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BOOK NEWS FOR FEB. 19TH: VAMPIRES, JULES VERNE, ANDROID KARENINA, AND WHY FANTASY MATTERS

For Love Of Do-Good Vampires: A Bloody Book List

by Margot Adler at NPR
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Even here at NPR, if you look at the archives, there have been at least 20 recent stories about vampires. What is it about our society now — the zeitgeist, the spirit of the times — that’s making vampires so popular? And why are most of the vampires we are seeing struggling to be moral?

A confession: In the past nine months, I’ve read 75 vampire novels. I’ll get to why later, but let’s first step back in history.

Kimberly Pauley has written an incredibly funny vampire book for teens that turns the genre on its head; it’s called Sucks to be Me. She believes vampires are attractive right now because we’re in a time somewhat similar to the Depression, another “time of chaos,” she says.

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Gorgeous New Covers For Jules Verne’s Classics

By Cyriaque Lamar at io9
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Illustrator Jim Tierney has designed a series of interactive covers for Jules Verne’s most cherished novels. Wave-shaped dust jackets for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? Pop-up spaceships for From the Earth to the Moon? Yes, please.

For his senior project, University of the Arts student Jim Tierney reimagined the covers of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, From the Earth to the Moon, Journey To The Center of The Earth, and Around The World in 80 Days.

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Android Karenina Book Cover Mixes C-3PO And Sex

by Meredith Woerner at io9
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Quirk Classics, the makers of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies have released their next cover for the cyborg inspired Android Karenina. The retold classic by Leo Tolstoy and Ben H. Winters, will be in stores June 8, 2010.

Just like the original Anna Karenina, the mash-up version will follow the relationships of Anna and Vronsky, and Levin and Kitty, but rather than 19th-century Russia, these characters live “in a steampunk-inspired world of robotic butlers, clumsy automata, and rudimentary mechanical devices”. “When these copper-plated machines begin to revolt against their human masters, our characters must fight back using state-of-the-art 19th-century technology – and a sleek new model of ultra-human cyborgs like nothing the world has ever seen”

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Fantasy Matters

Dr. Kirtland C Peterson at Tor
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Not long ago I devoured Ursula K. Le Guin’s Cheek By Jowl: Talks & Essays on How & Why Fantasy Matters. In keeping with The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy & Science Fiction and Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places, it is a treasure trove of insight about fantasy, fiction, the craft of writing, and those neglected, spurned, interior worlds of the right brain.

As I was putting fingers to keyboard, a thought became a voice became an inner figure who demanded she be heard. While inclined to ignore this inner figure—a small frog, a juvenile Rhacophorus nigropalmatus I believe—her words carried weight and could not so easily be sloughed off. She asked:

“What about the left brain? Does fantasy matter to the human analytical biocomputer?”

“Fiction, stories, work like case-based reasoning in AI…”

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That’s an amazing list of vampire novels! I’ve read a few, but they are even more that sound interesting. I’ll probably use the list to help me pick books now. And I love the Jules Verne covers, I may have to get a copy of From the Earth to the Moon. And I’m so excited for Android Karenina! I love steampunk, and I haven’t read Anna Karenina, so it’ll be brand new. And it’s very cool to see a biological reason for why people read and make up stories.

What did you think of today’s book news? What was your favorite article?