Bryant & May Are Back in 13 Days (New Citrus Flavour)

Bryant and May


In the history of the Bryant & May books one thing stands out; the author has always known how to throw a party.

In fact, there has never been a new Bryant & May without a launch bash of some kind. My editor Simon Taylor makes a delightfully pertinent and mercifully short speech, and I get the beers in. I may not know how to network but I look after my friends.

This year circumstances have changed, but I’m not holding a virtual launch. ‘Virtual’ means that something didn’t happen, as in ‘I virtually got pregnant.’ And this is definitely happening. The book will appear, I’ll do some interviews and perhaps put something on YouTube before raising a glass to you, the select but loyal few who ‘get’ these macabre bursts of laughter in the dark. Most people don’t, which places you in the not unappealing category of ‘smarter than the average crime reader but also a bit strange’. Own it and wear the badge with pride.

A pertinent digression: John Carey has something interesting to say about writing comedically.

‘Dickens is essentially a comic writer. The urge to conceal this, noticeable in some recent studies, can probably be traced to a suspicion that comedy, compared to tragedy, is light. Comedy is felt to be artificial and escapist; tragedy, toughly real. The opposite view seems more accurate. Tragedy is tender to man’s dignity and self-importance, and preserves the illusion that he is a noble creature. Comedy uncovers the absurd truth, which is why people are so afraid of being laughed at in real life. Once Dickens starts laughing nothing is safe, from Christianity to dead babies.’

Over the years the Bryant & May books have tried many different tactics to keep you engaged, and the series can be subdivided according to those tactics, so that say, ‘Full Dark House’, ‘Seventy Seven Clocks’, ‘The Victoria Vanishes’, ‘On The Loose’/’Off The Rails’ and ‘The Burning Man’ are sprawling ‘grand opera’-style stories, with many disparate elements and ideas, while ‘White Corridor’, ‘The Memory of Blood’, ‘The Invisible Code’ and ‘The Lonely Hour’ are smaller scale human dramas.

‘Oranges and Lemons’ is a return to grand opera, even if it begins with an attack by fruit – it’s the longest novel to date, set across a wide variety of London locations with a great many eccentric characters, and I’ll be keeping this style for ‘London Bridge Is Falling Down’, the 20th book in the series (or the 18th if you’re in America, as you didn’t get the two ‘missing cases’ hardbacks). I just feel that the 20th should be a big story encompassing the birth of London and (perhaps) its death.

The series will continue after that, but there’ll be a bit of a change because you can’t just keep getting bigger without all credibility fleeing the crime scene. And at some point I’ll do a Bryant & May guide to London, I promise!

(Above, the night version of the cover that got voted down by readers in favour of the day version)

69 comments on “Bryant & May Are Back in 13 Days (New Citrus Flavour)”

  1. Jan says:

    Bloody Hell…. Johnny Mnemonic. I know that book a first novel if I remember rightly and amongst the best SF novels I ever read. Really spectacularly written stuffed full of powerful images and ideas. Before authors realise they have to ration their best gear out in case they don’t get too many more brilliant ideas first novels can be extraordinary and this one definitely was. Not thought on it in years. I could do with one of those cable connection devices I reckon.

    Film never really got its brilliance across Keanu Reeves looking vaguely troubled and confused (as ever- he looks like this in every film. He peaked early in Bill+ Ted’s excellent adventure)

    You did the advertising for some interesting pictures Mr F.

  2. snowy says:

    Helen, that you upgraded to Win10 recently makes me suspect you might need to re-install the drivers for the printer/scanner again. [Have a chat with your young man]. Or you could try taking a picture with a phone, if you can find somewhere to hang the paper up with good light.

  3. snowy says:

    Ed, it’s not likely to ever become a reality, because of all the faff of setting up a distribution network, but an estimate would be around £1-£2+p&p.

    [To salve any disappointment you might be suffering, may I recommend a radio series that I feel would certainly appeal to self-confessed lovers of British humour: ‘Cabin Pressure’. The BBC are currently repeating series 2, which can be streamed from the website.]

  4. Diane Englot says:

    All of this sounds wonderful! Something fab to look forward to .

  5. Helen Martin says:

    We did better than that, Snowy, we replaced the printer and the new one is supposed to scan. There’s an on-line manual I can consult and the drivers etc. were all adjusted or whatever. Just getting ready to do a good copy of this thing which is not too bad.

  6. snowy says:

    While you are off wrestling with your new shiny toy, I thought I could save a bit of time by posting the ‘Walktrough’.

    In your browser type – postimages – add a . and then add the last three letters of the word cyborg.

    Leave ‘Do not resize my image’ as it is

    Change ‘No expiration’ to ‘Remove after 31 days’, [I like to leave the ‘Web’; tidy.]

    Click ‘Chose images’, a new window will open, find your file in the list, select it and click the ‘Open’ button at the bottom of the window.

    The file will upload and then there will be a large list of links, copy the text from the box marked ‘Link:’

    Paste that line of text into the comment box here and post it, it will go into the moderation queue for our host to approve, [and unleash it onto the WORLD!]

  7. snowy says:

    For the 0 people still on the magic bus to badge-land.

    I’ve looked at this from more angles than a suspicious customs officer with a inexhaustible supply of rubber gloves.

    Print your own

    We can’t get/haven’t got clearance for the image, so we will have to park that version for the mo.

    We/I could take a bit from the idea of an abigram and a bit from the idea of a lenticular, to make a badge that can be worn one way up for smart and one way up for strange, [Helen if you fancy noodling around with this as well please do].

    Round badge 25mm, divided in two horizontally.
    Top half the word/image/ideogram/pictogram for ‘smart’.
    Bottom half ditto ‘strange’..

    The wearer then has the choice of which way up to display it, [I’ll have a play about when inspiration strikes, don’t hold your breath, inspiration comes slowly].

    [Helen, I think if somehow the words could look completely indecipherable while upside down and clear when right was up, there are techniques but they are hard to describe, one is shading letters without drawing the outline?].

    A manufactured article

    What follows is just a ‘thought experiment’, the chances of it happening are about as likely as it raining fairys at Xmas.

    A big bag of badges have magically arrived at an author’s lofty garret.

    This mythical author, who doesn’t exist outside this conceit, goes to the post office once a week/month and collects from their PO Box* a stack of envelopes and returns home for tea and bics.

    Each envelope contains a fully stamped SAE from a reader, the mythical author takes out the SAE, pops a badge in it seals it and drops it in a bag.

    When the bag is full, the mythical one takes the bag on their next sally out and tips the contents into a pillar box.

    [*May not need a PO Box if we can use Post Restante].

    Remember this is just a ‘thought experiment’!

  8. snowy says:

    Jan, what folkloric/mythical figures/creatures/symbols do you know, that are both smart/clever and strange/mysterious/occult, [occult in the sense of hidden]?

    [No point having an expert around and not asking them is it?]

    I’ve got Anansi, Hermes and the Crow/Raven, [Raven’s favoutite at the moment for the London connection], but are there any more I’ve missed?

  9. Helen Martin says:

    Snowy, I have hit a technological problem, as one does with a new piece of equipment. The info you gave me looks good, I just have to get it from my glass plate to that site.
    I was working on the assumption that we had to use the whole phrase. The result is that I was lettering with a superfine Mitchell nib.
    Coyote is another character but I like raven, too for the same reason.

    Use the negative space to form letters one way and the positive space to form the other way. Different number of letters, letters formed from different strokes. Working from this open ended manner could result in something much greater than my fine line lettering which doesn’t stand out the way a badge should.

    There should be a PCU in it, too, although I’m not sure why.

    Ken is slicing open little packets so I will let him fiddle while I do a couple of evening things and will talk to you when I get up. I will think about the two way thing.

  10. snowy says:

    I’m sure you and Ken will crack it, but if you get stuck… You know where I am.

    Because a badge is such a small canvas, anything goes in terms of sacrificing ‘completeness’ for clarity.

    I have an idea for using the raven, just need to draw it, [not going to be fun, I predict the first go will look like a startled chicken and the second attempt will resemble an eagle that flew into a brick wall, but maybe ‘third time is the charm’.

  11. snowy says:

    What this place is more horribly executed daubs!

    So, it’s a sketch not a draft, so don’t look too closely or you will see the gaps I haven’t closed up. Needs quite a bit of tuning, text size down a touch, bigger chicken, Black on Gunmetal.

    Enamel possibly, [but the process is not simple, it involves: min. radius, min line thickness, because the base is a metal stamping.]

    Laser engrave Yes

    Print silk screen/tampo Probably

    Print your own Yes

    Thoughts, ridicule, howls of derisive laughter, etc?

  12. Wayne Mook says:

    I like that Snowy. Good solid image.

    Helen good luck with the all in one thing.

    Jan they have made a new Bill & Ted; Bill and Ted face the Music due out in August this year virus permitting. I like Matrix he works well in that, plenty of Alice in Wonderland and SPOILER It’s a reboot program. John Wick is good where he plays disgruntled of California, the main plot ex-hit man is upset so he shoots people in the head, very violent but I enjoyed it, the shooting in the head only makes sense if you see the film as it becomes almost surreal and cements the characters legendary status.


  13. Helen Martin says:

    Due to a non-existent wi-fi connection Ken had to load the image to a little thumb drive thingy. I can do all the stuff you say, Snowy, down to where one clicks the open button and the file will upload and then there will be a large list of links – only it doesn’t (upload) and there isn’t ( a long list.)
    I have neither stormed out nor burst into tears so far. Don’t know what the problem is.
    The badge is pretty great Snowy, but hmm.

  14. snowy says:

    Ok, umm… let’s go through a few steps.

    What are the last 3 letters of the filename, the ones after the ‘.’, I’d expect them to be jpg.

    There is a slight chance that they could be png, or even bmp, so next step would be to check that the file isn’t too big ie. “Images uploaded… are limited to 24Mb and 10k x 10k pixels”, so right click on the file, a small menu should appear with an option called something like ‘Properties’ or ‘Info’. Check File size is less than 24 Mb and Image size is less than 10k x 10k.

    If the file is too big on either count then the site is rejecting it.

    There should be options in the scanning screen to reduce the scanning resolution/change format so you can rescan it at a slightly reduced dpi/with compression. [Something like 90-300 dpi in jpg format].

    Knowing the make and model of the printer/scanner would help here!

    [I have a plan B, if that doesn’t work, so don’t think your efforts have been in vain.]

    [Not entirely sold on the ‘funky chicken’ myself, but what can you do with 4 lines and a dot? I’ve got a list of changes to make, [about 20], to see if I can knock it into some sort of better shape, but a raven is not a ‘sexy’ bird!]

  15. snowy says:

    I’ll take hmm…

    Revised extensively, [you would not believe how much!], from sketch to draft, [suitable for enamel or print].

    [Still a bit ‘Goth’, still not 100% happy, still prefer the one that uses what Keef drew, proper artist him!]

  16. Helen Martin says:

    I like the craftiness in that raven’s eye, Snowy and the outline certainly works.
    Am going to check on my non-functioning uplink and hardware particulars and get back to you. International IT work, I’ll owe you big time.

  17. snowy says:

    It’s the beak, that’s the problem. But if I stare at it too long I lose my ‘critical focus’ and have to give it a rest for a day.

    It needs to be somehow ‘crueler’, perhaps make the horizontal line thinner with a down stroke at each end?

    The eye ‘glint’ probably needs to be more ‘v’ shaped than ‘u’ shaped, [but still has to have a radiused tip].

  18. Helen Martin says:

    Have looked at crow and raven beaks and think the central line could be a little more level and the upper beak definitely needs a tiny hook over the lower one. There could even be a bit more of a “hump” in that upper beak.
    Looked at the details of my file and I don’t know the size because under type it says folder and the size is blank. Do I need to go back and save it in a different way? (Don’t know how he saved it originally.)My printer etc. is an Epson XP-830
    I would really like to fight this through to the end because it will have an effect on discussions I have in other venues. Yes, I am taking advantage of you, and you’ve no idea how grateful I am for this little project.

  19. snowy says:

    “Have looked at crow and raven beaks…”, I know what you mean, I’ve got another list of about 10 tweaks to make and I’ll copy your thoughts onto the list.

    Epson XP-830, nice, but a bit of a beast, at least it’s not some horror from HP. [Epsons can be refilled at home for about 1/100 of the price of buying new carts].

    If you are trying to upload a folder it will be rejected, so let’s test everything is OK from your browser to postimg:

    Open the link to my last horrible daub, and clip the ‘Download Original Image’ button, top left.

    This may automatically go into the Downloads folder, [if it asks you where you want to put it pick Pictures].

    Check where the picture has gone, it should be called enamel.png.

    Back to the postimg page. click ‘Upload’ button, this will take you to the upload page, using the orig. instructions try up loading the file, [enamel.png] from your computer, if you get a list of links then every thing is OK with up loading.

    Next test.

    Open the folder containing enamel.png, right click and select ‘Print’, when the print dialogue opens select Epson. If there is no print option it will offer to open it in a viewer and you can print it from there. This will confirm the computer is talking the printer, [and gives us a test page for the next step].

    Next test.

    [The Epson manual is less that helpful, so you may need to try a few variations, study the manual/on screen hekp closely.]

    Take the printed sheet and lift the automatic sheet feeder up to place the paper on the glass, image side down.

    Open the program called ‘Epson Scan’.

    Top right, select ‘Home Office’ mode, this just bypasses the Autp sheet feeder, you can set it back to ‘Office mode’ if you need it in the future.

    Press ‘Preview’ this will do a quick scan just to show a low res version of the image, and will confirm the computer is talking to the scanner. If all is well next step.

    Press ‘Scan’ button, this will do a full quality scan, [here the manual is less than useful], it should open a new/different window that shows the finished scan on the screen.

    On that screen there will be a ‘Save’ button, press that and a new dialog box will open asking you where you want to save it, select ‘Pictures’, change the filename to ‘test’, if it offers you a choice of format select .jpg.

    Press ‘OK’ or ‘Save’, this will save the completed scan in the folder called ‘Pictures’.

    Open the ‘Pictures’ folder to confirm it has been saved.

    Back to postimg, upload the file ‘test.jpg’ to postimg, it should upload and return a list of links.

    [If these steps fail, the printer may need re-installing, which can be tricky.

    If we need to re-install it would help if there was a restore point, created before you bought the printer. [The instructions for checking the availability of restore points, are available by searching for them using the Help function].

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