quote: Asimov's says it is an adult publication and in no way markets itself to children. When 24 Hour News 8 told them what had happened, it promised to make some changes. Now a disclaimer will be on every story it runs that is not suitable for children to read.
I'm sure some Hatrackers might be very happy about this stuff, but I just think it's sad. Asimov's has enough problems as it is. Though, on the bright side, any publicity is good publicity. Maybe this will help their circulation.
I'm not a social conservative, and I haven't read Asimov's...
So is this true?
quote: Becker read some of the explicit tales about sex, drugs and molestation inside the magazine for us that included, "Young girls with no panties, young girls in white socks, young girls looking at his wank-mags with him, young girls doing it with one another while he watched."
I know from my own experience I read about a lot of adult ideas when I was 12-13 from sci-fi books. I think I was ready for the ideas I read, but that wouldn't be the same for everybody.
(Ok - just re-reading that quote: "young girls in white socks" - I take this is meant to mean something?? I wore white socks everyday of my high school years... )
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"girls in white socks" sooooo provocative....
I remember reading some rather adult material in sci fi books when I was pretty young. Pierce Anthony. I don't particularly like the way it effected me. Everyone is different, I guess. I also remember picking up a copy of Omni Magazine that was laying around our class art room and reading some rather sexually explicit stuff in the short stories. Kids will be exposed to it no matter what you do. But I think there is a message difference between finding sexual content in a single story of a magazine laying around and a list of supposedly "kid friendly" magazines advertising one that regularly contains explicit content.
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Grand Rapids, MI isn't exactly the most swinging of towns. The attitude of their local news channel doesn't surprise me.
As for Asimov's, it does contain "adult" material -- very powerful stories that can touch one deeply with their honesty. I remember a story by William Barton from a few years ago, "Heart of Glass," that contained more than one rape scene. And last year's "Stories for Men," by John Kessel, was sexually explicit at points.
Both were among the best stories I've ever read, and no more shocking than many great novels that appear on shelves without any warnings about adult content. I would have no trouble giving the Kessel story to a 13-year-old. The Barton story... that one was really intense. Probably not.
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The problem is that I'm afraid people are going to try and label Asimov's as 'porn' or 'smut' and do a Jackson on Asimov's. Even if they don't actively try and seek its destruction, they will attempt to relegate it to the fringes of society. I just can't see this having a positive effect on the quality of the stories told or put in Asimov's.
That said, there are some pretty racy things in there.
I don't feel uncomfortable with it being in public high schools, however. Huh. . . wonder if I'm vacillating?
EDIT: Ah. The kerfluffle is about a middle school. Hmm. . . I know I'd feel very uncomfortable allowing 6-8th graders to read a few of the stories in Asimov's. Just a few. And those few that I have objections to were noted as having strong sexual content at the beginning of the story.
I agree with Slash-- this is a very poorly written piece. I could do better. Dangit, why doesn't someone pay ME to write?
[ February 28, 2004, 12:53 PM: Message edited by: Scott R ]
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My kid's schools have participated in QSP fundraisers, and I've seen the magazine list they send out, and there are quite a few things on it that aren't suitable for children. I don't see why Asimov's is being singled out any more than anyone else.
If anything, it's QSP who should put an asterisk on those magazine that contain adult content, but any parent could spend a few minutes checking out a magazine their child wanted to order and find out which ones aren't appropriate.
In other words, this story was completely over-sensationalized and not exactly an example of responsible journalism.
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In case anyone missed Asimov's response from Sharpie's link:
quote: February 18th 2004 Our response to the sensationalized and highly inaccurate news report broadcast by WOOD TV's 24 Hour News 8 on February 12, 2004, stating that Asimov's is full of "stories about sex, drugs, and molestation." The editorial offices of Asimovís Science Fiction were contacted two weeks ago by a parent whose child had ordered the magazine through QSP, an agent that sells subscriptions through school fundraising drives. This parent then contacted her local 24-hour news station in Michigan, WOOD TV 24 Hour News 8, which proceeded to run a story last Thursday that was full of distortions, misrepresentations, and omissions. We would like to set the record straight.
When reporter Kristi Andersen called our business offices, our Associate Publisher, Chris Begley, provided her with verifiable documentation that directly contradicts the information provided in her broadcast and print reports. While Ms. Andersen said that she would let us know when the story was going to run and provide us with a way to see it, she never did provide this information.
Reporter Kristi Andersen and the News 8 anchors portrayed the QSP magazine drive as children buying and selling magazines. As a matter of fact, in this fundraising drive, students sell magazines to their family, their neighbors, and their parentsí coworkers. We reviewed the QSP catalog with the reporter and showed her that many of the magazines are for adults, including Esquire, Vogue, GQ, and Elle. As we showed the reporter, the QSP catalog has a section specifically geared to children, and indicates age-appropriate titles. Asimovís was correctly listed in the catalog, not under "Children," but under "Science/Technology/Environmental." The reporter chose not to include this information in her report, and, in fact, said that we "did not know it was on the school magazine list."
In Ms. Andersenís report, she stated that QSP dropped Asimovís as a result of the parentís complaint and News 8ís subsequent investigation, saying the "magazine has now been pulled from the list," and that "since 24 News 8 started this investigation, QSP has permanently severed its relationship" with Asimov's. In fact, we provided Ms. Andersen with documentation showing that our relationship with QSP ended several months earlier over remit rates (the amount of money the publisher receives from the agent for each subscription the agent sells), not as a result of this incident.
Reporter Kristi Andersen and the News 8 anchors portrayed Asimovís as a pornographic magazine. They characterized it as "full of sexual content," "an adults-only magazine," and said that it "contained stories about sex, drugs, and molestation." Probably because it doesnít fit with their one-sided characterization, they did not mention that Asimovís is a highly respected literary magazine. Its stories have won numerous awards, including at least 40 Hugo awards and 24 Nebula awards. The magazineís editors have received 17 Hugo awards for Best Editor. Since it was first published in 1977, Asimov's has carried stories by the leading authors in science fiction, including Joan Aiken, Brian W. Aldiss, Isaac Asimov, Gregory Benford, Pat Cadigan, Orson Scott Card, Greg Egan, Harlan Ellison, Karen Joy Fowler, William Gibson, Joe Haldeman, Janet Kagan, James Patrick Kelly, Nancy Kress, Ursula K. Le Guin, Jack McDevitt, Frederik Pohl, Mary Rosenblum, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Lucius Shepard, Robert Silverberg, Brian Stableford, Bruce Sterling, Michael Swanwick, Harry Turtledove, Kate Wilhelm, Jack Williamson, Connie Willis, and Gene Wolfe. Asimov's consistently provides its readers with quality, thought-provoking fiction.
News 8 should have allowed Asimovís Science Fiction the opportunity to respond to their characterization of our magazine, and our disappointment in their distortion of the facts is profound. In our opinion, Ms. Andersen and the News 8 channel are not practicing journalism, but sensationalism. They know, better than most, that "sex sells."
I've never read Asimov's, but if I remember correctly, even Pastwatch had its share of sex, didn't it? Granted, it was usually presented in a bad light (there was the rape scene, for instance), but still - I'd be just fine with my twelve to thirteen year old (adulthood, wife, sex, birth, and growth pending) reading that.
It sounds to me like the biggest problem wasn't that children were reading it, but that children reading it after receiving it from the schools.
I agree that Asimov's could have picked a better description; "adult" is a fairly loaded word in today's society. Any sane person, however, that saw a magazine called "Asimov's" and knew it was for adults would assume it's adult [science] fiction, not your OTC Stress Relievers that people glance at quickly but would never actually buy. Yay for run-on sentences and waking up at 11:00!
And Slash: It's stuff like this that gives me hope that even I could be used for a newspaper or other organizations. Don't screw those hopes by stating the obvious.
Just one I would think a state of that size could support at least two.
It really makes you wonder if this women has ever flipped through an of the other sf books her daughter has read. I also wonder if this women is aware of the books in her daughter's school's library. I know that it would be a middle school library but still
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This is consistent with my experience with television news. They make lousy watchdogs, because they're so busy trying to sell a product themselves.
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The way things are going now for literary media, I'm surprised they didn't make a bigger stink in the article. Anyone ever remember reading "Catcher in the Rye" in school. I'm bein told by my parents that the high school i went too is or was trying to ban that from being read in the school system. I actually thought that book was decent, and I hated english class.
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