I see darkness spreading. I see empty movie theaters. I see us making millions and millions of dollars anyway. Everything that has a beginning has an end. You have to try to stop Hugo Weaving, because even though he’s a piece of software running in a simulated reality, he is impossible to stop. The holes are too big.” The Matrix Reloaded: The Abridged Script, from d2r.

Kunzru explains why he turned down the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize: “I chose to do so – and to do so publicly – because otherwise I would have felt like a hypocrite. I understand that some of the judges are angry at the use of the prize luncheon as a political platform. To them I can only apologise and say that sometimes questions of literary value are inseparable from politics.” Amit Roy has more coverage in the Calcutta Telegraph.

In the name of freedom of expression, if anyone decides to wield his/her pen irresponsibly, I will describe his/her pen as chained. I will identify that chain as self-imposed. I will say repeatedly that he/she is chained by his/her own agenda of seeking more fame and so called glory. He/she perhaps will then be seeking greater publicity, bigger sale of his/her books, and so called laurels from the West. We the people of the third world know very well why West praises and dances around some of us.” Oh please. Shamsul Haq, who has filed a defamation suit against Taslima Nasreen, might well deserve our sympathy–but he is not going to get it with this specious, pompous attack.

Mr. Coetzee had finished reading. He provided no other opinions about any issue. He took no questions from the audience. Intent and expressionless, he left the podium and made his way to a nearby table, where he ended the evening signing and selling his books.” The NYT, like several other newspapers, struggles gamely to convert a you-had-to-be-there book reading into a proper news story, with absolutely no assistance from The Reclusive Mr Coetzee.

What’s the V-word in Gujarati, again? This translation of the Vagina Monologues will also include an additional section on Jaadi–fat–and the way Indian women see their bodies.

Time has a Top 25 graphic novels list. Over at the Babu’s homestead, we’re arguing about the omissions already.

Everyone’s been flamed. Allison Burnett whined about a bad review on Amazon and got roasted by the reviewer and his pals. (Yeah, yeah, they both started it first.) The moral of the story: don’t take that garbage on Amazon’s message boards seriously in the first place. I mean, come on, Amazon’s reviewers love Chitra B Divakaruni. (Link from The Fold Drop.)

“New verb”, indeed. Peck off.

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