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Piers Anthony Unbound 430

Posted by Roblimo
from the ogres-say-the-darnedest-things dept.
Today we present Piers Anthony's responses to Slashdot questions about topics ranging from Linux shortcomings to female sexuality. Piers asked us, in a followup email after we received his answers, if we considered them "too feisty." Hah! Is there such a thing as "too feisty" for Slashdot?

1) Publishers and StarOffice?
by sparty

With larger documents and the importance of formatting in the publication process, have you had difficulty with publishers and document submission? If so, has your establishment (ie previously published work) allowed you to overcome opposition of the "we-don't-support-that" variety? Or did you find that publishers were open to alternate submission formats? Or were they already using other formats (I know some authors have actually typeset their works themselves, using LaTeX, but I assume they are few and far between).

In short, modern print publishing requires a lot of attention to detail and transmission of large documents electronically--how do you make it work with your chosen set of tools, when publishers probably don't expect authors to be using that paritcular set of tools?

Piers:

This has not been a problem with traditional publishers, because they're still in the dark ages with respect to computers and accept only printed out paper copies. In any event, my version is not the print version; mine is in 12 point Courier--almost universally required--which they then rekey in to their system and render in some other format. In the year 2050 when publishers catch up, then the author's computer formatting may be an issue, though maybe not, as it's so easy simply to change it at either end. On the rare occasions when a publisher does need an electronic version, I translate to the MS Word .doc format.

2) Juvenile vs Adult fiction
by MattW

I must have read at least 20 of your books between 11 and 17, but over time, they seemed to lose their luster. A lot of people I know had a similar fascination, and a similar segue into other reading. Do you believe that your work in fantasy is targetted at the juvenile market? Is that intentional or accidental? Have you had pressure from publishers over the years to try to be 'more mainstream' or perhaps specifically write to the young adult market?

Piers:

Your problem is that you grew up and disappeared into an adult; that's a fairly common disaster. Yes, Xanth is targeted at a juvenile market, though listed as adult; that's why you don't see it in lists of what children read. Those folk seem not to know what children and teens actually read, and the kids won't tell them lest their fun books get confiscated and burned. But I have two other remarks on this: first that I write for more than one level, and there is material in Xanth that adults can pick up on if they're alert; second that I do also write adult material, like the Adept, Incarnations, and Mode series. However, all publishers want from me is Xanth, and the more mature material is difficult to place. For example I am now completing the third quarter-million word novel in my thoroughly adult ChroMagic fantasy series, none of which has found a publisher. In due course I may self publish it so readers can see what kind I fantasy I write when I write for myself.

3) Personal Authors Notes - Bare feet don't stink.
by emptybody

In high school I read and re-read three series, Xanth, Apprentice Adept and Incarnations of Immortality. In 1988 my first son was born which drew most of my attentions away from your novels. In 1991 my second son and the real world drew me the rest of the way.

I see that there are now 10 more Xanth novels that I do not have. I guess I have some catching up to do!

Your authors notes were for me almost a series of their own. These, combined with your autobiography, "Bio of an Ogre", made me feel like I knew you. And gave new meaning and insight to most of your novels.

Have you ever thought of collecting them together into a book of their own? Sort of a Piers Anthony self retrospective or 'The Ogre Speaks Through the Ages.'

Piers:

I have thought of it because readers have suggested it, but this is another I'd have to self publish. Dedicated fans may be interested in the private ramblings of an ornery writer, but barring some accident of fate that makes me famous, like growing a second head, the wider public is not.

4) world building
by MORTAR_COMBAT!

When starting off creating a new world for your stories, do you concentrate a lot on historical and geographical background, or get right into your main story timelines? basically, what process do you find to be the best when setting the stage for the depth required for epic fantasy?

Piers:

It varies. Xanth just sort of grew around Florida, and there's very little background research. ChroMagic, in contrast, (see reference above) gets me into head-splitting spot research and thought throughout. That's the one with twin planets orbiting each other, the pair orbiting a conventional star named Vivid and a black hole named Void, so a tough choice is to be caught between Vivid and Void. The stress causes volcanoes to erupt everywhere, each with a different color of magic that makes things monochrome in its vicinity: shades of blue, shades of red, and so on. Yes, there is even one for White magic, otherwise called Science, the kind we know here, but it doesn't work elsewhere on the planet. People live near them and become the same colors, and can do magic of that color, or Chroma zone; travel to another zone and you lose your power of magic, which is tough. A Blue Chroma man is at a great disadvantage in a Red or White Chroma zone. That's just the background; you can see that plenty of thought went into it, and more into the culture and, oh yes, the wild story. So as I said, it varies, and each project is its own greater or lesser challenge.

5) Piers Anthony Fanfiction
by Bonker

Mr. Anthony,

From your in-story commentary and author's notes, we have a glimmering of your opinion on people who don't pay for books.

What is your opinion of people who borrow the books you've written from libraries. Also, what is your opinion of fan-authors who write fanstories based on your work?

Piers:

I approve of libraries; they enable folk to read widely who could not otherwise afford to. The fact is, if every library bought a hardcover copy of one of my books, it would be a bestseller. So I feel a library is a legitimate compromise between the author's need to earn his living and the reader's limited ability to buy books. As for fan authors: if they do it just for fun, credit the source, and don't try to sell their books, okay by me, though that notion may turn my agent's hair a shade of gray. It's the pirates who really bother me, stealing whatever I write, including what I self publish, as if trying to guarantee that I will go broke and have to take up sewer cleaning for a living. That's why I support Harlan Ellison's anti-piracy struggle.

6) Women in Xanth books
by SlashChick

Hi Piers,

I've had the chance to enjoy several of your Xanth books over the years. However, I find it disappointing that, like many sci-fi authors, you choose to include lots of "naked women" imagery in your books. This makes your books unappealing to the female side of your audience (including myself), and it makes it hard for me to recommend your books either to younger children or other women who might be interested.

I don't mind sex in books; what I (and a lot of other females) mind is the clear delineation of women as either sexual objects or as somehow "needing" a male to rescue them from various plights. Your earlier books did not have much of this imagery, and indeed the Xanth series seems relatively free of it, but I've noticed that some of your books do draw this conclusion. Unfortunately, the fantasy category seems to have more of this type of book than most other categories.

In a world of fantasy books dominated by male fantasies, what is your suggestion to the relatively few females who do enjoy fantasy and sci-fi books?

As a point of reference, I enjoyed the Phule series by Robert Asprin, as well as The Hitchhiker's Guide and, of course, several of the Xanth books.

Piers:

Some time we'll have to discuss why the sight of a naked woman as God made her should be considered to harm a child, but that's another issue. I wonder whether the females who enjoy fantasy are all that few; it's been a number of years since I tried counting the ratio of fan letters I received, but when I did it ranged from something like 60-40 to 80-20 in favor of female, and I believe I still get more fe-mail than male-mail. Much of it is for novels like Firefly and the Mode series, which do have juvenile female sex: they say that it's about time that someone addressed this matter honestly in fiction. I suspect I have heard from more teen girl victims than just about any other male writer, and it's not because they think I'm disparaging their concerns. Or are you referring only to Xanth, where Mundane attitudes are rather obviously parodied, such as with the fauns & nymphs, certainly a male fantasy, and the naughty fun about panties. Very few girls object to Xanth either; some even suggest panty puns. You say later Xanths suggest that women are sexual objects who need males to rescue them? Have you read Zombie Lover or Xone of Contention and seen Breanna of the Black Wave's attitude? What about Swell Foop? More bluntly: are you doing an honest critique here, or merely attributing things that really are not in my books? So I guess my suggestion is that you try reading some of the titles I've named here with an open mind; you may find more substance there than you expect, together with a greater appreciation of women as thinking, feeling creatures than you think.

7) Why GNU/Linux?
by crush

Why have you decided to use GNU/Linux? On your website you say:

"I want to be all the way independent of Macrohard, so that no more Doors slam on my tender fingers. We'll see; stay tuned for future reports."

Specifically what is it that you, as an author, have found irritating about using Microsoft products in your work?

In a note you also say:

"It remains far behind on personal systems, but at such time as the Linux nerds catch on to the importance of user friendliness, that should change. Before too long I hope to get the ear of some of them, even if they don't necessarily like what I say."

So, what don't you like so far? What do you want us to improve? Are there any author-specific tools that you miss from Microsoft?

Piers:

This could take a long time, and I'm already taking more time than I like while my novel writing waits. Microsoft aggravates me by the way it so often crashes without saving--I really hate that!--and assumes I am wrong when it fouls up--that illegal operation syndrome--will I be sent to jail?, its refusal to give me ready file-saved status (the very act of checking un-saves the file), its clumsy Revision Mode and Spike processes that seem to assume you want to destroy your original document in order to copy revisions from it, locked-in error messages--it's just a constant process of minor nuisances and some major ones, such as reneging on software updates, that build up to a massive dislike. In reluctant fairness I must say that I haven't updated my word processor since 1995, so some faults may have been fixed by now. A number of the problems I have in Linux I am told have been fixed in more recent software. Since I'm in the process of getting a new Linux system with the bugs removed, I think I need to check it with the hope that my complaints have already been abated. If they haven't, maybe I can return here with an update in two or three months. So very generally, for the moment: I can't print effectively, I can't email effectively, I can't always edit effectively, I can't move my cursor effectively, I can't make or place macros as competent as I want, I can't let my monitor "sleep" between uses, and I have to use twice as many backup disks as before because the files take up twice the space. I'd like specific information on file dates and sizes in the backup challenges; I have to open whole other file-handling windows to get that information now, a hassle. Understand, my hardware can do all of these things, but Linux applications don't. Thus to print out a novel at faster than one and a quarter minutes per page I must shut down Linux and go to Windows on the same system. That drives me crazy. But I have been promised reprieve. There are also some features I have now that I didn't get in Windows, such as an indication whether my files have been saved, different background colors for my files--I like to color code, as I may be using 9 files at a time, shifting back and forth between them--and the ability to do discontinuous selection. I love StarOffice's superior Changes Mode and use it constantly. I'm a serious writer; I use features that non-writers don't. Did anyone notice that the StarOffice site has no category for "Writer"? I had to list my occupation as "retired." So it's like having a wacky girlfriend: there's more to like than dislike despite the aggravation.

8) Incarnations of Immortality
by iamsure

Mr. Anthony,

As someone who has named both of his cats, all seven of his computers, and one of his cars after characters from Incarnations of Immortality, I would like to know why you haven't chosen to return to their mythos.

Consider the fact you have done so with many of your other mythos'! (Bio of a space tyrant, Apprentice Adept, etc.)

Further, with Incarnations, there are a world of possibilities left. Chance, hate, love, hope, all the minor incarnations you mentioned in books previously (I would really like to see hope)..

Your writing weaves a world that one can live in, and while Xanth is nice, I deeply prefer a world where death is kind, and evil is human and flawed.

It helped me through the pain of losing my mother to serious illness, and has been my favorite fantasy world since.

I read in one of your author's note that the story of the original characters from IoI was "complete" and that you didnt see a need to continue their stories, and I can agree with that.

That doesn't stop new characters in the same mythos from being created. Whether set before, during or after the events of IoI, there is definitely room to weave plenty of stories.

Any chance of seeing some more of them?

Piers:

Despite the charges of critics, I don't continue series just for the sake of continuing them. I felt that the Incarnations series was sufficient once God had been addressed. Sure I could do stories about the "minor" Incarnations, or about Nox the Incarnation of Night who knows all secrets and keeps most of them. But I have felt it better to let the series stand as it is. Maybe some day I'll change my mind; one never knows.

CP/M
by ek_adam

I remember in the afterword of one of your books from the early 1980s, you discussed the research you put into choosing your first computer. At the time the choices for consumers were basically Apple II, CP/M, or MS-DOS.

How many generations of computers have you used since then? What system were you using just before you switched [to Linux]? Were you still using CP/M?

Piers:

This must be Question #8.5; it's unnumbered. To date I have used four operating systems and 8 word processors. That's CP/M, MS DOS, WINDOWS, and LINUX, actually I used two versions of DOS and two of WINDOWS, but let's not quibble. The word processors are Select 86, PTP, Edward, Final Word, Sprint, MS Word, WordPerfect, and StarOffice. I'm headed, I think, for another version of LINUX and OpenOffice. I was using MS Word before switching to LINUX, where I started with WordPerfect, couldn't stand it, and then after a series of video card blackouts--I mean, my system crashed every time I called it up--StarOffice. I had to have considerable help and expense to make the change, and it took 9 months. That's why I don't recommend LINUX for other writers, yet; it can be user-disastrous to set up if you're not a geek. Had I not already made my fortune, and kept my Windows system as a backup, I could have been wiped out. I saw a comment elsewhere by a man who wanted his Linux system to run out of the box; he was answered at length by two others, to the effect he was wrong to want it. Oh, yeah? Attitudes like that are death to popularity.

9) Paedophilia
by konstant

Hello Mr. Anthony. As a young adult, I devoured nearly all your novels, with my particular favorites including the Adept series, Incarnations, Bio of a *, and the first eight or ten Xanth titles. It's fair to say that a large part of my psyche and probably my vocabulary are attributable to you.

Recently I reprised On a Pale Horse with my girlfriend and I discovered to my discomfort that it dealt very explicitly with underage sex in a way that sexualized young girls in particular. Although the novel retained many charming qualities for me, I began to consider the female underage sexuality in the other books of that series, especially one of the later books (Of Eternity?) in which an underage girl uses a protracted stay in Purgatory in order to be able to have legal sex with a much older priest. Significantly, she is only 18 "by law". Physically and mentally she is 16 when she has sex with the priest. We are supposed to have any moral questions calmed by this.

As I recalled more of your works, I noticed a recurring theme of young girls being exploited in sexual ways. The opening of Bio of a Space Tyrant describes the protagonist's shame and arousal as his young sister is raped. Later in the series, I hazily recall a wealthy character who kept pre-pubescent girls for sex, then released them for service when they matured. The character was depicted in a very sympathetic light - he was just misunderstood.

Finally, long ago I read a hardback book by you which attributed to you membership in a social organization dedicated to protecting girls against paedophilia.

As a fan and an admirer, but also as someone who is disquieted by the influence you may have had upon my young sexuality, I would like to know candidly whether you are attracted to underage women. Naturally I am in no way implying that you would ever act upon such an urge, but the writing you have given us is very close to an act in itself, considering your very broad and impressionable audience.

Piers:

On a Pale Horse deals explicitely with underage sex? You'll have to cite pages, as I don't remember this. Firefly has explicit underage sex; could that be the one you mean? That's not in this series. The final volume of the series, And Eternity, does have a troubled 15 year old girl who is not sugar-coated and is salvaged by two well-meaning ghosts; apparently you object to this, though it is realistic; there are girls just like her in the real world, who never find salvation of any kind. The Space Tyrant series is highly sexual, but shows no approval of rape; it originated from the very real plight of Vietnamese and Hatian boat refugees whose horror stories barely made the US press because most of the witnesses were dead--killed by pirates. I thought this matter deserved attention, though masked as fiction so it could make it into print. It was not intended for young readers, and its nature never hidden; if you read it young you were trespassing on adult fiction. Many young readers do, but few blame the authors for their sneak peeks. I note that you express no objection to the savage murders, only to the sexuality. I could formulate a question for you about personal values, or better, for society, but I doubt you'd care to answer. So let me address the specific question you do ask: am I attracted to young women? Yes; I am attracted to the entire female persuasion, and have women of every age in my fiction, and women of every age have sex in my fiction. The fact is, as I explore in my GEODYSSEY series, men are attracted to women, and to the shapely ones more than the others, and to the young ones more than the older ones. I don't mean to children, but to girls after they develop breasts and pubic hair, signals of sexual maturity. This relates to the apparent breedability of women; the strategy of the man is to capture a woman at the beginning of her reproductive life and have as many children by her as possible. So young women tend to be the most appealing; it's pretty much hard-wired in our species, and this is reflected in our society's glorification of youth in TV, movies, magazine, advertising--everywhere, as if it is a crime to ever get old. As a man who recently shared the 46th anniversary with the woman I married when she was 19, I deplore this global cultural attitude, but I understand it. To appreciate young women should not be to disparage older ones. And I do like to look at young women. Yes, my wife understands; once we were watching a video, and I needed to brush my teeth in the bathroom and missed a very nice nude-woman sequence with Bo Derrick, so she told me, wound it back, and played it over. It's like bird watching: one looks and appreciates but does not touch. I suspect that 90% of men who claim to feel otherwise are lying. (I'm allowing for the gay contingent.) This is reflected in my fiction in large part because it sells better than more realistic fiction, and publishers want it. But about membership in an anti-pedophelia organization--I do oppose pedophilia, but don't belong to any such outfit. In fact I correspond with some pedophiles in prison.

10) Goddard College, unorthodox culture and linux
by shed

Not many people are aware that you attended Goddard, a very unusual institution of higher learning in Vermont. For those of you who don't know, the college was famous for its radical politics in the 60s, after Piers attended. No tests, no grades, student-designed courses which were called "group studies" and led by "facilitators."

When I attended Goddard in the late 80s it was still a hotbed of radical politics, but also a strong proponent of critical thinking. Not a place where orthodox opinions hold unexamined sway. Although my politics have changed, I attribute my flexibility, independence and career success in part to this college experience.

Do you believe your educational background has played a significant part in your success? If so, how? Would you recommend any changes to traditional educational techniques? Lastly, in line with the interests of the slashdot crowd, you're one of only a few authors to embrace linux as a desktop OS. Would you draw a link between using this "alternative os" and the "alternative" years in college?

Piers:

I do believe that my education helped my success, because I had a good education, and was able at Goddard to orient on my true desire: to write. I had a long way to go, but it was a necessary stage. But I'm not sure the radicalism of Goddard was responsible; I was always an independent thinker, taking the road less traveled. In fact I was suspended from college because I was one of six students found in the lounge--I was talking with my fiancee--she was only 18 then--after it was supposedly closed. The entire student body rose in protest about the suspensions; the college president threatened to close the college, and the students, being more cautious than he, backed down. Today I seem to be the only one willing to talk about that; the college, perhaps disinclined either to admit it was wrong or to alienate a major monetary contributor, does not. So you'll just have to take my one-sided word that it was wrong, on legal and ethical grounds, and later repented without admitting it. So Goddard became too straight-laced for me. Later they had co-ed dorms with boys and girls rooming together, but not in my day. Still, for all that, Goddard was radical by the standards of the day, and was a great place to be. But I think I owe my eventual success as a writer more to my wife than to the college.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Piers Anthony Unbound

Comments Filter:
  • Wow. (Score:5, Funny)

    by rde (17364) on Monday July 15, 2002 @12:03PM (#3886366)
    he didn't just take the same answer and reprint it twenty times in slightly varying formats. That was unexpected.
    • Re:Wow. (Score:3, Funny)

      by KFury (19522)
      Which is refreshing considering that several of the questions were the same, though reprinted in slightly varying formats...
  • Too Feisty? (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by Chibi (232518)

    Hah! Is there such a thing as "too feisty" for Slashdot?

    If it's about female sexuality, then, yes, I would say so. :)

  • Macs? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mononoke (88668) on Monday July 15, 2002 @12:16PM (#3886442) Homepage Journal
    Too late, I know, but I wonder why there is no mention of Macs anywhere in the discussion of alternatives to M$?

    Is the whole of his experience with Apple based on his use of the Apple ][e?

    • Re:Macs? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by teamhasnoi (554944) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {ionsahmaet}> on Monday July 15, 2002 @12:18PM (#3886467) Homepage Journal
      I thought OS X (in it's Jaguar incarnation) would be a good choice for Piers. Just avoid Classic.
    • Because he's a writer, and since the Mac 512, the most viable word processor for the MacOS was a port of a Microsoft product.
      He's not anti-windows, he's anti-Microsoft.
      • Re:Macs? (Score:2, Informative)

        OpenOffice is coming for Mac OS X. In fact, they recently announced [openoffice.org] a Quartz port. since Piers is already using OpenOffice... this would probably kick the crap out of his "unable to print" problems.
  • Good interview (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TibbonZero (571809) <Tibbon AT gmail DOT com> on Monday July 15, 2002 @12:17PM (#3886458) Homepage Journal
    Good interview in general, I am glad to see this lengthy responses, but. At then end of #9, he says "In fact I correspond with some pedophiles in prison."- Am I the only one that doesn't do this?
    Just seems a little odd to me, unless he is trying to write a book or gain some insight into these people. Any thoughts?

    • Re:Good interview (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tommck (69750)
      Sounded to me like he is corresponding with them in order to understand them and perhaps to help them.
      Just what I got out of it.

      T

      • Sounded to me like he is corresponding with them in order to understand them and perhaps to help them.

        Be that as it may, it's (in my experience, anyway) an extremely unusual interest or cause to take up.

        I think TibbonZero's reaction was the same as mine -- Anthony is explaining, "No, I don't have any unusual interest in underage sex. I write about abuse of refugees because it was in the news at the time, like any good writer might do. Sure I'll check out a hot 16 year old girl, just like any normal guy would. And I don't have any great interest in pedophilia as an issue. In fact, I write to pedophiles in prison."

        That's where my eyebrows went up, too.

        • Wrong context? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ambient (8381) on Monday July 15, 2002 @01:09PM (#3886807)
          It may not seem so strange, once you put it into context.

          I would find it quite strange if Piers actively went out searching for pedophiles to correspond with. However, a more plausible explanation is that the pedophiles initiated contact first.

          It seems very likely that a pedophile would be interested in some of the situations portrayed in Mr. Anthony's works, and would want to contact the author.

          Just my $0.02.
    • Re:Good interview (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Elwood P Dowd (16933)
      Lots of pedophiles hate the fact that they are pedophiles. I'm sure that they initiated the contact because some of his books deal with this issue. I'm sure he continued the contact because he felt that they were otherwise decent people that did horrible things, and were worth his time.

      I only guess that this is the case because that's pretty much how my mom (a shrink) came to briefly correspond with a pedophile in prison.
      • Oh jeez yeah, I *hate* the fact that society says I'm evil because I get a Woodrow when I see a pair of perky boobies. Uh huh.

        (disclaimer; havent' ever, not ever going to have intercourse with an underage person)

        Did it ever occur to you that maybe he's corresponded with pedophiles in prison because they read his books, got turned on by it, realized that's why they were in prison and decided to write him a letter, him being a famous author who happened to write that book?
        I don't think Piers meant that he went through the prison system looking specifically for pedophiles to correspond with and trade poloroids with.
        • Apparently my post was completely unclear. I do not understand why you decided we disagree. Most active or serious pedophiles hate the fact that they are compulsively attracted to children.

          You describe a scenario and ask me if it occured to me... when that scenario is exactly what I described in my parent post. Are you trolling? You won.
    • Re:Good interview (Score:3, Informative)

      by Skyshadow (508)
      I would have loved to hear Heinlein answer questions about some of the, er, unconventional relationship issues in his later works. As such, it's nice to hear from an author on something like this.

      As for his coorespondence with pedophiles: I write stories for fun. I find it is always much more interesting if I can understand the thinking process of my characters rather than just pulling them from central casting. IMO, in the real world, just about everyone thinks that the things they do are justified -- I'll bet Nazi death camp guards had some very complex reasoning going on to allow themselves to do what they did, for instance. It might be completely bogus reasoning colored by bigotry and peer pressure, but it was enough for them.

      Given that, it's important to try to figure out how other people think and what makes them think that way. Almost all really good stories involve the character's struggle with shades of grey -- with "good guys" and "bad guys", you can't do that.

      • Re:Good interview (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jafac (1449)
        I think that a lot of Nazi prison guards were just happy they weren't on the Eastern front. Stalingrad was a great motivator for Nazis to blindly and obediently follow orders.
    • Good for PA (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You'd be surpised to learn of how many young men and teens are in jail for having sex with pubescent (that is manifesting pubic hair, breasts etc) girls, a thing that has been illegal only in the past hundred or so years, something, like he said, is a natural attraction common to men everywhere. My view is, he's sympathetic to the plight of men who's libido has gotten the best of them with young women, because he knows how tempting it is.

      The general public enjoys, as a morbid entertainment, the idea that pedophiles are always bad, are always in the wrong, have abused, have been cruel, or that they are even pedophiles at all (a love of teens does not a pedophile make), to please themselves with a bad energy, a sort of soul cannibalism, eating up anothers life energy. They enjoy mounting cruelty upon cruelty upon men who they know very little about, who they trust the media and the police to speak of, the two institutions least likely to be fair, who have the most to gain by sensationalising and exaggerating. They ask the question: Who dares write a pedophile?

      Piers Anthony, I guess, is another kind of being, one that understands that lurking behind the mask society has created, their lies a human face! And thank goodness; too many people, good people, end up in prison without anything but a wall to keep them sane, to encourage them, to prepare them for their eventual return to the outside. Peirs is doing a public service by smoothing a transition to lawful behavior on the outside.

      AC
    • I think that he was laughing when he added that last sentence. "Let them chew on this...."

    • Re:Good interview (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      i've thought about
      "In fact I correspond with some pedophiles in prison."

      i have mixed reactions. first i am a survivor or childhood sexual abuse. i have thought about talking to people who have done the damage partly just curiosity, partly 'cuz i have to deal with the damage and there is to me some level of understanding of some of the darkness that such damage does to people. i think in the long run our attitudes on sexuality and what is permitted to be talked about and what is not leads to more damage than some of the physical acts them selves. we want to hide from horros. we don't want to see them. but to those who have been damaged, the ability to talk about the darkess from such acts is necessary.
      one of the big things i've learned from my healing is the big difference between thoughts and actions. there are many thoughts that i have in my mind that are horrible and disturbing. i am functional and productive, for the most part, due to having found a palce where i have been able to express some of the things in my mind with out judgement.
      i can write stories, poetry, draw from my experiences from childhood. because i can write about rape or brutality dose not make it the same as condoning it. it is my experience, it is also my release.

      ok, my point is it may feel disturbing but that in its self should not make it wrong.

      oops, i might have wandered a little off topic.

      he should not be judged just by his writings of sexuality and corresponding with pedophiles. but more on his actions.

      something is not always wrong just because it feels so. i know i'm repeating my self. i'll stop now because i don't know if i am making sense.

      don't pick on spelling errors. not all of us have been gifted with perfect spelling abilities. just like some of us have not been gified with social skills.
    • I think the answer to your question was given in Piers' answer to the pedophilia question.

      He's not trying to write a book about it, or he'd probably mention it. Also, there isn't a mainstream publisher who'd go anywhere near a book about "pedophiles", especially if written by Anthony. It wouldn't sell, bring enormous insane social energy down on the publisher's business, and not incidentally ruin Piers' other book sales as the forces of the Christian Coalition and the Concerned Mothers of Texas boycott bookstores, not to mention getting his books pulled out of libraries everywhere. Hell, he's flying under their radar now. No sense getting their specific attention in a national manner. If he thinks our little e-book scans would ruin his career, he should try taking on Oprah and Rush's mass audience.

      And a word, if I may, about "pedophiles" in prison. I'd guess a goodly chunk of them are there for sex with teenagers. If every man over 20 who's had sex with a teenaged girl was sent to prison, there wouldn't be enough male population in the world left to man a softball league, much less guard the prisons holding the sinners.

      Sex with-a-pubescent-girls has been widely winked at, if not at by the fathers involved, in the U.S. for our entire history. Like Anthony said, males are geared that way. It's only been of late that former teen girls have been informed, to their surprise, that the bad men have destroyed their entire lives, and that they now need expensive counselling, coincidentally by the same people who are making the diagnoses.

      I *am not* talking about young girls, or children, which is an evil par excellance. "Pedophilia" is defined as sex with such.

      By the way, that term was not used for teenaged girls, especially late teen, until recently. (There's another term for it, some -philia, but blowed if I can remember. Driving me crazy now. Mental cookie for anyone who posts the term!)

      Sex with under-18's is a mess that can slide from evil-badness to why-is-this-an-issue. What is so distasteful, to me, is the redefinition of such and enernally old situation in black-and-white terms. It's an abandonment of sanity, or more to the point, intelligent analysis. This is this and that is that, no exceptions. No brains required. If she's 17 years, eleven months, and 27 days old, he goes to the rape farm, and when he gets out, he won't even get a job as a port-o-potty cleaner. If she's 18 at midnight, she can work in a strip club and have sex with a football team. This is not-sane.

      The root of this reaction, of course, is parents, and particularly in the U.S., the truly bizarre pretense that teenagers should not ever know about sex until they're 18, despite all memories to the contrary.

      A friend of mine put it this way: Do you actually expect to give the keys to a Ferrari to a 16-17 year old girl and expect her to keep it in the garage?

      Back to point: the guys that Anthony are speaking to in prison are the guys that I am talking about. Anthony is a very intelligent and sane man, and knows BS when he sees it; and some of the "pedophiles" in prison are not such, but just victims of impassioned judgement and a not-sane schizophrenic culture. Piers is probably the only person willing to correspond with the "monsters", and that is a kindness indeed. After all, they are just men who made out with teens -- they didn't kill them. Frankly, a killer would get out sooner, and wouldn't have a web page listing his name and whereabouts.

      And finally, I don't see much outrage about over-18 women sleeping with under-18 guys... amazing how that's not an issue. Insanity, anyone? Girls are supposed to be virginal and naive, boys conquerers and explorers.

      Tres amusing, if not for all the ruined lives.

  • by Liora (565268) on Monday July 15, 2002 @12:18PM (#3886461) Journal

    Why was so much of this space taken up with questioning underage sex? It happens. His books are understandable and real, of course they're going to depict images that are realistic. These people who've now realized that much of their opinions about sexuality have been developed through these authors should really thank him. I didn't read this stuff when I was in high school, this was middle school material, and I don't regret it now. I read a lot of stuff like that at that age. Why? Because it is what adolescents do. They wonder, and they read and they think and that's the way it is. Anyone who can't come to terms with THAT is really fooling themselves.

    So, to all of those people that had questions of that content: Those are the kinds of books he was writing. You chose to read them. You could have read other kinds of books, but at that age, that very content was part of what fascinated you. Going after the issue years later is a moot point. You would have found something else to read that was just as racy, involving people your age, and now you would be asking pointless questions of those authors.

    • Why was so much of this space taken up with questioning underage sex?

      Well, duh...

      We'll forward 10 of the highest-moderated questions to Piers tomorrow, and will run his answers (verbatim, as always) as soon as he gets them back to us.

      This is how it works, remember? Barring foul play by the editors, these questions are a democratic representation of what troubles the mind of an average slashdotter.
    • Most of his writing is actually pretty damn tame. I think most of the confusion on the curiosity of this aspect of his writing comes from those who didn't read Firefly; specifically, who didn't read the very lengthy, extraordinarily graphic scene involving a five year old girl who talks this dude into fucking her after he explains to her why her brother has been trying to insert objects into her ass or some damned thing, and after similar repeated encounters, although none described in the excruciating detail of their first sexual session, he is arrested and depicted in a very sympathetic manner even as he is sent to prison.

      I am a very open minded person when it comes to sex; if people want piss all over each other before laying into one another with clubs, I don't care. But this scene in all of its detail is definitely one that I wish I could remove from long term memory if it were possible. While I certainly don't argue with Piers' right to think about sex with a five year old girl in such incredible detail and then put those thoughts on paper, I would definitely be reluctant to takes my eyes off of him while my daughter was around.
  • women... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 15, 2002 @12:30PM (#3886550)
    Ya know.. I hear what you're saying Peirs... but I have to say I think you present a fairly sexist opinion of women in many of your books.

    I've enjoyed many of your books (the updated "but what of earth" is probably my favorite) but I've probably given up on just as many as I've read because the female characters are such boring bimbos.

    I have this complaint with many other authors (Margret Weis just to name one), but I find the lack of respect ..... frankly boring.

    As a male I have no complants about sex, or naked women, even young women. I have a couple of Sally Mann books, which are beautiful pictures of young girls.

    I think it's the motivation that goes on behind these females (or lack there of) that bothers me. I definitely agree that there are some magical creatures which are (for lack of a better terminology) male fantasies, but I don't think that prevents you from developing a personality or a brain or personal desire for any of them.
  • by Kymermosst (33885) on Monday July 15, 2002 @12:34PM (#3886583) Journal
    Firefly was, needless to say, fascinating and disturbing. Also, impossible to locate a copy anymore.

    But What of Earth was an excellent book (The second, all-Piers version), and the endnotes and tale of an author's plight with a publisher were most interesting. Love reading about the comments that the copy-eds wrote.
    The other books, well, I haven't had much time to explore more than a few, but I've been looking for a new series to pick up and read, and maybe I'll give Piers a shot again.
  • by phillymjs (234426) <slashdot@nosPaM.stango.org> on Monday July 15, 2002 @12:40PM (#3886621) Homepage Journal
    I do also write adult material

    -----
    November 5, 1952

    Dear Penthouse,

    I'm a freshman Writing major at a small New England college. [goddard.edu] I never thought something like this would happen to me, but...
    ------

    ~Philly
  • Great Interview (Score:3, Interesting)

    by quantaman (517394) on Monday July 15, 2002 @12:47PM (#3886655)
    This definately the best interview I've read on slashdot. While all the answers seemed to revolve around why he uses linux, and female and underaged sexuality that has more to do with the questions asked. His answers were very honest, to the point, interesting, and fairly profound/radical. I hope /. is able to get more people like him to interview it was truely a pleasure to read.
  • hrmmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ultramk (470198) <ultramk&pacbell,net> on Monday July 15, 2002 @12:47PM (#3886657)
    Like a lot of people, I used to read a lot of this guy's work--and certainly enjoyed it--but fell away from it when I was about 16-17.

    I had recently considered getting caught back up with the various series, but this article reminded me why I quit reading his work in the first place.

    Note: this isn't a troll, this is just my honest opinion of the work, and its weaknesses. If you disagree with me, great. Tell me where I'm wrong.

    For one thing, the characters, more or less without exception, are incredibly two-dimensional. The hero is always the same stuffed shirt. There's always a flaw or two, for him or her to work out through the course of the story, but in general it's the same guy every time.

    Repeat after me:
    1. A complex plot with many twists and turns is not a substitute for a good plot.

    2. Women are more than sex objects.

    3. Why is it that magic is always color-coded? I felt like I keep re-reading the same story over and over again! (example: the Mode series)

    4. "The thing about aliens is, they're alien." Come on, even the strangest, most unusual character in any one of any of these books I read paled in comparison to the creatures inhabiting my former High School.

    5. A pun is not a substitute for true humor. Repeated puns do not get funnier and funnier. They get old. (for real humor, try Terry Prachett's Discworld novels)

    Hey, this doesn't mean I didn't love this stuff, once upon a time, but as I got older I got pickier. More selective. I think there's still a large audience for this stuff, but I'm just not a part of it anymore.

    Michael-
    • I mostly agree with your comment, and I too stopped reading his material in my late teen years. I think you're wrong about point #4, however. Have you read the Cluster series? The best thing about it was how alien the aliens were. Just as an example, I remember a group of aliens that communicated by taste. Piers did a great job exploring the unique issues that they faced.
      • Just as an example, I remember a group of aliens that communicated by taste. Piers did a great job exploring the unique issues that they faced.


        No, I don't think I read that series, so I can't really comment about it. However, I think in a way that it proves my point, as being an exception to the other series.

        m-
    • Re:hrmmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by barawn (25691) on Monday July 15, 2002 @01:37PM (#3886972) Homepage
      Heh, to quote Anthony above, "Your problem is that you disappeared into an adult." I'd have to agree here again.

      1: What's 'good'? Personally, I like plots that catch me off guard. It's a real thrill if I'm reading a plot and I suspect something that's really not evident, and it ends up being true. That's a cool plot. So, for me, I like plots that are complex and bizarre. Works for me.

      2: Yah. They're also lead characters in his books. Oh, and one becomes God.

      3: Because he, um, likes color-coded magic? Repetition of world mechanics does not a repetition of a plot make.

      4: That's because he never created a very seriously different alien, possibly because (like me) he doesn't believe in "very seriously different aliens" - he believes that a lot of the mentality that humans have is very globally applicable.

      5: A pun is not a substitute for humor for you. For people who like puns (and there are quite a few of them!) puns ARE humor. Repeat after me: humor is what makes a person laugh.

      As for the character descriptions, in several of the books (read: Xanth) that's true. And there's a reason for that - because it IS the same story over and over, because it's for children. Because children LIKE reading the same story over and over. And it's even nicer when it's slightly different (it used to be, before printing, that every retelling of a story was different). Whether or not you like it, well, that's a sign of whether or not you grew up. You did, apparently. I didn't. Whew. Dodged that bullet. Note that this is coming from a person who has seen certain movies 40 times. Yes. Forty.

      However, for the other books, that's just not true. For Love of Evil was a -very- good novel, and the hero was definitely not just the same character. The same character doesn't find justification for being Satan. He did.

      Anyway, I'm done ranting. My point is that your last comment is the most true - you're just not a part of it anymore. It's not that you got pickier - your tastes changed. Saying you got "pickier" implies that it's crap. It's not crap. It's not what you like anymore.
    • Come on, even the strangest, most unusual character in any one of any of these books I read paled in comparison to the creatures inhabiting my former High School.


      I remember the first half of one of Pier's books was written solely from the sense of smell (alien, had no eyes).

      That was insanely cool and a VERY good demonstration of what good writing talent is like.

      Alien? Hell yah.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 15, 2002 @12:51PM (#3886679)
    By the DSM-IV (Diagnostic Statistical Manual 4, used by the American Psychologist association to determine and classify all psychopathological disorders, Europe uses a different manual, Not sure what it is called)

    pedophilia is defined as (approx.):

    An unnatural desire towards young children. Specifically, children under the age of 16, and with an age difference of more then 5 years.

    Or better translated for people who don't want to do the math.

    15 - Youngest allowable = 10
    16 - Youngest allowable = 11
    17 - Youngest allowable = 12 ...
    21 - Youngest allowable = 16
    22 - Youngest allowable = 16.
    and so on.

    Therefore, having people with the age of 16 having sex with anyone is not considered pedophilia by the standards of modern psychology. Also, two youths within 5 years of eachother engaging in sexual activity is not considered a psychological disorder. As well, the book used by European psychology has about the same age (It's either 16 or 14, I don't remember unfortunately.)

    Just some technical notes.
    • However, it is considered pedophilla under the law, and by many societal conventions.

      I won't even go into the emotional problems when girls have sex at that age.
      • I suspect it is not considered that under that law at all, but is refered to by terms such as sexual abuse of a minor.
      • However, it is considered pedophilla under the law, and by many societal conventions.

        I won't even go into the emotional problems when girls have sex at that age.

        Neither will I, but that's because I can't think of any that aren't shared by women of 25 or even 35 having a first experience. At 16, the ability of an individual to handle sexual issues has developed sufficiently to rest solely on an individual's mental state. Roughly around that age, an individual seems to reach a state that they could be at for years. A person that couldn't deal well with sexuality at 16 doesn't seem well equipped to handle it at 25 or 35, either. Under 14 there's really no understanding of sexual issues, between 14-16 things fall into place as much as the will, and after that it depends more on environment during the person's upbringing than some ingrained state. I can't think of anything tha happens to a person after puberty completes that would change their ability to handle sex.

        I'm still not sure where the magical '18' comes from, or '21' for that matter. Nothing really interesting happens then, it just happens that, statistically speaking, an individual is more likely to have enough life experience to handle tough issues than not. And even that's a fairly arbitrary inflection point.

        Of course, I also think the way we raise our children explicitly forces them into emotional problems when they finally come to address their sexuality.

    • I suspect a fifteen year old attracted to a child not yet even into puberty - a ten year old - would be regarded as odd. At least.
    • If psychologists knew that much about the human mind, they would find a cure for pedophilia and many other crimes.

      Which would be worse for everyone involved: a 17 year old boy impregnating a 12 year old girl, or an adult (over 18) man having safe sex with a 15 year old girl?

      Speaking as an engineer, i.e. someone who evaluates rules by the end results rather than by the authority of whoever wrote them, this "DSM-IV" is full of crock.

  • by jafac (1449) on Monday July 15, 2002 @12:57PM (#3886719) Homepage
    Wow, pretty harsh.

    Piers has it right on the money - depicting a thing, or portraying a thing does not glorify it. It's a fact, that what he says about male attitudes towards women, even the desirability of (what US puritanical culture determines to be) "underage" women is pretty much true. We're hard-wired for this. It's biological fact. As is social dominance in primates. Men want to dominate control and rule their sex partners. No, not all men - I suspect everybody's wired a bit differently, and for some people it's a much stronger urge than others. And the urge for dominance can also often be redirected in other ways: (prime example - a physically weak male can't win the dominance game on the football field, so he takes up the dominance game on his own terms, using his own strengths, perhaps he's a mathematical genius, or has a talent for memorizing obscure command-line or programming syntax. When this person develops total 1337-ness, he has won the dominance game).
    So even though it can be redirected, it's primarily a sexual thing - and so is a button that's best pressed through fantasy and sexual imagery.

    Which is NOT to say that all women are hopelessly wired by nature to be submissive sex slaves. That's not at all what I'm saying.

    My point is, is that society has created a backlash against this natural tendency - a backlash called "the feminist movement" - and while it has done great things for freeing women, particularly, individual women who are not wired for submissiveness, freeing them from the constraints imposed upon them by a male-dominated society. Somewhat. But in pursuing this backlash - they've also completely vilified men, and dominance, and competitveness in general. Any place where these traits are displayed is now evil, backwards, and contributing to "enslaving women". A woman who is, herself, submissive, becomes shamed by her role, as if she's betraying her own kind. Contributing to the system that keeps all women down. Which is complete hogwash. The only thing that keeps women down is people refusing to admit their own nature - and buying into some sort of system of predestination - whether it's someone's twisted idea of "equality" or an absolutist view of "All Men Are Dominant over All Women" - both extremes are wrong, and end up forcing a life onto people for which they are not suited.
    Some men do not feel driven to beat everyone at some particular game. Maybe they like to be tied up and spanked by a dominatrix because of the pressure they feel in day to day life of having to always be in competition. Perhaps some homosexual men are really driven by an urge to submit. Why not leave these men alone, and let them live their lives the way that makes them happy?
    Some women do not feel driven to find a man to rescue them, take care of them, and then have their babies wash their laundry and clean their toilets for the rest of their lives. But the women who DO feel that way should be allowed to live the lives that make them happy. They should not be forced to go to college, become lawyers, and wait until they're 45 to have one mildly retarded child.
    The ones that want to do that - sure - whatever floats your boat. But live and let live.

    Which is all Piers is saying. Yes, there are TONS of women out there who love the sexual imagery in his books. In fact, back in the 80's Sci-Fi fandom scene, I pretty much saw the whole Xanth series as books for girls. I didn't know any males who really got into them. How can such exploitation of women possibly appeal to so many women? Especially to a group with such a high percentage of "pagan" Goddess-worshipers, etc. ?
    It's biology. You can fight it. But in the end, biology pumps your blood, regulates your hormones, and fires your neurons. You have free will, but there are certain things that are biologically engineered by nature to make you happy and content. It's often wise to listen to them.
    • Piers has it right on the money - depicting a thing, or portraying a thing does not glorify it.
      Yes and no. The preacher who rails about the bottle sermon after sermon may drive the congregation to drink.
      In the Iran-Contra hearings, one point that I heard made (and can't attribute, sorry) was that Ollie North sure had a lot of camera time.
      The effect of that time quantity was to subtly justify him; the average viewer came to simpathize with the upright Colonel getting beat on by them mean old pettifoggers in Congress.
      Constitution? Sorry...

      The point is, a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump...
    • the fact that we can chose to not act on ways we are "hard-wired" is what makes us human.

      "Especially to a group with such a high percentage of "pagan" Goddess-worshipers, etc. ? "
      I'd like to see where you got those numbers.

      It is often NOT wise to do what your base instincts tell you to do. Serial killers do what makes them happy and content.
    • I agree with you (and Mr. Anthony) that a portrayal is not advocacy, not at all, thank God & damn censorhip for it. But your position of "why can't we just let everyone do what they like without putting a stigma on it" is at best idealistic and at worst ignorant of the history of civil and women's rights in the past century.

      There have always been and continue to be groups of people who have vested interests in keeping certain sexes, sexual orientations, and races in certain positions in society. Pretending that after women being explicitly, completely subservient in Western culture until the 1970's that all's well and good and we can all go our separate ways now, doing whatever we wish, is ridiculous, because sexism, like racism, still runs rampant in our society. Those who disagree need to look at the representation of women in government, corporate management, etc. On the level of women's employment alone, women work in more lower-level professions for less & per capita (70% of men's pay), and get promoted less often than men do. The average percentage of women in management drops geometrically the higher the pay grade, from middle management up to CEO. And most people seem to feel that's the way it should be, that all's well & good.

      I'm not saying that there should be enforced parity, quotas, etc, not at all. But what our society needs to focus on for true equality is an equal start in life. Equal educations, equal expectations for girls and boys through to adulthood is what's needed, and it simply doesn't exist because it's not truly wanted. Hell, there's a movement starting to re-segregate public education by seq in some places under the rubric that it's just too hard for girls to learn with all those dominant boys around!

      As an example -- my wife works in the finance department of a Fortune 500 company. In talking to coworkers and her boss about caring for the baby after birth, she still recieves surprised responses when she tells them no, she's not taking a year off to raise the baby, that she'll be back in 2 months. People act like she's short-changing her kid. The world you want doesn't exist and stands little chance of existing in the future because of that sort of persistent attitude.

    • From a google search:

      Piers Anthony was born in Oxford, England in 1934.

      Come on, let's face it-- Piers is "old school." He may have lived through the 60s as a 20-something; but I doubt he has a crazy, liberal viewpoint a la Ms. Magazine and/or the FemiNazi majors at a liberal arts college, eh?

      Accept that he is an older gentlemean, who treats ladies with gentlemanly respect in public, and compares notes with the other "dirty old men" in the back room.

      It seems culturally acceptable to me... women do the same thing to cute men, but are far more venomous when denying it than men are. Just TRY to stop my wife from giggling giddily when you show her an Antonio Banderas movie!

      • LOL couldn't have said it better myself. Personally, I've always had the impression that the judge in
        • And Eternity
        was Piers writing about himself sort of. There was one exchange that particularly stuck in my mind: What are panties for other than dirty old men's delight?" ;) Only other thing I've been able to think of is that they're great for dirty young men's delight...:)~

        I agree that he may be somewhat old school and isn't as crazy liberal as the FemiNazis and other similar wacko groups. However, I don't think anybody could accuse him of being closed-minded, and in that respect he is far and away more open and liberal than many of the activist groups, who reject as invalid any point of view except their own. That probably WAS helped by his nontraditional education in the wild 60's.
      • "Just TRY to stop my wife from giggling giddily when you show her an Antonio Banderas movie!"

        Obviously you haven't been properly educating your wife. I suggest looking up the formerly acceptable "rule of thumb".

        FTHI (For The Humor Impaired) - Relax. I only invoke the rule one Thursday a month.
  • by wiredog (43288) on Monday July 15, 2002 @01:01PM (#3886744) Journal
    The definition of what is Adult or Juveniule has changed over the decades. Read some of Heinlein's "juveniles", many of which were serialized in Boy's Life (the Boy Scout magazine). They delve into topics such as racism, separation of church and state, social and political theory, the death of major characters, and other grown up themes. Pretty much everything except sex (and even that is addressed indirectly), and "adult" literature of the 50's (and later) often avoids that.
  • by mangu (126918) on Monday July 15, 2002 @01:13PM (#3886830)
    Any self-respecting censorship software would ban /. based on this sequence of words.
  • by ctrimble (525642) <ctrimble@nOsPaM.thinkpig.org> on Monday July 15, 2002 @01:16PM (#3886847)
    I just wanted to make a comment about Mr. Anthony's assertion that publishers are still in the dark ages. I'm an editor with a technical publishing company and we require electronic submissions. We would never ask our authors to submit a hard copy of their manuscript. Now, I realise that technical publishing is an entirely different animal than trade publishing. It may be that Tor, Anthony's publisher, has reasons for asking for hard copy. But if that's the case, I imagine it's probably closer to a workflow issue that a technology one. For example, an author of Anthony's stature could tell the publisher that he's going to submit his manuscript written in Linear B in a clay tablet, and they'd take it. Undoubtedly, Tor (and the other similar trade publishers) have authors who want to submit in a wide variety of formats -- most authors have a favourite tool -- and hard copy is the lowest common denomenator. By requesting that all authors submit hard copy, the publisher can have a process for typesetting from that format, rather than having processes for converting from MS Word, WordPerfect, Lotus, DocBook, LaTeX, and whatever format that dedicated word processor they picked up at a rummage sale twenty years ago that they love so well uses.

    Incidentally, being in the word business, I read, write, and edit proposals, manuscripts, memos, letters, and other documents daily. I run Linux and StarOffice. As long as I've been in publishing, I've never had to go into Windows.

    • I'm currently taking a book editing class at a local university, and one of my instructors told me that, more and more since September 11, few publishers of any kind will accept unsolicited paper manuscripts. Some of them won't even accept solicited ones anymore.

      According to my instructor, they don't want the brown paper packages sent in the mail.

      As an editor myself, however, one problem I've had with accepting electronic manuscripts is that the writers, for some reason, seem to want to go apeshit with the style menu ... italics, bold, large font for subheads, headers and footers, footnotes at the bottom of each page ... all of these things make it very difficult to get at the actual text of the article. Some people even want to submit manuscripts as HTML (a nightmare).
      • As an editor myself, however, one problem I've had with accepting electronic manuscripts is that the writers, for some reason, seem to want to go apeshit with the style menu ... italics, bold, large font for subheads, headers and footers, footnotes at the bottom of each page ... all of these things make it very difficult to get at the actual text of the article. Some people even want to submit manuscripts as HTML (a nightmare).
        Having professionnally been at the receiving end of so many typuscripts, the worst loss of time was the removal of useless formatting while keeping the crucial ones (bold, italics, quotations); (Microsoft) word basic scripts could do a lot, but not everything (did you know that there is actually a book named "the hacker's guide to Word Basic"???)
  • An Honest Man (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 15, 2002 @02:17PM (#3887243)
    Regarding his answer to question #9, everyone here should take note. This is what the bravery and honesty looks like.

    He could easily have dodged the issue, but he chose to be honest and to air some views that, while obvious to everyone, are far enough ahead of their time to be unsafe to say as bluntly and succinctly as he does.

    Remember what it looks like, in case someday one of you have the privilege to be equally brave. People like this, simply speaking the truth, are how the world changes for the better, little by little.
  • by alexo (9335) on Monday July 15, 2002 @03:48PM (#3888124) Journal
    Recently I reprised On a Pale Horse with my girlfriend and I discovered to my discomfort that it dealt very explicitly with underage sex in a way that sexualized young girls in particular.
    "Underage" is a very subjective term. The legal age of consent varies across countries and what is deemed underage in one place can be considered a "veteran" in another. According to this table [ageofconsent.com] the legal age of consent in Tunisia is 20 years, making most college students "underage" according to that country's laws.
    On the other hand, other countries set the age of consent at 14 (Canada, China, Iceland, Italy, etc.), 13 (Korea, Spain, etc.) or even 12 (Chile, Mexico). So, unless the sexual acts described by Mr. Anthony involved sixth-graders, they would appear legal, moral and natural to at least a part of his audience.
    [...] an underage girl uses a protracted stay in Purgatory in order to be able to have legal sex with a much older priest. Significantly, she is only 18 "by law". Physically and mentally she is 16 when she has sex with the priest. We are supposed to have any moral questions calmed by this.
    Yet again people confuse legality with morality. The law does not define morals. The mere fact that a bunch of politicians in some country or state decided to outlaw consensual sex under the age of 18 does not make that act any more or less (im)moral. While I am not familiar with the scene that konstant mentioned, it is an interesting way for a person (in a fantasy setting) to comply with the letter of the law, particularly if the person (or the author) disagrees with the spirit of that law.
    as someone who is disquieted by the influence you may have had upon my young sexuality
    Oh, please!
    I would like to know candidly whether you are attracted to underage women.
    Consider an average human male with what is commonly considered a "normal" sexual orientation. That person's attraction to women is not based on the birth date entry in their passports, nor on the local definition of "underage".

    Variations in the speed of sexual maturity being what they are, it is not uncommon to see a "quick" 13 years old who looks more sexually mature then an 16 years old late bloomer. Which one would you find more attractive (without asking for ID)?

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten

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