Sunday, August 21, 2011


The Edinburgh Book festival has been excellent this year. Last night I saw Grant Morrison and today it was Neil Gaiman.

Morrison spoke knowledgeably about superheroes and time dilation, in that many of the attributes assigned to those who wear spandex is both a reinterpretation of god myths of old, as well as being stories written about our future selves and those humans who will become homo-extremis with the growth of technology.
Grant is a deep thinker, who probably spends just a little bit too much time examining meta-fictions and his own experiences of 'becoming the hero of his own story.' So much so, that he is in turn afflicted by the the same physical machinations as his characters.  I very much look forward to reading his new work 'Supergods,' a history of comic books and superheroes, interlaced with Morrison's own story.
Neil Gaiman is a firm favourite of mine. Today's talk was a reappraisal of 'American Gods,' a tenth anniversary celebration. Similar to Morrison, gods and humans intermingle in the modern world, the myths of human past intruding into modern America (or at least the US of 10 years ago).
It was made clear at the talk, hosted by the Guardian, that HBO is definitely pushing ahead with its endeavour to turn the book into a series. I can envisage 'American Gods making good television, unlike, (in my view), the unfilmable Sandman. If anyone can, then HBO is probably the best place for it to make the long journey to the small screen.
The first of many signings for Neil at the Edinburgh Book Festival
Afterwards I met with John McShane and had a pint. John is a comics guru (he owned the world renowned AKA Comics in Glasgow) and has many a yarn to spin on all the comic writers, artists and producers he's met over the years. I'm not sure if I can repeat many of his stories here, but they certainly help pass an afternoon!


The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham
I love Wyndham. I love the fact they're sci-fi trapped in a bubble of 1950s respectability. I love aliens attacking whilst the British finish tea and listen to the wireless to hear the events unfold. They are of their time, but the actual ideas are scary. Get beyond the nice manners and polite talk and Wyndham taps into phycological horror. He knows how to turn the screw.
The cuckoos of Midwich are children. Born to mothers who had not conceived naturally, all at the same time during a period when everyone in the town was in a coma. There is something wrong with the children, something not quite human; and it's this unnatural creeping horror that seeps through the novel.
My only problem with it, is that it finishes all to soon, and not all the ideas are fully explored, but don't be put off. This is a classic for a reason.

No comments: