Why Can’t the English?

We saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes last night–ehh. Some the intra- and inter-species encounters were quite moving and dramatic but the plot was on automatic and the fabulously watchable Judy Greer was wasted (she could have been completely blotto given that all she had to do was lie there with a suffering […]

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whitemountains Why Cant the English?We saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes last night–ehh. Some the intra- and inter-species encounters were quite moving and dramatic but the plot was on automatic and the fabulously watchable Judy Greer was wasted (she could have been completely blotto given that all she had to do was lie there with a suffering look in her ape-eyes). Before the movie began there were about five different plugs for The Giver, including three of the quiz questions, so somebody is looking out for you, Lois*.

Courtesy of the Kindle Daily Deal, I’m re-reading one of The Giver‘s greatest antecedents, John Christopher’s The White Mountains, first published in 1967. Boy, is it good (I use the interjection advisedly). The text used in the Kindle edition is from 2003, and it includes a preface by Christopher, “What Is a Tripod?,” about how the the book came to be. While Christopher had only written adult novels until then, a London publisher suggested he try his hand at a book for children. He did, the London publisher accepted it, an American publisher had questions:

“Basically, what she said was that she loved the first chapter but the rest of the book was a mess: it would need a complete reworking from Chapter 2 onward. This was something that had not happened to me before. My adult novels had either been taken or rejected as they stood. I was not used to rewriting and certainly not eager to start doing so with a mere children’s book.”

Christopher goes on to berate himself for his patronizing attitude and thank the editor who made his first children’s book so much better: Susan Hirschmann (sic). But the anecdote makes me think of the murmurings I’ve heard about the more interventionist editing of U.S. publishers as compared to that of their colleagues across the pond. Still true?

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