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> Subversive or just really bad book shop staff?, I couldn't believe it when I saw it but...
Faerieryn
post Dec 19 2007, 05:34 PM
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I was in my local Waterstone's the other day and as I teach young adults I always look at the YA section. I was at first a little confused by the presence of Trudi Canavan, Steven Lawhead and Terry Brooks but I was truely shocked when I saw... Neuromancer by William Gibson!!!

Neuromancer; a young adult novel??!!?? You have to be kidding me!!!!!!


Question is do you think it was placed there (3 copies so not just someone misplacing it) because of the subversive desire of the book shop staff to get teenagers thinking about more than just the newest Ug boots or are they just really dim in my branch?


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SPEAKERfortheLOS...
post Dec 19 2007, 08:39 PM
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Well, I personally think it's a good thing that such a book be available to teenagers. I mean really, would you rather have them read Neuromancer or read Vogue or some other equally bad piece of literature?

Neuromancer has won numerous awards. I think it's high time that the minds of the current up and coming generation re-establish academia. This may just be the way to do it.


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Izzy
post Dec 19 2007, 09:28 PM
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I think I almost read that book once. Is it the one that has something to do with the Matrix or something?


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SPEAKERfortheLOS...
post Dec 19 2007, 10:41 PM
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Well kinda but not really...

The Wiki on the book is here.


--------------------
It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion,
It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed,
The hands acquire shaking, the shaking becomes a warning,
It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.


Jack of all trades, master of none,
though offtimes better than master of one.

Carpe Noctem, pro cras nos necemus
Carpe Diem, pro hodie nos mutiamo

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Mata
post Dec 20 2007, 02:23 PM
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I first read it when I was about fifteen, maybe sixteen. It then went on to inspire me through the next fifteen years of my life, during which time it was one of the core texts I studied in my PhD thesis, so it sounds eminently suitable for teenagers to me.

Neuromancer is probably one of the most important books of the twentieth century because it inspired a huge amount of work in the technology sector after its release. It was the first popular use of the term 'cyberspace' (although Gibson actually used the term a couple of years before in a short story). It did inspire the makers of The Matrix, but only after inspiring other people to shape the internet into the form that we now know it, and it continues to do so even now.

It's not an easy read, that's true. My professor at uni gave it to one of his BA classes to study, and they revolted because they found it 'too hard', but that's why it should be read by teenagers - it's challenging, it makes you work to dive into the fiction, but if you embrace it then it's an exhilarating journey and well worth the effort.

On that subject, if I had my way, then The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart would be on the school curriculum, because it's one of those books you should read before you get too old. Technically it's in no way suitable for teens, which is pretty much exactly why I think that they should read it.


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elphaba2
post Dec 20 2007, 03:01 PM
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Here's a question--what is appropriate for teens? We regularly prove ourselves to be drinkers, druggers, sexxers, etc., so it's a little ridiculous in my eyes to try and shield us from mention of these things, and it takes a pretty small-minded person to think teens can't be as intellectually capable as most adults.

I think a lot of censorship arguments center on protecting the innocence of children. To some degree I agree, but teenagers have been destroying their own innocence since the Stone Age. Show me an innocent 16-year old and I'll remove the cotton from your eyes and show you again. The point, maybe, of your distress, Ryn, is that most people in the young adult section aren't teenagers? Or if they do, they're looking for Gossip Girl or some similar tripe?

I have more, but this is too complicated an argument to answer before the bell. Um, so SAVE THAT PLACE.


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Mata
post Dec 20 2007, 04:53 PM
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Looking back to the question of the first post: why were three copies of Neuromancer in the Young Adult section, the answer is probably that it's science fiction, therefore it can't possibly be for proper grown-ups, can it? That's sadly the way that a lot of people think... But they'll watch Spooks and Doctor Who, or read The Time Traveller's Wife because that's not really science fiction, is it?


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elphaba2
post Dec 21 2007, 12:16 AM
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Grr, point-stealer. I was going to go on to say that so many adults are concerned with reading Important Books, like the new Jared Diamond whatever or the book about Bill O'Reilly and how he's a douche, or the new Oprah whatever.

Can I say douche? Is that allowed? It's not really a curse word, is it?

Anyway, I'm afraid I've lost all my righteous outrage since this morning, and I have no idea what other Key Points I was going to make. Great contribution to the thread, Amy.


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SPEAKERfortheLOS...
post Dec 21 2007, 12:38 AM
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Personally, I think elphaba is right...

Alot of the censorship is due to the belief that <i>children</i> should be sheltered from the world...

Well I know for a fact, that due to my parents throwing me into the world constantly, with guidance and teachings, definitely made me into a better person than sheltering me ever would have...

My friend, who was literally born 4 hours after me and lived two doors down, have very sheltering parents. She and I both just completed our first semester of university. She has changed into the best depiction of Charlotte Simmons ever*. Where as I did not have such a paradigm shift.

So I suppose the true question we should be asking is not 'Why was Neuromancer there?' but rather 'Why was it not there to begin with?'

Am I right in saying that? Or am I off my rocker?



*If you don't know what that reference is, here is a plot synopsys.


--------------------
It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion,
It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed,
The hands acquire shaking, the shaking becomes a warning,
It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.


Jack of all trades, master of none,
though offtimes better than master of one.

Carpe Noctem, pro cras nos necemus
Carpe Diem, pro hodie nos mutiamo

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gothictheysay
post Dec 22 2007, 05:15 PM
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This is probably irrelevant, but I haven't seriously looked in the young adult section since I was like maybe fourteen. This is probably because I'm an advanced reader, but the fact that I avoid it now is interesting. Maybe Neuromancer will find people who have yet to move out of the young adult section because they've always looked there... and maybe they'll be ready for it. Personally, I haven't read it yet.


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Mata
post Dec 22 2007, 05:56 PM
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Fair point. I probably stopped looking in the young adult section of my local library when I was around twelve. Not necessarily because I was too advanced, only that I'd read everything in it that even vaguely interested me, so I then went through their entire sci-fi section.


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Faerieryn
post Dec 22 2007, 08:03 PM
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I wasn't against the positioning of the books, far from it! I rather like the idea of a subversive waterstones clerk putting completely awesome books next to Jaqueline Wilson (speaking of Douches!) novels!

I was more interested as to WHY they were there- What defines a young adult novel? I've picked up three in the last month that contain graphic sexual references, swearing, violence and other themes that may be considered "inappropriate" by some adults- I've always thought of Neuromancer to be quite an "adult" novel containing themes that the majority of my students (11-16) would find way over their heads. Saying that, I did give one of my 13 year old form "1984" to read last year- she loved it!


--------------------
If life hands you a lemon make lemonade, lace it with cyanide and then pass it around. What can I say I'm a revenge type of gal!!! Ryn
Wearing a large shiny tag around neck "Uncullable Faerie"
Official S P A N G L E R and self proclaimed protector of Tribe Wyvern- OOh Sparkly!!
Proud leader of the Super Spangler Squad. Me and Stardust wil spangle your a$$!!
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gothictheysay
post Dec 23 2007, 02:36 AM
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I always thought young adult novels were novels that are not quite as advanced as adult novels reading-level wise, and the subject matter would be appealing to the age group.

I read 1984 in Honors English in my freshman year of high school, so I was 14/15. I understood and loved it. It really varies with the person.


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Smiler
post Dec 24 2007, 01:03 PM
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*sorry for poor grammar, started writing and hurredly realise we need to run to the shops for some crimbo gammon/ham - will edit later*
Over the years I've known Ryn I've slowly picked up more and more young adult novels and found that often I've enjoyed them far more than their adult contemporaries in terms of sheer imagination. Many of them have had faults but by this I mean my personal thirst hasn't been sated for further development, outside the story, for the wider world/'universe' they have created. I love it when authors of those books I love write more within their new universes, as I do with adults, but it seems that sometimes in the 'simplification' for story's sake stymies the straying into redundant information that books for adults often use and I love.


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