Blog / 2014

Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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Never say this blog is not ahead of the curve, me hearties. First it points you to Hans Fallada's astonishing 'Alone in Berlin', only for the book to be announced as an upcoming Emma Thompson film, and now, after years of nagging people about the wonderful, obscure writer Michael McDowell, I've discovered that all of his books are being rereleased, some in Kindle format only (like 'Blackwater' -…
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Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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In a strange way, popularity was the worst thing that could have happened to 'A Christmas Carol'. After performances by Charles Dickens himself, a long history of bowdlerised versions, parodies, satires and remakes eventually led to the Muppets, by which time the story's fierce sense of social injustice had vanished. We tend to forget now that there were other Dickens Christmas books, 'The Cricket…
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Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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Compared to other nations, the British reading public has a very odd attitude towards comics, cartoons and graphic novels. The bande dessinée art of France and Belgium is regarded as obscure and downright peculiar, Italy's fumetti are seen as excuses for sexist male fantasies and Japan's manga comics, read by adults on every Tokyo subway, are dismissed as deranged fantasies. In the USA Marvel has…
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John Glashan
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Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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Phyllis Dorothy James, the grande-dame of crime writing, has died at 94. Until pretty recently she was still attending events, which may be proof that writing keeps you young. My pal Barry Forshaw met her many times and is now writing about her in today's Independent. Psychological suspensers make more sense to me than police procedurals, partly because much of what the police really do is boring…
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Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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Today the T-shirt says it all. I'm not having any Eureka moments. Staring out of the window is what I often have to do as part of my job. And today, the worst part, the staring bit, is here again. A runway of blank white paper stretches before me. I've delivered a new novel, and while I'm waiting for editorial notes on that I start thinking about what I'm doing next. Today I need a new plot. I…
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Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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Recently someone asked me if my books were set in America, because she didn't want to read anything that wasn't set in places she couldn't recognise and identify with. I had to admit that the Bryant & May books were mostly set in London. I can sympathise with this point of view. Comedians often use observational humour to get laughs. If I make a joke on Twitter about the difficulty of opening…
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Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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I have a friend who wants to be a writer. He tells me he's about to start 'a huge series of books, which will be better when they film it as a series'. He still hasn't started a single one after ten years, despite being obsessed by the idea of quantity. The author Magnus Mills writes a slim, deceptively simple volume every three or four years. He aims to strip back the complexities of the modern…
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Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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At the peak of his popularity, Sean Connery walked away from James Bond, and failed to make the best film in the series to date, 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'. Instead, the producers opted for 'Big Fry Man' George Lazenby, whose personality proved so unpleasant that Diana Rigg ate garlic before having to kiss him. Connery clearly regretted his decision and came back, but it was too late. He…
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Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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Some books are written like butter melting in a frying pan - smooth, fast and easy. Others are stubborn and keep you awake at night for months. The book I'm just finishing this month (probably for 2016) has been through seven drafts, to the point where I can no longer read it objectively. Does that mean it's any better or worse than one that's easy to write? Not really, although there is a…
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Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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The game of Consequences - finishing something started by someone else - has long been popular among crime writers. Charles Dickens had, in a way, inspired the idea in another form with books like 'Mugby Junction' and 'The Haunted House'. In these he started off a story and had other writers deliver additional episodes which were slotted in after his, although they were far more episodic by nature…
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