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Inside the Media Web (2006) [formerly 'What we're all reading/watching']

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  • Inside the Media Web (2006) [formerly 'What we're all reading/watching']

    This probably isn't the most appropriate place for this, but in the past we've exchanged news of what we're reading at the moment.
    I've recently bought two volumes of Tales of the Shadowmen which are new stories using a mixture of French, American and British pulp heroes like Fantomas, Judex and more familiar (to Anglophone readers) characters. Very enjoyable and they'll help to familiarise English speaking readers with French characters. By coincidence I'm also rereading Colette and looking forward to getting some new Maigrets when I get to Paris, having exhausted the local supply.
    I've just finished Walter Mosley's The Wave, an sf book sort of like Jonathan Carroll's work (which I love) -- metaphysics and aliens. Very good. I've just finished Howard Jacobson's Kalooki Nights (which I'm reviewing for the Telegraph) and found it patchy -- but with a tremendous plot running through the whole thing, which makes it well worth reading, in my opinion. I'll be reading Mosley's Fortunate Son for review in The Guardian on the plane to Paris, probably. Oh, and I couldn't resist buying another Del Rey Conan book, The Coming of Conan. I thought I might try rereading the Conans from the first I read (Conan the Conqueror as an Ace Double -- I bought it for the other story, The Sword of Rhiannon by Lee Brackett, originally) but couldn't find it at the bookstore I visited in Austin. Tremendous editions, anyway. I hated the Conan stories done by other hands, either new or from outlines Howard had done, and I very much approve of the current trade paperbacks. I've just ordered a new biography of Tom Paine which looks excellent. As regular readers know, I'm a great fan of Paine and share the view that he played a crucial role in the American Revolution.

    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
    The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
    Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
    The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
    Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses


  • #2
    Just rereading the Hawkmoon saga .. and that' s not to flatter ......

    Some days ago i gave my feelings after rereading Elric saga ont swordsorcery forum ( thanks to Peasily )

    http://www.freeforumworld.com/forums...opic.php?t=186

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm currently reading Pavane by Keith Roberts. I got distracted the last time I attempted it. It's really rather good.

      Comment


      • #4
        Here's one which is a bit out of the ordinary.

        The last time I was in Cambridge I popped into Galloway and Porter, which is a sort of very up-market remaindered stock bookshop, and found a book called 'Mathematics with Love' by Mary Stopes-Roe.

        The author is the daughter of Barnes Wallis, the scientist who invented the bouncing bomb and who was also involved in the design of the great pre-war airships. The book is the courtship correspondence of Wallis and Molly Bloxham, written between the years of 1922-1924.

        They were cousins and she was 17 years younger than him, and originally, her father placed strict limits what Wallis could say to her - understandable, as she was only 17 when they first met and about to go to University. They were allowed to correspond only if Wallis taught her mathematics, to help her with her degree course, and there was to be 'no nonsense'.

        But in amongst the letters on calculus and trigonometry, and the strictly chaperoned meetings, you can see them falling in love with each other, and it becomes clear by the end that they are the love of each others lives - but by the custom of the time, they have to wait until she is 21 before she is able to be free to make her own choice.

        I'm not sure why I enjoyed the book so much, really. Maybe because it's all very 'Brief Encounter' - very British, very restrained. Partly because Wallis wanted to respect her father's wishes, as Molly was a fairly naive 17 year old, and partly because Wallis was shy and was himself worried about the age difference.

        It's also a glimpse into another world - the sort of world where people would say things like "It was simply delightful to find your ripping letter waiting for me. Thank you most awfully."

        And there are some fascinating fragments for the airship fans among us about how Wallis's employer, Commander Burney, was trying to set up a system of 'Trans-Oceanic Airship Liners' which would link the far-flung parts of the Empire.

        And apart from anything else, it serves as a pretty good refresher course for A-level calculus and trigonometry - even Wallis's hand drawn diagrams are reproduced. Amazing to think that I used to know all that stuff, when I was at school.

        I must say that having read it, when you see Wallis's wife at the beginning of 'The Dambusters', confiding in the doctor that she is worried that he is working too hard, it gives the scene much more power because you know how much they love each other.

        It is a most unusual set of love letters - which in itself is a glimpse into another world. I sometimes miss the world in which we wrote letters, especially to loved ones. Logging on and checking your email isn't quite the same, somehow.

        Kev

        Comment


        • #5
          Good idea! Lots of interesting stuff on your list Mike. This resonates with me particularly, though:

          Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
          I thought I might try rereading the Conans from the first I read (Conan the Conqueror as an Ace Double -- I bought it for the other story, The Sword of Rhiannon by Lee Brackett, originally)


          As I've said before, I got into your writing by buying an anthology title with a Conan short in it, which was the story I wanted to read, and finding Elric, whom I liked even more. This would be in summer 1971 or 72, on holiday in Cornwall, in the long-gone days when English seaside towns had shops with spinner racks full of paperbacks, many of them US SF and fantasy. The book must have been Sprague de Camp’s Spell of Seven, with Shadows in Zamboula and Kings in Darkness. Not one of your favourite Elric stories I know, but I wonder how many other readers it drew into the Elric saga?

          Current reading: Budd Schulberg’s novel The Disenchanted, closely based on his own experiences as F Scott Fitzgerald’s young assistant in Hollywood in the 30s. Good stuff.

          Also last night read no.1 of The Sword Of Solomon Kane, a 6-part comic series from Marvel published in 1985-86. Picked up 5 issues cheap at last week’s London comic mart. First issue is a workmanlike adaptation of a Howard story. Later issues have some Mignola art.

          Comment


          • #6
            Got a pile of stuff to get through. Currently part-way through Claudius The God, I'd read the first book last year and really liked it, so getting through book 2 is unfinished business.

            I like Graves' writing style - so after that I might attempt "Count Belisarius", one of his OOP works I got via ebay. I've heard mixed things about it - but thought I'd give that a try.

            On a related note, I've got some non-fiction stuff about Rome - which looked interesting, so I'll probably start that next.
            Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

            Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm on a big Wyndham Lewis kick at the moment and am reading The Revenge for Love.

              Interesting that you should mention Fantomas, Mike. There is currently an exhibition at the Hayward in London called 'Undercover Surrealism: Georges Bataille and Documents' which features Fantomas movie posters and book covers. The covers in particular are fantastic. There is also a short clip from a a silent Fantomas film showing there. I was thinking about having a look around to see whether the French novels were still available, and you go and mention new translations - Hoorah for synchronicity!

              Comment


              • #8
                I am reading"The King Of The Swords" for the 3rd time.I am going right through the whole Corum series again. Each time I read them, they become more captivating.The Eye and Hand of gods, phenomenal stuff!!I wish there was an image of what Mike envisioned Rhynn and Kwll looked like.

                Comment


                • #9
                  John, I saw the Bataille movie when it came out and I'd love to see it again. There is some stuff on French Amazon but it's pretty pricey, as are the Karl May Shatterhand movies I'd like to get. So far I havent been able to bring myself to get them, though I do have a boxed set of Les Vampyres on tape. There really IS a special quality to those French serials. Paris happens to be particularly lucky in having a lot of catacombs (re. Phantom of the Opera) and a great sense of ancient or timeless foundations. I love urban fantasy, anyway, and really Paris and London do it for me (well, LA, too, and San Francisco if it's Chandler and Hammett). Edmond Hamilton coined the term 'urban adventure stories' to describe all the stuff -- detective and fantasy -- which uses the city much as Westerns use death valley. The setting is of crucial importance.
                  Fantomas without Paris is like Stagecoach without Death Valley. The Shatterhand movies draw on Croatia, of course, for their particular 'feel'.

                  Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                  The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                  Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                  Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                  The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                  Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Frenchs " feuilletonistes " of the XIXth and the begining of the XXth made extraordinary things

                    - Eugene Sue : les mystères de Paris

                    - Ponson du Terrail : Rocambole

                    - Zevaco : les Pardaillan, a saga during the religion wars of the XVI century, with a woman as a arch-vilain

                    - Le Rouge : le mystérieux docteur Cornelius : a scientific steampunk saga

                    everywhere, vilains, orphans in distress, generous lords and so one .... action suspense, humour and so on ...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Still not entirely used to negotiating this site and had missed other comments.
                      YOUR visualisation of Rhyn and Kwyll are he right ones, V!
                      I enjoyed Graves's historicals some years ago. I have his Proceed Sergeant Lamb, set in the American revolutionary war. Haven't read the Sgt Lamb books yet, but of course it's a period I'm interested in.
                      I, of course, got the idea for the Corum books during a wet holiday in Cornwalll, guy. Around the same time you were there!
                      Mathematics With Love does sound fascinaing. Barnes Wallis genuinely fascinating genius.
                      And some of us owe him our lives, too! Wish they'd let him fly his perfectly good ship, the R-100!

                      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                      The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                      Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                      The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                      Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Seriously, I'm actually reading this:

                        http://images-eu.amazon.com/images/P...1.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

                        The original reason for this is that there was a chance I might have had some professional dealings with the author, so it seemed prudent to probe his output, as it were. A great one for reading on the train, especially if you hold it upside down.

                        Trying to plan some holiday reading. Don't suppose 'White Wolf's Other Son' is on the stocks? 'The Really Final Programme'? 'Harry Potter and the Slayer of Kin?'

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Glad to hear you're liking the Shadowmen anthologies, Mike. Those were loads of fun to work on, if only for the excuse to watch the lion's shares of the Judex and Les Vampires serials. I don't know how widely read they've been, though, which is a shame, as there's some great stuff in them.

                          I'm currently enjoying Hal Duncan's debut novel, Vellum. Have you tried it? John Clute described it as "Michael Moorcock's Finnegans Wake by Hal Duncan," which I'm sure Clute didn't mean as a compliment but which Hal definitely took as one.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Recently I've read the first three Rama Books. I'd read the first one years ago, and, knowing there were three more, I decided to give them another go. I can't make up my mind about them. I liked the way the first one just left everything unanswered. On the other hand... It's nice to get them answered too. I've still to get hold of the 4th one.
                            Also read 'Captives' by Linda Colley. It gives a greatly different view of the process of building the British Empire. 'The Story Of English' by Robert McCrum, William Cran & Robert MacNeil. Simply for the reason that I loaned it to someone about 10 years ago and recently got it back. The 2nd edition, which I have, predicted the dropoff of English use, and failed to predict the rise of the internet, and the subsequent spread of exposure to the language. An interesting read, and now I know there is a third edition, I shall probabaly eventually get hold of a newer version. I think it worked very well in conjunction with the book I am currently reading: 'Bloody Foreigners' by Robert Winder. I'm about halfway through and its a very good read. The history of immigration into the British Isles from prehistory on, it has thrown up many a subject for further inquiry. Any fool who thinks he's a pure-bred Englishman, and I know a couple, should read this and think again.
                            As an alternative to English/British history, I have also been re-reading the Cornelius stories. Which offer many alternative histories. Herr Fuchs, (when he was Berry and the site was just prior to entering a period of regeneration) suggested that someone might like to take on the task of uploading pictures of places and things which would help to illustrate or visualise some of the things mentioned in Mike's stories. I said I would try, and to that end I have been making notes while reading the stories and compiling a list of potential images to add to the gallery. So far the main Cornelius Quartet has been scoured for ideas. One day I will actually get 'round to searching for and uploading the results.
                            Great read, by the way.
                            You see, it's... it's no good, Montag. We've all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

                            -:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-

                            Image Hive :-: Wikiverse :-: Media Hive

                            :-: Onsite Offerings :-:


                            "I am an observer of life, a non-participant who takes no sides. I am in the regimented society, but not of it." Moondog, 1964

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              At the moment I'm halfway through the first volume of Keegan's biography of Hitler. Good though it is I need something to lighten up, so on the horizon is Mr. M's The Skrayling Tree & Bernard Cornwell's The Pale Horseman.
                              That should be Kershaw's biography of Hitler. I must stop posting after a few drinks.
                              Last edited by silverhand; 06-19-2006, 11:21 AM.
                              Arioch, aid me! Blood and souls for Arioch!

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