Author Archives: Timothy

June 08

From Granite to Sea by Alex Langstone

I enjoy reading Celtic folklore, and I’m pleased to find a new work which illuminates an area that has not previously been covered properly. A great deal of Cornish folklore was collected at the end of the Nineteenth Century, but the east of the county has been oddly neglected. Langstone’s book fills that void. Langstone’s […]

March 30

Little Demons by Danny Elfman

In 1991 Danny Elfman wrote a screenplay for a black comedy about three circus orphans who become serial killers. He wasn’t able to develop it beyond demo tracks for most of the songs, but eventually used some of the material for Tim Burton’s¬†Nightmare Before Christmas. The material has since found its way to the web, […]

The British Library’s “Harry Potter : A History of Magic” is now available on the web

To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the British Library curated an exhibition tying its holdings about magic to plot elements in the book series. Much of that material is now available through Google Art and Culture.¬† The Gold Coast Libraries have a heap of JK Rowling’s […]

January 18

Turtles all the way down by John Green

I don’t think I’ve ever read a better description of what it’s like to have obsessive compulsive disorder. Green quotes – I think it was Plath – in noting that language cannot directly explain the experience of pain. Many authors try to get through this using visual imagery, but that leads to problems like in […]

December 08

Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster-Bujold

Lois McMaster-Bujold is one of the grandmasters of science fiction. She’s has so many Hugo Awards they made up an extra one to hand her this year (Best Series). She’s been writing the Vorkosigan Saga for roughly forty years, and so it’s with some sadness I read this book, which feels like an ending. That’s […]

November 30

John Dies at the End by David Wong

The book is a horror comedy., mixing Lovecraftian themes and black humour. It’s the first novel by Jason Pargin, under the pen name of David Wong. Pargin is a prolific writer for the Cracked website, and there’s crossover in his style of humor. The novel was originally written as episodic blog posts, so structurally it […]

November 24

Riverworld by Philip Jose Farmer

In a single moment, everyone wakes. Everyone. Every human, ever, wakes on the banks of a river millions of miles long. They are naked, hairless and returned to their early twenties. Every infirmity is gone. Each has a cylinder tied to their wrist, which they discover provides three meals a day, and some other little […]

November 10

Great Narrative Poems of the Nineteenth Century

I know I’m pushing the ball uphill to convince people to try narrative poetry, but let’s give it a shot! In the 19th Century, the way of showing you were a wordsmith on the modern pop hit level was to write long poems, with stories in them, about passionate people doing foolish things. Many them […]

November 03

Nostalgic for Eighties crime, racism and sexism? Les Norton might be the hero you want.

The Les Norton books by Robert G. Barrett remind me of the early Bond novels, in that they are basically about a reactionary guy who can punch people who represent social change, and then have sex with their girlfriends. Those of you who are Bond fans may object: but in the movies he’s a lot […]

October 20

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

Elizabeth Gaskell wrote comedies of manners, and the material for Cranford was originally serialized. This means that each chapter is self-contained, much like a short story, and so the book has clear stopping points for light reading. Gaskell also had a side line in ghost stories. She and Dickens even collaborated on a mosaic novel. […]