There Goes the Neighbourhood?

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mike weber

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Jan 18, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/18/00
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http://mrshowbiz.go.com/news/Todays_Stories/117/spielbergpotter011700.html

Spielberg Picks Harry Potter

Who's the man to bring Harry Potter to the screen? Will Steven
Spielberg do?

The London Times reports that the blockbuster-producing director has
set his sights on the best-selling book "Harry Potter and the
Sorceror's Stone", the first in the series by British author J.K.
Rowling about an orphaned boy who discovers he's really a wizard.

His qualifications to adapt the magical children's novel, as if he'd
need to submit them, include perennial children's favorite "E.T.",
adventure classic "Raiders of the Lost Ark", and special-effects
extravaganzas like "Jurassic Park".

"Variety" reported in December that the director had been given an
exclusive look at the first draft of Warner Bros.' "Harry Potter"
script adaptation, and the "Times" notes that the director spent the
holidays weighing his next project.
--
"History doesn't always repeat itself... sometimes it just
screams 'Why don't you listen when I'm talking to you?' and
lets fly with a club." JWC,Jr.
<mike weber> <kras...@mindspring.com>
Ambitious Incomplete web site: http://weberworld.virtualave.net

Julie Stampnitzky

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Jan 18, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/18/00
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On Tue, 18 Jan 2000, mike weber wrote:

> http://mrshowbiz.go.com/news/Todays_Stories/117/spielbergpotter011700.html
>
> Spielberg Picks Harry Potter
>
> Who's the man to bring Harry Potter to the screen? Will Steven
> Spielberg do?
>
> The London Times reports that the blockbuster-producing director has
> set his sights on the best-selling book "Harry Potter and the
> Sorceror's Stone", the first in the series by British author J.K.
> Rowling about an orphaned boy who discovers he's really a wizard.

Speaking of the reliability of the media in reporting what someone said,
I highly doubt that the London Times referred to the book by the title
_...Sorceror's Stone_.

...I notice that "Harry Potter Book 4" is third on the list of
amazon.co.uk top sellers, despite the fact that it hasn't been
released yet. The Harry Potter books are now available in Hebrew
translation. The cover art is the same as in the American editions; I was
amused to see that when they transliterated the author's name they
transliterated the initials as well, i.e. 'Jay. Kay. Rowling' was listed
as the author.

--
Julie Stampnitzky "Lecture slides are the most important
Rehovot, Israel thing a scientist produces."
http://www.yucs.org/~jules -my thesis advisor
http://neskaya.darkover.cx

Marcus L. Rowland

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Jan 18, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/18/00
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In article <388439bc...@news.mindspring.com>, mike weber
<kras...@mindspring.com> writes

>The London Times reports that the blockbuster-producing director has
>set his sights on the best-selling book "Harry Potter and the
>Sorceror's Stone", the first in the series by British author J.K.
>Rowling about an orphaned boy who discovers he's really a wizard.

"_Philosopher's_ Stone" _please_. Just because they changed the title in
the USA... <grumble grumble grumble>
--
Marcus L. Rowland
http://www.ffutures.demon.co.uk/ http://www.forgottenfutures.com/
"We are all victims of this slime. They... ...fill our mailboxes with gibberish
that would get them indicted if people had time to press charges"
[Hunter S. Thompson predicts junk e-mail, 1985 (from Generation of Swine)]

Beth Friedman

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Jan 18, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/18/00
to
Marcus L. Rowland wrote in message
<6RrJiaAr...@ffutures.demon.co.uk>...

>In article <388439bc...@news.mindspring.com>, mike weber
><kras...@mindspring.com> writes
>>The London Times reports that the blockbuster-producing director has
>>set his sights on the best-selling book "Harry Potter and the
>>Sorceror's Stone", the first in the series by British author J.K.
>>Rowling about an orphaned boy who discovers he's really a wizard.
>
>"_Philosopher's_ Stone" _please_. Just because they changed the title in
>the USA... <grumble grumble grumble>

Wanna make a bet about what the title of the movie will be, though?

(If I read them, it'll be the British version if I can manage it -- they
changed more than just the title.)

--
Beth Friedman
b...@wavefront.com


Rob Hansen

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Jan 18, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/18/00
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On Tue, 18 Jan 2000 10:01:05 GMT, kras...@mindspring.com (mike
weber) wrote:

>http://mrshowbiz.go.com/news/Todays_Stories/117/spielbergpotter011700.html
>
>Spielberg Picks Harry Potter
>
>Who's the man to bring Harry Potter to the screen? Will Steven
>Spielberg do?
>

>The London Times reports that the blockbuster-producing director has
>set his sights on the best-selling book "Harry Potter and the
>Sorceror's Stone", the first in the series by British author J.K.
>Rowling about an orphaned boy who discovers he's really a wizard.
>

>His qualifications to adapt the magical children's novel, as if he'd
>need to submit them, include perennial children's favorite "E.T.",
>adventure classic "Raiders of the Lost Ark", and special-effects
>extravaganzas like "Jurassic Park".
>
>"Variety" reported in December that the director had been given an
>exclusive look at the first draft of Warner Bros.' "Harry Potter"
>script adaptation, and the "Times" notes that the director spent the
>holidays weighing his next project.

So what part of America do you think they'll be setting it in, and
which spunky American child actor do you think will be playing the
lead?
--

Rob Hansen
================================================
My Home Page: http://www.fiawol.demon.co.uk/rob/
Feminists Against Censorship:
http://www.fiawol.demon.co.uk/FAC/

mike weber

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Jan 18, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/18/00
to
"Beth Friedman" <b...@wavefront.com> is alleged to have said, on Tue,
18 Jan 2000 18:47:02 GMT,
:

>Marcus L. Rowland wrote in message
><6RrJiaAr...@ffutures.demon.co.uk>...

>>"_Philosopher's_ Stone" _please_. Just because they changed the title in


>>the USA... <grumble grumble grumble>

Well, it was a US report that i was quoting, intended primarily for a
US audience.


>
>Wanna make a bet about what the title of the movie will be, though?
>
>(If I read them, it'll be the British version if I can manage it -- they
>changed more than just the title.)
>

What else did they change? Possibly some of the awkwardness in the
writing i picked up was due to changes...

Kip Williams

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Jan 18, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/18/00
to
Rob Hansen wrote:

['director' = Spielberg]

> >"Variety" reported in December that the director had been given an
> >exclusive look at the first draft of Warner Bros.' "Harry Potter"
> >script adaptation, and the "Times" notes that the director spent the
> >holidays weighing his next project.
>
> So what part of America do you think they'll be setting it in, and
> which spunky American child actor do you think will be playing the
> lead?

It'll have to be in NYC, so they can have some kind of version of a
British school. Americans accept that such places would likely be in
the Big Apple.

Can't keep track of spunky child actors. Doubtless another Culkin
will suffice.

--
--Kip (Williams)
amusing the world at http://members.home.net/kipw/

Randolph Fritz

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Jan 18, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/18/00
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[Various on Speilberg, Rowling, & Potter]

On Wed, 19 Jan 2000 02:23:26 GMT, Scraps deSelby <cham...@the.bit> wrote:
>
>I understand the anathema toward Spielberg, though I don't share it --
>wait, this is Usenet, I need to put that more aggressively: I know It Is
>Fasionable to hate Spielberg, and I'll Probably Be Attacked for Saying
>This, but. There. Um, where was I.
>

ROTFL! (Well, at least sitting here giggling.)

>ki...@home.com (Kip Williams) wrote in <3884FC94...@home.com>:


>>
>>It'll have to be in NYC, so they can have some kind of version of a
>>British school. Americans accept that such places would likely be in
>>the Big Apple.
>>

Not New England, where there actually are sort-of English places? :)
Then again, if they're feeling cheap, they might go to Mendocino...

By the way, if it hasn't been discussed to death when I wasn't around,
does anyone have an opinion on the popularity of the HP books? Is it
simply that Scholastic Book Services distributed it at the right time,
perhaps? (Much to the chagrin of some christian extremists.) The one
I've read seemed pretty good, but I just don't see anything in it that
makes it extra-ordinary.

R.
--
"So sit us down, buy us a drink,
Tell us a good story,
Sing us a song we know to be true.
I don't give a damn
That I never will be worthy,
Fear is the only enemy that I still know"--NMA

Scraps deSelby

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Jan 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/19/00
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ki...@home.com (Kip Williams) wrote in <3884FC94...@home.com>:

>Rob Hansen wrote:


>
>['director' = Spielberg]
>
>> >"Variety" reported in December that the director had been given an
>> >exclusive look at the first draft of Warner Bros.' "Harry Potter"
>> >script adaptation, and the "Times" notes that the director spent the
>> >holidays weighing his next project.
>>
>> So what part of America do you think they'll be setting it in, and
>> which spunky American child actor do you think will be playing the
>> lead?
>

>It'll have to be in NYC, so they can have some kind of version of a
>British school. Americans accept that such places would likely be in
>the Big Apple.
>

>Can't keep track of spunky child actors. Doubtless another Culkin
>will suffice.
>

I understand the anathema toward Spielberg, though I don't share it --
wait, this is Usenet, I need to put that more aggressively: I know It Is
Fasionable to hate Spielberg, and I'll Probably Be Attacked for Saying
This, but. There. Um, where was I.

Right: Spielberg's record with child actors is actually quite good. For
example, whatever you thought of =Empire of the Sun= (I thought it was
unjustly maligned) Christian Bale gave a marvelously subtle performance.
Spielberg's not likely to go for a hamfisted Culkin-like portrayal.

The other thing I find encouraging about this, and that Spielberg doesn't
get enough credit for, is that (please note disclaimer. here it comes:)
=for Hollywood=, Spielberg actually has a record of being respectful to his
source material. Empire of the Sun, Amistad, Schindler's List, The Color
Purple, Jaws, these may have their problems, but they aren't travesties of
the books they film, like so much Hollywood product. I'd rather have
Spielberg than the folks who butchered Harriet the Spy, Mrs Frisby and the
Rats of NIMH, The Black Cauldron, Stuart Little....

Regarding the notion of Americanizing the books: apparently that was the
initial intent of the studio, but reportedly with the mass popularity of
the books over here, they've decided it would be a bad idea to not make the
movie British. I hope it's true.

--
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Soren deSelby, Manager on Duty
scraps....@mtvmail.com
scr...@speakeasy.org

"These days, sincerity isn't kid stuff -- self-referentiality is."
--Robert Christgau

Beth Friedman

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Jan 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/19/00
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mike weber wrote in message <3884d7dc...@news.mindspring.com>...

>"Beth Friedman" <b...@wavefront.com> is alleged to have said, on Tue,
>18 Jan 2000 18:47:02 GMT,

>>Wanna make a bet about what the title of the movie will be, though?


>>
>>(If I read them, it'll be the British version if I can manage it -- they
>>changed more than just the title.)
>>
>What else did they change? Possibly some of the awkwardness in the
>writing i picked up was due to changes...

They took out most of the Britishisms -- things like sweater instead of
jumper, and changing the syntax to be more American, and adding more commas.
This was from a post in rec.arts.books.childrens; I haven't compared the two
myself.

--
Beth Friedman
b...@wavefront.com

James Nicoll

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Jan 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/19/00
to
In article <8EBFD8425scra...@207.126.101.100>,

Scraps deSelby <cham...@the.bit> wrote:
>
>Regarding the notion of Americanizing the books: apparently that was the
>initial intent of the studio, but reportedly with the mass popularity of
>the books over here, they've decided it would be a bad idea to not make the
>movie British. I hope it's true.

Apparently they've hired Dick Van Dyke to help get the
British accents correct.


--
From _Emily Bronte: Standup Comedian_
"What's dark and evil and stalks the moor?"

"Iago"

mike weber

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Jan 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/19/00
to
jam...@nyquist.uwaterloo.ca (James Nicoll) is alleged to have said,
on 19 Jan 2000 06:12:18 GMT,
:

>In article <8EBFD8425scra...@207.126.101.100>,
>Scraps deSelby <cham...@the.bit> wrote:
>>
>>Regarding the notion of Americanizing the books: apparently that was the
>>initial intent of the studio, but reportedly with the mass popularity of
>>the books over here, they've decided it would be a bad idea to not make the
>>movie British. I hope it's true.
>
> Apparently they've hired Dick Van Dyke to help get the
>British accents correct.
>
Bad Man.

Evil, in fact.

Kip Williams

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Jan 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/19/00
to
Please excuse me, Scraps, my comment wasn't made while thinking of
Spielberg, but of Hollywood casting in general. I never could get
into ET because of the treacly family, but I bear him no grudge.
Apoligies for seeming to jump on that particular bandwagon. I've
enjoyed more of his movies than not, including EMPIRE OF THE SUN.

If I had to complain about anything, I'd say it's that he has all
this money and never gives me any. Dang it.

Kip Williams

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Jan 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/19/00
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Randolph Fritz wrote:

> >ki...@home.com (Kip Williams) wrote in <3884FC94...@home.com>:
> >>

> >>It'll have to be in NYC, so they can have some kind of version of a
> >>British school. Americans accept that such places would likely be in
> >>the Big Apple.
> >>
>

> Not New England, where there actually are sort-of English places? :)

A lot of Americans don't know where, or what New England is. Come to
think of it, the filmmakers could probably pass it off as an English
enclave, if they wanted to. But NYC is the easiest way out.
Americans will accept anything as happening in NYC. Even if it's not
realistic. And if they live in New York, they might go see it to see
themselves in the crowd shots.

Alison Scott

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Jan 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/19/00
to
rand...@cyber-dyne.com (Randolph Fritz) wrote:

>By the way, if it hasn't been discussed to death when I wasn't around,
>does anyone have an opinion on the popularity of the HP books? Is it
>simply that Scholastic Book Services distributed it at the right time,
>perhaps? (Much to the chagrin of some christian extremists.) The one
>I've read seemed pretty good, but I just don't see anything in it that
>makes it extra-ordinary.

It's a lowest common denominator thing - and I mean that in a
completely non-pejorative way. You said "it seemed pretty good, but I
just don't see anything in it that makes it extra-ordinary". Pretty
well *everyone* who reads these books has at least that good a
reaction. They just have a very broad appeal. They're gripping
page-turners that are competently written (so that individual
sentences don't irritate style snobs) and full of funny details (of
which my very favourite is Diagon Alley, but YMMV).

I read an interview with Philip Pullman in which the interviewer
asked, paraphrased "doesn't it annoy you that JK Rowling is acclaimed
as a genius and here you are writing vastly better books?" He said
something non-committal. But it seems clear to me that many of the
people who are reading the Harry Potter books wouldn't particularly
enjoy or appreciate the Pullmans. Most books, and especially most
children's books, don't have that level of broad appeal.

--
Alison Scott ali...@fuggles.demon.co.uk & www.fuggles.demon.co.uk

Multiple award-losing fanzine: www.moose.demon.co.uk/plokta
News and views for SF fans: www.plokta.com/pnn

Dave Weingart

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Jan 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/19/00
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One day in Teletubbyland, Kip Williams <ki...@home.com> said:
>A lot of Americans don't know where, or what New England is. Come to
>think of it, the filmmakers could probably pass it off as an English
>enclave, if they wanted to. But NYC is the easiest way out.
>Americans will accept anything as happening in NYC. Even if it's not
>realistic. And if they live in New York, they might go see it to see
>themselves in the crowd shots.

Nonesense. It will be set in Southern California, probably in a
suburb of Los Angeles. How else can you show poor Harry being
mocked by the bratty older cousin with dark glasses and a convertible
Mustang with the requisite big ass stereo?
--
73 de Dave Weingart KA2ESK If you can read this,
mailto:phyd...@liii.com Y2K was over-hyped.
http://www.liii.com/~phydeaux
ICQ 57055207

Mike Kozlowski

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Jan 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/19/00
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In article <3885B682...@home.com>, Kip Williams <ki...@home.com> wrote:

[Steven Spielberg]

>If I had to complain about anything, I'd say it's that he has all
>this money and never gives me any. Dang it.

I suspect that this same motivation is behind at least some fraction of
the Bill Gates hatred that most people have.

(I mean, c'mon -- just give me, say, $10 million, Bill. That's petty cash
at your level.)

--
Michael Kozlowski
http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~mkozlows/

Scraps deSelby

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Jan 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/19/00
to
ki...@home.com (Kip Williams) wrote in <3885B6F5...@home.com>:

>Randolph Fritz wrote:
>
>> >ki...@home.com (Kip Williams) wrote in <3884FC94...@home.com>:
>> >>
>> >>It'll have to be in NYC, so they can have some kind of version of a
>> >>British school. Americans accept that such places would likely be in
>> >>the Big Apple.
>> >>
>>
>> Not New England, where there actually are sort-of English places? :)
>

>A lot of Americans don't know where, or what New England is. Come to
>think of it, the filmmakers could probably pass it off as an English
>enclave, if they wanted to. But NYC is the easiest way out.
>Americans will accept anything as happening in NYC. Even if it's not
>realistic. And if they live in New York, they might go see it to see
>themselves in the crowd shots.
>

It needs to be in an isolated place. I think New York would feel wrong for
Hogwarts even if they did Americanize it.

Argh, I've just had an awful vision of the Harry Potter books as a remake
of =Fame=.

bdaverin

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Jan 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/19/00
to
In article <8EC087740scra...@207.126.101.100>,
cham...@the.bit (Scraps deSelby) wrote:

> Argh, I've just had an awful vision of the Harry Potter books as a
remake
> of =Fame=.


Craft!
I'm gonna learn how to spellcast,
I'm gonna learn how to fly
High!

--
Brenda Daverin
bdav...@grin.net


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Janice Gelb

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Jan 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/19/00
to
In article 10043...@news.demon.co.uk, ali...@fuggles.demon.co.uk (Alison Scott) writes:
>rand...@cyber-dyne.com (Randolph Fritz) wrote:
>
>>By the way, if it hasn't been discussed to death when I wasn't around,
>>does anyone have an opinion on the popularity of the HP books? Is it
>>simply that Scholastic Book Services distributed it at the right time,
>>perhaps? (Much to the chagrin of some christian extremists.) The one
>>I've read seemed pretty good, but I just don't see anything in it that
>>makes it extra-ordinary.
>
>It's a lowest common denominator thing - and I mean that in a
>completely non-pejorative way. You said "it seemed pretty good, but I
>just don't see anything in it that makes it extra-ordinary".

I agree that they don't break striking new ground, but they're
very competent: the writing is good, the conception of the world
is well thought out, and the themes are relevant to children. I
think part of the appeal for kids is that the writing doesn't talk
down to them.

>
>Pretty
>well *everyone* who reads these books has at least that good a
>reaction. They just have a very broad appeal. They're gripping
>page-turners that are competently written (so that individual
>sentences don't irritate style snobs) and full of funny details (of
>which my very favourite is Diagon Alley, but YMMV).
>

I like the owl mail delivery service myself.

*****************************************************************
Janice Gelb | The only connection Sun has with
janic...@eng.sun.com | this message is the return address.
http://www.geocities.com/Area51/8018/index.html

"These are my opinions. If they were the Biblical truth, your
bushes would be burning" -- Randy Lander

mike weber

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Jan 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/19/00
to
mkoz...@guy.ssc.wisc.edu (Mike Kozlowski) is alleged to have said, on
19 Jan 2000 16:29:39 GMT,
:

>In article <3885B682...@home.com>, Kip Williams <ki...@home.com> wrote:
>
>[Steven Spielberg]
>
>>If I had to complain about anything, I'd say it's that he has all
>>this money and never gives me any. Dang it.
>
>I suspect that this same motivation is behind at least some fraction of
>the Bill Gates hatred that most people have.
>
>(I mean, c'mon -- just give me, say, $10 million, Bill. That's petty cash
>at your level.)
>
I have some specific gripes about Spielberg as a filmmaker that we
won't go into here, as it would quickly get Very Interesting and take
up a lot of bandwidth.

I will say that, personally, i think the only thing the man has done
since "Duel" that comes close to it for sheer bravura filmmaking is
"Jaws".

Randolph Fritz

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Jan 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/19/00
to
On Wed, 19 Jan 2000 17:44:04 GMT, Scraps deSelby <cham...@the.bit> wrote:
>
>It needs to be in an isolated place. I think New York would feel wrong for
>Hogwarts even if they did Americanize it.
>

Well...maybe in an isolated bit of Staten Island...

But the place for classy private schools in the NYC area is more Long
Island or southern Connecticut.

Marcus L. Rowland

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Jan 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/19/00
to
In article <8652vj$2mj$3...@engnews2.Eng.Sun.COM>, Janice Gelb
<jan...@marvin.eng.sun.com> writes

>
>I like the owl mail delivery service myself.

Must admit I found myself thinking of it during the opening titles of
Gormenghast, where the white "raven" (actually a crow - does Mary Gentle
know?) was swooping across the castle.

Bjørn Vermo

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Jan 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/19/00
to
rand...@cyber-dyne.com (Randolph Fritz) wrote:
..

> perhaps? (Much to the chagrin of some christian extremists.) The one
> I've read seemed pretty good, but I just don't see anything in it that
> makes it extra-ordinary.

Christian extremists?
Oh, well, I guess there are extremists who will object to any kind of
"frivolous" book...

Randolph Fritz

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Jan 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/19/00
to

They think the books are advocating witchcraft. Really.

Marty Helgesen

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Jan 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/19/00
to
In article <8EC087740scra...@207.126.101.100>, cham...@the.bit (Scraps deSelby) says:
<SNIP>

>
>It needs to be in an isolated place. I think New York would feel wrong for
>Hogwarts even if they did Americanize it.
>

Put Hogwarts in Connecticut or upstate New York. Have Platform nine and
three-quarters in Grand Central Terminal or Penn Station. Have Diagon
Alley in Lower Manhattan Have Mr. and Mrs. Dursley (and Dudley) live in
New Jersey, within commuting distance of Manhattan.

Better, don't. Set the whole thing in England, where it belongs.

Incidentally, I just noticed your return address. My congratulations.

-------
Marty Helgesen
Bitnet: mnhcc@cunyvm Internet: mn...@cunyvm.cuny.edu

"Ever noticed how many people claim it's organized religion they
object to? Makes me wonder what's so great about incoherent
religion." Teresa Nielsen Hayden

Help outlaw spam. For further information see http://www.cauce.org/

Dave Weingart

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Jan 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/19/00
to
One day in Teletubbyland, b...@bigblue.no (Bjørn Vermo) said:
>Christian extremists?
>Oh, well, I guess there are extremists who will object to any kind of
>"frivolous" book...

And ones who object to any depiction of magic and things/people
magical as "good/" and not the Spawn of Satan

Randolph Fritz

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Jan 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/19/00
to
On 19 Jan 2000 19:23:31 GMT, Janice Gelb <jan...@marvin.eng.sun.com> wrote:
>In article 10043...@news.demon.co.uk, ali...@fuggles.demon.co.uk (Alison Scott) writes:
>>rand...@cyber-dyne.com (Randolph Fritz) wrote:
>>
>>>By the way, if it hasn't been discussed to death when I wasn't around,
>>>does anyone have an opinion on the popularity of the HP books? Is it
>>>simply that Scholastic Book Services distributed it at the right time,
>>>perhaps? (Much to the chagrin of some christian extremists.) The one
>>>I've read seemed pretty good, but I just don't see anything in it that
>>>makes it extra-ordinary.
>>
>>It's a lowest common denominator thing - and I mean that in a
>>completely non-pejorative way. You said "it seemed pretty good, but I
>>just don't see anything in it that makes it extra-ordinary".
>
>I agree that they don't break striking new ground, but they're
>very competent: the writing is good, the conception of the world
>is well thought out, and the themes are relevant to children. I
>think part of the appeal for kids is that the writing doesn't talk
>down to them.
>

I think you're both write, er, right, though I'd quarrel with your
arguments about the quality a bit. On the other hand, all the virtues
you list seem to be those of other books as well, so I'm still rather
puzzled.

>>
>>Pretty well *everyone* who reads these books has at least that good
>>a reaction. They just have a very broad appeal. They're gripping
>>page-turners that are competently written (so that individual
>>sentences don't irritate style snobs) and full of funny details (of
>>which my very favourite is Diagon Alley, but YMMV).
>>
>

>I like the owl mail delivery service myself.
>

I don't know JKR's history, however, it seems to me that the first
book, at least, is an early-career novel; it has some of that
roughness. Of course, I might be dead wrong. Personally, I found
those sort of things rather you are admiring rather arch, though
funny. Thinking cap, forsooth! :)

Randolph

Julie Stampnitzky

unread,
Jan 20, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/20/00
to
On Tue, 18 Jan 2000, Rob Hansen wrote:

[Harry Potter movie]


> So what part of America do you think they'll be setting it in,

New England. People already know from other movies that NE is just full of
boarding schools. If you want to have NYC scenes, that's still possible
because it could be located a few hours by train from NY.

(That is, I *hope* they won't set in in any part of the US, but look what
they did to _A Little Princess_...)

--
Julie Stampnitzky "Lecture slides are the most important
Rehovot, Israel thing a scientist produces."
http://www.yucs.org/~jules -my thesis advisor
http://neskaya.darkover.cx


mike weber

unread,
Jan 20, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/20/00
to
Julie Stampnitzky <ju...@yucs.org> is alleged to have said, on Thu, 20
Jan 2000 11:52:07 GMT,
:

>On Tue, 18 Jan 2000, Rob Hansen wrote:
>
>[Harry Potter movie]
>> So what part of America do you think they'll be setting it in,
>
>New England. People already know from other movies that NE is just full of
>boarding schools. If you want to have NYC scenes, that's still possible
>because it could be located a few hours by train from NY.
>
>(That is, I *hope* they won't set in in any part of the US, but look what
>they did to _A Little Princess_...)
>
I don't want to.

Just tell me, as gently as possible, what horrors were perpetrated
upon it. Be kind -- i'm a bit weak at the moment.

Kevin J. Maroney

unread,
Jan 21, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/21/00
to
cham...@the.bit (Scraps deSelby) wrote:

>The other thing I find encouraging about this, and that Spielberg doesn't
>get enough credit for, is that (please note disclaimer. here it comes:)
>=for Hollywood=, Spielberg actually has a record of being respectful to his
>source material. Empire of the Sun, Amistad, Schindler's List, The Color
>Purple, Jaws, these may have their problems, but they aren't travesties of
>the books they film, like so much Hollywood product.

I know people who would argue with you about _The Color Purple_ and
_Empire of the Sun_, but I can't do either.

I will point out that _Jaws_ got a chapter of its own in _The American
Monomyth_ about how the changes made to the story push it closer to
the "loner from the outside delivers a community from an exterior
evil" ur-storyline which dominates so much of American pop
storytelling.

Still, I think you're right that Spielberg, more than many directors,
approaches a novel with the question "How do I make this work into a
film" rather than the more typical "How do I make a film that cashes
in on the good name of this book?"

--
Kevin Maroney | kmar...@crossover.com
Kitchen Staff Supervisor, New York Review of Science Fiction
http://www.nyrsf.com

mike weber

unread,
Jan 21, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/21/00
to
Kevin J. Maroney <kmar...@crossover.com> is alleged to have said, on
Fri, 21 Jan 2000 13:14:49 -0500,

>Still, I think you're right that Spielberg, more than many directors,
>approaches a novel with the question "How do I make this work into a
>film" rather than the more typical "How do I make a film that cashes
>in on the good name of this book?"
>

And then there's "Hook".

Feh.

Mike Kozlowski

unread,
Jan 21, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/21/00
to
In article <3888b783...@news.mindspring.com>,

mike weber <kras...@mindspring.com> wrote:
>Kevin J. Maroney <kmar...@crossover.com> is alleged to have said, on
>
>>Still, I think you're right that Spielberg, more than many directors,
>>approaches a novel with the question "How do I make this work into a
>>film" rather than the more typical "How do I make a film that cashes
>>in on the good name of this book?"
>
>And then there's "Hook".
>Feh.

What, you think Spielberg corrupted the spirit of Terry Brooks' _Hook_?

Loren Joseph MacGregor

unread,
Jan 21, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/21/00
to
In rec.arts.sf.fandom, mike weber <kras...@mindspring.com> wrote:
: Kevin J. Maroney <kmar...@crossover.com> is alleged to have said, on
: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 13:14:49 -0500,

: >Still, I think you're right that Spielberg, more than many directors,


: >approaches a novel with the question "How do I make this work into a
: >film" rather than the more typical "How do I make a film that cashes
: >in on the good name of this book?"
: >
: And then there's "Hook".

: Feh.

I liked "Hook." I also liked Altman's "Popeye," though.

-- LJM

Patrick Nielsen Hayden

unread,
Jan 21, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/21/00
to
rand...@efn.org (Randolph Fritz) wrote in
<slrn88aku4....@open.thedoor.nom>:

>By the way, if it hasn't been discussed to death when I wasn't around,
>does anyone have an opinion on the popularity of the HP books?


Yes, I do. They're enormously popular, despite some flaws, partly
because they're charming and funny, but specifically because of their
fabulously well-controlled pace of revelation.

In a Harry Potter book, you always learn about new, exotic, magical
stuff to exactly the degree you need to know about it. You are neither
left behind to figure it out, nor told more than you need to know.

Genre fantasy readers are deeply inured to poor pace-of-revelation.
Learning to read and enjoy fantasy (and SF) is in large part a matter
of learning to deal with this. Rowling's expository pacing is far
better than that of even some very fine writers inside the genre. And
that's why millions of people who don't normally like fantasy,
nonetheless like her.


--
Patrick Nielsen Hayden : p...@panix.com : http://www.panix.com/~pnh

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Jan 21, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/21/00
to
Patrick Nielsen Hayden <p...@panix.com> wrote:
> In a Harry Potter book, you always learn about new, exotic, magical
> stuff to exactly the degree you need to know about it. You are neither
> left behind to figure it out, nor told more than you need to know.
>
> Genre fantasy readers are deeply inured to poor pace-of-revelation.
> Learning to read and enjoy fantasy (and SF) is in large part a matter
> of learning to deal with this. Rowling's expository pacing is far
> better than that of even some very fine writers inside the genre. And
> that's why millions of people who don't normally like fantasy,
> nonetheless like her.

Thank you. I want to think about this.

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Scraps deSelby

unread,
Jan 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/22/00
to
p...@panix.com (Patrick Nielsen Hayden) wrote in
<8EC2B0E...@166.84.0.240>:

>rand...@efn.org (Randolph Fritz) wrote in
><slrn88aku4....@open.thedoor.nom>:
>
>>By the way, if it hasn't been discussed to death when I wasn't around,
>>does anyone have an opinion on the popularity of the HP books?
>
>
>Yes, I do. They're enormously popular, despite some flaws, partly
>because they're charming and funny, but specifically because of their
>fabulously well-controlled pace of revelation.
>

>In a Harry Potter book, you always learn about new, exotic, magical
>stuff to exactly the degree you need to know about it. You are neither
>left behind to figure it out, nor told more than you need to know.
>
>Genre fantasy readers are deeply inured to poor pace-of-revelation.
>Learning to read and enjoy fantasy (and SF) is in large part a matter
>of learning to deal with this. Rowling's expository pacing is far
>better than that of even some very fine writers inside the genre. And
>that's why millions of people who don't normally like fantasy,
>nonetheless like her.
>
>


Damn, that had not occurred to me. It feels right.

Evelyn C. Leeper

unread,
Jan 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/22/00
to
In article <8EC2B0E...@166.84.0.240>,

Patrick Nielsen Hayden <p...@panix.com> wrote:
> rand...@efn.org (Randolph Fritz) wrote in
> <slrn88aku4....@open.thedoor.nom>:
>
> >By the way, if it hasn't been discussed to death when I wasn't around,
> >does anyone have an opinion on the popularity of the HP books?
>
>
> Yes, I do. They're enormously popular, despite some flaws, partly
> because they're charming and funny, but specifically because of their
> fabulously well-controlled pace of revelation.
>
> In a Harry Potter book, you always learn about new, exotic, magical
> stuff to exactly the degree you need to know about it. You are neither
> left behind to figure it out, nor told more than you need to know.
>
> Genre fantasy readers are deeply inured to poor pace-of-revelation.
> Learning to read and enjoy fantasy (and SF) is in large part a matter
> of learning to deal with this. Rowling's expository pacing is far
> better than that of even some very fine writers inside the genre. And
> that's why millions of people who don't normally like fantasy,
> nonetheless like her.

This explanation also explains why Patrick is an editor and we're not.
--
Evelyn C. Leeper, http://www.geocities.com/evelynleeper
Don't ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you're
alive is a special occasion. --Ann Wells

pmro...@my-deja.com

unread,
Jan 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/22/00
to
In article <3885c4fc....@news.demon.co.uk>,

ali...@fuggles.demon.co.uk wrote:
> But it seems clear to me that many of the
> people who are reading the Harry Potter books wouldn't particularly
> enjoy or appreciate the Pullmans. Most books, and especially most
> children's books, don't have that level of broad appeal.

Oh, I don't know, not 25 feet from where you sit all day there's a
small cabal of people who are waiting impatiently for the next Harry
Potter *and* the next Pullman. But then we are a bit strange on that
section.

(Yes, it is who you probably think it is...)

Ruth Saunders


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

Kate Nepveu

unread,
Jan 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/22/00
to
p...@panix.com (Patrick Nielsen Hayden) wrote:
> rand...@efn.org (Randolph Fritz) wrote in
> <slrn88aku4....@open.thedoor.nom>:

> >By the way, if it hasn't been discussed to death when I wasn't around,
> >does anyone have an opinion on the popularity of the HP books?

> Yes, I do. They're enormously popular, despite some flaws, partly
> because they're charming and funny, but specifically because of their
> fabulously well-controlled pace of revelation.

[...]

How interesting. I had noted that the plots seemed well-constructed to
me, but though this is related, it's not the same thing. I'll have to
look more closely at this next time I re-read.

Kate
--
http://lynx.neu.edu/k/knepveu/ -- The Paired Reading Page; Reviews
"I rise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save)
the world and a desire to enjoy (or savour) it. This makes it hard
to plan the day." --E.B. White

Randolph Fritz

unread,
Jan 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/22/00
to
>rand...@efn.org (Randolph Fritz) wrote in
><slrn88aku4....@open.thedoor.nom>:
>
>>By the way, if it hasn't been discussed to death when I wasn't around,
>>does anyone have an opinion on the popularity of the HP books?
>

On 21 Jan 2000 23:15:56 GMT, Patrick Nielsen Hayden <p...@panix.com> wrote:
>
>Yes, I do. They're enormously popular, despite some flaws, partly
>because they're charming and funny, but specifically because of their
>fabulously well-controlled pace of revelation. [...]
>

>Rowling's expository pacing is far better than that of even some very
>fine writers inside the genre. And that's why millions of people who
>don't normally like fantasy, nonetheless like her.
>

That's fascinating! I'll have to watch for that as I read. "What
professionals know..."

I looked over some Harry Potter reviews (on epinions) and was
impressed with the number of people who found the books to be, as it
were, magic. Now this is a self-selected sample, and people who love
the books are naturally going to be among the ones who post, still...
Do you think better exposition acounts for the whole thing?

R.

Marcus L. Rowland

unread,
Jan 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/22/00
to
In article <8EC2B0E...@166.84.0.240>, Patrick Nielsen Hayden
<p...@panix.com> writes

>
>Genre fantasy readers are deeply inured to poor pace-of-revelation.
>Learning to read and enjoy fantasy (and SF) is in large part a matter
>of learning to deal with this. Rowling's expository pacing is far
>better than that of even some very fine writers inside the genre. And
>that's why millions of people who don't normally like fantasy,
>nonetheless like her.

This is often true of fantasy (and to a lesser extent SF) written
primarily for children; the author can make fewer assumptions about what
they know or think they know about magic etc., and they have less
tolerance for long lectures etc., so the author has to adjust pacing
etc. accordingly. See, for example, most of Diana Wynne Jones' books,
Terry Pratchett's Truckers series and the Johnny Maxwell books, and most
of Heinlein's juveniles.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden

unread,
Jan 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/22/00
to
rand...@efn.org (Randolph Fritz) wrote in
<slrn88k2fa....@open.thedoor.nom>:

>I looked over some Harry Potter reviews (on epinions) and was
>impressed with the number of people who found the books to be, as it
>were, magic. Now this is a self-selected sample, and people who love
>the books are naturally going to be among the ones who post, still...
>Do you think better exposition acounts for the whole thing?

I shouldn't have muddied the waters with the term "exposition" -- I
think "pace of revelation" gets at the specific quality more precisely.
No, that's not all the books have going for them, but I think this is
what enables far, far more people to fully enjoy their other qualities
(wit, inventiveness, etc.).

The books also have some major flaws. It was Scraps de Selby who
pointed out to me that Quiddich makes absolutely no sense; it's a field
sport imagined by someone who knows nothing about field sports. None
of which really impede their particular virtues.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden

unread,
Jan 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/22/00
to
mrow...@ffutures.demon.co.uk (Marcus L. Rowland) wrote in
<lAee2PAz...@ffutures.demon.co.uk>:

>In article <8EC2B0E...@166.84.0.240>, Patrick Nielsen Hayden
><p...@panix.com> writes
>>
>>Genre fantasy readers are deeply inured to poor pace-of-revelation.
>> Learning to read and enjoy fantasy (and SF) is in large part a
>>matter of learning to deal with this. Rowling's expository pacing
>>is far better than that of even some very fine writers inside the
>>genre. And that's why millions of people who don't normally like
>>fantasy, nonetheless like her.
>
>This is often true of fantasy (and to a lesser extent SF) written
>primarily for children; the author can make fewer assumptions about
>what they know or think they know about magic etc., and they have
>less tolerance for long lectures etc., so the author has to adjust
>pacing etc. accordingly. See, for example, most of Diana Wynne
>Jones' books, Terry Pratchett's Truckers series and the Johnny
>Maxwell books, and most of Heinlein's juveniles.

Uh, with all due respect, I don't think we're talking about the same
thing.

Incidentally, there are plenty of big expository lumps in quite a bit
of YA fantasy SF, including some of the works you cite. We're always
hearing about "long lectures" as if they were one of the genre's
besetting sins, rather than (as they are in reality) one of the reasons
people read our stuff. The point isn't the length of the lectures;
it's how skillfully the author makes you care, and how well the
revelation and exposition is doled out, relative to what we know and
how much we want and/or need to know more.

Rob Hansen

unread,
Jan 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/22/00
to
On 22 Jan 2000 16:07:30 GMT, ele...@starship.dnrc.bell-labs.com
(Evelyn C. Leeper) wrote:

>In article <8EC2B0E...@166.84.0.240>,


>Patrick Nielsen Hayden <p...@panix.com> wrote:

>> In a Harry Potter book, you always learn about new, exotic, magical
>> stuff to exactly the degree you need to know about it. You are neither
>> left behind to figure it out, nor told more than you need to know.
>>

>> Genre fantasy readers are deeply inured to poor pace-of-revelation.
>> Learning to read and enjoy fantasy (and SF) is in large part a matter
>> of learning to deal with this. Rowling's expository pacing is far
>> better than that of even some very fine writers inside the genre. And
>> that's why millions of people who don't normally like fantasy,
>> nonetheless like her.
>

>This explanation also explains why Patrick is an editor and we're not.

And a damn fine one. Talking about editors, I read the other day that
the first Harry Potter book was rejected by several publishers before
finding a home, which just goes to show that its charms were invisible
to some professional editors. The most interesting case of this
phenomenon I read was of a novel (which, thanks to my lousy memory,
I've already forgotten the title of despite reading about it mere days
ago) which has one several major literary awards and was short-listed
for the last Booker Prize yet which was rejected *fifty-six* times! I
admire the author's fortitude. If that had been a novel I'd written
I'd have concluded it must be crap long before my fifty-sixth
rejection slip and stopped sending it out. Interestingly, someone who
actually went on to win a Booker with her novel - Kerry Hulme - had a
similar experience and had decided to cast her mauscript in a lucite
block and use it as a doorstep when something made her decide to send
it out one final time before doing so....

Discussing this with Avedon, she suggested that maybe many of those
rejecting the books in questioin recognized their quality but doubted
their commercial chances. Could be, I suppose.
--

Rob Hansen
================================================
My Home Page: http://www.fiawol.demon.co.uk/rob/
Feminists Against Censorship:
http://www.fiawol.demon.co.uk/FAC/

mike weber

unread,
Jan 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/22/00
to
p...@panix.com (Patrick Nielsen Hayden) is alleged to have said, on 21

Jan 2000 23:15:56 GMT,
:

>Genre fantasy readers are deeply inured to poor pace-of-revelation.
>Learning to read and enjoy fantasy (and SF) is in large part a matter
>of learning to deal with this. Rowling's expository pacing is far
>better than that of even some very fine writers inside the genre. And
>that's why millions of people who don't normally like fantasy,
>nonetheless like her.
>

How would you compare her to Diana Wynne Jones on this score (or vice
versa)?

mike weber

unread,
Jan 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/22/00
to
ele...@starship.dnrc.bell-labs.com (Evelyn C. Leeper) is alleged to
have said, on 22 Jan 2000 16:07:30 GMT,

>This explanation also explains why Patrick is an editor and we're not.

Certainly a Major Contributing Factor, i'd say.

But surely all the rest of rasff together would make at least *one*
editoe nearly as good as PNH...

mike weber

unread,
Jan 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/22/00
to
Loren Joseph MacGregor <lmac...@efn.org> is alleged to have said, on
21 Jan 2000 20:27:01 GMT,
:

>I liked "Hook." I also liked Altman's "Popeye," though.
>

I loved Altman's Popeye (or "Feiffer's 'Popeye'", which is as apt a
term) -- but, then, it was Very Faithful to the spirit and style of
the original "Thimble Theater", and was, in fact, i have read, closely
based on an actual continuity from "TT".

Most of what people my age or a bit younger know about Popeye (the
character, not the strip, which is, technically, named "Thimble
Theater" -- but "Snuffy Smith" is still, technically, named "Barney
Google"...) they learned from the cartons, and even the best of the
early "Popeye" cartoons derive from only a small portion of the
incredible wealth of invention that Segar poured into "TT" for so
long.

"Hook", on the other hand, revolted me all out of proportion to the
degree of awfullness of the film; and i'm not sure why, except that
possibly "Peter Pan" is one of the Treasures of my childhood.

((And, i guess, because -- even knowing what i was prolly going to get
-- i still hoped for better. And there *are* some excellent bits --
Bob Hoskin's Mr Smee is a true delight, and Maggie Smith's Granny
Wendy is wonderful.))

Loren MacGregor

unread,
Jan 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/22/00
to
Rob Hansen wrote:
>
> And a damn fine one. Talking about editors, I read the other day that
> the first Harry Potter book was rejected by several publishers before
> finding a home, which just goes to show that its charms were invisible
> to some professional editors. The most interesting case of this
> phenomenon I read was of a novel (which, thanks to my lousy memory,
> I've already forgotten the title of despite reading about it mere days
> ago) which has one several major literary awards and was short-listed
> for the last Booker Prize yet which was rejected *fifty-six* times! I
> admire the author's fortitude. If that had been a novel I'd written
> I'd have concluded it must be crap long before my fifty-sixth
> rejection slip and stopped sending it out. Interestingly, someone who
> actually went on to win a Booker with her novel - Kerry Hulme - had a
> similar experience and had decided to cast her mauscript in a lucite
> block and use it as a doorstep when something made her decide to send
> it out one final time before doing so....

Some years back, I was talking with Tom Robbins in a bar, and he
said that "Another Roadside Attraction" was rejected many times (I
think he mentioned a number in the 20s, but it might have been
higher) before it was finally accepted. When word-of-mouth send it
through the roof, he thought he had it made, only to find that he
had similar problems with "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues," and when
-that- became a bestseller, he was -sure- he wouldn't have any
problem selling the third novel ... but he got a lot of editorial
flack over "Still Life With Woodpecker," and his relation of the
conversation was something like, "Gee, Tom, we made your first two
books best sellers -- why don't you listen to us and write a book
like those, because we've already proved we can sell them." He
concluded, "If I have to, I'll write my next book on
three-hole-punched paper and sell it in three-ring binders, to get
it done the way I want it."

Of course, the stories go both ways. My understanding is that
Hartwell fought for "Watership Down," and I know at least one editor
who once told me that he kept his job far longer than he expected by
the simple expedient of having lost a battle to buy a new writer
when his novels could have been bought for $5K ... and then, when
people more senior to him would come to sales meetings, throw down
the New York Times and say, "X is a best seller -- why aren't -we-
publishing him," the editor in question would say, "Because you
wouldn't let me buy his first book when we had the opportunity."

-- LJM

mike weber

unread,
Jan 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/23/00
to
Rob Hansen <r...@fiawol.demon.co.uk> is alleged to have said, on Sat,
22 Jan 2000 22:59:09 +0000,
:

>On 22 Jan 2000 16:07:30 GMT, ele...@starship.dnrc.bell-labs.com
>(Evelyn C. Leeper) wrote:
>

>>This explanation also explains why Patrick is an editor and we're not.
>

>And a damn fine one. Talking about editors, I read the other day that
>the first Harry Potter book was rejected by several publishers before
>finding a home, which just goes to show that its charms were invisible
>to some professional editors. The most interesting case of this
>phenomenon I read was of a novel (which, thanks to my lousy memory,
>I've already forgotten the title of despite reading about it mere days
>ago) which has one several major literary awards and was short-listed
>for the last Booker Prize yet which was rejected *fifty-six* times!

"The Commitments" was rejected umpteen times before the author (whose
name suddenly Went West on me -- <Something> Doyle?) just went ahead
and vanitied it at his own expense.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden

unread,
Jan 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/23/00
to
On the subject of tales about how many times such-and-such book was
rejected...or, conversely, tales of how such-and-such editor coulda
bought something, but the Suits stopped them:

People lie a lot.

Repeat fifty times. And remember it.

Kip Williams

unread,
Jan 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/23/00
to
mike weber wrote:
>
> ele...@starship.dnrc.bell-labs.com (Evelyn C. Leeper) is alleged to
> have said, on 22 Jan 2000 16:07:30 GMT,

>
> >This explanation also explains why Patrick is an editor and we're not.
>
> Certainly a Major Contributing Factor, i'd say.
>
> But surely all the rest of rasff together would make at least *one*
> editoe nearly as good as PNH...

"All the rest of rasff" _"together"_ would make one of the signs of
the End Times.

Other than that, yeah, good point.

--
--Kip (Williams)
amusing the world at http://members.home.net/kipw/

James Nicoll

unread,
Jan 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/23/00
to
In article <388a41a6...@news.mindspring.com>,

mike weber <kras...@mindspring.com> wrote:
>ele...@starship.dnrc.bell-labs.com (Evelyn C. Leeper) is alleged to
>have said, on 22 Jan 2000 16:07:30 GMT,
>
>>This explanation also explains why Patrick is an editor and we're not.
>
>Certainly a Major Contributing Factor, i'd say.
>
>But surely all the rest of rasff together would make at least *one*
>editoe nearly as good as PNH...

Um.

The rest of rasseff includes -TNH-. Maybe it's the surname.

James Nicoll
--
From _Emily Bronte: Standup Comedian_
"What's dark and evil and stalks the moor?"

"Iago"

Ulrika O'Brien

unread,
Jan 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/23/00
to
On 21 Jan 2000 23:15:56 GMT Patrick Nielsen Hayden, <p...@panix.com>,
explained :

> rand...@efn.org (Randolph Fritz) wrote in

> <slrn88aku4....@open.thedoor.nom>:
>
> >By the way, if it hasn't been discussed to death when I wasn't around,
> >does anyone have an opinion on the popularity of the HP books?
>
>

> Yes, I do. They're enormously popular, despite some flaws, partly
> because they're charming and funny, but specifically because of their
> fabulously well-controlled pace of revelation.
>

> In a Harry Potter book, you always learn about new, exotic, magical
> stuff to exactly the degree you need to know about it. You are neither
> left behind to figure it out, nor told more than you need to know.
>

> Genre fantasy readers are deeply inured to poor pace-of-revelation.
> Learning to read and enjoy fantasy (and SF) is in large part a matter
> of learning to deal with this. Rowling's expository pacing is far
> better than that of even some very fine writers inside the genre. And
> that's why millions of people who don't normally like fantasy,
> nonetheless like her.

Very interesting insight. I'll have to ponder it. I've read two of
the Harry Potter books (American versions, alas) and find that once
in, the pace keeps me involved until the end, but once I'm out I feel
that the books aren't nearly so clever, funny, or interesting
as similar ones by Diana Wynne Jones. But Jones definitely doesn't
have the same pacing of information trick. If anything Jones
tends to under-inform her reader just a little, and leave the reader
to back-figure stuff out later on, which I prefer, but may well be
a developed taste. I like getting the little "ah-hah" of backward
revelation, and sometimes get annoyed with authors who have tipped
me so much information that I know long before the viewpoint
character that Aunt Naomi is being poisoned with the rat poison
that disappeared out of the trash can, by the obviously traitorous
Mrs. Gummidge, since Naomi's showing the *exact* symptoms that were
described all the way back in chapter four, and we already know
that Mrs. Gummidge has an old grudge to pay back. Jeez.

But if it were me, I wouldn't trade my copy of -Dogsbody- or
-Archer's Goon- for the whole Potter series, since I will surely
reread the Jones, and likely won't re-read the Rowling.

--
Daily Affirmation: The complete lack of evidence is
the surest sign that the conspiracy is working.

ulrika o'brien * uaob...@earthlink.net * member fwa

Ulrika O'Brien

unread,
Jan 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/23/00
to
On Sat, 22 Jan 2000 22:59:09 +0000 Rob Hansen,
<r...@fiawol.demon.co.uk>, explained :

> And a damn fine one. Talking about editors, I read the other day that
> the first Harry Potter book was rejected by several publishers before
> finding a home, which just goes to show that its charms were invisible
> to some professional editors. The most interesting case of this
> phenomenon I read was of a novel (which, thanks to my lousy memory,
> I've already forgotten the title of despite reading about it mere days
> ago) which has one several major literary awards and was short-listed

> for the last Booker Prize yet which was rejected *fifty-six* times! I
> admire the author's fortitude. If that had been a novel I'd written
> I'd have concluded it must be crap long before my fifty-sixth
> rejection slip and stopped sending it out. Interestingly, someone who
> actually went on to win a Booker with her novel - Kerry Hulme - had a
> similar experience and had decided to cast her mauscript in a lucite
> block and use it as a doorstep when something made her decide to send
> it out one final time before doing so....
>

> Discussing this with Avedon, she suggested that maybe many of those
> rejecting the books in questioin recognized their quality but doubted
> their commercial chances. Could be, I suppose.

It seems to happen all the time. Mary Doria Russell went on at some
length at last Wiscon about her hardships publishing -The Sparrow- --
killingly funny length, I should add, but Russell has a knack for
making things that were probably awful at the time sound killingly
funny (she'd make a great fanwriter that way).

And of course in the obvious-in-retrospect category, there's always
Tom Clancy's first sale: after being turned down everywhere, he
finally managed to get -Hunt for Red October- published by the
Naval Institute Press, a house not exactly known for its fiction
line.

David G. Bell

unread,
Jan 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/23/00
to
On Saturday, in article
<1lbk8s8qu5fmdnv3o...@4ax.com>
r...@fiawol.demon.co.uk "Rob Hansen" wrote:

> And a damn fine one. Talking about editors, I read the other day that
> the first Harry Potter book was rejected by several publishers before
> finding a home, which just goes to show that its charms were invisible
> to some professional editors. The most interesting case of this
> phenomenon I read was of a novel (which, thanks to my lousy memory,
> I've already forgotten the title of despite reading about it mere days
> ago) which has one several major literary awards and was short-listed
> for the last Booker Prize yet which was rejected *fifty-six* times! I
> admire the author's fortitude. If that had been a novel I'd written
> I'd have concluded it must be crap long before my fifty-sixth
> rejection slip and stopped sending it out. Interestingly, someone who
> actually went on to win a Booker with her novel - Kerry Hulme - had a
> similar experience and had decided to cast her mauscript in a lucite
> block and use it as a doorstep when something made her decide to send
> it out one final time before doing so....
>
> Discussing this with Avedon, she suggested that maybe many of those
> rejecting the books in questioin recognized their quality but doubted
> their commercial chances. Could be, I suppose.

I've read, or tried to read, several Booker nominees over the years. I
am inclined to doubt that they are books which would sell widely without
the kudos of the nomination. So your hypothesis about doubting the
commercial chances seems plausible.


--
David G. Bell -- Farmer, SF Fan, Filker, and Punslinger.


Jo Walton

unread,
Jan 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/23/00
to
In article <8EC2B0E...@166.84.0.240>

p...@panix.com "Patrick Nielsen Hayden" writes:

> rand...@efn.org (Randolph Fritz) wrote in
> <slrn88aku4....@open.thedoor.nom>:
>
> >By the way, if it hasn't been discussed to death when I wasn't around,
> >does anyone have an opinion on the popularity of the HP books?
>
> Yes, I do. They're enormously popular, despite some flaws, partly
> because they're charming and funny, but specifically because of their
> fabulously well-controlled pace of revelation.

I think this may be why people can read them, and why the people who
are reading them are enjoying them so much. But it doesn't seem quite
enough to explain why they are the _only_ books the other kids in Sasha's
class have any desire to read. They're cool, in a way that books aren't
for the other nine year olds I know. A friend who owns all three Potter
books (we only own the first two, though Sasha's borrowed the third
from a different friend) wouldn't even consider borrowing Sasha's
:Witch Week:, even on Sasha's enthusiastic recommendation and assurances
that it was really quite similar. He didn't want anything but Harry Potter.
He doesn't like reading. But he likes the Harry Potter books, he, not his
parents, insisted on getting the third in hardback, and he has read it.
This is a phenomenon - selling books to people who don't read - which
entirely baffles me. I don't think you could do it with a book that
wasn't good (I don't know) but there are plenty of good books in the world
it never happens to.

--
Jo - - I kissed a kif at Kefk - - J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk
http://www.bluejo.demon.co.uk - Interstichia; Poetry; RASFW FAQ; etc.


Kip Williams

unread,
Jan 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/23/00
to
Ulrika O'Brien wrote:

> I've read two of
> the Harry Potter books (American versions, alas) and find that once
> in, the pace keeps me involved until the end, but once I'm out I feel
> that the books aren't nearly so clever, funny, or interesting
> as similar ones by Diana Wynne Jones. But Jones definitely doesn't
> have the same pacing of information trick. If anything Jones
> tends to under-inform her reader just a little, and leave the reader
> to back-figure stuff out later on, which I prefer, but may well be
> a developed taste. I like getting the little "ah-hah" of backward

> revelation...

I was just feeling that way last night, watching a new TV-movie on
TNT: "The Quick and the Dead," starring Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman,
Leonardo diCaprio (cap?) and some guy everyone else probably
recognized but who was new to me. Directed by Sam Raimi, which is
what interested me enough to make it the Least Objectionable Program
of the moment. Several places in there, I found myself saying
"ah-hah! That's why he/she did that... it goes back to this scene
here." It wasn't profound, and a couple of things in it didn't quite
work for me. Certain point-of-view camera angles, and a sort of
modified version of the 'Vertigo' shot. I spotted Bruce Campbell in
it, too.

Before this turns into a review, though, I would observe that I like
it both ways. Like fickle fashion, I like it one way, and keep
liking it that way, until I'm tired of it. Then I want novelty,
variety, fraternity... (strike that last one). Devices that worked
on me last year don't work on me this year, and stuff I was tired of
two years ago is fresh again. I must be hell to shop for.

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Jan 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/23/00
to
Evelyn C. Leeper <ele...@starship.dnrc.bell-labs.com> wrote:
> In article <8EC2B0E...@166.84.0.240>,
> Patrick Nielsen Hayden <p...@panix.com> wrote:
>> Genre fantasy readers are deeply inured to poor pace-of-revelation.
>> Learning to read and enjoy fantasy (and SF) is in large part a matter
>> of learning to deal with this. Rowling's expository pacing is far
>> better than that of even some very fine writers inside the genre. And
>> that's why millions of people who don't normally like fantasy,
>> nonetheless like her.
>
> This explanation also explains why Patrick is an editor and we're not.

Hazork! I assumed that causality flowed the other way.

James Nicoll

unread,
Jan 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/23/00
to
In article <948629...@bluejo.demon.co.uk>,

Jo Walton <J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>
>I think this may be why people can read them, and why the people who
>are reading them are enjoying them so much. But it doesn't seem quite
>enough to explain why they are the _only_ books the other kids in Sasha's
>class have any desire to read. They're cool, in a way that books aren't
>for the other nine year olds I know. A friend who owns all three Potter
>books (we only own the first two, though Sasha's borrowed the third
>from a different friend) wouldn't even consider borrowing Sasha's
>:Witch Week:, even on Sasha's enthusiastic recommendation and assurances
>that it was really quite similar. He didn't want anything but Harry Potter.
>He doesn't like reading. But he likes the Harry Potter books, he, not his
>parents, insisted on getting the third in hardback, and he has read it.
>This is a phenomenon - selling books to people who don't read - which
>entirely baffles me. I don't think you could do it with a book that
>wasn't good (I don't know) but there are plenty of good books in the world
>it never happens to.

What about _Johnathon Livingston Seagull_ as a counter-example
to requirement that the book be good? Books don't come much lighter
than JLS [Basically, the Little Engine Which Could with a touch of Jesus
and some feathers] but it sold like hotcakes.

Ulrika O'Brien

unread,
Jan 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/23/00
to
On Sun, 23 Jan 2000 15:50:56 GMT Kip Williams, <ki...@home.com>,
explained :

> Ulrika O'Brien wrote:
>
> > I've read two of
> > the Harry Potter books (American versions, alas) and find that once
> > in, the pace keeps me involved until the end, but once I'm out I feel
> > that the books aren't nearly so clever, funny, or interesting
> > as similar ones by Diana Wynne Jones. But Jones definitely doesn't
> > have the same pacing of information trick. If anything Jones
> > tends to under-inform her reader just a little, and leave the reader
> > to back-figure stuff out later on, which I prefer, but may well be
> > a developed taste. I like getting the little "ah-hah" of backward
> > revelation...
>
> I was just feeling that way last night, watching a new TV-movie on
> TNT: "The Quick and the Dead," starring Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman,
> Leonardo diCaprio (cap?) and some guy everyone else probably
> recognized but who was new to me.

Russell Crowe. Yum. Australian actor, which is probably why he
seemed to come out of nowhere when he showed up in -The Quick and
the Dead-. (Though actually I'd already seen him in both -Romper
Stomper- and, apparently, -Spottiswoode- by that time. For the
former I'll say that being shaved bald makes almost anyone
unrecognizable.) He does a really swell job in -The Informer-,
a film I enjoyed a good deal more even than I expected to.

> Directed by Sam Raimi, which is
> what interested me enough to make it the Least Objectionable Program
> of the moment. Several places in there, I found myself saying
> "ah-hah! That's why he/she did that... it goes back to this scene
> here." It wasn't profound, and a couple of things in it didn't quite
> work for me. Certain point-of-view camera angles, and a sort of
> modified version of the 'Vertigo' shot. I spotted Bruce Campbell in
> it, too.

On the whole, I liked the film, though I don't now remember whether
that effect was part of why. Might have been. It's definitely
part of why I liked -The Insider-.

Soren deSelby

unread,
Jan 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/23/00
to
uaob...@earthlink.net (Ulrika O'Brien) wrote in
<MPG.12f4563a...@news.earthlink.net>:

>On Sat, 22 Jan 2000 22:59:09 +0000 Rob Hansen,
><r...@fiawol.demon.co.uk>, explained :
>

>> And a damn fine one. Talking about editors, I read the other day that
>> the first Harry Potter book was rejected by several publishers before
>> finding a home, which just goes to show that its charms were invisible
>> to some professional editors. The most interesting case of this
>> phenomenon I read was of a novel (which, thanks to my lousy memory,
>> I've already forgotten the title of despite reading about it mere days
>> ago) which has one several major literary awards and was short-listed
>> for the last Booker Prize yet which was rejected *fifty-six* times! I
>> admire the author's fortitude. If that had been a novel I'd written
>> I'd have concluded it must be crap long before my fifty-sixth
>> rejection slip and stopped sending it out. Interestingly, someone who
>> actually went on to win a Booker with her novel - Kerry Hulme - had a
>> similar experience and had decided to cast her mauscript in a lucite
>> block and use it as a doorstep when something made her decide to send
>> it out one final time before doing so....
>>
>> Discussing this with Avedon, she suggested that maybe many of those
>> rejecting the books in questioin recognized their quality but doubted
>> their commercial chances. Could be, I suppose.
>

>It seems to happen all the time. Mary Doria Russell went on at some
>length at last Wiscon about her hardships publishing -The Sparrow- --
>killingly funny length, I should add, but Russell has a knack for
>making things that were probably awful at the time sound killingly
>funny (she'd make a great fanwriter that way).
>

Well, simply not knowing and understanding the business can play a part
too. Am I misremembering, or is Mary Doria Russell the prominent writer
who was exploited by a publishing scam artist before she managed to extract
herself and get published by Random House?

--

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Soren deSelby
scr...@speakeasy.org

They can have my fingernails when they pry them from my cold, dead fingers.

Randolph Fritz

unread,
Jan 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/23/00
to
On Sun, 23 Jan 2000 12:15:16 GMT, Jo Walton <J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>
>I think this may be why people can read them, and why the people who
>are reading them are enjoying them so much. But it doesn't seem quite
>enough to explain why they are the _only_ books the other kids in Sasha's
>class have any desire to read. They're cool, in a way that books aren't
>for the other nine year olds I know. [...]
>

Yeah--that's what I was getting at. And it extends to adults, too.
*Lord of the Rings* got some of the same sort of adulation, but it
wasn't *respectable* at the time. It's almost as though this is the
tip of some sort of vast iceberg in the (prefatory wince)
zeitgest--some sign of a vast change in cultural attitudes.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden

unread,
Jan 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/23/00