Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Some Thoughts on the Occasion of Oprah Winfrey's Final Show

For some, today is a day of great sadness.  Oprah Winfrey, mogul, talk show hostess, would be kingmaker, and self-appointed arbiter of what we should all be reading, is closing out her show with its final broadcast.  And while it's sure to be a sobfest with a lot of celebrities giving testimonials about how Oprah has changed their lives, given them meaning, and cured them of rickets, it truly marks the end of an era. 

About time, I say.

Now maybe we can get someone to step into the vacuum and start a book club to promote what we should really be reading.  Fantasy (especially sword and sorcery), historical adventure, science fiction, and noir.  Can you imagine what publishing would be like if someone with as many sheep minions followers as Oprah has were to get on national television and promote Robert E. Howard?  Or Jack McDevitt?  Or Harold Lamb?  How about Rafael Sabatini?  Michael Koryta?  Or, to be really radical, the poster child for all that's wrong in fantasy, Joe Abercrombie?  I could go on.

Can you just imagine it?  The shelves in bookstores, Wal-Marts, and supermarkets would be packed with great stuff to read rather than, well, the stuff they're packed with now.

Of course, those writers appeal to people who aren't cattle who can actually think for themselves, rather than having someone on TV tell them what to read, so that would probably never work.

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