Blog Archives

3rd June 2006 Tolkien’s allegory of WWII

was asking about Tolkien’s allegory of WWII in the foreward to LOTR when he says what would have happened in Middle Earth if it had followed the course of WWII: The real war does not resemble the legendary war in

Posted in Books, Human culture

15th February 2006: Why I love SF

I love the way SF can take something I thought I knew and turn it around on me, without cheating. I love the way you can have completely new societies, thought experiment societies, with their own extrapolated mores and ways

Posted in Books

2nd December 2005: Scattered thoughts on fantasy

Kate Elliott posted an interesting piece saying that SF has a finite knowable universe and fantasy an infinite and unknowable one, That’s actually really close to my instinctive definition of SF, made up to exclude Christopher Priest’s early work which

Posted in Books, Writing

21st October 2005: Contains obscenities (Emily Dickinson guy)

I was in Argo yesterday evening, a little independent new bookshop on St Catherine West, near the second-hand bookshops Westcott, Vortex and Astro. I went in to see if they could order Noel Streatfeild’s reprinted 1930s adult novel Saplings for

Posted in Books, Human culture, Life as it blossoms out in a jar or a face

14th September 2005: In Praise of Cardboard

When I was a child, I bought The Cave by Richard Church from a jumble sale for 10p. It was a paperback with a blue cover that showed a boy with a torch (flashlight) whose weak beam illuminated a few

Posted in Books, Writing

10th September 2005: My movie version of A Sound of Thunder

You have read Ray Bradbury’s classic SF short story “A Sound of Thunder” haven’t you? If not, go and read it now. My movie version is directed by David Mamet. Thunder. Lightning. Dinosaurs. Special effects go mad in amazing colours.

Posted in Books, Whimsy

15th June 2005: Being a reader and writing

The whole “Mundane SF” thing leaves me cold. It doesn’t do anything for me as a reader. What SF and fantasy give me is that moment when I as a reader don’t know, when the strangeness turns around and looks

Posted in Books, Writing

27th March 2005: Characterisation and POV

It seems to me that language choice is part of characterisation, and whether or not it works for the story depends on whether it is correct characterisation for the POV character. So yes, what you’re saying, I think you’re right.

Posted in Books, Writing

5th February 2005: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is clearly written from an alternate universe where the great fantasy-defining genre-starting book of the twentieth century, after Dunsany, was not Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings but Hope Mirlees Lud-in-the-Mist. It’s not

Posted in Books

2nd June 2004: Reading about people just like oneself

Two discussions today that made me think about something. The question of needing people to identify with in fiction was raised, and also the question of “translating” fiction to make it more comprehensible and easy to identify with. Some people

Posted in Books, Writing