Monday, October 29, 2012

How much do categories matter?

Having just read Pod, Stephen Wallenfels' exciting first novel, I find myself having a conversation with myself about shelving categories and how much they matter. To me, this book and its protagonists Megs and Josh - 12 and 15 years old respectively - are more suited to the young adult (YA for short) book shelves than science fiction. Both understandable and no doubt admirable, Ace books has something else in mind for this writer. Still my job is to make sure the reader and the book meet in that place that Rumi speaks of:

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there."
Essential Rumi,translated by Coleman Barks
A few days ago I had the pleasure of conversing with Michael (son of Stephen) - who works as our community outreach/events person for University Book Store, and is a gifted musician and artist in his own right - about this and he showed me a another* cover that has been released in Germany, for the German language edition of Pod.

This particular cover makes a lot more sense to me, if it were being released as a YA book here. It features two kids back-to-back, as if in a stand-off, with a blue stream of energy coming from one of the pods (Pearls Of Destruction) hovering in the sky. And while Megs and Josh don't meet - not in this book at least - they both experience the alien invasion and the changes that brings to the world.

I heartily recommend this book to both teen and adult readers who like novels that are character-driven and have a challenging set of circumstances for those characters to work through, and I have the sneaking suspicion that this could be a story that continues in later works by Mr. Wallenfels.

So, did I answer my own question? I'm not sure, but I had some fun and I hope that you did too.

book seller
aka calendar girl

 *There could be many more, but I am limiting the discussion to these two.


  1. I'm always fascinated by cover choices across different countries. Great post! :)

  2. Yeah, me too Amanda ... I love book cover art. In fact, in late November we will be getting Spectrum 19, which showcases art dealing with scifi/fantasy titles, in the Spectrum series which I LOVE! So much is possible now with book art and art in general. Thanks for stopping by! You Rock! :D


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