Thursday, 23 July 2009

What Did I Do Before TV and the Internet?

Been a while, I know. Stevie (the car), Scotland, my ISP and work have knocked the wind out of me of late. Work has reached the point where there is serious talk in the Fox/Hawksmoor household of quitting and moving 100 miles down the road to Chester.

While in Scotland, I read through El Sombra, the second in Abaddon Books’ Pax Brittania world. I’ve passed their first one, Unnatural History around a few people. I wrote an enthusiastic review of it for Steampunk Magazine #6. T’other Paul (we already had one Paul when he started) had it next and loved it like I did. ngaio and Allegra were less than impressed--Allegra didn’t even finish it, and ngaio only finished it so she could understand what T’other Paul and I were talking about.

El Sombra was better, in my opinion. In a small Mexican town, a masked vigilante fights to free his people from the Nazi’s. Loud, bright, explosive, no-holds-barred pulp action Saturday morning pictures extravaganza. Bereft of characters or moral ambiguities. Great fun.

Since coming back to Wales, I’ve also read Rob Grant’s Backwards. I’d read all the other Red Dwarf books years ago, but somehow never managed to get through to this one. Far better than Doug Naylor’s offering, The Last Human. Backwards had a stronger plot, better writing and one bit where I laughed out loud. I haven’t done that when reading a book since... blimey, I can’t recall a single time.

And I simply can’t forget to mention Ray Bardbury’s The Illustrated Man. Fahrenheit 451 is a book which has endured with me and I frequently say is my favourite. The Illustrated Man has some pretty good stories, and some amazing ones. The Highway, The Long Rain and Kaleidoscope are worth a mention. I find it hard to explain what I find so hypnotic about Bradbury’s writing. He’s like a magician: He’s standing there, nothing up his sleeves and you watch him wandering around on stage, perfectly ordinarily. And then he stops, and you realize he’s built this amazing, beautiful home to ideas which whisper gently to you when your brain is just running idle. If I knew how he did it, I’d be copying it. Without shame.

Scotland was an amazing experience. The most enduring part of has been the silence. We had no computers, no television and only watched one video the entire week. We had music playing just one evening, and that was it. There were no neighbours, no road and cars, no people walking around outside. Just the sea and the birds and the wind. Since coming back, Allegra and I only have the television if there’s a specific programme we want to watch. At the moment, it gets turned on at 8:00pm on Sunday for Top Gear, and back off again at 9:00pm. The elimination of just that background noise from out daily lives has made the whole world seem different.

I get +1 Geek Points for following @isaacasimov, and another +1 for buying a mobile so I can update my Twitter when I’m away from the ‘net. The mobile is a Motorola W377, a slim flip phone. I have vague ideas of turning it into something resembling a cigarette case.

The copies of Steampunk Magazine #6 are back from the layout guy. There’s a lot of proof-reading in my future. I may have only had a minor part in putting it together, but it’s going to be amazing to see it all there, together, just like a real magazine! And, of course, Of Mice and Journeymen is appearing in there. I’m very excited about that. My first paying story, ever!

1 comment:

Jo Thomas (journeymouse) said...

Ooooh! My inspiration got you paid? I'm so flattered!