Silly

Is Your Book Appropriate for My Child?

This is one of my least favorite questions, and the one I’m asked most often.  The best times are when parents tell me they’ve read the book, but still ask me whether it’s appropriate for children.  Yes, this has really happened.  On more than one occasion.

Should your kid read my book?  How the frak should I know?  Some parents let their kids read the pop-up Kama Sutra at age six.  Others think The Cat in the Hat will turn their children into drugged-out hippies.  (Some of Seuss’ more adult works, on the other hand … but that’s another topic.)

I understand parents are busy, and don’t have the time to prescreen everything their children read.  Heck, I wouldn’t have wanted my parents to limit me to books they had read first.  But as an author, it’s a lot easier for me to answer the parent who asks “Does your book have any graphic sexual imagery in it?” than it is “Should my kid read it?”

The first parent is asking about my book.  The second is asking me to make a parenting decision for his or her child.  I have no problem trying to help, but for all our sakes, please don’t be the second parent.

Clear enough?  Groovy.  Because now it’s time to list all the answers I’d like to give, but probably shouldn’t….

“Should my child read your book?”

  • Can you prove that’s really your child?
  • Yes, but only the odd-numbered pages.
  • You mean the kid standing there playing Grand Theft Auto on his Nintendo DS?
  • No!  She should read my books, plural.  How do you expect me to quit my day job if your lazy kid only reads one?
  • Yes.  When he’s finished, he can let you know whether or not it’s appropriate for grown-ups.
  • How do you feel about nose-picking injuries, pixie pee, and gay fire-spiders?
  • I’m sorry, Jim left an hour ago.  I’m his decoy.  His protection.  His loyal bodyguard.
  • Not without a prescription.
  • Wil Wheaton said my book was cool!  If you don’t buy it, he’s gonna march down to this bookstore and start throwing critical hits on your ass.
  • Make sure she reads it backwards so she gets all the subliminal Satanic messages.
  • You must be this tall to read Stepsister Scheme.  But he can read the goblin books.
  • Print is dead.
  • Everyone knows kids prefer to read books about younger characters.  Here, try this one by Nabokov.
  • Sweet Zeus, what are you saying?  Nobody can read these books!  We have to keep the words trapped in the pages.  Can’t you hear them screaming?  Always screaming and plotting their horrible, horrible revenge.  Don’t open that book!  Don’t let them see you!!!

Please feel free to add your own.

Tuesday Miscellany

Q: How did Sleeping Beauty invest her gold?
A: Hedge funds.

I’m sorry.  That joke popped into my head right before lunch.  In a just universe, my nemesis would plot a horrible demise for writing it.  My brain is still recovering from the long weekend of lawnwork, back pain, hospital visits (a friend with an injured arm), and family time.  So it’s popping about rather randomly right now.

Today marks the release of Kelly McCullough’s latest book MythOS [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy].  I reviewed and enjoyed the first book, WebMage, a while back.  Kelly has an interview posted over at SF Novelists.  Gotta love any book that sticks a webgoblin on the cover 🙂

http://www.jimchines.com is pretty much ready to go.  I may make a few more changes and additions, including trying to change over to a nicer permalink structure, but it’s basically done.  So if you’ve got time, please take a look and try to break it 🙂  Let me know if you find problems, broken links, or pages that simply look like crap.

And my final random point, which is better, classic titanium spork or redesigned ultimate spork?

I promise to try to be a little more coherent next time!

Nemesis Wanted. (Must have own black cape.)

So yesterday on Facebook I wrote, “I need a nemesis.”  Because that’s just the sort of thing you write on Facebook, you know?  But the enthusiastic responses got me thinking … a nemesis could be a lot of fun.  Anton Strout has Pat RothfussJeff VanderMeer has Evil Monkey.  Why not me?

I am therefore holding auditions for the role of nemesis.  Please post your qualifications below, including any superweapons developed or nefarious schemes carried out.  Extra points will be given for all goatees.  Evil references are helpful, but not required.

I have no idea what I’m going to do with this.  Maybe I’ll force the top candidates to battle online for the high honor of being my nemesis.  I might challenge the winner to a Nerf duel of doom at World Fantasy Con.  I might send my minions to toilet paper your cat.  Maybe I’ll strike a dramatic pose and scream your name after you abandon me on Ceti Alpha V.  Or maybe I’ll just post the occasional taunt on my blog.  Who knows what lengths I’ll go to in order to triumph over my arch foe.

Obviously, this is all in fun.  Like many things, I’m doing it ’cause it amuses me.

Applications are due by the end of the week.  (For those of you who commented over on Facebook, feel free to copy and paste your information here, and to embellish as necessary.)

Jim C. Hines