Bad Days, Good Days at The Guardian

There’s lots of Guardian posts to talk about this morning.

To start with, a small moment of relief. I had been beginning to lose my faith in the Forces of Nannyism, but I’m pleased to report that someone has at last started yelling “Moral Panic!” over Margo Lanagan’s Tender Morsels. Here it is. Thanks to Iain Emsley for pointing me to it. Now we can all complain about how silly this is (except for those of us also prone to attacks of moral panic).

Secondly the paper has caught up with The 99. I tweeted about it last week, but you may have missed that so here’s Riazat Butt (a religious affairs correspondent, no less) talking about Muslim super heroes, and here’s the link where you can download the Origins comic for free.

Finally Alison Flood catches up with the happy news about Chris Beckett. I particularly liked this comment:

Judge James Walton, chair of Radio 4’s The Write Stuff, said that Beckett’s win was “a bit of a surprise to the judges, none of whom knew they were science fiction fans beforehand”.

I do also hope that Andy Hook is getting something out of this. He might be folding Elastic Press, but he still deserves plenty of kudos for having published the book.

And for those of you who are thinking the the book needs a new publisher, John Jarrold is happily thinking about a bidding war.

5 thoughts on “Bad Days, Good Days at The Guardian

  1. In fairness the Lanagan piece was in the Observer not the Guardian; not the first time recently that the older sister has made itself look stupid (eg the autism / MMR story they ran two years ago).

  2. Cuddles:

    Many thanks!


    Fair point, though I suspect that the distinction between the two newspapers is lost on most of their overseas readers. (Also The Guardian is just as prone to moral panic.)

  3. Hi Cheryl,

    I’ve just read the article to which you refer, and was amused to see David Fickling is the publisher of the children’s book featuring gang rape, etc., as some years back, he was the publisher (at Scholastic) of my YA science fiction novel, _Virus_.

    At my first meeting with my editor at Scholastic, the first thing I was told was that I would need to take out all the “obscenity.” (Which greatly surprised me, as I’d had no idea the book was “obscene.”)

    I dutifully went through the typescript, taking out any language I thought might be considered the slightest bit dodgy, such as replacing the (very occasional) “damn” with “darn” and changing “what the hell” to “what the blazes,” only to have the book returned again with all kinds of stuff which I’d considered completely innocent crossed out by the editor (such as a doctor telling a character — who’s reported for a complete physical — to undress).

    And I’ve just remembered: in my original manuscript, I had two of the main characters (both adults) waking up together the morning after they’ve saved the world. There was nothing explicit — they just woke up together — but that scene had to be changed so that the morning after they’ve both nearly been killed, the hero rings the heroine’s doorbell.

    Let me make it clear that nothing I’ve written above is meant as a criticism of either my editor at Scholastic (who was an extremely helpful and pleasant lady) or David Fickling, who — the one time I met him — I found intelligent, personable and charming. My recollections above are merely meant as an observation on how much things can change in a very few years.

  4. Molly:

    Considering that Fickling got his big break in publishing via the Goosebumps series, I’m not entirely sure it is a change of attitude. I suspect it is just a very different view of what is acceptable and what is not. Your “obscenity” seems to be to be very ordinary and domestic, and perhaps for some people that’s more upsetting than extreme violence.

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