by Marshall, April 16, 2008 1:18 PM
- Whines More Than Dobby?: Harry Potter Lexicon creator, Steven Vander Ark, broke down on the stand yesterday as he testified in the trial pitting author J. K. Rowling and Warner Brothers against publisher RDR Books for copyright infringement over a proposed bound version of the popular website, The Harry Potter Lexicon. From the Wall Street Journal:
But the most telling part of Vander Ark's testimony came at the end of Hammer's direct examination. Asked whether he still considered himself a part of the Harry Potter fan community ? those that, in Vander Ark's words, devote most of their free time to all things Potter ? he choked up, and said, "I did." But then, when pressed on it, he changed his answer. "I do," he said, breaking up.
Hammer then asked him why the question was so "emotionally-charged." Regaining his composure, and trying hard to look past J. K. Rowling, whom the plaintiffs counsel positioned directly in front of the witness stand, Vander Ark said, "It's been difficult because there's been a lot of criticism and that was never the intention. I understand where that comes from, but it's difficult. The lexicon has been an important part of my life for the last 8 or 9 years, and now, to have it turn into this...."
Dobby will have to punish himself most grievously for coming to see you, sir. Dobby will have to shut his ears in the oven door for this...
- The Big Dictionary in the Sky: Eugene Ehrlich, a self-educated lexicographer who wrote 40 dictionaries, thesauruses, and phrase books for the "extraordinarily literate," not to mention people just hoping to sound that way, died on April 5 at his home in Mamaroneck, N.Y. He was 85. From the New York Times:
Mr. Ehrlich ? who wrote from three million to five million words about words ? made it clear that he thought defining everyday words with familiar meanings was a waste of time. In his preface to the "extraordinarily literate" dictionary, he said his higher mission was being the antidote to the "effects wrought by the forces of linguistic darkness."
Linguistic darkness? I would describe myself as speaking with colloquial luminosity.
- You Go, Girl: Yesterday, judges for the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, awarded annually to a work of science fiction or fantasy that engages the subject of gender in new and thought-provoking ways, selected Sarah Hall's Daughters of the North as their 2007 winner. From Galley Cat:
Daughters of the North is one of several recent novels from authors regarded as "literary" to engage the science-fictional theme of an apocalyptic future; think Cormac McCarthy or Jim Crace. At least in America, such novels tend to be marketed in ways that downplay the SF aspects, although HarperPerennial does play up comparisons to The Handmaid's Tale in the blurbs. (Of course, Margaret Atwood's relationship to the genre was famously contentious.) Hall happily describes her novel as "speculative fiction," though, and speaks with enthusiasm about the research that went into creating a plausible disaster-struck society.
Sounds like a fun read!