Mid-week marginalia

A three day weekend combined with some early spring-like weather leads to a collection of links accumulated over a number of days:

  • A British blogger who is into flow sheets has graphically summarized the essence of the Victor Stenger book I just reviewed. (Via Boing Boing.)
  • Speaking of reviews, it appears The New Republic disliked Norman Mailer’s latest more than I did. One excerpt: “How could a writer as intelligent and original as Norman Mailer have digested this library of books [about Hitler and Nazism] and returned with the superficial, twisted, and finally just plain stupid vision of Hitler in this novel?” (Via Conversational Reading.)
  • I will never cease to be amazed at how neurotic our society is, such that one word in an award-winning children’s book (“scrotum” for those of you who don’t go to the link) can lead to it being banned in schools and libraries.
  • Another reason to not watch TV? I speculate also that it liquefies the brain.
  • Online magazine The Morning News has announced the finalists for its annual Tournament of Books, sponsored by Powell’s Books. I’ve read two of the finalists, one of which I think should win and the other I think should lose in early rounds but likely will not on the strength of the author’s reputation. Of course, this comes from someone who didn’t read either of last year’s two finalists. (Via Blog of a Bookslut.)
  • Here’s an interesting government policy: “Sci-Fi writing is now supported by Chinese government as it is considered to be a genre that can inspire the whole nation’s ability to think imaginatively and popularizes science nationwide.” (Via SFBC Blog.)
  • Increasing SF reading might be well served by John Scalzi’s two-step approach, now dubbed by some as the New Comprehensible movement. As he points out though, any such movement has and shall have no manifestos.

The proper study of mankind is books.

Aldous Huxley, Crome Yellow

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