August 01, 2007

The Culling of the Books, Part II

Of the pleasant and mighty inquisition held by the journalist and the writer on the library of our imaginative correspondent, Benjamin Kepple ....

THE WRITER, holding up a volume: Behold the beauty of the literary franchise, for it brings great wealth to writers near and far, and lets them pay their kids' college tuitions! Truly this book, "Foundation's Fear," with its blatant attempts to capitalize on a masterwork, should be kept among the elect!

THE JOURNALIST: It's worth 25 cents.

THE WRITER: Vile cur! Surely even you cannot dispute the beauty of this fine work that only seeks to continue the wonderful stories of Isaac Asimov. Why, you can see right here it is authorized by the estate and that alone suggests it is worth keeping.

THE JOURNALIST: I can't believe this cost $7.50. What was he thinking when he paid $7.50 for this?

THE WRITER: Fool! How you can dispute the thoughts of our master, for whom money was no object when given the chance to buy books? Why, clearly his devotion was on par with Kung I-chi, except he held to basic principles like "fair exchange" and "property rights."

THE JOURNALIST: Out it goes!

THE WRITER: Fair enough. What's next?

THE JOURNALIST: "Freehold," by Michael Z. Williamson. Oh, yes, I remember this one. It looked like a good adventure story at first but ended up being this politically-minded screed where the United Nations got control of Earth --

THE WRITER: No!

THE JOURNALIST: -- and then went and attacked a peaceful society that was kinda set up -- well, imagine if Ron Paul was President. IN SPACE.

THE WRITER: But that doesn't make any sense. I mean, the United Nations can't even police Haiti, much less manage to create a giant superstate. And even if they did, why would they attack the one place in the galaxy where they would have put all the money they ... uh, received as gifts? Yeah. Gifts. And consulting fees. I mean, a place like that is going to have bank secrecy laws like you wouldn't believe.

THE JOURNALIST: Yeah, I'm the High Commissioner of Graft and Unpaid Parking Tickets, reporting for duty! Well, that'll make a good one for the library to sell. OK, what's next?

THE WRITER: Hey, wait a minute! You know politics is off limits. Why are you mentioning Ron Paul here? Is this some kind of trick to get your page rankings up, like all those other bloggers have been openly and blatantly doing, even to the point of writing joke posts about it?

THE JOURNALIST: No.

THE WRITER: Oh, well, that's all right then. Let's see what's next -- ah, "Invasion" by Eric Harry. Oh, this one clearly got picked up in LAX. It's anti-Communist like James Clavell was anti-Communist, except Clavell was clever and witty and saved his disgust for the Russians.

THE JOURNALIST: I like Clavell but he depicts all the reporters in his books ... accurately. Um. Never mind. Let's move on.

THE WRITER: OK, John le Carre's "The Honourable Schoolboy." Uh, this was published in October 1978. How exactly did he get a hold of this?

THE JOURNALIST: He probably got it from his father, who was clearing out his OWN books at the time and is much better at clearing stuff out than his son.

THE WRITER: Wow! Isn't that ironic?

THE JOURNALIST: Actually, in this case, it kind of is. Plus, I don't think Mr Kepple would mind if this went out. So out it goes! Hey, look here -- "Gotti: Rise and Fall" from Capeci and Mustain.

THE WRITER: I wonder if they ever updated the book with all the stuff about the family's reality show. Boy, and here the Mob thought RICO was bad for their recruiting prospects.

THE JOURNALIST: Heh heh heh. Oh, here's a short story anthology -- "Armageddon." Short science-fiction stories about the end of the world. Not on Amazon for some reason, but computers aren't perfect.

THE WRITER: Oh! This was the one where one of the stories had the end of the world taking place in Delmont, Pa. Now that was a weird coincidence, wasn't it?

THE JOURNALIST: Yeah. I mean, talk about unexpected. I mean, you would normally think that Delmont wouldn't realize the world had ended until folks couldn't get the Steelers on television. It's a nice place, but it only has -- what -- 2,000 people or so?

THE WRITER: Something like that. Boy, I'm beat. Let's just send out the rest in this box along with the ones we've already looked at.

THE JOURNALIST: Sounds like a plan. Well ... let's see. At 10 paperbacks to a column and four columns to the box ... hey, that makes like 40 paperbacks we've managed to purge. And they said it couldn't be done! Amazing!

(with deep and sincere apologies to the late Miguel de Cervantes)

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at August 1, 2007 08:33 PM | TrackBack
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