Pixel Scroll 8/6/23 Pixels Bright Red And Bouncing High As A Scroll Will Allow

(1) PALLET JACKED. “Gen Con Card Heist: $300K Worth of Cards Stolen From Show Floor”Gizmodo has the story.

…Per Indianapolis’ WRTV, the tabletop game convention had over $300,000 worth of cards stolen from the show floor. Dicebreaker reported that the theft occurred on Wednesday, August 2 as vendors were setting up for the event at the Indiana Convention Center. Police in the area claim the thieves used a pallet jack to remove a pallet of cards, which allowed them to blend in since everyone was moving product around the convention floor that day. Dicebreaker further noted that the theft was pulled off with two thieves. At time of writing, it’s unknown which specific cards were stolen, and what company (or companies) they belonged to…

More details and security cam images of the suspects at WRTV’s post “Over $300K worth of gaming cards stolen from Gen Con during setup”.

(2) MISSING FROM MOPOP. Deadline explains why “JK Rowling Airbrushed From Pop Culture Museum’s Harry Potter Display”.

A US museum has removed all trace of Harry Potter creator JK Rowling from its exhibition celebrating the schoolboy wizard and his friends.

The Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle had previously published a blog explaining its decision to airbrush Rowling from its display, due to her “super hateful and divisive” views.

Project manager Chris Moore, who is transgender, wrote in the piece:

“There’s a certain cold, heartless, joy-sucking entity in the world of Harry Potter and, this time, it is not actually a Dementor….”

The Deadline article is sourced in “She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”, a May 2023 blog post by Chris Moore, MoPOP’s Exhibitions Project Manager.

We would love to go with the internet’s theory that these books were actually written without an author, but this certain person is a bit too vocal with her super hateful and divisive views to be ignored. Yes, we’re talking about J.K. Rowling, and no, we don’t like that we’re giving her more publicity, so that’s the last you’ll see of her name in this post. We’ll just stick with You-Know-Who because they’re close enough in character….

And what is MoPOP doing? If you’ve visited the museum recently, you will have seen artifacts from the Harry Potter films in Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic gallery and her likeness in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. They’re there and trying to dance around it would make me look like a bigger hypocrite. But here’s the deal… it’s complicated. Long conversations are being had and a lot of considerations around what to do with problematic people and content because instances like this are going to keep happening. I’m privileged to get to work with our Curatorial team and see the decision-making processes there, so let me give you a little bit of insight into what these are like after someone outs themself as holding terrible ideologies….

… As for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame, this list of inductees has a long history that didn’t start with MoPOP, EMP Museum, or even the Experience Music Project. It was founded in 1996 at the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction and came to MoPOP in 2004. The inductees are specifically chosen by public voting. You-Know-Who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018 before she became the face of trans-exclusionary radical feminism (TERF). If you keep looking in there, you’ll see other figures with questionable if not downright disturbing pasts. But what does that mean? Are MoPOP’s hands tied on something that is in our building? Again, it’s complicated. For the time being, the Curators decided to remove any of her artifacts from this gallery to reduce her impact. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s what we were able to do in the short-term while determining long-term practices. As we’ve continued to learn and grow, they’re planning on continuing to add context to creators and content through our blog and possibly in-gallery QR codes….

(3) SEVENTIES GENRE ART. [Item by Ben Bird Person.] Jared Pechaček will talk with 70’s Sci-Fi Art curator Adam Rowe about his new book Worlds Beyond Time: Sci-Fi Art of the 1970s. It’ll be streamed live on Zoom at 12 PM EST/3 PM PST on Tuesday, August 8th. Register here.

A visual history of the spaceships, alien landscapes, cryptozoology, and imagined industrial machinery of 1970s paperback sci-fi art

Third Place Books welcomes local author Adam Rowe—senior writer at Tech.co and curator of the popular, multi-platform 70s Sci-Fi Art feed @70sscifi—for a presentation of his latest book, Worlds Beyond Time: Sci-Fi Art of the 1970s. Visit the store to see this stunning art-object for yourself! Rowe will be joined in conversation by local artist and writer Jared Pechaček. 

This event will be broadcast live on Zoom. Registering will provide you with a unique access link in an email. During the event, you can ask questions using the Q&A feature, or chat with fellow attendees. A recording of the event will be made available and emailed to all who register.

This author talk is free! You can sustain our author series by purchasing a copy of the featured book.

(4) PREEMPTIVE BOOK DUMPING. “Bookstores’ donations from teachers rise amid Florida book bans” reports WESH in Orlando.

Some used bookstores are seeing a rush of donations from teachers because those teachers are worried about book bans.

A stack of books sat in front of “Best Used Books” in Longwood on Thursday.

Crystal Bryant says the shelves are filling up more quickly this summer.

“Every author that you could possibly think of,” Bryant said.

Teachers are donating thousands more books than usual because they’re concerned about banned books.

“Those teachers are literally coming back every day, bringing boxes of stuff that they can’t they can’t use in their classrooms, which is sad,” Bryant said.

Bryant’s family has owned the shop for nearly 30 years.

And she says this year, they’ve gotten three times the amount of book dropoffs.

“Just a lot of stuff coming in,” Bryant said.

And we’re just like, we will take it because we don’t discriminate whatsoever.

“You’re seeing a lot of teachers saying, ‘I’m just not going to take the chance and I’m going to get rid of the classroom libraries,'” Andrew Spar said.

Spar is the president of Florida’s largest teachers’ union….

(5) THE ROARING TWENTIES OF BOOK SALES. The Guardian brings word: “‘I can’t stress how much BookTok sells’: teen literary influencers swaying publishers”.

The famous Waterstones in London’s Piccadilly is a modernist/art deco building. It started life as a menswear store and has the feel of that sort of traditional shop that is fast disappearing. But this bookshop, like many others, is enjoying a very modern sales boost from social media.

Groups of teenage girls regularly gather here to buy new books and meet new friends, both discovered on the social media app TikTok. Recommendations by influencers for authors and novels on BookTok – a community of users who are passionate about books and make videos recommending titles – can send sales into the stratosphere.

But while very much an online phenomenon, BookTok is having a material impact on the high street, with TikTok now pushing people to buy their books from bricks-and-mortar booksellers through a partnership with bookshop.org, which allows people to buy online and support independent bookshops at the same time.

Last year, Waterstones Piccadilly hosted a BookTok festival. One sales assistant told the Observer: “I can’t stress how much BookTok sells books. It’s driven huge sales of YA [young adult] and romance books, including titles such as The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller and authors such as Colleen Hoover.

“The demographic is almost exclusively teenage girls, but the power it has is huge. We have a ‘BookTok recommended’ table – and you can tell which books are trending by the speed at which they sell.”…

(6) JETSON LORE. Back with another MeTV quiz – “How well do you know Elroy Jetson?” I only got 8 out of 10. “Only” because I’m convinced I knew the hardest ones, and one of my misses wasn’t really a question about the show itself.

“His boy, Elroy!”

Meet the boy of the future, Elroy Jetson! He’s got all the gadgets you could shake a stick at. But even though he’s living in a sci-fi world, Elroy Jetson is still relatable enough that any kid could see themselves reflected in his astronaut helmet. 

How well do you recall this techno-lad? Was Elroy your favorite, or were you tuning in for Astro? Who here wanted to be Elroy? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

(7) SNUFF FICTION. The August entry in Future Tense Fiction’s monthly series is “No Regrets” by Carter Scholz, a “short story about geoengineering, billionaire hubris, and ‘altruistic’ narcissism.”

After the regrettable incidents on the island (the old island), the Doctor kept a low profile. Many thought he was dead. There was safety in that once. Now the greater safety is in being known.

What plans he had, back in the day! World domination! If only … but no, this is just the sort of negative spiral his therapist has warned him about. He has remade himself as an altruist, a philanthropist, and he means for his efforts to have maximum impact.

His therapist calls it “harm reduction,” a transition from the “malignant” narcissism of his past to the “altruistic” narcissism of the present. And it’s true he has changed: In times past, even referring to his narcissism might have earned the therapist a trip to the guano workings. But he is no longer that malevolent man. He’s even developed a sense of humor. He collects mad doctor jokes. He has a T-shirt that reads I’M NOT MAD I’M JUST GETTING EVEN….

The response essay, “Why we’re unprepared to confront the threat of extinction” is by Tyler Austin Harper, an “expert in philosophy and existential risk.”

One of Friedrich Nietzsche’s great early essays opens with a strange, science fictional vignette. Set on a melancholy little planet where “clever beasts invented knowing,” the philosopher’s parable recounts the rise, reign, and ultimate extinction of this sapient species, whose career is described as only a “minute” in the history of the universe. “After nature had drawn a few breaths, the star cooled and congealed, and the clever beasts had to die,” Nietzsche writes.

Nietzsche’s grift soon becomes transparent, of course: We are the “clever beasts” in the story, and the point of the parable is to force the reader to imagine our species from a God’s-eye view, to expose “how miserable, how shadowy and transient, how aimless and arbitrary the human intellect looks within nature.” The parable concludes on a nakedly nihilistic note: “When it is all over with the human intellect, nothing will have happened,” Nietzsche observes. “For this intellect has no additional mission which would lead it beyond human life.”

Understandably, most readers focus on the wildly pessimistic penultimate sentence, where Nietzsche announces humanity’s cosmic insignificance. However, it is the last sentence, which expressly explains why nothing will have happened, that holds the key to the parable’s meaning. For Nietzsche, the extinction of the “clever beasts” is meaningless not because their existence is intrinsically worthless, but because they fail to pursue any “mission” that would give their collective existence purpose. They do not set themselves a goal as a species….

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born August 6, 1874 Charles Fort. Writer and researcher who specialized in anomalous phenomena. The term fortean is sometimes used to characterize such phenomena. No, not genre as such, but certainly an influence on many a writer. The Dover publication, The Complete Books of Charles Fort, that collects together The Book of The Damned Lo!Wild Talents and New Lands has a foreword by Damon Knight. When it was originally published as The Books of Charles Fort L. Sprague de Camp reviewed it in Astounding Science-Fiction in the August 1941 issue. (Died 1932.)
  • Born August 6, 1877 John Ulrich Giesy. He was one of the early writers in the Sword and Planet genre, with his Jason Croft series. He collaborated with Junius B. Smith on many of his stories though not these which others would call them scientific romances. He wrote a large number of stories featuring the occult detective Abdul Omar aka Semi-Dual and those were written with Smith. (Died 1947.)
  • Born August 6, 1926 Janet Asimov. Author of some half dozen novels and a fair amount of short fiction on her own, mostly as J.O. Jeppson; co-author with Isaac of the Norby Chronicles. Her Notes for a Memoir: On Isaac Asimov, Life, and Writing, came out thirteen years ago. (Died 2019.)
  • Born August 6, 1934 Piers Anthony, 89. Ok I’ll admit that I’m not at all familiar with him as comic fantasy isn’t my usual go-to reading though I’ve some of the Xanth series a long time ago. I know he’s popular so I’m going to ask y’all which of his novels would be a great introduction to him. Go ahead and tell which novels I should read. 
  • Born August 6, 1956 Ian R. MacLeod, 67. Another author I need to read more of. I’ve read the first two in what’s called the Aether Universe series, The Light Ages and The House of Storms, but there are other novels I’m intrigued by, including Song of Time and The Great Wheel. He’s won some impressive Awards including three Sidewise Awards for The Summer Isles (short and long forms) and for Wake Up and Dream novel. He also won a World Fantasy Award for “The Chop Shop” short story. 
  • Born August 6, 1972 Paolo Bacigalupi, 51. I remember the book group I was part of some years ago having a spirited debate over The Windup Girl (which won a Hugo at Aussiecon 4 and a Nebula as well) over the believability of the central character. I think he did a better job with characters in his next novels, Ship Breaker and The Drowned Cities, but he’s really not about characters anyways. 

(9) COMICS SECTION.

  • Bizarro reveals the post-apocalyptic cat world.
  • Herman shows another law enforcement-vs.-flying saucer encounter with a surprise ending.
  • Brewster Rockit thinks he’s surprising a colleague with his discovery of another way to read text.
  • Tom Gauld on classic novels improved by AI:

(10) THE MAN FROM UNCLE WITH THE GOLDEN GUN IN THE HIGH CASTLE. On the official blog of artist J.J. Lendle, The Poster Project, is an amazing gallery of tributes to current movies and shows on posters done in myriad styles drawn from the decades of Hollywood history. Here’s a very recent example.

(11) FREE READ. Sunday Morning Transport’s editors hope their free August story, Eugenia Triantafyllou‘s “Always Be Returning,” will “transport all our readers to mythical and strikingly heartfelt shores.” “Always Be Returning”. To receive new posts and support our authors’ work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

(12) HE DIDN’T TAKE HIS SHOT. “Star Trek’s new musical episode happened because of Lin-Manuel Miranda” at The Digital Fix.

… It was initially going to be Star Trek Picard that was possibly going to have a musical episode. Executive producer of both Picard and Strange New Worlds Akiva Goldsman says that another exec-producer, Michael Chabon knows Lin-Manuel Miranda. “We were like, ‘Call him! call him!’” but “[Lin-Manuel] didn’t call him back. And that was the end of that musical. But it did seem like such a good idea. As soon as Henry and I got together to make [Strange New Worlds], I kept peppering him with, ‘We should do a musical,’ and Henry, of course, had done musicals before.”…

(13) 10,000 MILES I ROAMED, JUST TO MAKE THIS DOCK MY HOME. Most of these new-species-named-for-something-genre are pointlessly precious, but I admit this one made me laugh: “New Fish Species Named After The Lord of the Rings” at Comicbook.com.

The world of The Lord of the Rings has inspired countless adaptations and fan works — and now, it has officially influenced the world of fish. According to a new study in the Ichthyology & Herpetology journal, scientists have discovered a brand-new species of suckermouth catfish along West Africa’s Niger River, which shares some similarities with the franchise’s fictional Hobbits. In particular, the fish are seen as “diminutive travelers” who were separated a great distance from their fellow catfish, much like the Hobbits are in J.R.R. Tolkien’s stories. As a result, the brown and white fish has now officially been named Chiloglanis frodobagginsi, a reference to protagonist Frodo Baggins… 

(14) VIDEO OF BACK IN THE DAY. Brian Keene joins three more living legends — Ellen Datlow, Linda Addison, and Steve Rasnic Tem — for “Back in the Day (part 2)”.

Brian Keene speaks with panelists about what has changed in publishing and horror fiction over the years… and what hasn’t

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Steven French, Ben Bird Person, Kathy Sullivan, Peer, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cat Eldridge.]

49 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/6/23 Pixels Bright Red And Bouncing High As A Scroll Will Allow

  1. There was no subscriber notification sent for this post.

    It’s hot here — Jetpack may have melted.

  2. @Cat Eldridge — the thing to do with Piers Anthony is to read his early books, before he discovered the schlock formula that has made him wealthy: Macroscope, Chthon, and Omnivore are all good in their various ways, as is the sword/sorcery trilogy that begins with Sos the Rope. If you don’t mind humourous science fiction, his fixup novel Prostho Plus is the wondrous adventures of a dentist kidnapped by aliens and set to work at — dentistry, for species whose mouths he does not necessarily understand. Quite funny stuff (or so I thought when I read it a few decades ago).

  3. I would have sympathy for Jetpack melting, if it hadn’t screwed up so often when melting wasn’t a plausible explanation.

    I hurt all over, and I’m still doing what I have to do, so Jetpack can just suck it up and do its job, I say.

  4. (8) We should also mention Paolo’s novel The Water Knife, certainly one of the best examples of the “Cli-Fi” subset of science fiction.

  5. 8) For better or for worse (I’m inclined to think “better”), I never did read any of the Xanth books. But I have fond memories of Thousandstar, which I think was the only Cluster novel they had at the library. That book was weird.

  6. re. Piers Antony I’d agree with the recommendations for Macroscope and Omnivore. If you’re not familiar with the problematic aspects of Antony’s writing Steppe isn’t bad. And from what I’ve heard DO NOT read Firefly (I haven’t and won’t).

  7. Another Anthony book I’m pretty sure I don’t want to read is the collection Pornucopia.

    Early Anthony clearly read Scientific American – more than one of his books of the epoch featured mathematical games Martin Gardner had discussed in his column.

  8. 8) Definitely stay away from Xanth. The first three do have real story characters, but even in the first one, the sexism is blatant enough that I think it would be obvious today to people you wouldn’t think of as enlightened on that. It’s also nonstop puns, which is fun at first, if you’re young enough to feel clever about catching every single one of them, and haven’t yet learned that you really can have to much of a good thing.

    When the puns and the sexism started getting entangled, I started learning, at a tender age, that no, you don’t have to finish every book you start.

    I’m 99 44/100 percent sure that as an adult, I couldn’t have gotten 30 pages into the first one.

    On a Pale Horse, though, is excellent. The two sequels are pretty good. Do not believe anyone who tells you there are more than two sequels. Those other books do not exist. Believe me, not your lying eyes or dishonest reference sources.

  9. (5) if you’re going to London, Waterstones Picadilly is a lot of fun. Huge, airy shop with large stock, and excellent cafe/bar on the top floor with an interesting view. Of course, one buys SFF only at Forbidden Planet, where all the books are in the basement.

  10. Dan’l Danehy-Oakes:

    If you don’t mind humourous science fiction, his fixup novel Prostho Plus is the wondrous adventures of a dentist kidnapped by aliens and set to work at — dentistry, for species whose mouths he does not necessarily understand. Quite funny stuff (or so I thought when I read it a few decades ago).

    Funny enough Prostho Plus wa the first SF novel Ive read. It got me into starting on readong my dads collection where Ive read all the classic. Ive never re-read it, but its weird that this was my starting point into genre.

  11. (8) I’ve read Chthon and Macroscope. They were intense, dark, moody, and somewhat surreal. Both were Hugo finalists, losing to Lord of Light and The Left Hand of Darkness, respectively.

  12. (6) Only 5 of 10 – my Elroyology knowledge is slight.

    On A Pale Horse is good.

  13. I’ve never read a Piers Anthony story that didn’t disappoint me. Eventually, I just gave up bothering to try. I think it’s safe to say that the longer one of his series goes on, the more disappointing the books get.

    Also, persons of delicate sensibilities might want to skip his contribution to Again, Dangerous Visions, the story entitled “In the Barn”. I kind of wish I’d skipped that one, and my sensibilities are about as delicate as a Challenger tank.

  14. (5) I might use BookTok more, but I can’t log into BookTok on my laptop. (That might be a good thing.) I have heard fans pointing out that you have to “curate” your feed to reflect what you like. With BookTok, it looks like that can be difficult because there’s so much out there. If you start to hate-watch videos about the types of books you hate, your feed will suggest more of the same.

    (8) My recommendation is to tread carefully with Piers Anthony. I liked the first couple of Xanth books when I read them, but when I read reviews of them, I can’t believe I made it all the way through. (I didn’t when I borrowed the first one from the library recently.) I think some fans like the Apprentice Adept books. (The first one is the one with the cover where the guy appears to be fencing a unicorn.)

  15. 8) I enjoyed Anthony’s “Incarnations of Immortality” series. Although I recommend stopping at book 6, “For Love Of Evil”. Book 7 was a step downward and Book 8 is best left unmentioned. The elevator pitch is that each book is centered around an incarnation that has complete control within their sphere (death, time, fate, war, nature, etc.). Each book tells the same basic story from the perspective of each character. The story progresses as each incarnation gets their turn.

    I second the vote for avoiding “Firefly”. I didn’t, but wish I had. Just thinking about it makes me feel unclean. [Vg vaibyirf n shyyl nqhyg zna znavchyngvat n cerchorfprag tvey vagb univat frk jvgu uvz.] I’ve been disinclined to continue any of his other series since reading that book.

    6) 8/10, but one of them I was leaning toward the correct answer but had a moment of doubt. I got all the important ones right.

    5) Tiktok isn’t for me. I’m glad the BookTok folks are having fun, but I’m guessing the books I enjoy the most won’t be high on their priority list.

    4)

    Spar is the president of Florida’s largest teachers’ union….

    It’s not like he has a vested interest in overreacting. Or giving bad advice to the members of his union.

    2) Of all the options available, this is the worst. If the work is included, then the author should be credited.

    Regards,
    Dann
    No way, I took call waiting of!@#$!(!@ ) #$! NO CARRIER

  16. The only Piers Anthony novel I can recommend is “But What of Earth” but mainly because it details the journey of his little, throw-away bit of bubblegum sci-fi at the hands of the publishing industry.

    You’ll need two bookmarks.

    One for his text and one for the second half of the book, consisting of dozens of detailed footnotes showing what his three (or four! I can’t remember now) separate editors did as they argued among themselves.

    It’s a remarkable view into the sausage factory and even more remarkable when you consider how much energy was expended on shlock.

  17. 8) I first tried reading Chthon as a teenager and the book hit the wall – at a time when English language paperbacks were precious treasures and hard to come by.

    Last year, I read it again to review it for Galactic Journey, because I was wondering whether I had maybe been too young for the book. Not only did I immediately remember the moment the book hit the wall the first time around – when the “hero” randomly rapes a woman – it was also even more misogynist and creepy the second time around.

  18. @Lis
    I enjoyed On A Pale Horse a lot. I’m perfectly prepared to not believe there are any sequels.

    Prothso Plus is one of my foundational works. Not going to risk seeing if the suck fairy has visited.

  19. …Not only did I immediately remember the moment the book hit the wall the first time around – when the “hero” randomly rapes a woman – it was also even more misogynist and creepy the second time around.

    Holy kreplach. I have no memory of that — I read it about fifty years ago, when I was a whole lot less aware of such things.

    This may, however, without my consciously realizing it, be a reason why Chthon is not one of the very few Anthony books which have retained their place on my shelves…

  20. @ Dann
    How many union presidents do you know? I know none who have “a vested interest in … giving bad advice to their members”.

  21. I’ve read and bought the 1st 23 volumes of XANTH. Sure, the society there is sexist (and Mundania is worse): it makes for multi-book character arcs, e.g. Iris’s story (there’s not much conflict in a true eutopia). I like that it has theme (as well as the characterization), especially the Buddhist elements, such as inconspicuous enlightenment.
    The downside (besides the sections where it bogs down) is that the humor is too dated for younger readers and lacks representation in some cases, it being also a parody of the old-fashioned quest fantasies and 1970s society.
    But it still works if one reads the books.

  22. @Msb

    Ironically, my father was a union teacher. I was marinated in the stuff. My dad’s “go-to” line was that unionization allowed him to grow a mustache during the school year.

    Teachers union leaders thrive on creating a confrontational relationship. Given the choice between assisting teachers by identifying age-inappropriate works to create sound classroom libraries and watching teachers make a bad choice, Mr. Spar seems to have gone with the latter.

    One legitimately wonders what the official organs of his union have been advising their membership to do. Tossing out books en mass is certainly a disproportionate response. I’d think that an organization supporting educated and competent teachers would facilitate their ability to discern age-appropriate books.

    Regards,
    Dann
    Quality, Speed, Price. Pick any two.

  23. “One legitimately wonders what the official organs of his union have been advising their membership to do.”

    You seem to be having more fun jumping to conclusions about what the union has been advising,

    You also seem to have a touching faith in Big Government, though, trusting that they will never, ever, use the powers they have given themselves to send teachers to gaol. Surely, they gave themselves that power purely by accident. You should read some Rand and reconsider your statist views – just because unions work against state power, doesn’t mean that they are wrong.

  24. 4) On reading the article in question, I don’t see that Spar is giving any advice at all, only reporting on what teachers are choosing to do. In any case, the law is a bit like chess: the threat is stronger than its execution. There is no penalty for removing books, but the consequences of not removing books, even harmless ones, can be severe, including but not limited to massive legal bills, career damage, and possible firing. It should surprise no one that many teachers are choosing to play it safe.

    In a perfect world, yes, there would be a good faith effort to find, agree on, and remove age-inappropriate books. Nothing in the current vaguely worded law suggests good faith.

  25. @Jeff Jones — I did not read as far as you did; I gave up rather than read in public a book with the horrendous title The Color of Her Panties. But a dozen books or so are enough to form a judgment: what I had at first thought of as “Oz for grownups” was actually formulaic, sexist, and rather repulsive.

  26. @Dan’l Danehy-Oakes: Most fantasy novels that I’ve heard of sound formulaic. What was repulsive? PA has never been one to shy away from difficult topics, but XANTH is pretty mild. All the realistic violence exploited in contemporary works is what repels me. The title of XANTH 15 is only silly by comparison. Oh well.

  27. @Jeff Jones–Jake already shared this link above, but I’ll call it to your attention again. It’s an episode of the podcast I Don’t Even Own a Television, and its review of A Spell For Chameleon pretty thoroughly covers what’s sexist and repulsive about that book. And Xanth only gets worse after that.
    Spell for Chameleon discussion podcast

    Do give it a try.

  28. I’ve never been good at toeing the party line. Sorry, but I’ve read the books and will continue to have my own experiences.

  29. @Jeff Jones, you are, of course, welcome to like what you like. But it’s perfectly possible to both enjoy something, AND simultaneously recognize its problematic nature. I own books and movies which I still quite like and will even re-watch or re-read, but would never recommend to another person without mentioning the potholes and missing stairs first.

    Piers Anthony could be a talented writer. He, alas, also could be problematic.

  30. @Cassy B. That’s reasonable; some people were starting to sound like Conservative book-banners. It’s rare to find any books that illustrate Buddhist concepts, so I will still speak up for XANTH even if I mention that other people have problems with it (not talking about his other works here, some of which may have worse problems).

  31. Of all the ways to denigrate a religion, saying that its principles are illustrated by the Xanth books is pretty up there.

    I checked a copy of the book to see for myself and really I only have myself to blame for reading the bit about the “alluring fourteen-year-old”.

  32. @Jim Janney

    In a perfect world, yes, there would be a good faith effort to find, agree on, and remove age-inappropriate books. Nothing in the current vaguely worded law suggests good faith.

    In a perfect world, schools would have responded to the good faith concerns from parents with such a good faith effort. But here we are.

    Separately, y’all understand that we are talking about government schools? Where student attendance is mandated by the government unless some other independent educational provision is made? Public schools are inherently statist. Responding to problems created by a statist institution with more statism may not be ideal, but it isn’t exactly an unpredictable response.

    Unless someone is advocating for the abolition of all public schools. In which case, carry on.

    Regards,
    Dann
    Never preach harder than you can entertain. – Jim Butcher

  33. @Jake: Your point of view is astonishing, to say the least. I could say more.

    BTW, podcasts aren’t practical for me. Sorry.

  34. @Dann665–In Llano, Texas, they did try to shut the county library system down rather than obey a court order to restore the banned books.

    Here’s the banned books:

    “Defendants claim to be on a hunt to eradicate ‘pornographic’ materials,” the residents said in their complaint. “This is a pretext; none of the books Defendants have targeted is pornographic.”

    The books Llano County officials removed from the library shelves include critically acclaimed works for teenagers and older readers, like Isabel Wilkerson’s “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents”; “They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group,” by Susan Campbell Bartoletti; the graphic novel “Spinning,” by Tillie Walden; Maurice Sendak’s “In the Night Kitchen”; and Robie H. Harris’ “It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health.”

    But four children’s picture books with “silly themes and rhymes” also were banned.

    They were “Larry the Farting Leprechaun,” “Gary the Goose and His Gas on the Loose,” “Freddie the Farting Snowman” and “Harvey the Heart Has Too Many Farts,” according to the complaint.

    I would seriously like your thoughts on what’s pornographic about any of these books, but especially about silly books about farts, for young children.

    And, of course, the books on the more painful aspects of our national history, aimed at teenagers. You’d think the people smugly reminding us that the KKK was founded by Democrats would want young people approaching voting age to know more about the real history of its founding, right? Right?

    Texas county will keep library system open and comply with judge’s order to put banned books back in circulation</a

  35. The only hit for “inconspicuous enlightenment” (with quotes) on google is a gardening blog, is it perhaps known under a different name?

  36. I will check. Different organizations translate things differently. It’s related to soku shin jobutsu “attaining Buddhahood in one’s present form”. There’s also hen doku i yaku “turning poison into medicine”.

  37. Ah. It looks like I combined 2 terms. Thanks for looking it up! There is the term “inconspicuous benefit”. What I had in mind, though, was performing the right actions without appearing to be a Buddha. A friend and I both read the early books and found the same concepts, but that was 20 years ago.

  38. @Lis Carey

    Honestly? I’m not sure where any of those books should be of concern. I don’t know much about the Llano, TX library. So there may be a legitimate case for shelving some of those books in the general area rather than for “teenagers and older readers”. But disagreements about shelving is separate from mandating their total removal from the library.

    Kids will always find their way to books in the general/adult area.

    I’ve not read these books, so there might be something worth criticizing.

    As I’ve said before, I find most of these laws to be excessive responses to small disagreements about what works are appropriate for which ages.

    Regards,
    Dann
    On the whole the English intelligentsia have opposed Hitler, but only at the price of accepting Stalin. – George Orwell

  39. Public schools are inherently statist. Responding to problems created by a statist institution with more statism may not be ideal, but it isn’t exactly an unpredictable response.

    Responding to a problem caused by the state by giving the state more power does not seem like a good strategy, unless one actually wants the state to have ever increasing amounts of power.

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