Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

Magicland and Magic Books

Here's a pair of links from today, the first being an article on Glen Beck, who I have little knowledge on outside the obvious:

Beck was still polishing his act in his early days at Fox; does anyone remember when he simulcast a close-up of his own eyes in real time as he sermonized? Immediately, Stephen Colbert was on the story, pretend-praising Beck, saying, “Glenn has climbed into his genius cannon and lit the fuse.” He pegged Beck as a personage whose eyes offered “a wormhole to another world,” and it wasn’t long before Jon Stewart and the South Park boys were feeding on Beck’s performances; it was fertile ground. This kind of attention of course brought out Beck’s petulance, which is never far from the surface. Unlike Bill O’Reilly or Rush Limbaugh, or, as far as anyone can tell, Michele Bachmann, Beck fancies himself a comedian. He tours the country with his one-man stand-up show, Glenn Beck Live. “Don’t let the suit and tie fool you,” says his website. “Glenn Beck is one of the most unique and refreshing comic thinkers of his time.” It has to hurt when the pros call you a moron.

It's a cool article and actually features of a review of Beck's two novels, one of which, is about a sweater, and ends with everything being a dream. Yes.

Speaking with books, NPR had sixty thousand people vote on their favourite SF/fantasy book. It starts with Lord of the Rings, goes past Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and hits a lot of other books, such as Starship Troopers, Ender's Game and the Belgaraid, despite a 'No YA rule' that was put in place. I mean, seriously, half the books on this list are just old peoples YA books. But such is the way such lists work.

Though, I must say, I hate a lot of the books on this list. A Canticle for Leibowitz is at the top, a book that has always surprised me by its venerated status in the field, and one that I think is simply awful. William Gibson's Neuromancer was likewise a book I thought terribly written (though I loved Pattern Recognition, which Gibson wrote years later). And, outside the books I hated, there's some embarrassing inclusions: Salvatore's Drizzt series, Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time saga, Terry Brooks' Shannara trilogy, Raymond Fiest's Riftwar Saga. Weird choices. I read those things when I was a kid, but even the memory doesn't love them that much. It's also, lets be fair, a white list, pretty male, and divided between the British and the Americans. But, that probably reflects more of the people who voted than anything else.

Still, let it not be said that I disliked everything there. I love A Clockwork Orange and 1984--though I would argue that neither are genre books, not even slightly, but genre definitions are a mugs game at best. Vonnegut's Slaughter House Five is there, as is Watchmen, the Once and Future King and Joe Haldeman's fine and excellent the Forever War.

Still, the YA exclusion is a strange one, given a lot of the choices listed.

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