How to Burn Books in the Digital Age

I have to be honest with you. I have burned a book. It’s something I can never live down and it haunts me.

I was somewhere in my early teens. Either middle school or high school. I was a big D&D nut and loved watching The Evil Dead series. I purchased a copy of the Necronomicon. Now I realize how harmless this book is, but at the time, it seemed stunning and real to me. As well as to my dad.

He freaked. He’d had a bad experience with a Tarot deck years ago. For him, it was round two. He couldn’t take the book being in my house. He convinced me to dispose of it. I wish I had said no. I should have. No book deserves this. It’s what people with small minds do to ideas.

I was young. I capitulated.

The barbecue fired up. The book thrown on. I couldn’t watch the whole process. I left.

It seems like people will be burning books forever. Or will they? Recently, there have been a rash of book burnings for Fifty Shades of Grey. Do I think this book is worthy of great literary merit? Hardly. Yet it certainly doesn’t deserve burning. These people bought the book. Thus more money flows to EL James.

It got me thinking. Would we still have these burnings in a decade or so? With the advent of ebooks, we might face a time when there are no print versions of a book to burn. What then? Will people burn their Kindles and Nooks? How silly would that be?

Perhaps they would all press the delete button at the same time. Yeah, cause that would send a message. How anti-climactic.

Maybe future book Nazis will create viruses to attack and delete books. A clever concept, though it might be beyond the scope of their intelligence. Also, deleting other people’s books is tantamount to setting arson to a bookstore.

We all know that there will still be print books in some form in the future. After all, people still print out photos despite the plethora of ways to use the digital pictures. It brings up the idea that a clever author might be able to circumvent the mad book burners if he or she knows the book will be controversial. Future authors could simply print their book only as an ebook.

Although a truly brilliant author would want the book to be burned. There’s no better publicity than setting a book aflame. If it weren’t for the repulsiveness of the act, it’s be a great publicity stunt.

This writer is curious as to how people will take out their wrath on future books. I’m certain they will find a way. Hate always does.

Tim Kane

Must See Booths at the San Diego Comic Con

Every year the Comic Con hits town, I head down to the Exhibition floor to check out the vendors. Yes there are the mega-sized corporate booths like Lucasfilm and Marvel, but unless you sprint to them directly after the doors open, they’re mobbed. (In fact, I’m often amazed at how there are already lengthy lines when I arrive directly after opening hour.) I prefer to frequent some lesser known vendors.

Urban Vinyl
My first stop is the Urban Vinyl Toys area. This is always located in the upper left corner of the massive floor (find the map PDF here). If you’re not familiar with Urban Vinyl, it means toys that you’re not meant to play with. I know what you’re thinking. Huh? Why shouldn’t I play with them. This is an offshoot of the action-figure-in-original-package set. Only here, these toys are designed to be looked at, not played with.

Take Funko (booth 4829). Last year I bought a Thing bobble head. Sure I wiggle it once in a while, but most of the time it sits on my desk looking nifty and admired by my students. Yes I disagree that all Urban Vinyl toys need to be no touch items.

My absolute favorite is Conduct Happiness (booth 4832), creator of such slogans as “The Pea Pea Dance,” and “Pea in the Pool.” My daughter loves their Go Pea Go book. If I could, I’d buy everything at their booth. One of their neighbors is also a fav or mine: Mr. Toast (booth 4831). They make plush toys of unusual items, like toast and bacon. Basically, you can have your own plushy breakfast. (A bit like those ads at drive ins with the dancing hamburger and soda cup).

Cthulhu
Ok, I’m a sucker for anything old gods. Mostly I like the aesthetic, the tentacles and creepy vibe. For a general smorgasbord of items look no further than Adventure Retail (booth 4423, catty-corner to Urban Vinyl). They have plenty of stuffed old gods (we have a Nyarlathotep) and they even carry Cthulhu slippers (have these too). I’ve also picked up some Lovecraft audio books produced by Audio Realms.

All the way on the other side of the exhibition hall (quite a trek), you’ll find Badali Jewelry (booth 530 right next to the ZDN Zombie Defense Network). They have the most amazing Cthulhu jewelry. I own the Miskatonic class ring. This year they will reveal a new Necronomicon necklace.

Steampunk
Okay, last year I found an aisle that had three or four great steampunk vendors (I want to say there were on the fringes—far right or left of the floor), but seeing as the Comic Con hasn’t designated any stempunk section, I’ll have to hunt for it again. One vendor that is easy to find is Weta’s Dr. Grordbort (Booth 2615 sharing with Dark Horse). If you’ve never experienced Dr. Grordbort’s awesome ray guns, then you are not a true steampunker. These guns make you want to shed the internet for some steam and brass. So far I’ve picked up the tiny models of each gun (I still can’t afford the full sized ones).

That’s pretty much it. I wander around, looking for eye catchers. If I can afford it, I’ll try to extend my Fantastic Four collection. But seeing as one issue in this range starts at a Ben Franklin, I often can’t afford these pleasures.

Enjoy the Comic Con and remember, pace yourself. That’s a big convention center.

Tim Kane