Archive for Abominations

To Defy Homophobia of Original Publisher, Read/Buy “Woven” When it’s Published!

Michael Jensen and David Powers King got an awful shock when their YA fantasy novel, Woven, was just about to be published. On the final proofs, Jensen noticed that the reference to his living with his boyfriend in Salt Lake City had been removed. At first, the publisher said that this was because they could reach more “LDS [i.e. Mormon] buyers” if they took out that reference. But when Jensen said that was fine and that they could just use the word “partner,” the publisher balked at that too. There was to be no reference to Jensen’s domestic relationship at all. Unlike King’s bio, which happily mentioned his own domestic relationship (wife and kids).

Note: the publisher, Sweetwater Books, a division of Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, already knew Jensen was gay when they signed him. But when the book was in its final stage before release, they changed his bio without mentioning it to him and without getting his permission–which was required, incidentally, by their contract.

The International Business Times sums things up quite nicely in this article: Publisher Cancels Novel Because Author Is Gay? Michael Jensen Says Cedar Fort Publishing Axed Project Following Boyfriend Reference. The writer, Christopher Zara, quotes Jensen: “Lyle [Mortimer, the company owner] started yelling about my ‘agenda’ and how I was trying to destroy families…He even started saying inappropriate things about how God had given me a penis for a reason.”

Of course Jensen wasn’t going to back down, and he was fully supported by King. Eventually, after Mortimer blustered and the authors casually mentioned all the bad publicity they could create for Cedar Fort, they got the manuscript and all their rights back. Apparently, the advance reviews had been very good, and Cedar Fort had expected Woven to be a best-seller. So I think we can say that Cedar Fort seriously lost out due to its institutional anti-gay/human stance.


This email exchange of the events and the final press release are very interesting. Start with the first email at the bottom.

Why I’m Dumping Goodreads After Amazon Bought it

So Amazon has bought the book-lovers’ cataloguing and social site, Goodreads. I’ve been digesting this news since it was announced at the end of last week. My first reaction was very negative, and I had already pretty much decided that I would delete my Goodreads account and concentrate only on LibraryThing, where I also have been cataloguing my books over the years (and doing occasional reviews through their “Early Reviewer” program).

Two ideas have come to the fore as to why I’m dumping Goodreads:

  1. I intensely dislike monopolies or companies that try to become monopolies.
  2. The title of this Salon article: Amazon buys Goodreads: We’re all just data now.

There are several Internet companies trying to become monopolies: Facebook, Google, and Amazon are some of the biggies. I do deal with all of them, but I do what I can not to become owned by them. And there are the meatspace/Internet combos too: Apple and Microsoft. And I think Yahoo is making a last-ditch effort to play with the big boys too. I already loathed it when the great photo site, Flickr, sold out to Yahoo, and I think that I was justified. I hate to think of what moves they’re going to make as they try to jump on the “We own our users’ lives” bandwagon.

Part of my point is that in my own dealings, I don’t concentrate my whole life in any one place, and I do whatever I can to try to prevent any of those companies from taking over my whole life. For instance, I don’t register at sites which won’t let me register with an email address but insist I link to my Facebook account. Buh-bye — you guys just don’t get my business. I also may have consolidated several Google accounts in one place — but I still maintain two other accounts with all their own versions of G+, Picasa, YouTube, blah blah blah. I am not going to do absolutely everything in one place and have everything associated with one name all the time.

But apart from all that — I will not pile up a bunch of unpaid labour so that a monster-sized corporation can make even bigger piles of bucks off of my work. I do not post book reviews and that sort of thing to help mega-corp make piles of money. They may like to be the recipients of that sort of charity, but I refuse to be the donor. I post book (and other) reviews for my own entertainment and also because they might help someone else make up his/her own mind. (And when I want to post a review on Amazon, I do so. If I haven’t posted a review there, they don’t get to steal it from somewhere else and use it.) And LibraryThing respects people’s privacy a lot more and does not concentrate primarily on using other people’s work to enrich itself. (This article, Culture Shock: when Goodreads and LibraryThing collide, discusses some of the differences between LibraryThing and Goodreads, and I think it explains why I’ve always subconsciously tended to lean more toward LT from the beginning.)

I also like cataloguing my books for insurance purposes. I already know of a few people who had their personal book lists catalogued on LibraryThing and had those lists accepted for replacement purposes by insurance companies.

I won’t “go gently into that good night” where corporations simply assume we human beings are property that they can buy or sell — or for that matter, that we are money wallets that they can simply advertise at so they can make billions siphoning money out of our pockets and into theirs, while we can barely afford to buy a new book now and then. (And if you think the game is already lost, and we can’t fight the big corporations, and the only choice we have left is to decide whose property we are — you need to read some history books.)

So no, Goodreads. I’m slowly deleting my books from your site (after I check that they’re already properly recorded at LibraryThing). Soon, all Amazon will have of me there is…nothing. An empty account. Enjoy the riches.




Banned Books Week: Huck Finn Loses the “N-Word” for “Robot”

This is an entertaining video–which demonstrates the stupidity of censorship and a failure to understand historical context or irony–as two people advocate rewriting Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn to suit today’s sensibilities.

Naturally, London Looters are not Readers

The website pretty much sums up everything in their headline today: Bookshops avoid major damage in London rioting. In fact, the second paragraph holds the key:

As London shopowners began the clean-up this morning, spokespeople for both Waterstone’s and W H Smith said they were unaware of any damage to their store portfolio. Both retailers’ management were meeting this morning to discuss the violence, which was largely targeted at electronics retailers.

This coincides exactly with what happened in Vancouver, BC, after the post-Stanley-Cup riot. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) building is situated in the area where much of the rioting took place, and one of the broadasters there reported an interesting phenomenon: a nearby entertainment store had all its windows broken, and most of the TVs, boom boxes, computer gaming consoles and everything else were stolen. But the huge bookstore next door? Had all its windows broken and didn’t have a thing stolen.

Pages of Hackney, Lower Clapton, E5

Pages of Hackney; in the riot area, but untouched by the mindless fools

This pretty much tells you everything you need to know. People who value knowledge and learning, who like to read and reflect and understand things — they don’t riot or commit unspeakable damage to others and their property. Of course there will be some exceptions, but as a rule, in two separate countries, this seems to be the case.

But people who don’t think, who move from entertainment to entertainment without thinking or reflecting, without valuing knowledge or understanding — they’ve now moved to the next stage of their fun-having. They are enjoying smashing and burning things. And some new electronic gear as a reward — wow, what a bonus!

Electronics stores/bookstores. The contrast, during a riot, says everything. The primary exception would be ideologues who want to burn bookstores because they don’t want anybody to think or acquire knowledge. But that’s actually the exception that proves the rule.

The people doing this rioting are loathesome.


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