Archive for January 24, 2023

Hard Copy

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2023 by dcairns

I now own my own book(s) in physical form: We Used Dark Forces (Dennis Wheatley + HP Lovecraft + Agatha Christie rendered as WWII SF whodunnit black comedy) is joined by Is Your Journey to the Centre of the Earth Really Necessary? (Jules Verne + Edgar Rice Burroughs + Sax Rohmer + Robert E Howard rendered as WWII SF epic fantasy black comedy). You can see above how much chunkier the new one is than its predecessor, but you can’t see that the print for some reason is both larger and more spacious which makes it hard to tell how much longer it really is.

One reason it’s long is that I decided to follow the genre requirement, as I remembered it from childhood favourites like JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH, THE LOST WORLD and (the wretched) ISLAND AT THE TOP OF THE WORLD — it should always take a frustratingly long time for the characters to actually get started on their voyage. This sense of an endless wait was probably a function of my being a kid when I saw these films, and thus much much more interested in the dinosaurs etc than the people who were going to meet them. I wasn’t unique in this: when Spielberg made his first JURASSIC PARK sequel, he followed the advice of kids who had written to him saying Please don’t make us wait so long for the dinosaurs this time. Following their advice helped make the second film worse.

In fact, I think the characters failing to get started is some of my favourite stuff in this book, though it’s possible it could have benefitted from pruning. I’m a bit embarrassed about how fat the book is — like Paul Thomas Anderson when he realised MAGNOLIA was gonna be three hours.

Being sick for almost three weeks has allowed me to make excellent progress on volume 3, which seems to have a more robust structure than the first two — either this is because I’m actually improving, or it’s an illusion caused by the time travel theme, or it’s an illusion caused by me not being quite finished yet. I may be speaking too soon.

I’m a bit concerned that Amazon still hasn’t realised that the Kindle version (here) and the paperback (here) are the same book. Amazon admits this can happen but claims that it always gets sorted out in a week or two. Waiting.

Your complimentary extract: mad scientist camping anecdote.

I hadn’t been camping since boyhood, when I had briefly moved out of the rambling family abode at Bolventor (not far from my present campsite, actually) to observe the local fauna’s reaction to the special feed I’d been leaving out. That adventure had led to a hair-raising encounter with a mutated badger, which, nourished upon the special nutrients I’d supplied, had grown large as an ox and was as a consequence ravenously hungry. Our faithful groundskeeper, Couch, eventually found me, treed by the snorting behemoth, and felled the black monster with his twelve-bore, but not before it had wrenched off his left arm.

I learned to be wary of Couch’s hook after that.

The paperback lives here on Amazon UK. The US version is here. And here’s the Australian.