With plenty of time off over the holiday period I’m doing a lot of reading, working my way through ‘London Lore’ by Steve Roud, a guide to the myths of the city which is helping me to create the world of the Gap. I’m also reading ‘The Writer’s Tale’ by Russell T. Davis of Dr Who fame which is him examining the role of the writer, where the ideas come from and pressures of making such a demanding show.
I’ve been filling in between both of these larger works with some short graphic and children’s works. Down in Buckingham in a charity shop I found several first edition Clive Barker books. Son of Celluloid is a horror work, and like many of Barker’s stories it starts off as one thing and then merges into another, subverting the idea of horror but still keeping the frights to a maximum. He seems quite happy calling on all genres and then twisting them to his own accord; I’ve always seen him more as a fantasy author who includes moments of pure horror.
Set in a cinema where a man has died resulting in the very building and its memories becoming an entity, it’s a quick precise tale let down only by the art work which is just a little bit bland.
“This Morning I Met a Whale” is a children’s environmental tale told by Michael Morpurgo from the point of view of a young boy who speaks to a whale stranded in the Thames. Based on a true story it’s a careful rendering of the environmental concerns of the moment without the sugar coating expected for a young persons work. The illustrations are wonderful pastels by Christian Birmingham that shows London as a luminous early morning city in a realistic and natural way.
Read this week:
Son of Celluloid by Clive Barker, Steve Niles and Les Edwards
This Morning I Met a Whale by Michael Morpurgo and Christian Birmingham