Letters to the Editor

Published the week of February 3

We give a lit

I'm sure you won't print this e-mail in its entirety, but I'm compelled to write it anyway. When I began writing my novel, The Protégé, I promised myself I would welcome constructive criticism when it came, no matter what the form. I stuck by that promise throughout the editing process and would have also done so with Patrick Williams' "Valley of the malls" comments (Buzz, January 27) had they resembled anything close to an intelligent critique. In fact, Mr. Williams makes it very easy for me to respond.

He begins his comments by admitting that he doesn't read books -- except for comic books, of course. I can only assume that that is a good characterization of his intellect. He then proceeds to say that he is probably not "qualified" to review such things (books), since he is not a "professional." One would only have to read his articles to discover he's not a professional, but it's nice of him to admit it in writing. The fact that he did not read the book -- only scanned it to make his points -- is glaringly apparent in his comment that Jake Travis comes from a "small Texas town." On page six and throughout the book, Jake makes reference to his "Indiana" roots.

I'm assuming that the comparison to Jackie Susann is supposed to be a cut, but since her novel Valley of the Dolls sold over 30 million copies and spent nearly 65 weeks at the top of the best-seller lists, I'll take the comparison as a compliment. I'm sure that he is trying to refer to the fact that although Susann's novels were loved by the public, they were universally disliked by "qualified" critics. But, if so, it seems he missed again. In a recent review in the Sunday Oklahoman (with a circulation six times that of the Dallas Observer), a "qualified" reviewer described my novel as "captivating" and an "enjoyable read." She also called it "Grisham-like" and "a book you will want to read from start to finish, as quickly as possible."

In closing, I'd like to say that Mr. Williams' comments about sex -- which admittedly appears sparingly in the novel -- can only lead me to believe that he is living the life of a repressed adolescent, still hurting from not being able to find a date for the prom and still wondering what it's like not to have sex alone.

George Clidienst
Via e-mail

Editor's reply: Alas, Patrick Williams was spared having to read, or skim through, Mr. Clidienst's book. That duty fell to Robert Wilonsky, who did indeed have a date to the prom and who, thanks to his gracious wife, knows what it's like not to have sex alone -- that is, when he's not reading Justice League of America.

On the Mark

I had the good fortune to grow up in Lakewood three doors from Charles Tessmer's home, spending as much time there as at my own home during many of those years ("Good-time Charlie," December 23). I can say from someone who knows Charles well that Mark Donald's story captured him in a warm but accurate light. Thanks for running the story. I wish someone would use his material for a novel or even nonfiction.

Bill Cunningham
Via e-mail

More Ball talk

I happened upon Jimmy Fowler's Dragon Ball Z article, "International incident" (January 20), via the Anime News Service at www.animenewsservice.com. After reading it, I felt compelled to write your newspaper, as well as Mr. Fowler, even though I live in Michigan. I am an assistant editor of FantastiCon.com (www.fantasticon.com) and chief editor of AnimeCon.com. I have been a fan of Dragon Ball long before it ever came to America. Before you go and dismiss me as a belligerent anime fan here to bash you for your heavenly portrayal of the hard-working folks at FUNimation, let me say this:


Congratulations on bringing to light the things that the rest of anime fandom, including myself, don't see. While I admit I do grit my teeth when I hear some of the voice performances in the show, this feature story has made me realize that these people work really hard to create an American version of a Japanese product. What most fans fail to understand is that our two countries (Japan and the U.S.) are different in a lot of varying ways. And I believe Mr. Fowler said that America is just too multicultural to accept all of the stuff that is in the original product.

I'm 21 and am mature enough to enjoy the humor that Toriyama uses in his series, as well as sort out the difference between fighting for a cause and fighting for no reason. Most fans appreciate Dragon Ball only because it's a fight fest. I choose, on the other hand, to recognize that most of these fights have a true meaning under them. Otherwise, why fight right?

Please tell Mr. Fowler that I appreciate his article!

Ken Cross
Chief Editor,
Via e-mail

I am a 22-year-old male who has just read over your article about Dragon Ball Z ("International incident," January 20). I watch the show every day faithfully. I have been watching it ever since that first night I stayed up all night from a party and turned on the TV to the FOX network and saw episode one for the first time. Your article was nicely done.

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