Category: Books (Page 1 of 8)

Ah, Remember When Columnists Used To Talk About The Wire All The Time? Those Crazy Bygone Days

I’ve come to appreciate that there’s a lot of hype and nonsense around many TV shows – particularly ones which a lot of journalists are watching but in which yer general public show less interest (The Wire, Mad Men and the like), but the quote on the front of this forthcoming novelisation of the TV show The Killing may set some new hyperbolic record:

Seriously, Radio Times? Sarah Lund, who’s been in 30 episodes of a TV series in the past five years (and only shown in the UK in the past 15 months) is the top female detective in the world? That seems rather short-sighted, almost as if the person claiming it has a very short memory indeed, or at best is a bit caught up in Killingmania. Has the source of that quote never heard of Jane Marple? Or even Jessica Fletcher?
Now, it’s possible that the publishers of that book are being rather selective with the quote, so I went looking, and found this: The Radio Times Rundown Of The Top TV Women Police Officers, November 2011.

Sarah Lund above Jane Tennison? Oh, Radio Times, you disappoint me.

The Better Devil, You Know

As long-term readers will know, I’m currently working on a novel – but enough about me, let’s talk about M’colleague, who’s has finished his book, and guess what? E’s only gone and made it available to buy on the Kindle Store, innee? Ee as! Ee really as!

Ahem.

Anyway, I was lucky enough to read a draft of the book, and it was a cracking read, and the author assures me that he’s done further polishing on it since, so it’s probably even sharper now.

So, get thee to Amazon, and for less than the price of a large coffee (ie: £3.08), you can get yourself a slice of fiction*. What’s not to like?

The cover’s pictured here, and this is the link to click on: Designer Devil – Stuart Peel

Go on, give yourself a present. You know you want to.

*You don’t need a Kindle to be able to read it, there are Kindle ‘apps’ for mobile phones and PCs and the like. I know, this ‘living in the 21st century’ lark, it’s nifty, isn’t it?

Snap. Snap, I say.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted ‘booktwins’ here on the blog, but this pairing strikes me as pretty blatant.

They’re presented in what I believe to be chronological order, if you know what I’m saying…

Hmm.

Pedantry, Like Achievement, Is Often Its Own Reward

Spotted in the Reference section of WHSmith.

I think this might be an example of irony, but that’s a word which has had its meaning diluted to almost homeopathic levels by that Alanis Morrisette song and other misuses, so I hesitate to call it such.

That said, though…

Canon And Balls

A few years ago, when on holiday in Morocco, I had a stomach upset.

Well, no, that’s putting it mildly; on my return to Blighty, it was diagnosed as amoebic dysentery and an infection of the intestine, but what’s relevant to this tale (which started charmingly, I think you’ll agree) is the fact that it utterly scuppered my holiday and made me have to stay in my hotel room much of the time, visiting the bathroom literally dozens of times per day, and being unable to eat for a couple of days. Over the course of the ten days or so it lasted, I lost a stone and a half (but no, I would not recommend it as an approach to weight loss).

After a week or so of this, I’ll cheerfully admit that my mental state was pretty strange; I was dehydrated and lacking in intellectual stimulation (you can only stare at the ceiling for so long before it starts getting boring – for me, about three days is my limit), and the vast majority of my interactions with other people (mainly hotel staff) were being conducted in French, leading to a slightly odd state where my mind was simultaneously translating my thoughts even as I was thinking them. In short, I was not a well chap.

They say that if you don’t use it, you lose it, so I decided to stop the mental rot, and do a bit of writing. I started well, coming up with a pretty decent ‘Elseworlds’ Batman story (that is, a story based in a slightly different version of the Batman set-up), but that was about it for writing, until the wooziness and general illness passed again and I decided to make a deal with the universe.

Yes, you read that correctly. Don’t ask me to explain it, just chalk it up to me being profoundly unwell.

So, I made a deal with the universe, which went pretty much like this: if the universe let me live, and get well again, I’d finally get round to reading the key books by all the ‘big and important’ authors. The ones I’d always pretended to have read, but really I was just bluffing based upon having seen them referred to in other places, or having read the back covers or other synopses. Don’t look at me like that, you’ve done the same sort of thing, whether it was about books, films, music, art or whatever. You don’t fool me.

Anyway, I compiled a list of authors, and then against each name, put the most important or famous book they’d written (if you’ve never made such a list, I recommend it as an intellectual exercise – it’ll make you realise just how daunting it is trying to read all the books that are supposed to be classic or important or both). And I made a solemn vow that if I got well again, I’d keep up my end of the bargain.

As you can tell by the fact I’m telling this story in the present day, I didn’t get better – I died alone and unmourned in a Morocco hotel room, and my body was shoved into the wardrobe of the room, the better to frighten the next inhabitant of the room. Or, rather: I got better, and returned to Blighty, and there, once I was strang enough to leave the house, and the urge to sleep non-stop, along with the infection, fled my body, I set about buying the books on the list. And then, more importantly, reading them.

I’m not going to name the authors or books involved (well, with one or two minor exceptions; see later), but a lot of the authors were male, a lot of them were reviewed as groundbreaking and important, and a lot of their books were either boring or self-indulgent or pointless or all of the above. Several of the books featured self-absorbed male characters (I won’t call them protagonists, for reasons Robert McKee acolytes would understand), wandering from one joyless and cold sexual encounter to another, full of loathing for, and a baseless sense of superiority to, the world around them.

It was hard work reading these books, and whilst with some of them I struggled all the way to the end, it was after about ten such tomes that I developed my reading rule, which I live by to this day, and which I think is worth your considering as well, so I’ll put it in bold here and now: If I’m not enjoying a book, I will stop reading it after 100 pages, or one-third of the book’s overall length, whichever is the shorter. Obviously, we all define ‘not enjoying a book’ in differing ways, but I think there are common ways in which the lack of enjoyment manifests: not remembering the character’s names, not remembering story details, not caring what’s happened or what might happen to the characters, staring into space instead of reading, having to read pages over and over again, looking at the page numbers and figuring out how much further you’ve got to go… that sort of thing.

I know a lot of people feel that once they’ve started a book, they have to finish it, and some are even thoughtful enough to say that the author probably worked hard on it, so they feel obliged to do do. I don’t feel this way – I think there’s an implied agreement that the author will try to hold your interest, and if they fail to do that, you can leave – and anyway, there are so many good books in the world that I’ll probably never get round to reading that I really can’t afford to spend time on ones I consider to be … let’s say ‘not good’.

Interestingly, the male authors tended to be the ones who interested me least, and after feeling things were improving a bit with The Bell Jar, I found that next on my list was To Kill A Mockingbird. And what a relief it was to read: likeable characters, a moral centre to it, a mystery element, courtroom drama, issues of race and prejudice, and an ending which came as a bit of a surprise, despite it being referred to early on (if you’ve read it, you’ll know what – or rather who – I’m referring to). A brilliant book. That’s how you do it.

For me, working my way through the list of ‘great books’ was a bit of a chore, and because of that, a revelation. I remember being told at college* that the ‘canon’ of good books was heavily influenced by F.R.Leavis (who we all know best from his appearance in the Bridget Jones film), and whether or not this is strictly accurate, I certainly learned that it doesn’t always do to take other people’s words for it about books.

Bearing in mind that I haven’t posted in a while, only to return with what appears to be textual diarrhoea (perhaps appropriately, given the opening paragraphs), I’d like to try and find some message or conclusion to all this, maybe even a lesson or two, so here we go – what I learned:

– If you’re unsure about your stomach’s resilience, don’t have salad in Morocco
– Read books because you want to, not because someone else insists you must (unless you’re a student)
– Some classic books may be respected because of the step they made at the time, not how they read now
– The library is your friend (as is Project Gutenberg if you’re techno-hip and modern), especially for relation to books you may only read once (if that)
To Kill A Mockingbird is a fine book, and if you haven’t read it, I heartily recommend it.

I hope this has been helpful.

*I was, on the other hand, told this by someone who believed that books were the one and only valid art form (forget about painting, photography, film, or music), so I should perhaps have taken the remark with a kilo or two of sodium chloride. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Canon And Balls

A few years ago, when on holiday in Morocco, I had a stomach upset.

Well, no, that’s putting it mildly; on my return to Blighty, it was diagnosed as amoebic dysentery and an infection of the intestine, but what’s relevant to this tale (which started charmingly, I think you’ll agree) is the fact that it utterly scuppered my holiday and made me have to stay in my hotel room much of the time, visiting the bathroom literally dozens of times per day, and being unable to eat for a couple of days. Over the course of the ten days or so it lasted, I lost a stone and a half (but no, I would not recommend it as an approach to weight loss).

After a week or so of this, I’ll cheerfully admit that my mental state was pretty strange; I was dehydrated and lacking in intellectual stimulation (you can only stare at the ceiling for so long before it starts getting boring – for me, about three days is my limit), and the vast majority of my interactions with other people (mainly hotel staff) were being conducted in French, leading to a slightly odd state where my mind was simultaneously translating my thoughts even as I was thinking them. In short, I was not a well chap.

They say that if you don’t use it, you lose it, so I decided to stop the mental rot, and do a bit of writing. I started well, coming up with a pretty decent ‘Elseworlds’ Batman story (that is, a story based in a slightly different version of the Batman set-up), but that was about it for writing, until the wooziness and general illness passed again and I decided to make a deal with the universe.

Yes, you read that correctly. Don’t ask me to explain it, just chalk it up to me being profoundly unwell.

So, I made a deal with the universe, which went pretty much like this: if the universe let me live, and get well again, I’d finally get round to reading the key books by all the ‘big and important’ authors. The ones I’d always pretended to have read, but really I was just bluffing based upon having seen them referred to in other places, or having read the back covers or other synopses. Don’t look at me like that, you’ve done the same sort of thing, whether it was about books, films, music, art or whatever. You don’t fool me.

Anyway, I compiled a list of authors, and then against each name, put the most important or famous book they’d written (if you’ve never made such a list, I recommend it as an intellectual exercise – it’ll make you realise just how daunting it is trying to read all the books that are supposed to be classic or important or both). And I made a solemn vow that if I got well again, I’d keep up my end of the bargain.

As you can tell by the fact I’m telling this story in the present day, I didn’t get better – I died alone and unmourned in a Morocco hotel room, and my body was shoved into the wardrobe of the room, the better to frighten the next inhabitant of the room. Or, rather: I got better, and returned to Blighty, and there, once I was strang enough to leave the house, and the urge to sleep non-stop, along with the infection, fled my body, I set about buying the books on the list. And then, more importantly, reading them.

I’m not going to name the authors or books involved (well, with one or two minor exceptions; see later), but a lot of the authors were male, a lot of them were reviewed as groundbreaking and important, and a lot of their books were either boring or self-indulgent or pointless or all of the above. Several of the books featured self-absorbed male characters (I won’t call them protagonists, for reasons Robert McKee acolytes would understand), wandering from one joyless and cold sexual encounter to another, full of loathing for, and a baseless sense of superiority to, the world around them.

It was hard work reading these books, and whilst with some of them I struggled all the way to the end, it was after about ten such tomes that I developed my reading rule, which I live by to this day, and which I think is worth your considering as well, so I’ll put it in bold here and now: If I’m not enjoying a book, I will stop reading it after 100 pages, or one-third of the book’s overall length, whichever is the shorter. Obviously, we all define ‘not enjoying a book’ in differing ways, but I think there are common ways in which the lack of enjoyment manifests: not remembering the character’s names, not remembering story details, not caring what’s happened or what might happen to the characters, staring into space instead of reading, having to read pages over and over again, looking at the page numbers and figuring out how much further you’ve got to go… that sort of thing.

I know a lot of people feel that once they’ve started a book, they have to finish it, and some are even thoughtful enough to say that the author probably worked hard on it, so they feel obliged to do do. I don’t feel this way – I think there’s an implied agreement that the author will try to hold your interest, and if they fail to do that, you can leave – and anyway, there are so many good books in the world that I’ll probably never get round to reading that I really can’t afford to spend time on ones I consider to be … let’s say ‘not good’.

Interestingly, the male authors tended to be the ones who interested me least, and after feeling things were improving a bit with The Bell Jar, I found that next on my list was To Kill A Mockingbird. And what a relief it was to read: likeable characters, a moral centre to it, a mystery element, courtroom drama, issues of race and prejudice, and an ending which came as a bit of a surprise, despite it being referred to early on (if you’ve read it, you’ll know what – or rather who – I’m referring to). A brilliant book. That’s how you do it.

For me, working my way through the list of ‘great books’ was a bit of a chore, and because of that, a revelation. I remember being told at college* that the ‘canon’ of good books was heavily influenced by F.R.Leavis (who we all know best from his appearance in the Bridget Jones film), and whether or not this is strictly accurate, I certainly learned that it doesn’t always do to take other people’s words for it about books.

Bearing in mind that I haven’t posted in a while, only to return with what appears to be textual diarrhoea (perhaps appropriately, given the opening paragraphs), I’d like to try and find some message or conclusion to all this, maybe even a lesson or two, so here we go – what I learned:

– If you’re unsure about your stomach’s resilience, don’t have salad in Morocco
– Read books because you want to, not because someone else insists you must (unless you’re a student)
– Some classic books may be respected because of the step they made at the time, not how they read now
– The library is your friend (as is Project Gutenberg if you’re techno-hip and modern), especially for relation to books you may only read once (if that)
To Kill A Mockingbird is a fine book, and if you haven’t read it, I heartily recommend it.

I hope this has been helpful.

*I was, on the other hand, told this by someone who believed that books were the one and only valid art form (forget about painting, photography, film, or music), so I should perhaps have taken the remark with a kilo or two of sodium chloride. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Big Ups To All My Haters, As I Believe The Song Puts It*

Well now. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? If it provides any kind of justification for my absence, I’ve recently had a job which took me out of London (and away from easy access to a full-size keyboard), but now I’m back.

And what, you may wonder, have I decided is the best way to re-commence regular blogging activities? Why, tis nothing less than the perennial subjects of love and hate… well, kind of.

Love and hate, we’re often told, are two sides of the same coin. Or there’s a thin line between them. And so on. Basically, we’re often fed the idea that the two of them are very close together – it’s simple enough to see why, they’re both extremes of feeling or opinion, and particularly in the field of emotion, disappointment and annoyance with someone we’ve formed an attachment for can easily cause us to become equally vehement in our negativity towards them; in films and TV shows, it’s often quite common for characters who spend a long time being antagonistic towards each others to end up smooching, though I have to say that (relaxed licensing hours notwithstanding) I haven’t seen that happen quite so frequently in real life.

If we’re going to be honest about it – and I think we ought to, as life is often more complicated than simplistic presentations of emotional duality in programmes such as the Jeremy Kyle Show would have us pretend – there’s actually a long distance to travel between love and hate, if we’re using the words in their strictest sense. I love reading, and it would take quite a lot of negative reading experiences (that is to say, bad books or whatever) before that affection for the activity turned into hate. I’m sure you can think of things which you enjoy immensely – would it really take the equivalent of a coinflip, or a hop over some imaginary line, to make you hate them with equal intensity? I doubt it.

In reality, the line between love and hate, when viewed in three dimensions, manifests as a vast plane, with slight disaffection and indifference and irritation with at various stages between the two extremes. And if love and hate are sides of a coin, we should be honest enough to admit that it’s actually more of a cylinder than a coin, with enough stages and distance from one side to the other as to make the particle acceleration corridors at CERN look like a cupboard for the electricity meter.

I increasingly feel that there’s a problem with people presenting arguments or opinions in a way that suggests you either love something or you hate it; you’re either a fan or a hater. And whilst we’ve often seen this used to simplify political debates – in 2002, a popular simplification was to suggest that any doubts about military action in Iraq equated with approval for the regime of Saddam Hussein – it also seems to be used increasingly in relation to more everyday issues.

Let’s take an issue which, in and of itself, doesn’t really matter, but which is often portrayed as some kind of ideological battle; the question of whether Apple products are better than PCs. To read a lot of review columns, or to hear people talk, you’d think that one was vastly superior to the other, and that using the opposition’s products is the action of a seriously ill-informed person, whose brand allegiance (in whichever direction) is akin to that of a brainwashed dupe. The reality, of course, is a lot more nuanced – let’s be honest, both have their merits (Apple’s stuff is visually appealing, reportedly more stable [the iPhone 4 signal problems and iOS’s tendency to eat battery life could be argued to have undermined this in recent times, though], and generally held to be technically superior; PCs are cheaper, and used in more workplaces and so more familiar) and their flaws. But the problem is, nowadays, you’d think that people either have an Apple or Microsoft logo tattooed on their heart, and this means that the discussions tend to be polarised – and this simplification means that facts get overlooked – such as the fact that Microsoft helped Apple financially in the 1990s by giving them $150m to bundle Internet Explorer with new Macs as the default browser; so, that big hatred and fighting between them you read about in the press? Probably more like business rivalry, but of course that’s not so interesting, and it’s more fun to portray their customers as engaged in some teeth-baring hatred.

The major problem I have with this situation is the way it reduces everything to a non-discussion, and removes any possibility of people conceding that their so-called opponent has a point (watch the way politicians will invariably try to ignore facts or events in debates, even if empirically and provably true, which don’t make their argument look entirely true, as opposed to the best-guess opinion it really is). It means you can’t point at flaws in anything without being labelled a ‘hater’ or ‘anti’, even if you’re only trying to say that something has weaknesses in certain areas (cases in point: Lady Gaga is really not as stunningly original as many people insist, and Steig Larsson writes a lot of exposition).

As I’ve mentioned with tiresome regularity on the blog, my favourite TV programme of all time is Twin Peaks (it is my equivalent of Mark Kermode’s love for The Exorcist), but I’ll cheerfully admit that it’s got flaws (the second season loses its way, certain storylines are just risible, and it’s painfully clear at certain points that they’re just making it up as they go along). As long as the catalogue of weaknesses in something doesn’t overwhelm the things we like in it, then there doesn’t seem to be any problem in liking it, but there’s equally no problem in admitting it’s not perfect – very few things are unimprovable (despite what the most vocal supporters might say).

Am I asking too much? Is it really now the case that you’re either a rabid fan of something or a hater? I’d like to think not, and I’d also like to think that it’d be possible to see discussion of topics (and by ‘see’ I mean ‘encounter’, though if televised debates – on whatever topic – would like to actually show people admitting the strengths in their opponents’ arguments and the weaknesses in their own, I’d welcome that) which actually reflect that there are many waystations between the positions of support or loathing for something, whether it be a political stance or a work of art or a brand of cola or whatever. Much of the time, opinions on things fall into the median, grey band of ‘meh’, and it feels to me that pretending that you have to pick a position at one end of the spectrum and fight it doggedly with closed ears and mind is oversimplifying, and doesn’t actually enable a proper discussion to take place.

Although – ahem – I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that I’m not so convinced of this that I don’t welcome discussion of it. That would be hypocrisy, and of course the Post Comment button exists for your input (and not just about Apple, Gaga or Larsson, ideally)…

*That would be the number “They Know”, by Shawty Lo Featuring Ludacris, I believe. Not really a fan, but it seemed appropriate to refer to it, by way of illustrating that merit may lurk where we don’t expect it.

Yes, I Know: The Only Frequent Thing About This Blog Is This Kind Of Posting

A Buffy image, from the best part of a decade ago, and the cover of a vampire book which I saw on the shelves just today.

Hmm.

Should Really Get Someone Else To Help Lace Up, Like That Bit In Titanic

The book was released a month or two ago, and the film’s just come out.

So, if you’re a fan of fiction involving people wearing tightly-fastened masks, it’s a good time for you.

And you might want to chat to a medical professional about that. There’s a lot of interesting other stuff out there.

I Have No Mic, And I Must Speak

Back in the 1980s, my family went to stay with some relatives for New Year’s Eve. I don’t remember much of the festivities itself, but one thing I do remember – for reasons that will become clear – is that nearby, about five minutes walk away in fact, was a comic shop.

Now, I’d been reading comics for a while, but my ‘local’ shop in Sheffield wasn’t very local at all – it was a couple of bus rides away, and of course that kind of travel ate into the potential spending money (this was after Sheffield’s insanely cheap bus fares had been abolished – boo! A flat fare of 2p was a fab thing to a cash-starved kid), so I tended to walk there with my friend Simon. Which took about an hour there and an hour back, so you can see why a shorter walk was so appealing.

This comic shop – I don’t think it’s there any more – had a pretty decent selection of recent comics, and also, as was often the case back then, also sold a lot of paperbacks (mainly SF, fantasy and horror), which you could then sell back to them for half the price in credit. So, being a bookish child and having a bit of Christmas money, I bought myself a book and a comic: All The Sounds Of Fear by Harlan Ellison, and the Warrior Summer Special (both pictured). Small pressies to myself, as it were.

I think I can, without fear of exaggeration, state that it was the greatest couple of pounds I ever spent, and that the combined effect of the two did strange things to my brain for which I will always be grateful.

The Warrior comic featured some stories by Alan Moore, whose work I was already starting to look out for (from the cover-date of that comic, I guess I was something like 12, and was just learning that certain names recurred on the credits of things I liked), and other writers as well, all of which made it a pretty heady brew, and then when I started to read the Ellison, my noggin was permanently bent out of shape.

If you’ve never read anything by Harlan Ellison… well, obviously, I think you should, but there’s a fair chance you don’t recognise the name, especially in the UK; this is pretty odd really, given that he is one of the most-recognised writers ever, but he tends to fly under the radar for a lot of people. Still, have you seen that original Star Trek episode with Joan Collins in? He wrote the screenplay for that? Seen The Terminator? Yeah, he provided (ahem) ‘inspiration’ for that. What about Babylon 5? He consulted on that, and the new version of The Twilight Zone and heaps of other stuff – and that’s just his filmed work, his short stories are allegedly among the most reprinted in the English Language. So yes, I think you should read his stuff – it often has futurist backdrops, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s science fiction. Cos it isn’t.

Anyway, I read the collection of stories in All The Sounds Of Fear, and whatever else that new year brought, it certainly opened with me having a new and strange outlook on just what the written word, when combined with imagination, could do. It’s probably very much one of the reasons that I started writing – not because I sought to emulate his work, or anything so straightforward, but rather because it suggested there was a place in the world for writing down the more spiky and awkward of ideas, if you could do it. And that’s why I cite him as my favourite writer, when asked – it sounds wilfully obscure to most people, but I like to think it’s actually the truth.

Jump forward many years (past 1986, incidentally, when The Singing Detective made me realise just how unlimited the medium of TV could be), to last Friday night, on London’s Southbank; it was raining, and England were playing a World Cup match, and that’s why there was a limited turnout at the screening of Dreams With Sharp Teeth, a film about Harlan Ellison.

There were probably about 30 of us, plus screenwriter and friend of Harlan Ellison James Moran and the film’s director, Erik Nelson, but the limited numbers weren’t any kind of damper on the event – the film was funny and smart and showed HE in what looks like a fairly balanced light. Yes, there were scenes where he was a bit short-tempered, but there were others where he spoke about writing and literature with a passion, and when he read sections from his stories the talent was painfully evident. So yes, it was a good film.

Afterwards, Messrs Moran and Nelson asked the audience to come nearer the front, as they were going to do a link-up to LA, where they’d ask Harlan some questions. I moved down as requested, and indeed got a front-row seat, which I was pretty pleased about. They linked up okay, and asked him a few questions, and then they asked if anyone in the audience had any questions. There was a pause, and then I realised that my hand was up, and they were nodding towards me.

I’ll freely admit I was quite nervous about asking my question, not because I was speaking in front of a small crowd (as anyone who knows me will be aware, I’m a hopeless attention-seeker), but rather because this was probably likely to be my only actual interaction with Harlan Ellison, whose work I’ve enjoyed for over a quarter of a century. If there’s anyone whose work you admire, imagine how you’d feel in a similar situation. Yep, there you go, now you get it.

Anyway, with both the film and my own personal ‘history with HE’ (recounted above at length – and you probably just thought it was the usual self-indulgent rambling, but hopefully now it reveals itself as the vital backstory it was intended to be) in mind, I asked my question, which came out in a slightly gabbled and nervous way, and sounded something like this:

“We see you in the film speaking to college students, and a couple of people in the film say that your work should be taught in schools – what, do you think, would be the ideal age for people to first read your work? When would you most want to get hold of their fragile minds? Teenagers? Ten? Eight? One?”

As those of you who can read will probably note, this is actually a series of questions, mainly because I was gabbling to fill the gap caused by the satellite delay, and I didn’t actually have a microphone, so it was a bit uncertain to me whether Harlan could actually hear any of what I was saying. But he’d heard some of it, it seems, because he asked “Was that a question, or a diatribe?”

Erik then summarised the question, and Harlan answered it, giving a solid and considered answer – but then again, I probably would say that, as he seemed to suggest that the age of 14 or so was about right, thus making me ahead of my time as a child – and I was suitably pleased, on a number of levels.

And as the second – and only other – question was about the long-delayed third volume of Dangerous Visions, which is decades past its due date, and HE tends to get a bit fed up with being asked about (and showed as much on this occasion), I think that I probably did all right, all things considered.

Apologies for length here, but I was really rather chuffed about it, and wanted to record the event in what, I guess, is probably the closest thing I have to a diary. Given that I’ve met Alan Moore a couple of times, and that Dennis Potter has been dead for a number of years, I guess I’ve completed my interaction with the people whose work remoulded my thinking in the 1980s, which feels oddly satisfying.

One final point: if you want to see a terrific example of HE’s writing, read the short story I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream, from which the title of this post derives. The title’s remarkable enough, but the story itself… well, to say “it lingers in the mind” is several kinds of understatement.

Page 1 of 8

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén