Buzz Worthy News: 3rd June 2013

4 June, 2013 Buzz Worthy News 6 comments

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BWNBuzz Worthy News

This week in Buzz Worthy News: The new Chamber of Secrets cover is revealed, Maureen Johnson and Jezebel clash over YA heroines, the author of The Jungle Book a plagiarist?!, and the SFWA controversy rounds out our week.  All this and more so come check it out!

Buzz Worthy News is Cuddlebuggery’s weekly news post bringing you all the best information about the book and blogging world, particularly for the venn diagram of people who overlap between the two.  For new releases and cover reveals of all the best Young Adult fiction, check out our Sunday post: How New Titles.


Chamber of SecretsNew Chamber of Secrets cover revealed

Well, as promised, the new cover for the second Harry Potter book is out.  Thoughts?  I like it a lot better than the old one, AND the new one for Philosopher’s Stone.

It is, of course, from the iconic scene where the Weasley brothers kidnap Harry from his own house and take him to a wizarding sweatshop where they intend to work him for money until he dies.  Good times, guys, good times.  Oh no, wait, that the fanfiction I’m currently writing for Kindle World.  You know, lass has to make an income and all that jazz.  Because, rumour is, there’s some money to be made from that.

Both Kazu Kibuishi, the artist behind the new designs, and Arthur A. Levine, the editor of the American edition of the Harry Potter series, appeared at the unveiling.

So far, two out of the seven covers for the new U.S. trade paperback editions of J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter series have been revealed. The publication date for the new editions has moved up to August 27, 2013.


Summer Literacy Drop

During a panel at the Bookexpo, Rick Richter, CEO of Ruckus Media, shared this cutesy little chart to share some shocking statistics:


Ah!  Infographs!  How I both love and hate them!  This one kind of seems to be a big duh for me. Like, “Kids who go outside, play less video games.” or “Children with red shirts are 20% more likely to meet a tragic end on Star Trek.”  Are you people saying kids who read… get progressively better at it?  That’s astounding!

“When school’s out, kids from low-income families have a real problem on their hands. Unlike their more affluent peers, most of them don’t spend summer break at the library or reading books in the backseat on family trips. In fact, many of them won’t open a book until school starts up again. Those three months off take a disastrous toll. Experts call the effect “summer slide” and it erases months of hard-earned progress in school, lost ground that kids in need can’t afford. Books are the answer. Studies show that kids from low-income families who have access to books over the summer not only beat the summer slide, but make even greater gains than kids from wealthy and middle-class families.”

But the summer slide is a huge problem, fact is regular reading can help.  What else could help?  Cutting Summer vacation down.  Way down.

There.  Problem solved.  Now bring me a world hunger infographic!


 maureen-johnson-03Maureen Johnson and Jezebel Clash.  Epically.

Okay, I lied.  It wasn’t some predestined battle to the death or something.  So Rachel Shukert wrote a piece for Jezebel about Feminist Young Adult novels.  It basically was a promo piece for Shukert’s up and coming debut Young Adult novel.  In it, she discusses her personal rules for writing a feminist novel, making a couple of brief references to Twilight and The Hunger Games.

“So I did what generations of feminists have done before me: I tried to figure out what pissed me off (on a scale of “subconscious” to “massively”) in the past, and I came up with a set of five immutable guidelines to see me through. We’ve had the Bechdel Rule and the Orwell Rules; meet the Shukert Young Adult Guidelines.”

I do greatly enjoy reading Jezebel, and I was more than willing to put aside how irking it is for someone not largely involved in, or associated with the Young Adult genre to be setting down guidelines because, hey, good cause!

But it’s not all great and positive.

“YA literature is filled with brave, gutsy, complicated female characters. They also, for the most part, are not exactly the first with their hands up, unless it’s for totally altruistic reasons. (During that scene in The Hunger Games, my sister, who I was watching with, and I turned to each other and said, virtually simultaneously: “No offense, but I don’t love you that much.”)”

So Young Adult author and person actually deeply invested in the Young Adult genre, Maureen Johnson, didn’t really find the article that great.

maureenjohnson vs Jezebel

Yeah, look, I don’t worry too much about things that are clearly just thinly veiled self-promotions, I simply agree with Maureen that it would have been nice if someone more knowledgeable about the Young Adult genre had written this piece, and written it differently.


Rudyard KiplingRudyard Kipling: The Plagiarist

Kipling, author of The Jungle Book and… well, who cares because it’s The Jungle Book, admitted to liberally lifting other material for his most famous work.

“A letter in which Rudyard Kipling admits that “it is extremely possible that I have helped myself promiscuously” from other stories when writing The Jungle Book has been put up for sale.

The one-page letter, written and signed by Kipling in around 1895, sees the author writing to an unknown correspondent following an inquiry about “The Law of the Jungle” – the rules of life in the jungle taught by Baloo to Mowgli in The Jungle Book, and later turned into a poem by Kipling in The Second Jungle Book.”

Woah.  That’s pretty big.  And also, just really… wow.  I mean, it’s not like I love The Jungle Book, but that’s a little like finding out that Enid Blyton just borrowed a little from a story here and there.  Don’t plagiarize, people.  It’s wrong.



Matthew RhysMatthew Rhys will be Playing Darcy

The BBC is adapting a new Pride and Prejudice series based six years after the marriage of Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy, Death Comes to Pemberly by PD James.  In-ter-esting.

Rhys, who has previously starred in Brothers and Sisters and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, has already admitted he faces a huge challenge to follow Firth’s 1995 portrayal of Mr Darcy.

The 38-year-old said: “Exciting as it is, one of the challenges of a part such as Darcy are the comparisons that will be drawn to those who have institutionalised him in the past.

“The beauty of Pemberley is that it is an entirely new and different Darcy six years on. And also, I don’t have to appear from a lake in a white shirt and breeches.”

Anna Maxwell Martin, who starred in The Bletchley Circle, will play Lizzie.

Yeah, I don’t know how I feel about this.  He’s not very… Darcyish.  HHhhhhmmmm.



SFWA Sexism Debacle

The story here is that for SFWA’s Bulletin #200 (also relating to Bulletin #199) two old men, Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg complained that they were no longer allowed to say, write and do sexist things in this horrible liberal environment.  How dare you women find it uncomfortable when they focus on your looks and your tits as opposed to their work and their contribution to the community?! You can find scans on the Bulletin at the bottom of this site here.

“And we seem to have offended some members every bit as much as the cover art did.


By having the temerity to mention that Bea Mahaffey, who edited Other Worlds in the very early 1950s, was beautiful. (Which, according to every man and woman who knew her then, is absolutely true.) After all, we’re talking about an editor, not a pin-up model, so how dare we mention her looks? What business does that have here?”

Ya think?  Jeez these guys could circle jerk themselves for hours on the good ol’ days when you could objectify women without any consequences.

John Scalzi, president of the SFWA, issued a formal and professional apology here (seriously, if you ever need to apologize for something, I would use this as a possible outline).

“1. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America is an organization that acts to support, inform, defend, promote and advocate for our members – all of them, not just some of them. When members believe that they or other members are belittled or minimized by our official publications, that’s a problem. Over the last few editions of the Bulletin, this has indeed been a problem, specifically regarding how many in the membership have seen the Bulletin handling issues of gender.”

There was a massive uproar at the latest Bulletin issues.  Ann Aguirre wrote a very saddening piece on her treatment as a SF author attending conferences and dealing with men in the industry.

“I had a respected SF writer call me “girlie” and demand that I get him a coffee, before the panel we were on TOGETHER. When he realized I was not, in fact, his coffee girl, he didn’t apologize. And once we got into the panel, he refused to let me (or anyone else) speak. He interrupted me. He talked over me. He responded to questions that the audience asked me, when they asked me, by name, and he wouldn’t respond to the moderator, who was also female.”

One of the best responses was from Foz Meadows:

“I supplemented that income by editing a quartet of tabloids, like The National Enquirer – only worse. Never got busted, never got censored, never got castigated. Ditto with a trio of men’s magazines I edited.”

Pardon me while I laugh hysterically at the idea that working for two of the most lingeringly sexist, misogynistic types of publication, in a position of editorial power, in the fucking seventies, and boasting about how nobody ever called you on your bullshit back then, as though this is somehow proof of the fact that bullshit neither happened nor deserved to be stopped when it did, constitutes an intelligent argument. Go on. I’ll wait.

Foz, I love your work…

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

6 Responses to “Buzz Worthy News: 3rd June 2013”

  1. Fangs4Fantasy

    That infographic is shocking – but also tells us
    something we know. If you want kids to have high reading skills, they need to
    read, they need to have access to books, they need to have time to read and
    they need to be taught the joy of reading. Nothing ensures literacy so much as
    a child being able to and wanting to read.
     Which, in turn, shows us how essential books are – and how
    essential libraries and other sources of free reading are
     “Cutting Summer vacation down.  Way down.”
    And lo, Kat was found dead in an alley. The
    first examination of her body suggests she was beaten to death by very very
    small people, at least one of them wielding a Barbie with deadly efficiency
    That article sounds like the kind of one I
    skip. Want to talk about the genre? Great. Want to talk about social justice
    issues in the genre? Yeah we’re all over that. Want to pretend to do both while
    really trying to shill your books? Pfft, buy a freaking advert. Ok, harsh – I think
    self-promotion and discussion can happen together – but it’s hard and requires
    people to care about the genre and the discussion as much or more than about
    shilling their shinies.
    As to the SFWA *sigh* Look here is a simple
    rule when talking about sexism. Or homophobia. Or racism, or ableism. OR ANY
    ISM EVER! Or any issue involving marginalised people
    Don’t ask two men to discuss sexism in the genre. Don’t form a panel of white
    folks to discuss race. Don’t gather a load of straight people to discuss
    If you do then FAIL WILL FOLLOW! And lo, it did! Yo9u can never address the
    problem of sexism in sci-fi if women aren’t the ones leading the discussion and
    being listened to.

  2. Kate C.

    Ah, sexism.  Such a lovely topic for a Tuesday.  
    There is a reason why women who write Sci-fi change their names.  Because the sciences have long been considered men’s territory.  Look at my degree, Computer Science.  It’s about 18-20% women.  When I went to school, it was the teachers I largely had a problem with, too, and not the students.  (Although there were a few guys that were just as bad.  They were always so shocked when I handed their asses to them with my skillz.)  I was graded poorly (and outright wrong in a few cases) and had to fight with the professors for a proper grade.  I was told by one teacher that I should consider dropping the class if I had any problems.  It made me feel like I couldn’t go to office hours and ask for help if I had any issues with an assignment.  Better not to display any weakness.  (And btw, I graduated Magna Cum Laude, so it’s not like I was a dummy or anything).  My biggest allies were the lecturers and TAs, who tended to be more close to my age.
    But I think the attitude is still largely: How can a woman know anything about SCIENCE?  Her brain isn’t built that way.  Men are logical, women are EMOTIONAL.   It’s so WEIRD that men can write emotional, gender neutral sci-fi (Greg Bear, Orson Scott Card, David Brin) but women can’t seem to.  I guess the uterus is just so overpowering to our intellects or something.
    Also, I read that Anne Aguirre article.  I’ve been a David Brin fan for years, but now, I’m like a SUPER fan.
    Anyway, we already pretty much know that reading is good.  And that the more you do of it, the better your brain works.  Also, like any skill, the more you practice it, the better you become.  When discussing the low income/ troubled families angle, I think that is even MORE reason why we need libraries in our communities!  Where else can you get all the books you want for free?  Any pretty much every library I know has a summer reading program.  Our library is giving away a free kindle this year to get more kids signed up.  It’s AWESOME!  
    BBC has been messing up P&P since the version where they made Lizzie prettier than Jane.  WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT???  
    I’m totally on board with Maureen Johnson, but I also agree with your point that it was OBVIOUSLY a promo piece.  I mean, come ON.  Have some street cred on goodreads or something so you don’t sound like an ass when you say stuff like that.  And also, I am SOOO glad I’m not her sister.  SOOOO GLAD!  (Side note: Did she even READ Hunger Games?  Because it sounds to me like she just watched it with her sister.)

  3. Lexxie

    What? Pretty little women want to write in that horrbly manly genre of SF? Why would they do that? Women don’t read SF, so there would be noone for them to write for, right? I have never gotten why the gender of the author is important as long as the author knows how to tell a story.

    I had a discussion with a young TA last week, a guy, who thought it was actually unfair that female doctorants could get help by having a semester off with pay during the time they wrote their doctoral theseis and worked as TAs… If they also had a child during that period for example. He thought it was really strange that women should have that kind of <i>advantage</i> just because of biology. I think my eyes actually popped out of my head, and people had to help me find them again. 
    I completely agree with Fangs4Fantasy about the group of people actually moderating a discussion about various subjects. Some really just can’t have any credibility at all. Even if we have the ability to imagine how it could be to be in someone else’s situation, we really don’t know at all.
    And YES! both to shorter summer vacation and more books for kids 🙂 Who needs two months off in a row anyway? *hides from toy-wielding children everywhere*.

  4. missbelmont

    Geez, I could have told them about the summer reading thing years ago! I swear I was the only kid in my school class who got excited at the prospect of reading… I was teased horribly for it, though.
    I actually second the thing about cutting school vacation down! What we get now is way way too long…but at the same time, at least in my school district, we don’t really get any notable breaks during the school year unless they’re Easter or Christmas.

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