07 November 2005

College Profs Get Free Books

Today the mail folks delivered a heavy white box from Galaxy Press to my desk. I get free books all the time, so this didn't exactly surprise me. Most books I order as review copies, which means I would like to consider adopting them for some course. Some publishing companies with whom I have previously corresponded send me books I haven't requested, though, like Rhetoric: A User's Guide (this sounds terrific, by the way), which I also received today. My personal thanks to Longman for reading my mind; perhaps I'll use this for the grammar class next spring.

I have never, however, corresponded with Galaxy, much less ordered anything from them, so the package surprised me. It also intrigued me: apparently the people at Galaxy package boxes like my Grandma Esther does, with lots of tape. So, after a half hour (plus break) cutting and slicing, the package opened to a letter that started "Dear Educator: We are writing to introduce you to the works of the New York Times bestselling author, L. Ron Hubbard." Enclosed were four books plus a DVD:

  1. The massive tome Battlefield Earth, with a frightening picture of green-eyed John Travolta staring me down from the cover.
  2. Writers of the Future, Volume XXI, which claims to be "The best new science fiction and fantasy of the year" (that's this year, 2005, in case you want to add this to your Christmas wish list) and includes "winning illustrations." I hate to think of Volumes I through XX.
  3. A DVD called "Writers and Illustrators of the Future" that I hereby recommend for the next Springs of Grace Youth movie night.
  4. The hardback To the Stars, whose cover is blindingly silver.
  5. A coffeetable book entitled Master Storyteller: An Illustrated Tour of the Fiction of L. Ron Hubbard that retails for $49.95 ($75.95 in Canada, eh).
I think these trump the free books I got from the Mormons last week:
  1. Why I Believe, a collection of Mormon testimonies from such celebrities as Orrin Hatch, Gladys Knight (no Pips), Won Yong Ko, and Steve Young. Okay, I didn't really know who Won Yong Ko was.
  2. A coffeetable book entitled The Mission: Inside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a really lovely picture book indeed.
Now, aside from the fact that anyone can purchase the Scientology books online but the Mormon books do not seem available for typical capitalistic purchase, what's the difference between these gifts? Neither seem proselytizing in nature, though Galaxy Press does want me to consider teaching these books in creative writing or science fiction courses. Both include coffeetable books, though neither will occupy space on my coffeetable. Perhaps I should regift them this Christmas. Watch out, family.