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Friday, August 29, 2014

Comic Cuts - 29 August 2014

(* For unknown reasons, my internet connection has been playing up for a couple of days. Uploads and downloads are painfully slow when it's working and the connection has a habit of dropping out while I'm trying to save. So... this may be a bit short and under-illustrated. I'll do my best but if that's the case you'll know why.)

I'm making progress on our next book and should be heading into the approvals phase shortly. With the Bank Holiday upon us last weekend I kicked back and did a couple of bits and bobs that needed to be done, including a little bit of backing-up on my computer and looking at the lawn and deciding whether or not it needs cutting. Unwilling to rush such a major decision (especially on a weekend), I managed to keep the negotiations going until the rain came and made it a moot point.

The rain arrived on Monday and didn't cease for 25 hours and the lawnmower hasn't emerged from the shed. We risked dissolving by heading off to a local exhibition on the history of our new (four years one month) home town put together by the Wivenhoe History Group. I'm interested in authors and artists so I was hoping that there might be something on that subject. I couldn't find anything specific but there were an awful lot of scrapbooks that I never had a chance to look into. We did have a chat with the chap who was running the exhibition and I told him of the surprise I had whilst researching a piece on Dave Wallis, author of Only Lovers Left Alive, who (it turned out) used to live just down the road from where I'm writing this.

Other local authors include children's author Leila Berg, Elizabeth Jeffrey, author of historical novels, Belinda Starling, who wrote The Journal of Dora Damage before dying tragically young, regency novelist Fenella J. Miller and SF author Keith Brooke. I gather Nicholas Joll, author of Philosophy and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, is also local; children's author Neil Jones (who also works on the Evening Gazette newspaper) may also be a Wivenhoevian. (I think I just made up that last word.)

There were hundreds of photographs of local people and local places. The notable locals looked severe and unyielding in portraits, while the shipbuilders and cargo loaders who worked at the local docks were smiling and dirty. There were a lot of beards, some ridiculously bushy, and boats. This was a shipbuilding area up until around 1961 and that industry dominated the photos. Captain Carter was given plenty of space. He was the Captain of the Royal Yacht Britannia on her maiden voyage in 1893. There's a blue plaque dedicated to Carter on a house just around the corner.

There were a couple of other things that I found very interesting and which I'm planning to find out a little more about: The Wivenhoe Flyer, built in 1909, the Volta pocket submarine, built during WW2 and The Man in the Iron Mask, who, for a bet, tried to walk around parts of the world without showing his face. How could anyone resist digging down into that little story.

As I've been writing about dystopian fiction, I've gathered together a few cover images that I'll run over the next few weeks. First up, Fred Pohl and C M Kornbluth's satire Gladiator-at-Law. Set in a future where corporations produce massive, violent celebratory arena games, it was first published by Ballantine Books in 1955, with a cover by Richard Power. The same cover was used on the 1958 Digit Books edition. The two Pan Books editions date from 1966 and 1974.

I have some bits lined up for the weekend... a look at one of the writers for Boardman's Okay annuals and hopefully a Helen MacInnes cover gallery, but it all depends on whether the internet can sort itself out. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

P.S. The tomato count is 108 from our two plants, including 83 from the cherry tomato plant. We're both turning slightly red.

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