deep secret - new US edition + i'm back

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Mon Dec 9 14:39:05 EST 2002


On Mon, 09 Dec 2002 18:26:19 +0000, christian nutt wrote:

>this edition of DS is part of a larger sub-label the publisher has, and at 
>least some of the other books in it are adult books republished as kids'. 

It's Tor's new Starscape imprint, and I'm shocked because this was a highly
anticipated move by Tor to bring back a number of old favorites.  For
example, it's the imprint for the new reissue of _A College of Magics_.  My
understanding before was that they were just repackaging "adult" titles in
new covers/formats for YA readers, like _Ender's Game_ (which acquaintances
insist is a young adult book just because teens love it.  Please.  Just
because a teen reader is mentally ready for an adult novel does not make
that book a YA title) and _Ender's Shadow_.  If they're editing all of them
like that...it's not so much the bowdlerization that bugs me as the fact
that someone seems to think that a YA title must be toned down somehow in
order to suit the audience.  Mainstream YA fiction gets seriously dark and
filthy sometimes; I don't see why fantasy and SF should be a special case.

The "mission statement" on Starscape's main page includes the following
statement:  "Imagining a fictional world in all its root complexities—a
process at the core of great science fiction and fantasy—allows young people
to come to terms with their world and with themselves."  Sometimes those
root complexities include a little nastiness.  I dislike profanity and I'm
not that keen on sexual images, but I am even less in favor of altering a
book to protect others.  I do my own protecting by not letting the kids read
something that's bad for them, not by getting out the black marker.  I'm
sure the publisher probably figured that it was a great book that just
needed a little tweaking.  But I agree with Hallie that the murder of those
kids was a whole lot more unsettling than occasional swear words, and a far
better candidate for editing.

On the other hand, I'm now increasingly in the position of choosing books
for my young relatives, most of whose parents are far more conservative than
I.  (One of them is my little sister, and I realize that I cannot in good
conscience recommend some of the books I read at her age, because my mother
would kill me.)  I know how it feels to worry that some parent is going to
jump all over you for corrupting his/her child.  So my personal irritation
is at war with my sympathies.  I'm glad I've already got my unedited copy,
and I'll be sure to carefully check before I buy their titles.  (Well, and
what the heck are they going to do to _Orvis_ anyway?  Some of these books
won't be touched.)

Here is the link to Starscape's website:
http://www.starscapebooks.com/

They invite comment on their progress.  I'd think anyone who wants to
complain about the new issue ought to start here.  In a nice and friendly
way, of course.

Melissa Proffitt

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