Saturday, January 31, 2009

Vacillating between decades

I’ve spent the week vacillating, unsure about leaping into the next section of the ‘Hellfire.’ I’m not sure why but I’m finding it hard to get Sarah to move forward and find her voice. Terry and Benjamin were easy, they came to me fully formed and I could visualise them on their journey, making decisions and their reactions. I’m not sure if it’s Sarah herself (perhaps the wrong name) or else the setting. I’m not a child of the 60s anymore than I was a child of the 1940s, but I know the war period better because it plays more of a part in our society. It was the turning point for the modern world. We studied it at school, we’ve watched it on the television (I think the History Channel shows nothing but), we’ve read the books and dissected the memories. The 60s is different, it’s my parent’s decade, not that far removed from my own and so seems too normal, too much like today. I’ll get their eventually, I just need to find my way in.

I’ve joined Twitter and rather than use it to tell you what I’ve been doing (which would be very dull and mainly consist of ‘On the computer....still on the computer....having a sandwich (chicken)....back on the computer’, I’ve putting up a story piece by piece. I’m not sure it will work as it’s a strange format. You’re limited to 140 characters per entry and everything must happen in the immediate past.

You can read it by signing up for Twitter and looking for me at (don’t try looking me up as for some reason Twitter does not return full results).

I’ve set up a map which show pictures from Hellfire London. You can find it here


‘The Resurrectionist’ has some great middle bits, a slow start and an ending that seems to have come from another book entirely. It tells the story of Gabriel Swift, a young man trying to become anatomist in 19th century London. Dazzled by the corruption of the city he falls in love with a prostitute and drink, falls on hard times and becomes a body snatcher. It had traits of Burke and Hare, with a well written grotty London serving as a back drop. 

I saw ‘Joker’ some time ago but put off reading it as I thought it was just a cash in to ‘The Dark Knight’ but it’s not and it’s good. Similar in idea to ‘The Killing Joke’ it examines the Joker, trying to understand what makes him tick, in this it money just as much as his own madness, which helps ground him a little more in reality. It’s the art work that really works here, with lush dark colours and the character picked out in hyper-realistic way.

I’ve heard of the ‘Young Bond’ series by comedian and writer Charlie Higson but never read any. Silverfin is a graphic novel but it doesn’t really work very well. It is aimed at kids but even so it’s just a little bit to easy, the story line flat with no real pay off.

Also read my first Doctor Who book by Mark Gatiss (another comedian / writer). Called Nightshade it follows the seventh Doctor as played by Sylvester McCoy and Ace. Ending up in England in 1968 (the same year as Hellfire) it shows the Doctor going through a bad patch due to a past adventure. Here the character is really quick dark and brooding, denying his companion the chance to lead him. It’s good but certainly more for fans and adults than children.

Read this week:

The Resurrectionist by James Bradley

Joker by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo

Silverfin by Charlie Higson

Nightshade by Mark Gatiss (read on an iphone).

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