Dear Dan, thank you very much…

…for submitting your most impressive novel Robinson Crusoe for our consideration in view of publishing. We at Shoddy Heightened found it highly inspiring and, at base, bordering on genius. What impressed us most is the courage with which you tackled the issues of multiculturalism, racism and, implicitly, sexual diversity.

We at Shoddy Heightened also admired your well justified criticism of capitalism, with its accent on, at base, capital. It was so right, we at Shoddy Heightened thought, the way you emphasised the moral and economic value of honest, if not yet unionised, manufacturing compared with inherently corrupt financial services. At base, money has no intrinsic value and, in today’s world, not much of any other. So your parable of Robinson finding money worthless struck a chord with all of us at Shoddy Heightened, as it did with our financial consultant and especially his wife.

At base, as we at Shoddy Heightened understand the story line, it revolves around Robinson’s parallel relationships with Friday and the goat. At base, we found the parallel motifs persuasive if somewhat lacking in focus.

However, I don’t think our readers will take lightly to your implication that, at base, Robinson is culturally superior to Friday, a person of different racial and gastronomic persuasion. Yes, it’s true that persons of different gastrosocioeconomicoracial backgrounds can learn much from one another.

But we at Shoddy Heightened don’t believe this should be a one-way street. For example, we wish you had made more of Friday refusing to add salt to his diet. At base, considering the effect of salt on blood pressure, Friday was right to emphasise the benefits of healthy eating. Rob (we do prefer the shorter version of his name), on the other hand, with his insistence on salt consumption was clearly in contravention of the NHS Health and Safety Policy Statement (see attached).

Ideally, Rob should have been as open-minded about adopting Friday’s culture (yes, including the consumption of human flesh, provided it’s low-fat) as Friday was about the culture of his white coloniser. In the absence of such even-handed fairness, we at Shoddy Heightened feel that some readers might take out an endorsement of colonialism, which both you and I know wasn’t your intention.

Also, we at Shoddy Heightened wish you could have been more upfront about the homoerotic aspects of the relationship between Friday and Rob. It’s natural, indeed commendable, that these two young and vigorous male persons would have had to adjust their lifestyle to the situation and be drawn together (yes, perhaps to the point of declaring themselves husband-wife and wife-husband). At base, our readers expect honesty and openness (yes, perhaps to the point of a graphic scene depicting the wedding night of Friday and Rob).

We at Shoddy Heightened don’t feel that the time has come quite yet to depict interspecies love with the same candour and integrity. However, provided you don’t refer to the goat as ‘kid’ (at base, this may imply paedophilia), some hint at the romantic possibilities wouldn’t go amiss. After all, in many ancient religions a goat appears as an embodiment of healthy, if somewhat unrestrained, sexuality, and we at Shoddy Heightened believe that our readers are ready to relate to human-haedine relationships as mature adults.

While we’re on the subject of religion, we at Shoddy Heightened are concerned about the stress you place on Rob’s Christianity. For example, Rob repents the sins of his youth. Frankly, Dan, I’m shocked that you approach lifestyle alternatives in such a doctrinaire, narrow-minded fashion. At base, this implies value judgment, which is bound to appal our readers.

Rob also seems to believe in Providence, and I don’t mean the city in Rhode Island. We at Shoddy Heightened believe that karma would be more appropriate and multiculturally sensitive.

We also wish you didn’t overstress Rob’s insistence on reading the Bible. Understandably his choice of reading matter had to be limited, but surely the tide didn’t necessarily have to wash the Bible ashore? We feel a copy of The NHS Health and Safety Policy Statement (see attached) would have been more consonant with our time. Had Rob devoted more time to perusing this document rather than the Bible, he would not have indulged in moral absolutism, such as describing the consumption of low-fat, low-cholesterol human flesh as a ‘national crime’.

I’m sure you’ll appreciate that, at base, publishing is a commercial business. We at Shoddy Heightened have to regard every new submission from the bottom line up. Up the bottom line, as we say. Therefore, much as it pains me to say so, we don’t feel that, at base, your borderline work of genius in its present form is quite right for our list. Keep up the good work, Dan.


Yours sincerely,

 Wee Shoddy

Commissioning Editor 







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