Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Statement of intent

This is intended to be a book review blog, with special attention paid to the deeper meaning behind books. It is my belief that fiction is often written with the conscious or subconscious intention of calling attention to societal problems in a way that's easier to talk about than discussing those societal problems directly. Writing fiction, rather than news, bypasses all sorts of problems like defamation lawsuits, having to get the details right, public discomfort with discussing the problem, etc.

Excellent examples include Oliver Twist, which makes a statement on poverty in the Victorian era, and Animal Farm, which makes a statement about communism.

However, interpretations are, of course, the reader's. It is impossible to know whether any particular deeper meaning was intended by the author, unless the author states it directly. Nevertheless, deeper meanings found by the reader but not intended by the author can still be valuable.

On this blog are the deeper meanings I, and anyone else who chooses to comment here, have found in books. They should not be construed as actual knowledge of the author's intentions.

This is a book review blog, so other topics related to reading and writing books may also be discussed, even in the absense of a deeper meaning.

Furthermore, this blog is intended to be free of censorship imposed by hardcore fans. In fact, it was a negative experience on a fan website which inspired me to start this blog. Many of the moderators on Jim Butcher's fan forum apparently feel it is unacceptable to point out that one of the characters is obviously racist, and to censor explanations of this to people who are at best  ignorant and at worst maliciously racist, while at the same time continuing to allow defense of racist slurs. This is in no way a reflection on Jim Butcher himself, who was not involved in the discussion. On my blog, you are free to point out racist, sexist, and other negative characteristics of fictional characters. (However, due to defamation laws, please do not post assumptions that an author portraying a racist fictional character is himself racist, even if you think that. Besides, it's sort of ridiculous. Mark Twain portrayed racist characters, but the message of Huckleberry Finn was clearly an anti-racist one.)

(Note: Censorship may still occur if I am concerned that the content might be illegal, or legally questionable enough for someone to try to sue over, in the United States or any country I might want to visit someday. That is not to say you can't criticize laws and suggest they should be changed, but you should not knowingly break them on this blog while they stand. Unrelated stuff, like commercial advertisements, and exceptionally offensive things may also be censored. That goes double for anything racist, which is both highly offensive and possibly illegal in Germany and France. This is not a guarantee that all illegal comments will be removed; please send a takedown request if you see anything you believe violates your legal rights.)

Acronyms are strongly discouraged, because they often stand for multiple things and cause way too much confusion. If you do wish to use an acronym, it is helpful if you spell it out at least once, followed by the acronym in parentheses, so that people will no what you are talking about. Text messaging style spelling is also confusing and discouraged, unless you are actually posting from a mobile phone.

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