Question: I missed your
ranking of the Freddy books at the Freddy list. Could you post it
Answer: Why, yes I can. I originally sent that ranking to the list on
March 13, 1998, and got no response from its typically apathetic, spiritless
members. I was attempting to stimulate some thought there, in hopes of
eventually easing them into a consideration of the deeper, underlying
significance of the Freddy books and their relationship to the real world
of Centerboro, the Martians, the campaign against me, etc. Bear in mind, therefore,
that I take serious issue with most of Brooks's characterizations and ideas
and the way he twists and warps the reality of Centerboro, its people,
and its history practically out of recognition. But that does not preclude me
from rendering completely objective judgments about the literary
merit of his attempts at fiction in the Freddy series. Some of his
scribblings were not very good, in my opinion, and others were not terribly
bad. Some even were almost good as far as juvenile literature
goes. My ranking then should be taken as a cursory critique of the books as
novels written for 8- to 10-year-olds and nothing more. The larger
and much more serious issue of Brooks's distortion of reality is treated
elsewhere on this Web site. So, in the ranking below, my comments relate to Brooks's
fictional world which sprung from his imagination and knowledge of real individuals,
situations, events, etc. Get it?
[freddy-the-pig] Giving Away Freddy Books...
Date: 98-03-19 21:20:56 EST
No, Im NOT giving away
Freddy books, nor do I know anyone who is (or would), so I hope you didnt
start leaving palm prints all over the place. I AM proposing that we consider
the following question as the basis of a(nother) readers poll: If you HAD
to, in what order would you give away your Freddies? Any brief comments on the
books are welcome, but any serious academic or literary critiques--well, do so
at your own risk. Here is my response to kick things off. The first to go is...
The Collected Poems.
(I usually skip over them in the novels anyway--just like you do.)
Next: The Story of Freginald. (Bearly makes the canon, IMHO.
And it's incredibly borrrring!)
Then: F. and the Flying Saucer Plans (Freddy in drag again. Ho hum! Unconvincing
villains. Tedious plot.) And then...
F. Goes to the N. Pole (Santa Claus? Puh-leeese.)
F. and the Dragon (Same old same old re-fried Freddy.)
The Clockwork Twin (I just never could get enthusiastic about this one.
Totally forgettable children characters. No wonder they disappeared from the series.)
Fs Cousin Weedley (Zzzzzzzzz.)
F. and the Popinjay (Yawn.)
F. and the Space Ship (Not bad until F. is unmasked and then one loses
F. and the Perilous Adventure (An absolutely slightly below average F.
F. the Pied Piper (An absolutely almost average F. story)
F. Goes to Florida (Just a darn good yarn. I love the marching song.)
F. the Detective (I like the trial of Jinx and the rat-powered choo-choo.)
F. the Cowboy and F. Rides Again (Not as good as Destry, but fun)
F. and Simon the Dictator (Hail, Simon! Deft jabs at politicos.)
F. and the Bean Home News (Wouldnt you love to start your own paper?)
F. and Mr. Camphor (I always wanted to summer on a houseboat. Dig those
F. the Magician (A great showdown between Zingo and Freddy!)
F. Plays Football (I wonder how he would have done at Alabama or Michigan?)
F. the Pilot (Hey, pigs CAN fly! And the third best villain in the series....)
F. and the Baseball Team from Mars (Best title in the series. Great
acting on Fs part.)
F. and the Men from Mars (An endearing portrayal, though seriously flawed,
F. and the Ignormus (Those darn rats again! Halloween in the Big Woods.
F. the Politician (High finance! Intrigue! Woodpeckers! Its all
The last to go: Freddy Goes Camping. (My debut! Ghosts, canoes, and disguises
Now, on another day, I might
rank them differently, but not too differently.
How about you? BFN. Your friend, Mr. EHA.
Question: Do Martians
have names like in the Freddy books?
Answer: Yes, they do. They exist as distinct and independent individuals,
not "hive" creatures lacking individual identities, so, like us, they refer to
themselves using individualizing labels. A Martian's name derives (1) from the
size and geographical location of the clutch of eggs from which it hatched, (2)
its numerical place in the order of hatching, and (3) its unique body odor.
Question: What about
all the other people who claim to have been abducted by aliens? Are they
Answer: No, they are not for real. Anyone with an intelligence
greater than that of a rutabaga can see that their versions of aliens are rather
transparently based on the human physical form and human motivations
and behaviors. You must have seen pictures of what these so-called "abductees"
describe as their abductors. How childish! Little gray or white men with big slanting
dark eyes, indeed! And all that probing and implanting baloney! These people
should get a life or increase their medications! True aliens would necessarily
look really different from us and behave in very...well, alien ways,
not like little kids playing doctor!
Question: How big is
the Big Woods?
Answer: Before the "Big Fire" in 1953, it covered about 4,000 acres. After
the fire, it was reduced to no more than 1000 acres. Since then, much of it has
been cut down for farmland, a couple of mid-income housing developments, and,
more recently, a private country club and golf course. There are still about 200
acres of it left--not much of a hiding place for an Ignormus anymore, ha!
ha! It is still pretty quiet and gloomy in there, though.