Archive for stephen king

The Book Booth: Ice Bucket Edition



The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing. SeattleDan, along with his wife, SeattleTammy, are operators of both an on-line bookstore here, as well as a brick and mortar storefront mini-store in Hoquiam, WA at 706 Simpson Ave (Route 101 South). Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

It seems everyone is taking the Ice Bucket challenge and it is certainly for a worthy cause. Why even certain authors are participating... Ice Bucket Authors

An ice bucket may have been more appropriate for King's protagonist in The Shining, Jack Torrance. That novel and several other good ones are featured in Mark Watson's list of great novels with hotel settings. Not listed is Vicki Baum's Grand Hotel, published back in the late twenties. How soon they forget. Hotel Novels

The World Science Fiction Convention (Loncon3) was held last week and by all accounts, it was well attended and enjoyable. During the conference, the Hugo Awards were announced and you can view the winners here. SciFi Winners

Also announced at the Convention, and good new for fans of The Time Traveler's Wife, is that the author Audrey Niffenegger will be writing a sequel. The Bookseller has the news. Sequel

The Italian novelist Italo Calvino was known for his stories of whimsy and the fantastic, and very well worth reading today. Here he offered fourteen reasons why one should read the classics.

For the fantastic, look no further than Susan Hoerth's book sculptures! Here fairy tale characters jump out from their texts.  Book Sculptures

There are defenders of "the canon" who absolutely hate Harry Potter. Well, screw 'em. The novels will hold up, in my opinion, for a very long time and be enjoyed immensely for young adults (as well as old adults). And the influence of the series cannot be denied. Here is an analysis on how the books have affected the Millennials from the New Statesman, with a h/t to our friend Lucian. Harry Potter's Influence on the Real World

So you've written your novel and it has been published and lo, and behold, your publisher thinks so highly of the work that you are off on a book tour to help promote sales. Sounds like fun, doesnt' it? Novelist Lesley Kagan begs to differ.  Book Tour Stories

Here's another article by Laura Miller at Salon about the Amazon/Hachette contremps that continues unabated. This one is particularly good as it gives a good context for what is happening. Amazon & Hachette: Still Duking it Out

And you know me. Please patronize your local independent bookstore. Tom Roberge of New Directions publishers gives some very compelling reasons for doing so.  Why You Should Buy Your Books from your Local Independent Bookstore.

I hope your ice buckets are chilling some favorite drink of yours this weekend, and that is near where ever it is you happen to be reading. And do tell us what book that might be! Happy Weekend everyone.


Gun Control: Soak, Wash, Rinse, Reject -- And It Still Stinks


guns Asperger Syndrome

Every time there's a horrific mass shooting, and sometimes when there's a single random killing, there's a momentary blip on the heart meter over sane gun control laws. A voice or two calling out for reasonable gun regulation.

This past weekend's Isla Vista, California, massacre has once again brought out the cry for gun control. Despite a vast majority of the US population agreeing with this, Congress will continue its spin cycle and do nothing. The latest voice to attempt the seemingly impossible is Sen. Peter King (R-N.Y.)


Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) joined the charge of politicians calling for a review of gun control legislation on Sunday in the wake of a gunman's deadly rampage on the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara.

“This tragedy demonstrates once again the need to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill,” he said.

Boy, haven't we seen that so often before? But don't worry, you NRA enthusiasts and right-wing gun nuts, nothing is going to come of this. It's just another case of "soak, wash, rinse, repeat." Wishy-washy, wishy-washy.

Just asking, what is so hard and so wrong with a common sense law regarding guns? We do have some regulations, so it's not a totally foreign concept. We refuse sales of certain automatic weapons, we don't allow people to carry guns openly in many places and we don't let ex-felons purchase guns. Why not a simple bill which might weed out unstable or unqualified citizens from getting them. It would still protect citizen's 2nd Amendment rights. Call it a sanity clause -- but with a loose interpretation of sanity.

In this case, maybe a better word might be a responsibility clause. Anyone of legal age who wishes to get a gun to join the state militia (that's the 2nd Amendment) or even wants a gun for their own personal protection (a very loose interpretation of the 2nd Amendment), needs only to pass a proficiency test to show they know how to safely handle the gun or rifle. At the time of licensing, DGS (Department of Gun Safety) would also assess any overt signs of mental or emotional instability which would not prohibit the applicant from getting licensed. If and only if the inspector feels there is a problem the applicant will be directed to get a mental evaluation stamp from a certified health specialist before the license would be approved.

Now before you go thinking that's an abuse, let me confess that my younger brother has Asperger Syndrome. He was diagnosed years ago. He's the kindest, finest person you'd want to know. Yet, you would only need two minutes talking to him to know there's something a little off. He's still capable of living on his own, he worked for 25 years for the City of Los Angeles, and he's self-supporting. But truthfully he should not have a weapon of any kind.

This brings me to the Santa Barbara area tragedy. The shooter was reportedly diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, so obviously I'm a bit familiar with it. Why was he sold weapons? That truth is, because there's no rule against it.

Despite that, with the dearth of meaningful  restrictions on who can buy a gun, this ill young man went twice to a gun store and plopped down money and bought weapons. That was it. And that's really the sum total of gun control in our nation.

We make people get and renew driver's licenses ever few years for the privilege to get behind the wheel of vehicles, classified as deadly weapons. So what's the harm in doing the same with guns? The only ones who should fear this regulation are those who shouldn't have guns in the first place.

Oh, just as a side argument for this sanity  or responsibility gun licensing-- my brother, when he was younger, decided he wanted to learn how to fly. He paid his money, took flying lessons and passed the flying test. But he was denied a license. Why? Simply because the certifying instructor noticed his slightly different behavior (the Asperger Syndrome) and reported it the the FAA. They interviewed my brother and had him meet with a licensed psychologist. It was determined that he was emotionally unqualified to deal with the stress of flying.

That was the right move. And this same logic and reason should be part of a congressional bill. Let's not stop gun sales. Let's stop gun sales to those who might be unqualified to handle the stress and responsibility. What I propose is not new, nor is it a fail-safe system. Some people will fall through the cracks. But it's sure going to make it safer for all of us.

Watch this distraught father of one victim from the recent shooting. He wants two things-- Congress to get off their asses to do something and he really wants equal rights for all of us -- the right for us to live even if it trumps some interpretation of our right to bear arms.


Video Overnight Thread- Allen Lanier of Blue Öyster Cult, RIP


Anther one that just smacks me up the head. Because I went to college in Michigan (Aquinas College, MI), I didn't go home (Miami, FL) during most holidays. In 1979 I was in the dorms during one of the breaks reading King's "The Stand". I had never heard of Blue Oyster Cult before, but when the dorms filled up again, I got an education (King featured the song in the book). Haunting, great music, and a sad loss. Via.


Video- Iconic Writer, Weaver of My Nightmares, Author Richard Matheson, 'I Am Legend' Dies At 87


I usually don't get verklempt over writers, but this man is such a part of my life. When I was a way geeky kid, I memorized the stories, authors, actors etc of every single Twilight Zone episode. Matheson of course, was everywhere. The first really scary film I ever saw in a theater was "Legend of Hell House" in a place on Calle Ocho with Spanish subtitles. ("Necrophilia...." Remember Olga?) Kolchak? OMG, Freaking Kolchak! I Am Legend, even that cheesy "Somewhere In Time". Books, movies, television! Other than King and Bradbury, no other writer has ever left an imprint on me like he did. Rest his soul, time to reread some of the greats. Killer NPR write up here.

It is ironic that one of the books author Richard Matheson, who has died at the age of 87 according to publisher Tor/Forge, is best known for is 1956′s The Shrinking Man. While that novel related the tale of a person diminishing away to virtually nothing, Matheson’s influence on the science fiction genre continues to grow more than a half century after the book’s publication. Just last week saw the release of World War Z, a film which owes a huge debt to George A. Romero’s classic 1968 film Night of the Living Dead and hence to Matheson’s similarly revered 1954 tome I Am Legend, to which Romero paid extremely generous homage in his film. Maybe too generous, according to Matheson himself. In 2007, the Allendale, N.J.-born writer told me with a chuckle about the time he met Romero for lunch. ”The first thing he said to me, putting his arms up as if I was abut to strike him, [was], ‘Didn’t make any money from Night of the Living Dead,’” Matheson recalled. “‘Homage’ means I get to steal you work. He’s a nice guy, though. I don’t harbor any animosity toward him.” (Romero later confirmed this story: “I confessed to him that I basically ripped the idea off from I Am Legend. He forgave me because we didn’t make any money. He said, ‘Well, as long as you didn’t get rich, it’s okay.’”)