Every day, dear readers, I come to appreciate you more and more. Why? Firstsies, you're all bad ass mothers, who don't take no crap off of nobody. Last week I got called out twice in the comments: once for making a content error (which was sloppy, I'm sorry!), and a few times for being filled with haterade (although I did try to justify myself). I honestly do appreciate you all pointing out when I've effed up—it's like an army of smart people keeping me honest. Plus, I like dialoguing. I'm chatty.
Secondsies, I like you guys because you're really, really fun to do contests with. And Lord knows I love me some contests. Last week's contest, to come up with an alternate title for a classic, was awesome. I couldn't cut down the winners to fewer than three, because all three of them made me laugh when I found out the answers. My contest, my rules—hurray fascism! The winners are "Fear and Loathing in Denmark" by CKHB, “The Year a Zombie Killed my Girlfriend” by cloudshaper2k, and Xiexie's "A Little Person's Quest for Jewelry."
And thank Thor for all you guessers! There was some mighty brainpower going on, but Terry rose up victorious on the guessing front, with 5 correct titles (as far as I know, at any rate). If I ever un-anonymize, you and I are headed out for some bar trivia. The rest of you can come too, but you all have to buy me and Terry drinks. Hey, I don't make the rules, I just enforce them...no, wait, I make them too. Anyway. Check out the (slightly incomplete) list of contest answers posted, and let's get to rounding up the week. There's a new contest in the next paragraph—read on through or click here to skip the two sentences of chatting and get straight to the competition, American Gladiator style.
Oh, you like violence, do you? Then you’ll love this list of iconic fantasy weapons. That said, I think these weapons are kind of lackluster, and don’t have the heft of true violence. And no lightsabers? Um, hello, they cauterize wounds on contact. Which is awesome! So my contest for you this week: choose your own iconic literary or fantasy weapon, and leave it in the comments. Most inspired choice gets featured next week. And no stealing my choice, the Lobotomizer.
Also violent, Joss Whedon believes Angel could kick the sparkles right out of Edward Cullen. And I believe it—one headbutt from Angel’s ugly forehead thing and anyone would be out. If that doesn’t work, though, you can pass out by giving blood to Dracula, during Penguin Canada’s blood drives to promote a Dracula sequel. Yea, everyone wants to give blood now that vampires are popular. In an interview, Lev Grossman talks about how fantasy has become mainstream, and Philip Marchand accuses fantasy of taking over sci-fi. If you haven’t succumbed to the peer pressure, check out this fantasy starter kit for adults, and you’ll be jumping off bridges with the rest of us in no time.
Ok, the list in that last link is flawed, in part because the lady thinks Lord of the Rings is at a fourth-grade reading level (what kind of fourth graders does she know??), and because George R.R. Martin only got an honorable mention. In penance for her shenanigans, we must all listen to this interview with George R.R. Martin (my note to myself next to this link reads “squee!”). My secret boyfriend, Neil Gaiman, is a myth-making awesome machine. He (and some other people) won some Hugos. It was clearly all caused by the mysterious “quantum flux.”
Do you love Gaiman for his graphic novels more than his novel-novels? Well soon there will be an app to support proper comic reading on the iPhone. Which will be just in time for the graphic translation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and for Yale’s book The Cartoons that Shook the World. You know what they don’t think shook the world? The Danish cartoons of Muhammad (you know, the ones that prompted riots, embassy burnings, and an international discussion of free speech). According to Yale, that wouldn’t fall under the category of world-shaking. Nor do any pictures of the Prophet, actually. But I bet Garfield will be in there—he’s one sassy cat.
Not just Yale, but the world went a little overboard with political correctness this week. The Diary of Anne Frank will get Disney-fied, the cover of Liar got changed (although, after the hubbub about having a white girl on the cover, no one seems to care that Bloomsbury couldn’t have found a lighter black woman), and To Kill a Mockingbird might get banned in a Canadian school for naughty language. Malcolm Gladwell accuses Harper Lee of not supporting civil rights enough in said book, and Garth Risk Hallberg tells him to shut his pie hole until he actually understands the book (zing!). To top it all off, the contest inspiring copy of Mein Kampf sold for £21,000 to an anonymous buyer (he wants to own it, but not to admit to it). Actually, though, German Jews want Mein Kampf to be reprinted, to show future generations that Hitler really was a jerk.
Tim Burton believe that children’s books shouldn’t have to be politically correct, and so would probably support Harper Lee in a smackdown with the above overzealous Canadian parents. That said, he’s not the guy behind a “sexy” TV adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. This is probably contributing to the death of reading, aptly described by David Ulin in the LA Times. Kassia Krozer writes about reading's losing fight for eyeballs, and the existence of literary junk food is probably an argument for this too (wait, come on, chick-lit is serious, people are incorporating the heavy reality of the recession now. Respect them!). Alas, we may one day actually need these dos and don'ts of reading.
This has actually filtered down to the untouchables like Thomas Pynchon—the man, the legend, the mystery. Ever elusive, to promote his forthcoming novel he actually spoke. To the public. Well, sort of. He lent his voice to his book trailer and created a playlist to go with his new novel (although he is not an indie rock groupie). Even Pynchon can’t be “just an author.”
Thoroughly depressed, I think the only answer is contest literary violence (Go go, Gadget-Lobotomizer!) . So submit your violent accessories of mayhem to the contest below—no using them on each other—and see you all next week.