Bewildering Stories Editorial
by Jerry Wright
More MiscellanyWell. First off, we have the "official" announcement of Adventure Books new BwS outing. Bob wanted to do a theme book, we had a time travel contest, and voila! A time travel book! And so Time Pieces is now available, and there is a link to purchase it on our cover. Which we revamped. Because it needed it. Really.
So, all you thousand or so readers rush out and buy it. Why? Well, hey, why not? It is a great looking, and reading, book. There is something about ink on paper that the shimmering of phosphors or the blinking of lcds just don't convey.
Clyde and Don have an excellent discussion of the "modernization" of a classic book. It's one thing to re-tell a classic story. It is quite another to pretend and try to hide the fact that people had quite different prejudices, mores, and even, for cat's sake, terminology in the past.
"Oh, we're three cabelleros, three gay cabelleros, they say we are birds of a feather..."
The fine old descriptive word "gay" has been co-opted by the homosexual community, and now, when we read a book from the fifties or earlier, some of us feel, often, a twinge of either discomfort, or irritation. Okay, words change. That's what happens when you have a living language. But to try to pretend that the past never happened and people (writers especially) of the past should be castigated for not having the same philosophical stance as do the more politically correct among us is foolish and destructive.
And Rudyard Kipling is, well, just evil. Riiiiiight. And Little Black Sambo is a bad, evil book. Hmmm. I had a copy of the Little Golden Book version, and in this edition, it is obvious that Sambo is Indian, not African. Helen Bannerman wrote this book back in 1899, and she was living in India at the time. Sadly, her crude drawings seem more of an African child than an Indian, but hey, there ain't no tigers in Africa.
A comment by the publisher of a new version published in 2003 states, "...in reality, any story must assume life in the context of its history and culture, it will and must resonate in a universe filled with expectations, interests, and prejudices that readers will bring to it. Perhaps for no book does this hold more true than "The Story of Little Black Sambo."
But perhaps it would be better taken off the shelf and burned. Along with all those other bad books that say things you don't like.
Copyright © 2006 by Jerry Wright for Bewildering Stories