Round up #219: Kids need books, Black Friday deal revealed?

Round up #219: Kids need books, Black Friday deal revealed?

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Mini-review: Teenagers from the Future

Teenagers from the Future: Essays on the Legion of Super-Heroes
edited by Timothy Callahan
text-to-speech, lending enabled (no X-Ray, no Whispersync for Voice)
$4.99 at time of writing (can be borrowed through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library at time of writing)

Writing about popular culture and treating it as Significant Art can be tricky.

In some cases, it appears that the author really isn’t a fan or understands the genre all that well, but rather enjoys applying academic skills to any subject…sort of like trying to figure out how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, without really believing there are angels…or caring about dance.

On the other side, you have “fans who write”, who don’t necessarily write all that well, but are enthusiastic and simply want you to believe that Superman is as deep as Shakespeare, with an understanding of the latter consisting mostly of education by Leonardo DiCaprio and Olivia Hussey. 😉

While Teenagers from the Future is almost by necessity uneven (being a collection of essays by different authors), it falls into neither of the above categories.

I found it both insightful and entertaining.

I read the Legion when it was first published, and haven’t really kept up with its development in subsequent reboots…but I find that it’s generally much more difficult to spoil comics for someone than to spoil a book. They aren’t always about this or that particular plot twist…sometimes, even if you know the plot, it doesn’t affect your enjoyment of it.

What is the Legion?

Well, it’s kind of a bizarre concept, at least the way I knew it…and that’s part of what makes it work.

In the future, a group of teenagers, inspired by the adventures of Superboy (Superman when he was a boy) in their distant past, form a club of superheroes (yes, they have super powers…although in some cases, their powers would be normal on their home planets). They then interact with Superboy, through time travel.

Okay, that’s strange enough initially…super powered fans and the complexities of time travel.

However, the Legion was not your typical comic series. For one thing, they killed off a major character quite quickly.

For another, they had a group of reject applicants (the Substitute Legion) with powers that were either pretty useless (one could turn into a statue…not a moving statue, just a statue: another could change the colors of objects), or were dangerously unpredictable (Infectious Lass, for example, who could generate diseases…but not control reliably which ones or who they affected).

All of that was obvious to me when I was first reading it.

Not so obvious was some of the social commentary. As John G. Hemry writes in this collection in the essay, “Liberating the Future: Women in the Early Legion”, by the 30th Century, women were treated a lot more equally (usually).

The Legion was often led by Saturn Girl, and there wasn’t anything considered to be unusual about a woman leading the group (often into combat…and the female Legionnaires fought like the male ones, punching people, when not using their powers).

I wonder how much that did influence readers of the comics. I suspect that Legion readers were much more comfortable in the 1960s and 1970s with female bosses (whether the employees were females or males) than the average person.

I also enjoyed the “The Legion’s Super-Science” by James Kakalios. It includes an analysis of how the Legion’s “flight rings” might actually work.

One thing about the Legion: they celebrated intelligence, not just fighting ability. Kakalios points out:

“In Adventure Comics #321, June 1964, when Lightning Lad is locked up for the rest of his life for ‘betraying’ the Legion by  ‘revealing’ the  secret  of the Concentrator, his cell has buttons for the three essentials of life: food, water, and books!”

I don’t think you have to be a Legion fan (there are still many) to enjoy the book…but I do think it would help. 😉 This might be another good gift for a Baby Boomer geek (the Legion started in 1958).

Best Buy Black Friday Kindle HD deal?

I’ve written before about

http://bfads.net/

my favorite source for information about sales on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving).

Thanks go to a reader, though, who gave me a heads up in a private e-mail to this

ZDnet story by Sean Portnoy

I hadn’t started planning for the day yet, but according to them, a Best Buy employee mentioned some Black Friday deals during an interview with a local TV station in Arkansas, and one of them was the

Kindle Fire HD 7″, HD Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Without Special Offers

for $99.99.

At least, I think that’s the one: the “Blueshirt” says, in this

Arkansas Matters video

that it is usually $199.99. Well, I don’t know of any configuration that gets you as high as $199.99 at Amazon.com for the Kindle Fire HD, but that’s the closest.

“Doorbusters” like this often disappear quickly and are in limited quantities, so even if this is a nationwide deal, you can’t be sure you’ll get one.

Interestingly, doing a

BFads.net search for Kindle

at this point only shows deals on Fires, not on other models. That will likely change in the next couple of weeks, though.

Amazon may also offer deals: two years ago, they had a big deal on Kindle books on Cyber Monday (the Monday following Black Friday).

Eek! A mouse!

This is a bit weird! Here is a picture from Amazon’s own Lab126 of a wall of Kindles and Kindle insides:

https://twitter.com/AmazonKindle/status/398554536035360768/photo/1

It’s certainly nostalgic to look at it (it sort of looks like a room of hunting trophies), but what appears to be a Kindle Keyboard has a mouse attached to it!

There’s another one that could possibly be a color display on a large screen EBR (E-Book Reader…not a Fire), but it s more likely just a picture in a frame. 🙂

Kids need books!

I was actually shocked by this

UK Children’s Commissioner survey

This

The Telegraph article by Sam Marsden

highlighted the significance of technological gadgets to the young people:

“Invited to say what they could not live without, 8.9 per cent of those questioned said their games console, 5.7 per cent said their mobile phone, 4.3 per cent said music and 3.4 per cent said sweets or chocolate.”

However, while “reading books” (and “school books” as a separate category) were in the questionnaire (I checked), I don’t see them being mentioned in the article or in the summary.

I’m sure quite a few of you would have listed that quite high when you were children, as would I. As a kid, I would have ranked books higher than “sweets or chocolate”. We didn’t have game consoles or mobile phones, and perhaps (based on the illustration in the questionnaire), these children are only answering that question around p-books (paperbooks), thinking that if they had a computer and/or a phone, they could still read books.

That’s my hopeful hypothesis. 🙂

What do you think? Does what we read for entertainment influence our social paradigms? When you were a kid, where would books have ranked among “things you need”? Higher than television, music, or pets? Do kids now think of p-books as something old-fashioned, and a different category than the books they read on their devices? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them

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3 Responses to “Round up #219: Kids need books, Black Friday deal revealed?”

  1. cardinalrobbins Says:

    Hi, Bufo

    If I sent you information on my friends’ e-book, would you please consider reviewing it for your readership? It’s a quick read, perhaps 90 minutes.

    Are things relatively back to normal after the break-in? My heart sank when I read about it. Thankfully, it wasn’t close to Christmas or it could have been much worse. 😦

    Cordially,

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, cardinalrobbins!

      Sure, I can look at it. I do have a couple of things which would be in front of it, but I would expect to be able to get to it by the end of the month.

  2. On our guest Kindle | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] (Review […]

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