UPDATE: While it was initially reported that author R.L. Stine would personally be making updates to his older Goosebumps books to include more inclusive language, Stine himself shot down those rumors. Some of his reissues, though, earned updates years ago when Scholastic reissued them in hopes of anything in the books to avoid language that could "negatively impact" readers. Original story continues below.
Goosebumps is the latest franchise to undergo changes for sensitivity ahead of reprinting. According to The Sunday Times (via Deadline), author R.L. Stine has edited more than a dozen of his Goosebumps books to change references to mental health, weight, or ethnicity. According to the report, the novels have undergone more than 100 edits. Those edits include references to a character being "cheerful" rather than "plump", changing "crazy" to "silly", and completely removing references to villains making victims "slaves.
The report also lists some examples from specific titles. Notably, the reissue of 1998's Bride of the Living Dummy changes the ventriloquist dummy from knocking a girl unconscious using a "love tap" to a magic spell instead while the 1996 book Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns changes the description of one character, Lee, from being like "the rappers on MTV videos" to "tall and good-looking, with brown skin, dark brown eyes and a great, warm smile. He sort of struts when he walks and acts real cool."
Goosebumps is just the latest series to get sensitivity revisions. Earlier this month, it was announced that several of the books in the James Bond library will be edited to remove racist content for upcoming reprints and will also include a disclaimer noting that "This book was written at a time when terms and attitudes which might be considered offensive by modern readers were commonplace. A number of updates have been made in this edition, while keeping as close as possible to the original text and the period in which it is set."
In the U.K. Roald Dahl's works also are being republished with changes to characters' physical appearances, omissions to the text, or the inclusion of entirely new lines not written by Dahl so that the books can, as the publisher noted, "continue to be enjoyed by all today." The primary difference between the Dahl and Bond edits is that Stine is the original author of the Goosebumps books and is doing the edits himself.
Goosebumps is a series of children's horror fiction that first debuted in 1992 with the novel, Welcome to Dead House. Since then, the series has sold more than 400 million books worldwide and is the second best-selling book series in history after J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter. The series has spawned various spin-off series, a television series, and even feature films.
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