Alternatives to the Euro 2012 Linkdump

The Euro 2012 seems to have usurped everybody’s attention in Europe to the point that even European e-book sales have just died. In case anybody cares, Germany won its first match against Portugal 1:0 by the way.

Still, for all those who have room in their heads for something other than football, here are some links:

Over at the Pegasus Pulp blog, I have a follow-up to last week’s post on gender roles in romantic fiction in which I examine the gender dynamics in my own work.

Talking of gender roles, The New Yorker has an interesting article about the various incarnations of Snow White to coincide with the release of the latest Snow White film. Unfortunately, the article mainly focuses on American versions of Snow White (apart from the Grimm version, of course), but that’s to be expected considering that the source is an American magazine.

At the Book View Café, Sherwood Smith has a good post on heroes and villains and what makes them compelling. I’ve always had a weakness for the clever and manipulative sort of villain myself, not so much the Dark Lord but the manipulative adviser or the prince who intrigues and poisons his way to the throne. Best of all if they don’t look like villains on the surface. The Mule from Asimov’s Foundation series is a good example, as is Jim Jaspers from the old Captain Britain comics. These are among the few villains who ever truly scared me.

Writer Suzanne O’Leary takes on the eternal conflict between British and American English. Now I use British spellings in my books and have never had the sort of negative review Suzanne O’Leary mentions. Indeed, if I got such a review I might even violate the “Thou shalt not reply to reviews” commandment and post a polite note that the book uses British spellings.

That said, I’m not a big fan of the “our way is the proper way” tone of the post. I had enough of that in school, where American spellings and usage were automatically marked as “wrong”, even for students who had lived in the US or were the children of American expats. The linguist in me considers all varieties of English equally valid and equally correct, though the highschool teacher in me still primarily teaches British spellings and usage, because that’s what’s required.

The website of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has an interesting article on the history of comic book burnings in the US only a few years after the end of World War II. Looking at those photos makes me sad, when I think of how many rare Golden Age comic books were destroyed by those idiots. Because book burnings – when carried out on a systematic and widespread basis – can really make the books in question inaccessible to future generations. Only the most famous of those books that the Nazis burned – works by Thomas Mann, Heinrich Mann, Lion Feuchtwanger, Erich Maria Remarque, etc… – have been reprinted after the war. But plenty of lesser known authors, e.g. writers of popular fiction like pulp writer Walther Kabel or of zeitgeist novels from the Weimar Republic, are all but forgotten, their books nearly inaccessible even to scholars, because the Nazis destroyed most existing copies and they were never reprinted. Project Gutenberg and the e-book revolution can help to make those destroyed works accessible again. But of the many, many adventure and mystery novels Walther Kabel wrote during the 1920s, only one is available at Project Gutenberg.

This entry was posted in Books, Comics, Links and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Alternatives to the Euro 2012 Linkdump

  1. Cora,

    My post sprang not so much from comments in reviews but also messages and forum posts on this subject. I don’t maintain that British spelling is the only correct way to spell but what I was after was the same kind of tolerance of British spelling by Americans as we and the British give to them. That’s all.

    • Cora says:

      I agree that American reviewers and commenters complaining about British spellings and usage is beyond the pale. I haven’t personally experienced this, but I’ve seen a bit of it in the complaints about the Britishisms in Fifty Shades of Grey. I’ve also heard Americans complaining about any accent that isn’t RP in British TV shows, claiming that they cannot understand the dialogue. And it’s certainly odd that Americans have so little tolerance for other varieties of English, particularly since the dynamics are pretty much the complete opposite with German, where Austrians and the Swiss complain about purely German or North German usage and insist on their regional variations, while most Germans couldn’t care less, except that they may not know certain Austrian or Swiss terms, i.e. the smaller language communities complain about the large dominant one, whereas the large US language community complains about the smaller ones. I suspect it’s because US publishers have a habit of altering the spelling and even entire words to fit US usage (e.g. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone or Kit Whitfield’s novel Bareback/Benighted) and Americans are unlikely to read imported books, while Europeans are much more likely to read imported books with US spellings. Though I certainly hope that the indie revolution will expose for Americans to British or Irish or Australian or any other variety of English.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.