Pullman’s trilogy amongst top banned books in the US

The American Library Association announced its banned book list for 2008 this week and in it were details of the 513 cases were books were attacked in bids for censorship and the 74 cases where these attacks were to some extent successful.

While the most common complaints levelled at books tend to focus on offensive language or explicit sex scenes, Tango Makes Three, a story about day penguins at central Park Zoo in New York and based on true events, garnered the most complaints. Good to know that people are accepting of all sexual preferences eh?

Perhaps surprisingly (or perhaps not depending how cynical you’re feeling) it’s the popular fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials – from bestselling and much lauded author Philips Pullman – that’s in second place. Something to do with an anti Christian message?

Sad times, that’s all I can say. A quick look at my bookshelves and I can see plenty of classics that people have attempted to ban at one point or another over the years – the thought I might have never been able to read some of them is a horrible one. Oh well, maybe you should take it as an accolade when your bestselling book attracts calls for censorship?

Words – too powerful to publish say Tories

Words have the power to open new levels of understanding, to make people more aware of the people around them and the ability to change lives. According to the Tories, they should also be banned – if they are construed to be in any way pornographic that is.

Turns out that the banning of pictures of children deemed to be indecent – giving the comic book community a whole lot to worry about – isn’t good enough for some people and Conservative peer baroness O’Cathain amended the Coroner’s and Justice Bill to include “Dangerous Writing”. Sometimes I want to cry.

The Register says that writings which portray life-threatening acts, acts likely to result in serious injury to anus, breasts or genitals, sexual interference with a human corpse or sex with an animal (dead or alive!) are the ones likely to get you in trouble if the bill is passed. However, this will only apply if the writing is deemed to be pornographic – how this will be determined I don’t know. How many books about serial killers have sexual overtones? I’d say a fair few at a guess.

Chances of this making it through parliament may seem slim, but that’s not the only point – just the fact that people, people with some modicum of power, would suggest such a thing is scary enough. All I can say is – use your words wisely and make sure every one counts – because you never know when you might find your use of them restricted!

Alan Moore and Mike Patton – a heavenly comic creation

Groundbreaking comic book creator Alan Moore has a new project in the pipeline, and reports have it that rock musicians such as Mike Patton of Faith No More will be collaborating – awesome!

The semi-autobiographical multimedia work by Moore is expected to feature an audiobook and soundtrack featuring Patton, as well as Andrew Broder from Fog and Godflesh’s Justin Broadrick.

Lex Records, a british Independent label, said it would be releasing a deluxe version of the tentatively titled “Unearthling” which will include a photographic novel, art prints, a two-hour audiobook and a musical soundtrack on vinyl. Billboard reports that it’s expected to arrive in 2010.

Nice to see a little good news, after this depressing manga-court-case-result earlier in the week. I don’t know the full details of the case (obviously!) but this sounds frankly terrifying. Books are books, comic are comics and art is art – to me “possessing obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children and mailing obscene material” is something else entirely. The last thing anyone needs is a hamper to creativity, sometimes it seems like there’s little enough of it in the world already.