Coming to Brum

Rog Peyton has asked me to mention that I shall be giving a talk to Birmingham SF Group (Brum Group, as I’ve known it for nearly half a century) in a couple of weeks. Probably just as well that he reminded me, as those fifty years are starting to take their toll on memory.

DATE: Friday, 9th March. TIME: 8:00pm. In the conference room on the first floor of The Briar Rose Hotel, Bennetts Hill, which is off New Street. All welcome, including non-members. (Admission for  non-members is £4.00. You don’t have to book — just turn up.)


Sam Youd

Today’s copy of the Guardian contains my obituary of Sam Youd, ‘John Christopher’, who died at the weekend. Like many obituaries, this was written to a tight deadline: I had less than four hours in which to research and write the piece, the research side of it being complicated by the fact that because of the heavy snow I was unable to get out of the house to consult more than the reference books I have on my shelf, and the internet.

One of the more irrelevant things I wanted to say (but lacked the space, so I suppose it was fortunate) was to remark on the weather. Sam Youd was born in a white-out blizzard in 1922; one of his best books was The World in Winter, published in a Penguin paperback during a terrible freeze in the early 1960s (I well remember buying it at an icy bookstall in Liverpool Street station); he died during the coldest weekend so far of this winter.

(Further text deleted.)


An Original Mind

I don’t know Adrian Hon, but he has an amazing way of thinking. His website Mssv has an analysis of The Islanders of such fierce intelligence that I gibbered in the cupboard under the stairs for half an hour afterwards. It’s an analysis, not a review, and whether he liked the book or not remains unsaid.

His chart of the islander themes is as close to a map of the Dream Archipelago as I’d allow. (I execrate the inclusion of maps in novels, as many people know.) But Hon’s chart is just that: a kind of flowchart of the psychic connections between islands and islanders. While not endorsing it entirely (I’m not certain I agree with it all) I’m happy to pass it on, partly for your pleasure of encountering an original thinker. While on his website, have a browse around. A lot of interesting stuff there.