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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008 3:34 pm
Who will speak on behalf of the bastard children?
Posted by: Keir Graff

On Galleycat, Ron Hogan is continuing his campaign to get the New York Times Book Review to replace Dave Itzkoff. Itzkoff recently made the following jaw-dropping statement (“Across the Universe: Elsewhere’s Children“):

I sometimes wonder how any self-respecting author of speculative fiction can find fulfillment in writing novels for young readers. I suppose J. K. Rowling could give me 1.12 billion reasons in favor of it: get your formula just right and you can enjoy worldwide sales, film and television options, vibrating-toy-broom licensing fees, Chinese-language bootlegs of your work, a kind of limited immortality (L. Frank Baum who?) and – finally – genuine grown-up readers. But where’s the artistic satisfaction? Where’s the dignity?

He also wrote (one presumes “playfully,” but still):

Like his fellow Britons Lewis Carroll and Roald Dahl, Miéville has no illusions about what utter bastards children can be….

I’m not in favor of treating childhood sentimentally–or treating kid lit like instruction manuals, for that matter–but I’m inclined to agree with Hogan that perhaps the NYTBR isn’t making the best use of Itzkoff’s talents.

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