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BOOK NEWS FOR FEB. 23RD: CHILDHOOD CLASSICS, VAMPIRE FORENSICS, PLAGIARISM, AND NEW POST-APOCALYTIC

by Dawn, February 23, 2010

Magic of childhood returns to captivate

By James D. Watts Jr. at Tulsa World
A good story about young heroes and heroines dealing with fantastic creatures is a timeless thing.

To prove it, Random House has re-launched the Looking Glass Library, beginning with four classic stories of fantasy and adventure for young readers.

The original Looking Glass Library first appeared in the 1960s and included novels such as H.G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds.”

The four books which make up the initial release of the new Looking Glass Library are “Twilight Land” by Howard Pyle, “The Princess and the Goblin” by George MacDonald and two volumes by E. Nesbit: “The Book of Dragons” and “Five Children and It.”

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Where do vampires come from?

By Ford Cochran for Nat Geo News Watch
Long-time National Geographic staff historian Mark Jenkins’ new book, Vampire Forensics, is the basis for a new National Geographic Explorer television special premiering in the U.S. Tuesday night at 10 p.m. ET/PT on the National Geographic Channel. It’s not quite an interview with the vampire, but Jenkins shares some of what he learned on the trail of Dracula and his kin.

Where did the belief in vampires originate?

Fear of the walking dead is old. Sucking blood isn’t always part of it–sometimes they eat you, sometimes they just beat you up. There’s some sort of deep layer of belief that crops up here and there, possibly something shared once in the Indo-European past that survived when the tribes became separate nations.

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Beyond “Harry Potter”: 5 interesting tales of plagiarism

By Marjorie Kehe
Last week, “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling was named as a defendant in a lawsuit in a London court. It’s not the first time that Rowling has faced such charges. This time, the estate of author Adrian Jacobs claims that key concepts appearing in her book “Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire” were lifted from Jacobs’s 1987 book “The Adventures of Willy the Wizard.” Rowling calls the charges absurd; the Jacobs estate, instead, says the suit is “a billion-dollar case.”

Rowling is hardly the first well-known writer to face plagiarism charges. The results of such charges tend to vary widely. Some end up dismissed as without merit, others ruin careers, and yet others seem simply to disappear.

Charges that Dan Brown largely copied “The Da Vinci Code” from an earlier novel. Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, two of the three authors of the 1987 “The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail,” charged that Brown stole some basic elements of the plot of their book for his 2003 blockbuster “The Da Vinci Code”. Baigent and Leigh lost their 2006 caseagainst Random House – Brown’s publisher – in a London court and then were defeated again on appeal. The two were also forced to pay the bulk of Random House’s legal costs. The trial did, however, put “The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail” on bestseller lists.

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New Novel: “X-Men Meets Blade Runner”

By Charlie Jane Anders at io9
We see tons of novels about dystopian futures, but any novel that features enslaved mutants in a dystopian future automatically gets onto our to-read list. According to Publisher’s Marketplace, the duology Pandora’s Box and Icarus’ Wings by K.M. Ruiz just got a book deal with Thomas Dunne Books.

The duology is “pitched as “Blade Runner meets X-Men,” about a “Psion” with the ability to channel electricity, and her fight to survive a post-apocalyptic world government.

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The artwork on the new Random House books looks really cool. And I’m excited about the Vampire Forensics, it looks so interesting. And those K.M. Ruiz books look good.

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