-- J.K. Rowling, intro to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, due June 21st, 2003
A few years ago, the SF&F community was abuzz with this "Harry Potter" series. I think Book 2 was out by that point. "You have to read this, Punkie!" they said. This went on for years. When Book 4 was being introduced, and I already saw Book 3 had created a frenzy in the book stores. "Mundanes like this stuff?" I asked. So I went on Half.com, and got me Book 1. Holy cow, what a book. In three months our family owned the next three books, and despite my wailing I didn't have time to read books, I *made* time for these. Then the well went dry.
"Jesus Uncle Punkie," some of you might be saying, "It's a farkin' kid's book! What's next, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish?." Ha ha. Idiots. The lot of you. Though Suess has a bizarre sense of poetry that obviously inspired greats like Danny Elfman and Tim Burton, J.K. Rowling has inspired me. Deeply. Not just what she wrote about, but how she writes. It's clear, concise, gripping, and everything that makes for good modern writing. Some parents call it "pap" and "pop lit." Sorry, today's "Pop lit" is tomorrow's "Classic." Ask Nathaniel Hawthorne. Oh, wait, he's dead. Well, anyway, we need more writers like Ms. Rowling. There are a lot of good "children's" book writers from the past, like George Selden, Judy Blume, and Norman Jester that are easily readable by adults. Madeline L'Engle's "Wrinkle in Time," a complex sci-fi book about dimensional time and space travel, was marketed for young readers. We read it. We liked it.
At 768 pages, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" is more than one-third longer than its predecessor, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," Britain's Bloomsbury Publishers said. Wow. I remember when a "big book" was only 360 pages. I am a fast reader, and the last book, "Goblet of Fire" took me a scant week to read. Nothing else got done in my life. It was that good. Then I just saw this quote:
"Dumbledore lowered his hands and surveyed Harry through his half-moon glasses. 'It is time,' he said, 'for me to tell you what I should have told you five years ago, Harry. Please sit down. I am going to tell you everything.'
Whhhhooooaaaa.... I am trembling. Dear God, that quote alone will drive us all into a frenzy. I wonder if they will have enough. It will probably be another Cabbage Patch or Tickle-Me-Elmo thing. As soon as Amazon.com has it for pre-order, I am so gettin' it.
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000019.html