Tag Archives: rights

POSTCARD #8: ON THE RIGHTS OF MAN

Here at PPPHQ (got to love an acronym), we don’t like to be judgemental. This project is, after all, rooted in creativity – a hundred different takes on a hundred different books from a hundred different places around the world.

But we can’t help but feel as though one reviewer might have missed the point. Postcard #8 came tumbling through the letterbox… housed snugly in its own little envelope (as you’ll see, since there’s no stamp or postage mark). It does bear a couple of lines of review, but the main book analysis was on a separate piece of paper inside the envelope. Well, it’s certainly one way to get around that whole pesky ‘fitting a review on the back of a postcard’ issue. And it means we get to see the lovely little penguin strutting his stuff at the top right. So it’s not all bad.

Tempted as we were to omit the paper review from the blogpost on grounds of objection, it seemed rather against the spirit of the thing, so here is review #8 and its addendum in all their glory. It sounds as though HG Wells’ On The Rights of Man is somewhat less riveting than the science fiction he’s best known for – even though such work also clearly expounds his socialist outlook (dystopian worlds flourish in novellas like The Time Machine).

I think I’ll stick to Wells’ sci-fi output for now – but have a little more respect for the man in knowing that he fought hard, and earnestly, for social equality at a time when others did not.

Did you know? HG Wells was diabetic. In fact, he founded the charity Diabetics UK. #pubquiztrivia

‘Possibly the mouldiest book I’ve read!’
A book full of opinions on rights and laws; would benefit from an injection of 1940s humour.
Not for the faint-hearted.

The Rights of Man – HG Wells
This book is part of a series of specials that Penguin produced. Written in 1940, this is a discussion essay looking at the rights of man, what these should be and why.
The book opens with two lectures that HG Wells had submitted during the Second World War. He discusses how man should understand what is being fought for – retaining human rights.
HG Wells outlines a 10-point declaration of rights and the book covers the discussion of these points; what they mean and why they are important.
While the book is quite dry (okay, very dry… 120 pages is tough going!), it does highlight issues then that are still issues we look at now, for example, removing racism and gender inequality.
Would I recommend it? Probably not. Unless you have a particular interest in this area of human rights and laws to coincide with them, you may find this isn’t the ideal read for you.
Jeni McNicoll
April 2012

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The heady heights of legal rights

I’ve been hearing plenty of buzz suggesting that the postcards have landed and that Amazon’s doing a roaring trade… well, it’s nice to support small business, isn’t it?* I am most eagerly anticipating the reviews that follow – one gold star (a metaphorical one, by the way) to the first one to come in!

Now, on a more serious topic: I have a clever lawyerish type friend – let’s call him Norbert, for argument’s sake – that has brought to my attention that I should probably give heed to Consequential Matters that go above and beyond just getting people to read lovely books and write lovely reviews and all have lots of lovely fun together. Norbert tells me this is so I can use them here, and on other sites like Facebook or Twitter.

Basically, Norbert says, ‘If you send your postcard with review back to the Project, you will be agreeing to give up any rights in what you wrote as far as it is possible to do so under English law. In return, the Project promises to let everyone know it was you who wrote it [if you want us to, that is] every time the review/postcard is used.’**

Now, since this project’s whole raison d’etre has always been to share the postcard reviews, I’m sort of assuming that everyone’s taking this part of the deal as read.  If you don’t want to do that, please keep the postcard as a memento – I won’t be angry, just disappointed… If anyone’s got any other problems with it please do get in touch via Facebook or the contact form, and I’ll let Norbert explain the finer points of the law of copyright. Apparently, this is something he likes to do, but please don’t encourage him.

So there you have it – the terrible consequences of the meeting of literary and legal minds. I’ll add a page, too, detailing the simplified Ts & Cs so they are easy to locate if ever you feel the unfortunate urge to do so. Hopefully from now on I can avoid all such legal jargon and continue to live in let’s-all-play-nicely fairyland. It is, after all, so lovely here.

* If you’d like to go elsewhere for your books, why not try AbeBooks (UK or US) which sell beautiful old copies of everything under the sun, or else try your local second-hand bookshop? Their stock lists never fail to amaze me. Or the library! – the most incredible resource, and so often overlooked these days.

** Norbert wanted to write a lot more here – and in fact did, including defined terms and very, very, small print – but this is my simple version of it.

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