know did not give him the dubious distinction of the shortest lived Doctor as that goes to another actor although who I’ve not a clue.  Other genre appearances were scant I think (clause inserted for the nitpickers here) though he did play Nigel Small-Fawcett in Never Say Never Again and Mr. Stringer in The Witches which I really like even if the author hates. 
  • Born January 6, 1959 Ahrvid Engholm, 64. Swedish conrunning and fanzine fan who worked on many Nasacons as well as on Swecons. Founder of the long running Baltcon. He has many fanzines including Vheckans Avfentyr, Fanytt, Multum Est and others. He was a member of Lund Fantasy Fan Society in the University of Lund.
  • Born January 6, 1960 Andrea Thompson, 63. Her noted genre work was as the telepath Talia Winters on Babylon 5. Her first genre role was in Nightmare Weekend which I’ll say was definitely a schlock film. Next up was playing a monster in the short-lived Monsters anthology series. She had a one-off on Quantum Leap before landing the Talia Winters gig. Then came Captain Simian & The Space Monkeys. Really. Truly I’m not kidding. Her last genre role to date appears to be in the Heroes: Destiny web series.
  • Born January 6, 1969 Aron Eisenberg. Nog on Deep Space 9. Way after DS9, he’d show up in Renegades, a might-be Trek series loaded with Trek alumni including Nichelle Nichols, Robert Beltran, Koenig and Terry Farrell. It lasted two episodes. Lifelong suffer of kidney disease, he died from it at just age fifty. (Died 2019.)
  • Born January 6, 1976 Guy Adams, 47. If you’ve listened to a Big Finish audio-work, it’s likely that you are familiar with his writing as he’s done scripts for their Doctor, UNIT and Torchwood series among his many endeavors there. Not surprisingly, he’s also written novels on Doctor Who, Torchwood, Sherlock Holmes and so forth. I’ve read some of his Torchwood novels — they’re good popcorn literature. 

(8) SHE-HULK. Marvel announces the next arc in author Rainbow Rowell’s run on She-Hulk will take things to the next level for the character’s 175th issue issue in April. 

 In the pages of her latest solo series, Jennifer Walters has reopened her law practice, took on some of her most intense cases yet, defeated a duo of new villains, and even found time for a new romance! But this April in SHE-HULK #12, She-Hulk’s promising new super hero journey will be threatened by a dangerous new archnemesis known as THE SCOUNDREL! Just in time for her 175th solo issue, She-Hulk will meet her match in a wild showdown that will have all her fans talking!

“Every issue that I get to write She-Hulk is a delight — but I’m especially honored to escort her to her 175th issue,” Rowell said. “One of things we’ve focused on is building up Jen’s narrative support structure… Giving her friends, colleagues, a love interest and her very own antagonists. The Scoundrel is an adversary tailor-made for Jennifer Walters. A lot of things come easily for Jen. Nothing about the Scoundrel is easy.”

Check out Jen Bartel’s cover below.

(9) MALIGN HARDWARE. “‘M3gan’ Review: Wherever I Go, She Goes” from the New York Times.

…In a headier movie, there might be some misdirection. But M3gan (performed by Amie Donald) is clearly pure evil from the start. She’s a great heavy: stylish, archly wry, intensely watchful. Her wanton violence never gets graphic enough to lose a PG-13 rating. In early January, when prestige holiday fare tends to give way to trashier pleasures, a good monster and a sense of humor can be enough. This movie has both, and it makes up for a slow start, some absurd dialogue (“You didn’t code in parental controls?”) and a by-the-book conclusion….

(10) UK TOP BOX OFFICE TOP TEN FILMS OF 2022. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] SF2 Concatenation has just tweeted an advance post ahead of its Spring seasonal edition of its regular meta-analysis of 52 weekly top ten British Isles box office rankings: “Top Science Fiction Films – 2022”.

This is a box office analysis and so reflects the broader public interest in SF film and not that of SF fans. Scroll down the page on the latter link to see other (non-top ten) SF films of the year. Links to trailers are included.

(11) CROCNADO. “British Comedy ‘Peter Pan Goes Wrong’ Plans Spring Broadway Bow” reports the New York Times. “The farce, by the team behind ‘The Play That Goes Wrong,’ is about a bumbling theater company attempting to stage the popular children’s play.”

…The play’s creators are Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, who also wrote “The Play That Goes Wrong”; the three will again star in their production. “Peter Pan Goes Wrong” features the same slapstick sensibility as the earlier play, but has a bit more character development, and an even crazier set.

“The fictional theater company is taking on a much more ambitious production, with flying, crocodiles and a revolving stage, and they put on the play with the same disastrous results,” Lewis said. “You get more behind the scenes into what’s going on with the characters, as well as all the farce and the madcap comedy.”…

[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Michael J. Walsh, Nic Farey, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cat Eldridge.]

35 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/6/23 I See Pixels Scrolling Down Broadway And Park Avenue With A Tiny Scottie Dog By Their Side

  1. 7) My fave Russell is The Great Explosion, his expansion and extension of his classic short story “…And Then There Were None.”

  2. Not quite up there, but there is “The Shortest Horror Story in the World, Shorter by One Letter Than the Shortest Horror Story in the World.” (17 words in the story itself.)
    Read about that. Skimmed the article, Found it extremely annoying that the author kept speaking as though Tolkien pushed religion… which he did not, esp. when she wrote a whole book on CS Lewis, who most certainly pushed religion.
    Douthat (do what?)… um, a 30 page infodump in the first chapter? (My idea of an infodump: Skylark of Space, Doc Smith, in the middle of a battle, they’re hit with a new weapon, and spend a couple of paragraphs, including dialog, discussing it – significantly less than 250 words – and it’s back to the battle).
    Eric Frank Russell – he wrote the Space Willies. If you’ve never read it, you really need to… (otherwise, that nice mug you like will be knocked over and broken….)

  3. (3)

    Tolkien’s elves are essentially good

    Tell me you haven’t read the Silmarillion without telling me you haven’t read the Silmarillion.

  4. Just finished Terminal Peace, the somewhat-delayed final book in Jim Hines’ Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse trilogy, and it was well worth the wait! It’s hard to describe this series without making it sound stupid, but Hines does a great job of using complex, interesting characters to distract us from how utterly silly his premises are. And in this case, Hines managed to use his own personal tragedy (the reason for the book’s delay) to add depth without disrupting the tone or turning the story maudlin. It was a risky thing to do, but I think he really stuck the landing. It was a humorous story with real heart, and I’m sorry it’s over, but very ready to see what he’ll do next.

  5. 7) Russell’s Sinister Barrier: “Someone’s walking on my grave . . . ”
    I got a kick out of “The Space Willies,” too.

  6. Does “The Report of the All-Union Committee on Recent Rumours Concerning the Moldavian SSR” count as 14 words, or just 13?

  7. Historical fiction, not SFF, but someone ought to mention Olga Tukarczuk’s novel whose title is translated (by Jennifer Croft) as The Books of Jacob, or: A Fantastic Journey Across Seven Borders, Five Languages, and Three Major Religions, Not Counting the Minor Sects. Told by the Dead, Supplemented by the Author, Drawing from a Range of Books, and Aided by Imagination, the Which Being the Greatest Natural Gift of Any Person. That the Wise Might Have It for a Record, That My Compatriots Reflect, Laypersons Gain Some Understanding, and Melancholy Souls Obtain Some Slight Enjoyment.

    I think the shortest-lived Doctor in The Curse of Fatal Death was the Shy Doctor, played by Jim Broadbent. (I don’t think he lived long enough to read that Tukarczuk title.)

  8. I dont know the longest story title,but I do know the longest magazine title:

    Startling Stories Combined With Thrilling Wonder and Fantastic Story

    9 words, 60 characters.

  9. (1) Shout-out to the SF Book of Lists! Great book.

    (7) Rowan Atkinson’s Blackadder: Back and Forth is another genre credit for him

  10. (1) Thomas Disch, “The Puppies of Terra, Being a True and Faithful Account of the Great Upheavals of 2037; with Portraits of Many of the Principals Involved; as well as Reflections by the Author on the Nature of Art, Revolution and Theology” (39)

  11. 3.) Miller does provide a valuable assessment of Douthat’s writing attempt, when she pinpoints it as a nonfiction writer’s attempt to write fiction. I think there’s a lot more truth to that analysis than may appear at first glance. A writer’s purpose isn’t to relay the facts of their worldbuilding, excellent though it may seem. A writer’s purpose is to tell a story, and unfortunately there are a lot of nonfiction writers who don’t quite grasp that crucial understanding that story comes before worldbuilding.

    Especially those who write nonfiction, particularly political analysis, for a living.

    Ta-Nehesi Coates figured it out (although his book came after he had worked on Black Panther, thereby learning very quickly what story is all about).

    That said, it sounds like Douthat needs the skilled work of a good developmental editor to tell him he started the story in the wrong place.

  12. (7) Rowan Atkinson’s Blackadder: Back and Forth is another genre credit for him

    Not to mention Blackadder Christmas Carol

  13. The Puppies of Terra, under any title, is one of my favorite sf stories. Great fun!

    Fiction writing isn’t as easy as fiction writers make it appear.

  14. 1) I don’t have a longer title to offer, but I did just go read the story. Yeah, if only.

  15. Thinking more about long titles, I remembered Doris Lessing’s Canopus in Argos series doesn’t stint on title length. The full titles of the five books are:-

    Re: Colonised Planet 5: Shikasta: Personal Psychological Historical Documents Relating to Visit by Johor (George Sherban) Emissary (Grade 9) 87th of the Last Period of the Last Days

    The Marriages between Zones Three, Four and Five, as Narrated by the Chroniclers of Zone Three

    The Sirian Experiments: The Report by Ambien II, of the Five

    The Making of the Representative from Planet 8

    Documents Relating to the Sentimental Agents in the Volyen Empire

  16. @Joyce Reynolds-Ward
    Regarding Ta-Nehisi Coates, I remember being underwhelmed by his Black Panther run (in spite of having enjoyed many of his articles), since it had a lot of non-fiction writer tries to write fiction and inexperienced comics writer problems.

  17. Joyce Reynolds-Ward – IMO, one of the major issues with Real Litrachur (and I’m seeing in recent SFF) is that they forgot that the point of a story is to tell a story. I really don’t want to read about people who I don’t want to know, don’t want to spend time with, that do nothing. (One example was the frustration of the first novel by Joseph Heller, decades after Catch-22, “Something Happened” – that was three months of this turkey’s life, no growth, no where did he come from, and nothing happens.)

  18. @mark–Yes. Do NOT try to waste my time with characters I don’t want to spend time with, whose heads I want to be far away from, not inside, and who either do nothing, or do things I don’t want to be reading about.

  19. mark…your sneering attitude toward what you call “Real Literature” is no better than some of the MFA candidate upturned noses toward SFF that I’ve encountered in the past.

    You’d have more credibility citing more recent examples than Something Happened , which is at least 45 years old. And I might add that two of the recent authors of that “Real Literature” that you so scorn, Luis Alberto Urrea (a protégé of none other than Ursula K. LeGuin) and Jamie Ford (who frequently cites Harlan Ellison as an inspiration), are quite genre-friendly and have published short genre work.

    Closed-mindedness is not attractive anywhere, no matter how it manifests itself. And deliberate misspelling of things you dislike is, well, something that even the middle schoolers I used to teach were moving beyond.

  20. @Joyce Reynolds-Ward–Sadly, there are many more recent examples, from some of the most admired writers of “real literature,” or, as I call it, the genre that thinks it isn’t a genre. John Updike, for instance, was both painful, and often boring, to read. I really liked Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro, but Never Let Me Go was a travesty that got way more respect than it deserved, especially given the way he was patting himself on the back for doing what he said sf writers didn’t do–thinking through the social consequences of the ideas and changes in the story.

    Yes, Ursula Le Guin wrote real literature–and a lot of it was sf, and the admirers of her more socially acceptable “literary fiction” were uneasy about it for decades.

    Literary fiction is a genre, and like any genre it can be done well or badly. Like any genre, it has its conventions and tropes. I read some of it, but its conventions and tropes are not my favorites, and its writers are typically weakest at what they’re supposedly best at–having their characters react to strange or challenging events like actual human beings.

    And with all that, from the time I’ve been aware enough to notice, the supporters of literary fiction have been dissing the literature I find far better in most respects as childish, badly written, and its popularity proof that the general public is barely literate.

    I get tired, sometimes, of biting my tongue and remembering to be polite.

  21. (7) Born January 6, 1960 — Andrea Thompson, “62” should read “63” (I share this birth year, but a bit later … for me 62 has already hit back).

  22. Lis–that said, there is a place for legitimate discussion about the mutual attitudes toward each other that does not involve repetitive, sneering put-downs from either side. One Deliberate Mocking Misspelling is entertaining. Two is repetitive. More than three, especially consistently, needs to go to Twitter, where such behaviors are acceptable.

    I personally find that level of consistent mockery to be jarring and repellent, and somewhat juvenile, no matter which side it comes from. Take it to Twitter if you want to sneer like that. Go into politics, where, alas, such rhetoric is acceptable. We don’t need to Tucker Carlsonize the discussion of literature in this manner, whether discussing litfic or commercial, genre fiction.

    For that matter, I’ve spent a bit of time in the past few years in literary circles and workshopping at one particular conference. I’ve had enough personal contact with that world to know that those who are doing the sneering are either not necessarily the best examples of current literary work or are older and set in their ways (alas, these prominent elders end up getting far too much prominence for their hot takes on–Twitter). I’ve also had the experience of having one of those lower-level writers who originally sneered at me that “I only read realistic fiction” come begging to me for help with worldbuilding, because they suddenly realized the book they were creating was not the realistic fiction they prized.

    I have things I won’t read–military romance, military sf–but I’m not about to mock and sneer at that work. There are times when I want to read fiction that isn’t just about advancing a plot but has beautiful words that flow in a lyrical manner on the page, or examines a particular theme in depth. I’m happy to see more of it appearing in SFF, because ghod only knows, we have plenty of advance-the-plot work out there already.

    And if that means that the likes of you and mark decide to sneer at my preferences, so be it. But I also reserve the right to complain about the rudeness of the Deliberate Mocking Misspellings–in part, to spark a deeper, more thorough critique.

  23. @Joyce Reynolds-Ward–You appear not to have read what I actually said, in either of my comments on this.

    There are few genres I actively dislike–but even fewer where I haven’t found individual examples that I like. The people sneering at your military romance, for instance, are mostly–not entirely, but mostly–fans of literary fiction. Fans of the genre that thinks it isn’t a genre. Perhaps you consider that “sneering.” I think it’s just objective commentary on a genre that has its good and bad examples, but whose writers and readers are pretty sure they’re better than us unwashed semi-literates in the lesser genres.

  24. Lis–the sneering I’ve encountered has entirely been media posturing and lower-level MFA candidates who are insecure. My experience with editors and those who aren’t shooting for public posturing is entirely different, with a lot of respect for the genre. Once you get away from those writing for the big publications or who are edgelording their way through litfic, it’s very different.

    And as for romance in general, not just military romance–there are plenty of folks in SFF who sneer at it. It was enough of an issue in the first Self Published Science Fiction Competition that extra measures were taken to make the SPSFC #2 more friendly to romantic SF stories. So I do not think SFF can put itself on a pedestal of objectivity.

    (For that matter, I think you’re missing a huge chunk of my point, which is that I think the sneering is a bad idea no matter who it comes from. Not only that, it gets tiresome.)

  25. Mm-slightly off topic but still with longest words, ahem, we have in New Zealand the town with the longest name of all, anywhere (internet search for it). No 2 in that pecking order and a bit more famous but this time, unlike NZ, this No 2 (!) has its very own UK National Rail Station up there in North West Wales and not far from The Village / Portmeirion. It is of course (in rail terms, and just called this on rail tickets) : “Llanfair PG”. If one internet searches this phrase, the full, long, very long, very very long indeed, name will appear. And here are some other aspects of that. When the internet was being set up (I’m told) that a maximum of (?) 24 or so letters were allowed in front of the dot com. But the programmers (ICANN?) allowed the full, unexpurgated word for this small isolated Rail halt, to appear on its own website (as one will see). And also the full length of the place name appears on both station platforms (with a translation from the Welsh and a phonetic version, below that) at the venue. Not all trains stop there and if not, a long white blur appears as one speeds through the halt! [ Blatant, unashamed plug: we are of course are visiting that location (along with Portmeirion) during the week in August 2024, before Glasgow Worldcon-“LocationCon 2024”, ending up the day before that Worldcon (and after a visit to some “Wicker Man” sites on the way) in Glasgow itself . ]

  26. 1) An entry for the lower end of the list: Robert Sheckley’s “Down the Digestive Tract and into the Cosmos with Mantra, Tantra, and Specklebang” at 13 words.

  27. @Lis Carey

    And with all that, from the time I’ve been aware enough to notice, the supporters of literary fiction have been dissing the literature I find far better in most respects as childish, badly written, and its popularity proof that the general public is barely literate.

    We have got to trade more book titles in the future. You’ll have to wait for my neck to heal from zealously nodding in agreement with this one.

    [my earliest encounter with the phenomenon was in high school when my English teacher pooh-poohed Stephen King for being popular]

    11) Season 1 of The Goes Wrong Show – the same folks producing Peter Pan Goes Wrong – is available on Amazon. A word of warning. Your sides will hurt by the end of most of the episodes.

    One need only watch totalitarians at work to see that once men gain power over other men’s minds, that power is never used sparingly or wisely, but lavishly and brutally and with unspeakable results. – E.B. White

  28. @Dan Brown–Stephen King? I can well imagine!

    What has more recently gotten me on trouble is Dan Brown. Not that I like his writing. I don’t. It’s painful.

    But I know why he’s popular. It’s not his bad reading. It’s the great storytelling. Start reading, and if you have tastes like mine, you’ll be wincing and deciding to throw the book across the room at least every other page.

    But then you’ll say to yourself, “…just as soon as I read the next page, because I have know…”

    There’s a very good chance you’ll get through the whole book that way. Despite the poor writing, he makes you want to know what happens next.

    And for a lot of people, that’s what they want in a book, and if it gives them that, they don’t worry about the rest. Why shouldn’t they have it? And why shouldn’t Dan Brown, who was certainly a nice guy when I met him, get rich by reliably providing?

    King, of course, provides Story with much better writing.

    But the “real literature” fans won’t recognize any merit in either of them, and will praise to the skies things I find far less readable than Brown.

    (I stopped reading Brown because the discord between the storytelling and the writing was too great for me. I could never just shut up and enjoy it. I don’t begrudge the people who can.)

  29. @Lis Carey

    Well, I was a lot younger then as was Mr. King. I currently think his full body of work marks him as one of America’s greatest storytellers.

    Some of the Dragonlance novels fall into a similar category of being considered outside of the bounds of true literature simply for being Dragonlance novels. Many Dragonlance novels are popcorn books; fun to read and move on. There are a few that are much deeper.

    And we’ve all seen how attitudes toward self-published works have shifted over the years.

    A great piece of work can come from anywhere and/or anyone. I’m disinclined to respect the position that a book can’t be great literature (or even just a good book) because “it’s one of THOSE books”. I think that dovetails nicely with what you have said.

    Warmest Regards,
    “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, – go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!” – Samuel Adams

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