Archive for the ‘books’ Category

It’s once again time for that new Hallowe’en tradition of All Hallow’s Read. On 31 October, or the days preceding, give away a scary book or three rather than handing over tricks or treats.

More information on All Hallow’s Read can be found here. Use the hashtag #AllHallowsRead on social media.

And once again Introverted Wife has done splendid posters for All Hallow’s Read. Posters for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013 can be found at the blog too.

All Hallow's Read 2014 1 How is a Raven like a Library?
All Hallow's Read 2014 2 The Pool of ReflectionsAll Hallow's Read 2014 3 Some BookAll Hallow's Read 2014 4 Light Grave Reading



Currently dubbed Project One, the new James Bond novel by Anthony Horowitz, creator of Foyle’s War and Alex Rider, will be published on 8 September 2015. The novel will be unique amongst the continuation novels in that it will be based on previously unseen material written by Ian Fleming. 

Set in the 1950s Project One will contain a section based upon a story treatment entitled Murder on Wheels that, along with material contained within the For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy and The Living Daylights story collections, was originally developed by Fleming for a potential James Bond TV series before the film series was created.

Set at the Nurburgring in Germany, Murder on Wheels would have seen 007 thwart a Russian plot to cause racing legend Stirling Moss to crash. Series regulars M and Miss Moneypenny are also included in the treatment.

Anthony Horowitz

Previously responsible for brilliantly resurrecting Sherlock Holmes in 2011’s The House of Silk (with a followup of Moriarty due this month) Horowitz will be following in the steps of recent continuation authors Sebastian Faulks, Jeffrey Deaver and Wiliam Boyd. Of the novels penned by this trio only Faulks’ Devil May Care has come close to evoking the spirit of Fleming’s 007. Deaver’s modern day reboot Carte Blanche failed to impress and Boyd’s Solo felt like a novel about African civil wars with Bond shoehorned in.

With a truly impressive author on board and the spirit of Bond’s creator as a jumping off point the signs for Project One are extremely positive.

The full press release from Ian Fleming Publications Ltd and the Ian Fleming Estate can be read here.

Neil Gaiman has confirmed on his website that both American Gods and Anansi Boys are coming to television.

American Gods 10 years

American Gods is being developed as a series by FremantleMedia, after being stuck in development hell at HBO for several years. Anansi Boys will be shown as a miniseries on the BBC with production being handled by RED (who previously produced Russell T Davies’ Queer As Folk for Channel 4).

Gaiman said about American Gods:

A few people have asked for more background on this: HBO had an option on American Gods for several years. It went through three different pilot scripts. HBO has a limited number of slots and, after a while, passed it to Cinemax, who are in the HBO family, who decided eventually they didn’t want to do it, and the option expired, which unfortunately meant we couldn’t work with Tom Hanks’ production company Playtone any longer, as they are exclusive to HBO. However, Stefanie Berk, who had been one of the brightest stars at Playtone, had recently moved to Freemantle, and was as determined as she had been when she was at Playtone to bring American Gods to the screen. And I was impressed by her determination.

FremantleMedia’s press release about American Gods can be read here.

Writer's BlockUndoubtedly there’s irony inherent in writing about writer’s block…

Once upon a time writing flowed easily from the brain and onto this blog. The Musings on Bond at 50 series, the Doctor Who and Sherlock reviews. Scribbled my notes in my notepad, collate them and craft hundreds and thousands of words around them. People liked my “musings”. My Musings got my noticed by HI! Magazine (now regenerated into The Geek Agenda) and I was invited to ramble on about Doctor Who and other geeky issues on their website.

Now it’s all a bit of a mess…

For the last few months it’s become increasingly difficult to craft the thoughts into appealing, informative and knowledgeable articles. I’ve just about gotten away with it but it’s become more and more difficult. The moment of realisation that I’m having serious trouble came during this last week when I tried to write about The Empty Hearse, the first episode of Sherlock‘s third series. I had notes and thoughts. I started writing. It looked ok. I compared the nascent work to the previous reviews of Sherlock that I’d written. The few hundred words that I’d crafted about The Empty Hearse were complete shit. Disorganised tirade of rubbish. Directionless nonsense infected with poor grammar. Deleted for all eternity. I want to write about the return of Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson in their three new adventures but it’s not going to happen for a while. Hopefully there will be disappointment that my views won’t be heard.

(For the record The Empty Hearse is basically Sherlock Holmes meets V For Vendetta with a hint of the London Underground scenes from Skyfall. And it cheated the audience by not revealing a definitive explanation for Sherlock’s survival).

The drop in quality has coincided with being diagnosed with bipolar disorder II and the prescribing of medication for the illness. The quetiapine leaves me excessively fatigued at times and all too often my creative process is completely fogged. Part of me really wants to dump the medication and get the writing mojo back. But I have a medical condition that requires treatment and I’d be a complete idiot to ignore the advice of my psychiatrist. All the same the temptation of getting creative juices flowing fully once again is hugely tempting.

At present I’ve also got musings on An Adventure in Space and Time and The Time of the Doctor (“brilliantly nostalgic” and “incoherently shit” respectively) to get done. I managed to do reviews of those for The Geek Agenda so hopefully I can get something comprehensible done in the near future by building and adapting. There’s load of information and knowledge trapped in my little grey cells. Ask me for data and I’d be able to pour it out. I just can’t be creative with it.

I’m not reading enough at present (hardly anything in fact) so perhaps a key element in getting the brain flowing effectively is to get the creativity of others inside my head. There’s Neil Gaiman’s complete Sandman (10 weighty “re-mastered” volumes in a shiny slipcase) awaiting my attention. There’s also several instalments of Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games trilogy demanding my attention.

I love writing. Writing is a release I need.

The Geek AgendaSince January 2013 I’ve been contributing articles to the online magazine HI! Magazine. An occasional music review and pieces on the Guildford Shakespeare Company have been a small part of my output but the main focus of my writing has been “geekier” matters, in particular Doctor Who (both classic era and revived era). I’m always surprised that a) my work is read, and b) my work is appreciated. I’m therefore delighted to be a tiny part of the imminent evolution of HI! Magazine from its current status as a general overview of life into something more catered for the exploding geek culture of the 21st century.

HI! Magazine is regenerating into The Geek Agenda. It’s the end…but the moment has been prepared for. The full announcement can be found here. It’s gratifying to read “articles on Doctor Who through the years brought a regular audience of Whovians”.

Once upon a time geeks were defined thus: “an unfashionable or socially inept person”. Now we’re defined thus: “a knowledgeable and obsessive enthusiast”. Like bow ties and fezzes we are cool.

The geeks are running the show in so many aspects of the entertainment universe. Current Doctor Who luminaries Russell T Davies, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss all grew up watching and obsessing over the adventures of the Doctor. Joss Whedon, a chief custodian of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is a self-acknowledged geek. Massive geek J J Abrams is now overseeing the two titans of the science fiction genre, Star Trek and Star Wars. And is there a more acclaimed and popular geek than Neil Gaiman whose work transcends genres?

A new website is coming soon but in the interim you can follow all the news for The Geek Agenda on their Twitter.

I’m excited to be aboard for The Geek Agenda. Please join the adventure.

Fortunately the Milk UK hardbackAfter reading Neil Gaiman’s Fortunately, the Milk a friend of mine declared that she would be reading this to her children. She currently doesn’t have children. She yearns for children. The desire to read Fortunately, the Milk to her offspring has increased her broodiness. In years to come Neil Gaiman may be responsible for a spike in births as couples become desperate to read his tome to their offspring.

The premise of Fortunately, the Milk is simple. A father has to go to the corner shop for milk so that his two children can have their cereal and, more importantly, so he can have his morning cup of tea. British readers will be appreciative of how important it is to get their morning cup of tea.

It takes an awfully long time for the father, who looks remarkably like Mr Gaiman in the glorious illustrations from Chris Riddell (for the UK edition anyway), to return with the milk. The children assume that he’s got stuck talking to someone he knows on the journey to and from the shop – as is often the case with parents.

When the father eventually returns he confesses to stopping to talk. But that wasn’t the main reason for his delay. His tardiness came from encounters with globby space aliens who wanted him to sign over owenership of the Earth to them, pirates who’d never heard of walking the plank, and primitive tribesmen wanting to sacrifice him to their volcano god.

Twitter - Neil Gaiman 2013-10-04Gaiman’s love of Doctor Who shines through with echoes of adventures such as The Aztecs, The Curse of the Black Spot and State of Decay. In a Twitter exchange with yours truly he declared that he wrote Fortunately, the Milk before the episode Dinosaurs On a Spaceship aired. Read the book and you’ll understand.

There’s also a hint of Douglas Adams, the Twilight saga, and the unreliable narrative of Keyser Söze from The Usual Suspects.

For the majority of his escapades the father (always keeping a firm grip on the milk) accompanies the brilliant Professor Steg, a Stegosaurus travelling through time in a Floaty-Ball-Person-Carrier who firmly stakes a claim to be the Thirteenth Doctor by the end of the book.

Fortunately, the Milk is a concise enjoyable romp through space and time for children and sophisticated adults. And if the grown ups don’t quite understand the intricacies of the time paradoxes surrounding the milk then a child will easily explain it to them.

Fortunately, the Milk by “Ridiculously Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman™” is published by Bloomsbury, RRP £10.99. 

All Hallows’ Read is a Hallowe’en tradition. It’s simply that in the week of Hallowe’en, or on the night itself, you give someone a scary book.

The origins of All Hallow’s Read lie in a proposal by that British fellow who writes rather entertainingly Mr Neil Gaiman.

More information on All Hallow’s Read here.

And below are some splendid posters from Introverted Wife for All Hallow’s Read 2013.

Use the hashtag #AllHallowsRead over at Twitter.

All Hallow's Read 2013 Fairy Witch All Hallow's Read 2013 Poe's Pumpkin All Hallow's Read 2013 Graveyard All Hallow's Read 2013 From Beneath

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Banner 01 Casino Royale Banner 02 Live And Let Die Banner 03 Moonraker Banner 04 Diamonds Are Forever Banner 05 From Russia With Love Banner 06 Dr No Banner 07 Goldfinger Banner 09 Thunderball Banner 10 The Spy Who Loved Me Banner 11 On Her Majesty's Secret Service Banner 12 You Only Live Twice Banner 13 The Man with the Golden Gun

Neil Gaiman has now announced around 2/3 of the cast for the Neverwhere 6 part Radio 4 audio adaptation. A truly epic cast under the guidance of the talented Dirk Maggs…

James McAvoy (Richard)
Natalie Dormer (Door)
David Harewood (Marquis)
Sophie Okonedo (Hunter)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Islington)
Anthony Head (Croup)
David Schofield (Vandemar)
Bernard Cribbins (Old Bailey)
Romola Garai (Jessica)
Sir Christopher Lee (Earl of Earl’s Court)
Andrew Sachs (Tooley)
George Harris (Abbot)
Don Gilet (Fulingous, Ruislip, Blackfriar)
Abdul Salis (Sable, Sump, Clarence, Homeless Man)
Paul Chequer (Gary, Guard 2)
Lucy Cohu (Lamia)
Yasmin Paige (Anaesthesia, Tenant 2 – female, Match girl)
Johnny Vegas (Lord Ratspeaker)
Stephen Marcus (Varney, Homeless man, Letting agent, Guard 1)
Karen Archer (Sylvia, Old Woman, Dream Hawker, Mother…)

Neverwhere - Hello Neil

To date Neil Gaiman has confirmed several actors and the characters they are portraying in the audio adaptation of Neverwhere.

James McAvoy (Richard Mayhew)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Angel Islington)
Natalie Dormer (Door)
David Harewood (The Marquis de Carabas)
Anthony Head (Mr Croup)
David Shofield (Mr Vandemar)
Bernard Cribbins (Old Bailey)

Actors with unconfirmed roles.
Romola Garai (Jessica?)
Sophie Okonedo (Hunter?)
Andrew Scott (?)
Maureen Lipman (Lamia?)
Sir Christopher Lee (The Earl?)