Monday, April 14, 2008

Take that.

As the suit over publication of "The Harry Potter Lexicon" begins in New York, Laurie Frost's The Elements of His Dark Materials: A Guide to Philip Pullman's Trilogy (The Fell Press) has just come across my desk. Like the as-yet-unpublished "Lexicon," Elements contains all manner of facts collated from the object work; unlike that project, it has been published with full consent from the author, if Pullman's preface is anything to go by: "It's flattering, of course, to find one's work the object of such care and attention; but how much more satisfying when the work of reference that results is so accurate, and so interesting, and so good."

Galleycat worries that if Rowling wins, book reviewers will lose. I doubt it--the issue here is not that the "Lexicon" quotes from the Harry Potter books, it's that it raids them wholesale, and not with the purpose of buttressing a viewpoint, negative or otherwise. I'm sure that publishers would love to vet reviews but I don't see how Rowling's victory in this lawsuit would give them that power.

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