Thursday, 22 March 2012

A Confused Conversation about Democracy and The People’s Book Prize

My creator (the one who retold my story, that is, not the one in whom I long ago ceased to believe) tells me that my first volume – the one he called The Waste Land - is shortlisted for The People’s Book Prize.
I find this confusing. In my day, ‘the people’ would scarcely recognise a book if they saw one, let alone be able to read it. Όι πολοι (I remember my Greek!) have come a long way since my time.
But I know that I should be pleased.
“How is the winner chosen for the prize? How can I be chosen?” I ask.
“We,” my creator corrects me, “It’s simple. Anybody who wants can vote for their favourite book.”   
This confuses me still more. How can anyone, any ordinary member of the people, have a vote?
“Anyone? Is it as if they were members of the College of Cardinals electing a Pope?” I ask.
“Similar,” he answers, and an expression of mischief crosses his face. “You remember how after their Grand Master has died the Templars choose his successor.”
He knows how I hate the Templars and their doings.
“Of course I remember. They select an electoral college, a cabal of thirteen. They scheme and they machinate, they make bargains with each other and offer promises and bribes. Is that what we have to do to win this Prize?”
“Not exactly. In these modern competitions you have to persuade the public to vote for you because you want it more than you have ever wanted anything else in the world. Then they sympathise with you and may give you their vote. Do you want it more than anything?”  
I am taken aback.
“No, of course not. I wanted Blanche more. And my revenge on Black Baldwin and Hasan i-Sabbah - I wanted that more. And to find peace and understanding with my Master in the desert.” My shoulders sag.
“How badly do you want the rest of your story to be told? Do you want it to stop with The Flowers of Evil, or to go on?”
“I would like it to go on, of course.”
“Then we need to win this prize.”
So I am asking you please to vote for my story. I believe the right thing to say is please follow the link below:

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