Friday, June 24, 2022

Comic Cuts — 24 June 2022

What was meant to be a nice relaxing week, working at a nice steady pace, turned into a bit of a mare thanks to a rather poorly printed story that I had to clean up. Pages that I should have been able to rattle through became a bit of a chore that has taken me all week (so far, as I'm writing this on Thursday evening); I should be finished tomorrow, but I have some other strips to scan and clean up before the end of the month... which means that next week is also going to be a mad rush.

I get out for a walk twice a day, which has been for the most part in glorious sunshine, although I haven't benefited from the nice weather as much as I'd like. I slept through the thunderstorm last weekend, and we've only had passing showers where others have had downpours. (I've probably just cursed my walk for tomorrow morning, so... touch wood!) I need to keep up with the walks as I have put on half a stone since this time last summer. Not enough to cause me any great worries, but I could do with losing the additional pounds and a few more besides. I've made a couple of small adjustments to what I'm eating — part of the problem is that, with Mel back at work nowadays, it's so easy just to make a sandwich for lunch, and I'm convinced that one of the reasons I was able to lose weight during the lockdown periods was that I wasn't eating nearly as much bread. It's my kryptonite!

One benefit of the sunshine is that people have started putting out books that they want to get rid of. There isn't a lot of what I want — there's very little science fiction being read here in Wivenhoe and I haven't found a pre-decimal book for ages — but occasionally something turns up. I was surprised to find a couple of 1970s annuals in a box the other day, and I've picked up some odds and ends for cover galleries, usually different editions of books I already have, but welcome finds nonetheless. These include two SF novels (yes, I know I just said they don't turn up very often, but these were the first two in years), Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle and Len Deighton's SSGB... which makes me wonder if there isn't somebody local who is interested in alternate world yarns where Germany defeated the Allies. I shall have to keep my eyes open for others... Jo Walton's Farthing trilogy would be a welcome addition to my shelves, for instance.

I managed to update the British Library Crime Classics listing (scroll down for what is now probably the longest single post on Bear Alley) and also the weird fiction listing. They seem to have given up on science fiction... clearly not enough people in Wivenhoe reading SF and the one person who does is trying to save money by picking up books second hand or for free...

The Crime Classics now runs to over 100 titles, of which I probably have half. I haven't read one in a while, but then I seem to be taking forever to finish a book these days. I'm reading three... I'm slowly working my way through Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel, which is very good (as, I gather, is her new novel); for fun, and while I'm waiting at the bus stop for Mel of an evening, I'm reading Men, Martians and Machines by Eric Frank Russell as the beaten up, old style 'C' format paperback copy I have fits nicely in my back pocket; and I'm also reading through the latest collection of essays by Andrew Nette & Iain McIntyre, Dangerous Visions and New Worlds, which is up to the same standard as their previous two books, which I imagine most paperback collectors will be familiar with (Girl Gangs, Biker Boys and Real Cool Cats and Sticking It to the Man, links to reviews here on BA).

I'll end with some random scans of recent finds, a throwback to the old days of this blog when I was trawling through the charity shops of Colchester every Saturday.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder what Ian Fleming or John le Carré would have thought of Len Deighton's SS GB or even the latest Ipcress File TV series. They allegedly occasionally met up with Len Deighton but alas their meetings ended in arguments about who was best equipped to write the most realistic books. It's a shame all three focused on fiction. Fiction, fiction, fiction ... why are so many spy novels thus? Factual novels enable the reader to research more about what’s in the novel in press cuttings, history books etc and such research can be as rewarding and compelling as reading an enthralling novel. Furthermore, if even just marginally autobiographical, the author has the opportunity to convey the protagonist’s genuine hopes and fears as opposed to hypothetical stuff any author can dream up about say what it feels like to avoid capture. A good example of a "real" raw noir espionage thriller is the first novel in The Burlington Files series. Its protagonist, Bill Fairclough aka Edward Burlington, was of course a real as opposed to a celluloid spy and has even been likened to a "posh and sophisticated Harry Palmer". Apparently Bill Fairclough once contacted John le Carré in 2014 to do a collaboration. John le Carré replied "Why should I? I've got by so far without collaboration so why bother now?" A realistic response from a famous expert in fiction!



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