Monthly Archives: May 2016

‘Roofworld’ And ‘Spanky’ Are Both Back

‘The lightness of the author’s touch conceals an underlying narrative of alienation,’ fellow author Joanne Harris says about me, adding, ‘perhaps this is why, in spite of having won countless genre awards, he has never received the mainstream acclaim he so deserves. Perhaps it is the sheer scope and variety of his output that continue […]

Raymond Kirkpatrick On The English Summer

Raymond Kirkpatrick is a colleague of Arthur Bryant’s. The bear-like heavy metal-loving Professor of English is currently working at the British Library and is our occasional guest speaker. His opinions are very much his own. ‘So I get up half an hour late and heave myself down the Euston Road to the British Library, trying […]

What Happened To Black Comedy?

Where and when did the idea of black comedy come into being, and what happened to this distinctive literary genre? Let’s start by defining terminology. Black comedy involves a work that makes light of serious, disturbing and possibly taboo subjects. It corresponds to the earlier concept of ‘gallows humour’ and is often controversial due to its subject matter. […]

Places That Should Be Used In SF Movies

I’m back in London after completing another trip to dig out research material for a book, although some of what I found may never be used. Take my visit to Science City in Valencia. The complex was only recently finished, but has been dogged with scandal throughout its construction. It has sadly become a symbol […]

Around & Under Piccadilly Circus

The lovely Londonist website is currently running a nice feature on the secrets of Piccadilly Circus here, including the most famous fact – that Eros isn’t called Eros and spent a great deal of its time facing the wrong way – the delicate aluminium statue is usually called the Angel of Christian Charity and was built in […]

Could Novellas Be The Happiest Medium?

We know that people in the work force don’t have enough time to read as much as they did. Through school and after retirement reading is in fine shape, but the biggest loss is male readership between 20 and 50. Crime reading is now largely driven by women, SF has lost ground, being traditionally male, […]

Spain’s Awe-Inspiring Hotel Chain

We’re currently driving across Spain via paradores. Paradores can be found in most Latin countries, para meaning to stay or stop. In Spain, the paradores are a network of over 90 state-run hotels consisting of restored castles, monasteries, convents, fortresses, manor houses and palaces, and are found in some of the most beautiful corners of the Iberian Peninsula. […]

Invisible Ink 6: Michael Arlen

‘For King and cocktails!’ cries Marley, the aristocrat whose futile life is dissected in the novel ‘Piracy’. The world of Mayfair between the wars can make for a stifling read; all those debs and ballrooms, the spiteful point-scoring of titled couples, the calibrated snobbery of the Empire almost on its uppers now provides us with […]

Lost In Europe

I’m in that happiest state – between books. I finished one last week and am not planning to start another for two weeks. In this lacuna it’s time for a break, and Europe is England’s garden, just a short hop to a thousand interesting destinations. But one of the problems I have about European travel […]