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  #1  
Old 02-27-2008, 04:17 PM
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Default New BBC4 series: The Worlds of Fantasy

i'm just watching the first of a new three-part series on BBC4 called "The Worlds of Fantasy". First episode examines the Child Hero, which I know won't appeal to Mike particularly , but according to Sebastian Peake's blog next week's will feature (focus on?) Melvyn Peake's fantasy. No word on whether Mike's fantasy novels will be mentioned at all, but Tolkien and Pratchett are included unsurprisingly as are role-playing and video games (probably in the third episode).

Quote:
The Child Within (Part 1 of 3).
In the last ten years, fantasy writing has become one of the biggest selling genres in publishing, the first programme in a new series explores the role of child heroes and heroines from Peter Pan to Harry Potter and asks why they have such an enduring appeal to writers of fiction for all ages

In Victorian Britain, fantasy writing included Lewis Carroll's Alice adventures, JM Barrie's Peter Pan and Charles Kingsley's The Water Babies. Changing times after World War Two produced CS Lewis' Narnia books which were children's fables as well as carrying a biblical message.

In the 1960s writers such as Alan Garner and Roald Dahl brought a darker kind of fantasy for children, and in the present day Philip Pullman and JK Rowling have created a heroine and hero reflecting 21st century concerns.

Includes contributions from Philip Pullman, Alan Garner, Will Self and Alasdair Gray.
(Stereo, Widescreen, Subtitles, Audio Described)
___________________________________________________________________________
_"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
_For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
_And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
_He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."
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  #2  
Old 02-27-2008, 04:29 PM
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Episode 2 listing (March 5th 9pm):

Quote:
2/3. The Epic Imagination

This programme looks at the work of two very different writers working in the 1950s, JRR Tolkein and Mervyn Peake, how they created their fantasy worlds and how their lives influenced their creations.

Creator of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Oxford academic JRR Tolkein created a new language, Elvish as well as detailed maps that charted his fantasy landscape of Middle Earth. while the visionary surrealist artist Mervyn Peake, creator of the Gormenghast trilogy's oppressive castle of Gormenghast, populated by grotesque characters.

The programme goes on to examine how the lives and experiences of these writers fed into the magical worlds they created, from Tolkien's service in the First World War to Peake's childhood in Manchurian China and his witnessing, at first hand, as a war artist, the devastation of the concentration camps in Belsen.

With contributions from, among others, writers Joanne Harris, Kate Mosse, Tracy Chevalier and AS Byatt.
___________________________________________________________________________
_"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
_For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
_And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
_He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."
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  #3  
Old 02-27-2008, 07:53 PM
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I was asked to be in this but had a feeling at the time there wasn't much point. Still, we'll see.
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Old 02-28-2008, 12:07 AM
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I watched the first part last night and I have to admit I wasn't too impressed myself.
I have an awful feeling that it's going to turn into something akin to the awful doco they had about progressive rock about a year ago.
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A sailor on the seas of fate?.I'm more a discarded beer can tossed into the sea by a careless god after a beach party.
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Old 03-01-2008, 03:19 PM
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I have to say, I was really looking forward to this series, as BBC Four have done excellent documentary series on Science Fiction and Comics in recent times, but I found the first episode disappointing. Too many celebrity talking heads such as Phill Jupitus, John Simpson and Nigel Planer - why exactly do we need to hear their thoughts on Fantasy literature? Though I must admit Will Self's presence helped to cancel out their bland opinions! And I enjoyed the C.S. Lewis bashing...

However, could I draw everyones attention to the fact that Mike IS in the third episode, at least according to this blurb I pulled off a BBC website:

BBC FOUR Wednesday 12 March 2008

The Worlds Of Fantasy –
Through The Looking Glass Ep 3/3
Wednesday 12 March
9.00-10.00pm BBC FOUR


In the last 10 years, fantasy has been one of the biggest forces in popular culture, conquering everything from books to interactive games. Readers, gamers and cinema-goers in their billions now regularly travel to the unique worlds created by writers such as JRR Tolkien, JK Rowling and Philip Pullman.

The final part of The Worlds Of Fantasy asks how this happened and what it says about people. It also asks whether fantasy is the pure escapism many think it is – or whether it has something significant to say about the human condition.

This film sets out to answer those questions, exploring the extraordinary and dazzling work of Terry Pratchett, creator of the Discworld series, which has made him the No. 1 bestselling British male author.

Pratchett's childhood inspiration was the bible of fantasy – Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings, which kick-started the genre's explosion in the Sixties. As writer (and sometime member of rock band Hawkwind) Michael Moorcock explains, fantasy surfed the wave of Sixties drugs culture and was part of a new, radical way of looking at the world.

But fantasy's increasing dominance hasn't simply been about escaping from reality – for the greatest writers it has, rather, been a way of reflecting it. From Pratchett's satires on bureaucracy and global conflict to the new, more politicised generation of writers including Neil Gaiman and China Mieville, fantasy at its best is about who we really are.

With contributions from Pratchett, Gaiman, Moorcock, Pullman and a host of fantasy fans, this film shows how fantasy became a force to be reckoned with.

LG

Here's the link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pro...ml#wed_fantasy

And next weeks episode on Melvyn Peake and Tolkein should be worth viewing to - I just hope they cut out the celebs... (I like this smilie!)
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  #6  
Old 03-06-2008, 11:23 AM
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Anyone else see this? Too much time spent on Tolkien and not enough on Peake, I thought. Nice to see Sebastian Peake on TV talking about his father, and I kind of wish Mike had got involved now, but the programme only really scratched the surface. It would have been nice to see Lang Jones interviewed too, given his editing work on Titus Alone. Peake was a brilliant artist as well as writer, and I think this came across in the programme.
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'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)
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Old 03-06-2008, 03:22 PM
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I'd agree with most of Marca's analysis; Tolkien was clearly the big hook, and while he does cast a huge shadow over the fantasy genre I felt the programme's thesis that all modern fantasy flows from him a little far-fetched. No mention of Jack Vance's The Dying Earth (1950) for instance, and for a series titled 'The Worlds of Fantasy' it does a good job of ignoring any non-British fantasy so far.

Still, next week's episode does feature Mike talking about drugs and fantasy.

Quote:
Michael Moorcock explains how Fantasy was influenced by 60s drugs culture and was part of underground cultures way of looking at the world.
___________________________________________________________________________
_"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
_For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
_And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
_He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."
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  #8  
Old 03-06-2008, 07:27 PM
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Hope someone's recording these just so Lang Jones gets his proper credit seen by many.
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Old 03-12-2008, 06:45 PM
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Nice segment in the first half of the third programme about Mike's contribution to the fantasy genre, with a reading from Stormbringer (overlaying images from The Final Programme film by the look of it) plus some comments from Mike himself, a snippet of Hawkwind playing Silver Machine and a shot of Bob Haberfield's Mayflower covers for The Dancers at the End of Time trilogy, which, of course, are another form of fantasy novels (albeit not discussed).

Elsewhere, the lion's share of airtime was devoted to Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, but Neil Gaiman and China Miéville were also profiled. The programme couldn't resist banging on again about Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings (especially since the second programme had already ploughed that particular furrow). Given Mike's critical analyses about fantasy - cf. Aspects of Fantasy and Wizardry and Wild Romance - it's a pity he wasn't asked to offer a counterpoint to Tolkien's bastard children, although Pratchett did talk about "Extruded Fantasy Product" to describe the swage of bad fantasy that appeared post-Tolkien.

Through the Looking Glass is available on BBC iPlayer for the next 6 days: (Note: May not be available outside the UK).
___________________________________________________________________________
_"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
_For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
_And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
_He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."
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Old 03-13-2008, 02:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Mosley View Post
Through the Looking Glass is available on BBC iPlayer for the next 6 days: (Note: May not be available outside the UK).
Thanks very much for the link, David! Something decent to watch this evening
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Old 03-13-2008, 04:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Mosley View Post
No mention of Jack Vance's The Dying Earth (1950) for instance, and for a series titled 'The Worlds of Fantasy' it does a good job of ignoring any non-British fantasy so far.
It's more like "The British worlds of Fantasy"

Where's Howard/Vance/Leiber/LeGuin/Zelazny?Hell,they can make a similar tv show with these writers!
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Old 03-13-2008, 11:27 AM
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I watched this, was disapointed not enough of mike, and loads about terry pratchett, they tried to pack in too much, i would have preffered an hour long episode on each decade, it could have been far more in depth, and mike surely deserves an hour long south bank show? it was good to hear mikes voice though, and very posh it is too... Ive never been a huge fan of pratchett but he is a very good writer, just not to my taste, very popular though, and its a shame about his alzheimers, he was making some very good points about treatment on the radio today and seems a thoughly nice bloke, i just thought he stole all my ideas..and that j rowling women, i had to scrap my stories when i read her first...richest women in uk now pah im not bitter, but i digress sorry
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Old 03-13-2008, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixi View Post
Ive never been a huge fan of pratchett but he is a very good writer, just not to my taste, very popular though, and its a shame about his alzheimers, he was making some very good points about treatment on the radio today and seems a thoughly nice bloke
More Pratchett on Alzheimer's:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/20...alth.booksnews

I'm not a huge fan, but I'm certainly a fan. He has the gift of being able to write comic stories about characters you actually care about. I think this is quite a rare talent as so much comic writing relies upon caricature.
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Old 03-13-2008, 01:29 PM
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Well I guess you could describe the series as an "In-depth supersonic flypast."
"On your left, ladies and gentlemen, you will see Michael Mo . . . - too late, you blinked!"

Actually, to make a taster for fantasy and to do the subject any kind of justice at all would be an insuperable task. Should they have even bothered? Hmm, dunno. All in all I could sort of see why they mentioned what they did and left out what they did. But . . .

The genre's just too big and woolly - one might just as well do a series on "The post war mainstream novel." Probably easier, at least the laws of nature are constant.

Why do we keep having to argue this thing about "escapism" every time fantasy if mentioned?

By the way Pixi, your point about authors pinching all your best ideas - I know a woman who had exactly the same problem with Phillip Pullman's Dark Materials - three chapters straight in the bin! \

Sorry, ramble over.
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Old 03-14-2008, 01:49 PM
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Ive gone back to writing pixi stories, kinda cyber-Enid Blyton, someones probably doin it much better somewhere though.....it is interesting how much childrens fiction becomes mainstream, lotr was intended for kids and i read it at about 12, and loved it at that age, but soon progressed to more interesting stuff like MM and fritz leiber etc
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Old 03-15-2008, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixi View Post
Ive gone back to writing pixi stories, kinda cyber-Enid Blyton, someones probably doin it much better somewhere though.....
Well there's Automated Alice. I didn't think that it was very good though.
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Old 03-15-2008, 02:06 PM
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Yeah ive read it, not his best.......nothing like mine though, im keeping mine quiet though, someones probably writing them right now, im not, ive becomea ddic ted, to st up id comp uters easily distracted are pixis..........
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Old 02-11-2009, 03:02 PM
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Three clips of Mike from the final episode of Worlds of Fantasy are now online in the Media Hive.
___________________________________________________________________________
_"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
_For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
_And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
_He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."
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