Archive for the ‘English Novelists’ Category

Pauline Baynes and J.R.R. Tolkien

January 25, 2016

Pauline Diana Baynes (9 September 1922 – 1 August 2008) was an English illustrator whose work can be found in more than one hundred books, notably several by J. R. R. Tolkien.

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Pauline Baynes was born in Hove, East Sussex. She spent much of her childhood in Farnham, studying at the Farnham School of Art (now the University for the Creative Arts) and eventually attended the Slade School of Fine Art.

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She worked for the Ministry of Defence, where she was soon transferred to a map-making department, and where she acquired skills that she later employed when she drew maps of Middle-Earth for J. R. R. Tolkien.

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In her obituary for The Daily Telegraph, Charlotte Cory described how Baynes and Tolkien came to be associated:

‘In 1948 Tolkien was visiting his publishers, George Allen & Unwin, to discuss some disappointing artwork that they had commissioned for his novella Farmer Giles of Ham, when he spotted, lying on a desk, some witty reinterpretations of medieval marginalia from the Luttrell Psalter that greatly appealed to him. These, it turned out, had been sent to the publishers ‘on spec’ by the then-unknown Pauline Baynes. Tolkien demanded that the creator of these drawings be set to work illustrating Farmer Giles of Ham and was delighted with the subsequent results, declaring that ‘Pauline Baynes has reduced my text to a commentary on her drawings’. Further collaboration between Tolkien and his Farmer Giles illustrator followed, and a lifelong friendship developed…’

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Tolkien wanted Pauline Baynes to illustrate The Lord of the Rings, but the book grew into a huge project that made that particular plan impractical. Nevertheless, Baynes created immaculately drawn and exquisitely coloured versions of the author’s maps of the lands travelled by Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.

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Baynes’ also designed a slipcase for the three volumes of Tolkien’s epic:

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The slipcase illustrations were later adapted for the cover for the original one-volume 1973 paperback edition – an indispensable prop of the seventies generation – with its evocative landscape of Middle-Earth viewed through a doorway of yellow, over-arching trees.

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The same designs were used for the 1981 three volumes edition.

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Eventually, a drawing by Pauline Baynes was used to illustrate Tolkien’s final hobbit piece, the poem, Bilbo’s Last Song:

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which appeared as a poster in 1974:

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and then as a book in 1990:

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Pauline Baynes was for a long while the only Tolkien illustrator of note.

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Her work was approved by Tolkien himself, but faded from view as the Tolkien industry began to expand in the late seventies and other artists quickly crowded the field, many of whom lacked Pauline Baynes’ subtlety and sympathy for the material.

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Pauline Baynes and J.R.R. Tolkien

© R J Dent 2016

Follow R J Dent’s work on:

website: http://www.rjdent.com/

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Bookbuster – a great bookshop in Hastings

November 5, 2013

Bookbuster is a wonderful book shop in Hastings that is open 7 days a week.

 

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The proprietor of Bookbuster is Tim Barton, a St. Leonards-based cultural entrepreneur with many years experience in the book trade.

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Tim has opened his cheekily-named bookshop, Bookbuster, in premises formerly occupied by a gone-bust Blockbuster DVD rental store.

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Tim believes in bookshops and what bookshops offer customers: “I don’t think you can beat a physical bookstore, where you are free to browse,” he says.

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Bookbuster is generating a lot of interest among book-lovers. Tim says: “The fact that there has been so much interest so far is fantastic.”

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Although the shelves offer many new titles, the shop has an extensive and eclectic range of books that seem to appeal to all ages and interests.

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With new stock arriving daily, a calendar full of author signings, readings, poetry slams and other literary events, and an ambient soundtrack playing to ensure customers linger longer, Bookbuster is proving to be a valuable business that gives a great deal to the Hastings reading community.

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There is also a significant second-hand book section that – along with a selection with some well-chosen perennial titles – offers collectors the chance to obtain copies of rare editions and signed delights from Iain Sinclair, the late Iain Banks and Tom Sharpe, amongst others.

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BookBuster is an independent bookshop in Queen’s Road, Hastings. There is a huge range of stock. Bookbuster is full of literary treasures and, because of Tim Barton’s depth of knowledge regarding authors and books of every type and genre, the shop is something of a cultural oasis. It is very good news for Hastings and for book-lovers and bibliophiles.

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BookBuster is at 39 Queen’s Road, Hastings. Opening hours: 9.30am-5.30pm Monday to Saturday; 11-5 Sundays.

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There are author readings, author signings, lectures, poetry readings and live music at BookBuster throughout the year.

 

outdoors

BookBuster

39 Queen’s Road

Hastings

TN34 1RL

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BookBuster facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/BlueGreenEarthBooks

 

 

Follow R J Dent’s work on:

Website: http://www.rjdent.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4

Blog: https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

twitter: https://twitter.com/RJDent

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rjdentwriter

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Michael Baldwin (1930-2014)

September 4, 2010

 

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Michael Baldwin, poet, novelist, essayist and short story writer, was born on May 1st, 1930 in Gravesend, Kent. He died on February 3rd, 2014.

Here is the Guardian’s obitituary:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/feb/19/michael-baldwin

And here is an essay on Ted Hughes, written by Michael Baldwin:

http://ann.skea.com/MichaelBaldwinMemoir1.htm

And here is a letter written by one of his former students:

http://www.theguardian.com/global/2014/mar/28/michael-baldwin-obituary-letter

And here’s Anthony Wilson’s appreciation of his book, The Way to Write Poetry:

http://anthonywilsonpoetry.com/tag/michael-baldwin-poet/

Michael Baldwin grew up in Gravesend and Meopham, and was educated in the local Grammar school and then Oxford, followed by service in the Coast Artillery Regiment of the Thames and Medway estuary. Many of his published stories and poems are based in the Medway area of Kent.

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Before becoming a full-time writer, Michael Baldwin worked as a teacher, university lecturer and broadcaster. He has written for radio, stage and film; and his Thames TV series Writer’s Workshop won a Rediffusion Prize as well as awards at many international festivals. His verse play, All American Bust was performed at the Royal Court Theatre.

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and former chairman of the Arvon Foundation at Lumb Bank, Michael Baldwin gained a Japan award for his work in documentary television, and a Cholmondeley Award for his volume of poetry King Horn, a collection written by Michael Baldwin during the years he lived in the south of France. 

 

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He has judged national and international writing competitions and was for many years a judge of the Daily Mirror/W H Smith Young Writers Competition.

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Michael Baldwin has taught creative writing at the Arvon Foundation, Fen Farm, Las Cabanes, the University of North Carolina, and at Skyros. He was Head of English and Drama at Whitelands College, Putney, and a Principal Lecturer at the Roehampton Institute.


Michael Baldwin is the author of twelve novels, including: There’s a War On, Miraclejack, The Rape of OC, Exit Wounds, Holofernes, Dark Lady and The First Mrs Wordsworth.

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His volumes of autobiography include Grandad with Snails and In Step with a Goat.

Michael Baldwin is also the author of several short story collections, a number of non-fiction works, and several volumes of prize-winning poetry, including Buried God, Hob and Other Poems, King Horn and Death on a Live Wire.

 


In order to give an indication of the power of Michael Baldwin’s poetry, here is Death on a Live Wire:

 

Treading a field I saw afar

A laughing fellow climbing the cage

That held the grinning tensions of wire,

Alone, and no girl gave him courage.

 

Up he climbed on the diamond struts,

Diamond cut diamond, till he stood

With the insulators brooding like owls

And all their live wisdom, if he would.

 

I called to him climbing and asked him to say

What thrust him into the singeing sky:

The one word he told me the wind took away,

So I shouted again, but the wind passed me by

 

And the gust of his answer tore at his coat

And stuck him stark on the lightning’s bough;

Humanity screeched in his manacled throat

And he cracked with flame like a figure of straw.

 

Turning, burning, he dangled black,

A hot sun swallowing at his fork

And shaking embers out of his back,

Planting his shadow of fear in the chalk.

 

O then he danced an incredible dance

With soot in his sockets, hanging at heels;

Uprooted mandrakes screamed in his loins,

His legs thrashed and lashed like electric eels;

 

For now he embraced the talent of iron,

The white-hot ore that comes from the hill,

The Word out of which the electrons run,

The snake in the rod and the miracle;

 

And as he embraced it the girders turned black,

Fused metal wept and great tears ran down

Till his fingers like snails at last came unstuck

And he fell through the cage of the sun.

 

© Michael Baldwin (1962)

 

Bibliography

Novels:

     A World of Men

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    A Mouthful of Gold

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    Miraclejack

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    The Great Cham

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    There’s a War On

    Exit Wounds

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    The Cellar

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    The Gamecock

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    Holofernes

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    Ratgame

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    The Rape of OC

    The First Mrs Wordsworth

    Dark Lady


Short Stories:

    Sebastian and Other Voices

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    Underneath and Other Situations

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Poetry:

 

    Silent Mirror

    Voyage from Spring

    Death on a Live Wire

    How Chas Egget Lost His Way in a Creation Myth

    Buried God

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    Hob (and Other Poems)

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    Snook

    King Horn

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Non-Fiction:

 

    Poetry without Tears

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    The River and the Downs: Kent’s Unsung Corner

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    Writing in Kent since 1900 (1986 Kent Literature Festival Brochure)

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    The Way to Write Poetry

    The Way to Write Short Stories

Autobiography:

 

    Grandad with Snails

    In Step with a Goat

Michael Baldwin is an incredibly gifted writer of poetry, novels, short stories and non-fiction.

Here is a short film of R J Dent’s collection of Michael Baldwin books:

 

Read any books by Michael Baldwin because he is worth reading.

Here is another powerful poem by Michael Baldwin. This one is called Social Study:

Social Study

 

While my mother ate her heart out

And my father chewed the chairs

My sister worked in a factory

Calmly degutting pears:

 

 

The green pears like spinach

And the yellow pears like sick

She gently disembowelled

With a deft little flick.

 

 

She never seemed to worry

Or share the family fears

But thoughts like bees were buzzing

Inside her golden ears:

 

She jilted a tin-carpenter

And then a labeller’s mate,

And finally she married

The man who nails the crate.

 

 

She had two lovely children

Called Dorothy and Clem —

They’re hanging her tomorrow

For calmly degutting them.

 

© Michael Baldwin (1962)

 

Note from R J Dent: ‘Here’s the complete poem Social Study copied from Here Today, the anthology edited by Ted Hughes, which is the only collection I can find this particular poem in. I’ve transcribed it exactly, taking care over every detail, including the punctuation. The above is exactly as MB wrote it. I’ve included it here as many people have searched for Social Study and have been unable to find it. Along with Death on a Live Wire, Social Study is regarded by many as one of Michael Baldwin’s finest poems.’

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The final words are from Michael Baldwin:

‘In the past reviewers have found my work violent. All I can say is that it must be. The world is.’

                           (Michael Baldwin – December 1962)

 


www.rjdent.com

 

John Fowles

June 4, 2010

John Fowles (31 March 1926 – 5 November 2005) was an English novelist, poet and essayist. In 2008, The Times newspaper named John Fowles among their list of ‘The 50 greatest British writers since 1945’.



His first published novel was The Collector (1963).



It is about a lonely young man, Frederick Clegg, who works as a clerk in a city hall, and collects butterflies in his spare time. After winning some money, Clegg kidnaps a girl and keeps her prisoner in his house. Here’s the trailer of the film adaptation:


Fowles’ next book was The Aristos, a non-fiction work, subtitled ‘A Self-Portrait in Ideas’.



The Aristos is Fowles’ attempt to articulate a philosophy of life.


Fowles’ next publication was The Magus (1966). It was the first novel he’d written (but the second novel he published.



The Magus tells the story of Nicholas Urfe, a teacher on a small Greek island. Urfe finds himself embroiled in psychological illusions of a master trickster that become increasingly dark and serious. Fowles has written an article about his experiences in the island of Spetses and their influence on the book, and he has also specifically acknowledged some literary works in his foreword to the revised version of The Magus. These include Le Grand Meaulnes (1913), by Alain-Fournier, for showing a secret hidden world to be explored, and Jefferies’ Bevis (1882), for projecting a very different world. Fowles also refers in the revised edition of the novel to a Miss Havisham, a likely reference to Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations (1861).


Here’s a clip from the movie starring Michael Caine:



Fowles’ next novel was The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969).


It is a period novel inspired by the 1823 novel Ourika, by Claire de Duras, which Fowles translated to English during 1977 (and revised and published in 1994).


Here is the trailer of the film, scripted by Harold Pinter:


Fowles was a great aficionado of Thomas Hardy, and, in particular, likened his heroine, Sarah Woodruff, to Tess Durbeyfield, the protagonist of Hardy’s popular novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891).


In 1973, Fowles published a collection of Poems.



Fowles’ next work of fiction was The Ebony Tower (1974).


 

The Ebony Tower is a collection of five short novels with interlacing themes, built around a medieval myth: The Ebony Tower, Eliduc, Poor Koko, The Enigma and The Cloud. Here’s an extract from The Ebony Tower TV adaptation, starring Laurence Olivier:



After revising and re-issuing The Magus: A Revised Version (1977), Fowles published Daniel Martin in 1977.


Daniel Martin has been taken as a Bildungsroman, following the life of the eponymous protagonist. The novel uses both first and third person voices, whilst employing a variety of literary techniques such as multiple narratives and flashback. The author suggests that the book is concerned with ‘Englishness – what it is like to be English in the late 20th century.’ To many, it is Fowles’ least successful novel.


The Tree (1979) is an autobiographical book by John Fowles.


In it, Fowles discusses the essence of nature and its relation to the creative arts and especially writing.


In 1982, Fowles published Mantissa, his first new full-length novel since 1969’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman.


Mantissa is a razor-sharp comedy; a battle of the sexes fought within a man’s disintegrating mind.


A Maggot (1985) is Fowles’ sixth major novel.


Its title, as the author explains in the prologue, is taken from the archaic sense of the word that means ‘whim’, ‘quirk’, ‘obsession’, or even a snatch of music. Another meaning of the word ‘maggot’ becomes apparent later in the novel, used by a character to describe a white, oblong machine that appears to be a spacecraft. Though the author denies that A Maggot is a historical novel, it does take place during a precise historical time-frame, May 1736 to February 1737, in England. It might be variously classified as historical fiction, mystery, or science fiction. Because of the narrative style and various meta-fictional devices, most critics classify A Maggot as a postmodern novel. It is John Fowles’ last work of fiction.


Wormholes – Essays and Occasional Writings is a book containing writings from four decades by the English author John Fowles.


It was published in 1998. Most of the contents are short, non-fiction pieces that had been written for various purposes since 1963, including forewords to other authors’ books, and pieces written for science journals or other periodicals.


Finally, there are The Journals – Volume 1 (2003), and The Journals – Volume 2 (2006), which chart John Fowles’ early life (Volume 1) and writing career (Volume 2).


Here’s a complete bibliography:


  • (1963) The Collector
  • (1964) The Aristos
  • (1965) The Magus
  • (1969) The French Lieutenant’s Woman
  • (1973) Poems
  • (1974) The Ebony Tower
  • (1974) Shipwreck
  • (1977) The Magus (A Revised Version)
  • (1977) Daniel Martin
  • (1978) Islands
  • (1979) The Tree
  • (1980) The Enigma of Stonehenge
  • (1982) A Short History of Lyme Regis
  • (1982) Mantissa
  • (1985) A Maggot
  • (1985) Land
  • (1990) Lyme Regis Camera
  • (1994) Ourika (by Claire de Duras) Translated by John Fowles
  • (1998) Wormholes – Essays and Occasional Writings
  • (2003) The Journals – Volume 1
  • (2006) The Journals – Volume 2

Here is a short film (by R J Dent) about the works of John Fowles:

If you’re new to John Fowles, it might be worth starting with The Collector, The (revised) Magus, The French Lieutenant’s Woman or Mantissa. That way you get John Fowles at his best.


www.rjdent.com





Rupert Thomson

January 2, 2010

Rupert Thomson (born 1955) is an English novelist who has published ten novels and a memoir to date.

         Rupert Thomson

Rupert Thomson was born in Eastbourne, on the south coast of England in 1955. He was educated at Christ’s Hospital School and Cambridge University.

After working as a copywriter in London, he moved to Italy in 1982, and then lived for a while in Barcelona. He currently resides in London.

His novels are:

Dreams of Leaving (1987)

 

The Five Gates of Hell (1991)

 

Air & Fire (1993)

 

The Insult (1996)

Soft! (1998)

 

The Book of Revelation (1999)

 

Divided Kingdom (2005)

 

Death of a Murderer (2007)

 

This Party’s Got to Stop (2010) – a memoir.

 

Secrecy (2013)


Katherine Carlyle (2015)

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Rupert Thomson’s novels are complex, unpredictable, multi-layered and disconcerting. The best five, in no particular order are: Katherine Carlyle, The Book of Revelation, Divided Kingdom, Soft! and Dreams of Leaving. The others are very good, and definitely worth reading.

The Book of Revelation has been made into a film. Here’s a trailer:

Follow this link

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Book_of_Revelation_(film)

for more information on the film.

Try reading one of Rupert Thomson’s novels. They’re not comfortable reads, but you won’t be disappointed. Rupert Thomson’s books can be found at:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rupert-Thomson/e/B0034OW4Z8/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1461420841&sr=1-2-ent

www.rjdent.com

George G. Gilman’s Edge – A New Kind of Western Hero

October 26, 2008

Jamie Hedges counted six riders and there should have been only one.

 

That was is the opening sentence of Edge: The Loner, in which George G. Gilman unleashed his psychopathic western anti-hero Edge onto the world.

 

 

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Obviously inspired by the violence, the heat, the dust and the bloodshed that were the iconic and instantly recognizable features of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns – films that attracted millions of viewers to the cinema during the late sixties and early seventies – George G. Gilman (a pen-name for Terry Harknett) eschewed the puritanical and moralistic conventions of the generic and standardized cowboy stories that were the staple of the western genre and relocated them in brand-new violent territory. Before long the name Edge would become synonymous with the essential reading of any dedicated or ‘real’ fan of Western fiction.

Edge was billed ‘a new kind of western hero’. Later on in the series, he was billed ‘a man alone’. Gilman deliberately emphasized Edge’s loner status: the half-breed psychopath, the western outsider, the amoral existentialist. Initially the Edge novels were novels of pursuit, later they became a series of one-off Edge adventures, with each novel containing an extremely violent dénouement.

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a list of the ‘complete’ Edge series:

Edge #1: The Loner (1972)

Edge #2: Ten Thousand Dollars, American (1972)

Edge #3: Apache Death (1972)

Edge #4: Killer’s Breed (1972)

Edge #5: Blood On Silver (1973)

Edge #6: The Blue, The Grey And The Red (1973)

Edge #7: California Killing (1973)

Edge #8: Seven Out of Hell (1973)

Edge #9: Bloody Summer (1974)

Edge #10: Vengeance is Black (1974)

Edge #11: Sioux Uprising (1974)

Edge #12: The Biggest Bounty (1974)

Edge #13: A Town Called Hate (1975)

Edge #14: The Big Gold (1975)

Edge #15: Blood Run (1975)

Edge #16: The Final Shot (1975)

Edge #17: Vengeance Valley (1976)

Edge #18: Ten Tombstones to Texas (1976)

Edge #19: Ashes and Dust (1976)

Edge #20: Sullivan’s Law (1976)

Edge #21: Rhapsody in Red (1976)

Edge #22: Slaughter Road (1977)

Edge #23: Echoes of War (1977)

Edge #24: The Day Democracy Died (1978)

Edge #25: Violence Trail (1978)

Edge #26: Savage Dawn (1978)

Edge #27: Death Drive (1978)

Edge #28: Eve of Evil (1978)

Edge #29: The Living, the Dying and the Dead (1979)

Edge #30: Waiting for a Train (1979)

Edge #31: The Guilty Ones (1979)

Edge #32: The Frightened Gun (1979)

Edge #33: The Hated (1980)

Edge #34: A Ride in the Sun (1980)

Edge #35: Death Deal (1980)

Edge #36: Town on Trial (1981)

Edge #37: Vengeance at Ventura (1981)

Edge #38: Massacre Mission (1981)

Edge #39: The Prisoners (1982)

Edge #40: Montana Melodrama (1982)

Edge #41: The Killing Claim (1982)

Edge #42: Bloody Sunrise (1983)

Edge #43: Arapaho Revenge (1983)

Edge #44: The Blind Side (1984)

Edge #45: House on the Range (1984)

Edge #46: The Godforsaken (1984)

Edge #47: The Moving Cage (1984)

Edge #48: School for Slaughter (1985)

Edge #49: Revenge Ride (1985)

Edge #50: Shadow of the Gallows (1985)

Edge #51: A Time for Killing (1986)

Edge #52: Brutal Border (1986)

Edge #53: Hitting Paydirt (1986)

Edge #54: Backshot (1987)

Edge #55: Uneasy Riders (1987)

Edge #56: Doom Town, London (1987)

Edge #57: Dying is Forever (1987)

Edge #58: The Desperadoes (1988)

Edge #59: Terror Town (1988)

Edge #60: The Breed Woman (1989)

Edge #61: The Rifle (1989)

The Edge adventures finally stopped arriving on bookstore shelves in 1989. That was it. To all intents and purposes, the series, although it hadn’t been officially concluded, was over. For many years, there would be no more Edge novels.

What’s left from those heady days of very violent, but very well-written westerns is a  61-book series of NEL paperbacks, 3 Edge/Steele novels, and 6 e-books that continue Edge’s adventures after Edge #61: The Rifle.

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The series of six new books is titled Edge: The Return. The titles are:

The Quiet Gun (Edge: The Return, #1)

The Deputy (Edge: The Return, #2)

The Outrage (Edge: The Return, #3)

Killing Time in Eternity (Edge: The Return, #4)

Return to Massacre Mesa (Edge: The Return, #5)

Name on the Bullet (Edge: The Return, #6)

 

George G. Gilman (Terry Harknett)

I enjoyed reading the Edge series of books very much and I was sorry to see the series come to an untimely (and unexplained) end. Each novel was very fast-paced, and all of them were written in a style that mixed violence, sex, black humour and the western landscape in a very compelling way.

It would, of course, be wonderful if George G. Gilman were to write a final Edge adventure, tying up all the loose ends and providing a fitting conclusion to his stories and a fitting end to his charismatic anti-hero.

Note: If you are interested in reading the further adventures of Edge in 6 e-books written by George G. Gilman, click on the link below:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/George-G.-Gilman/e/B0034PSQWM/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1378132396&sr=1-2-ent

George G. Gilman’s Edge – A New Kind of Western Hero

Copyright © R J Dent (2009 & 2016)

www.rjdent.com

 

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Angela Carter’s Lycanthropy

October 19, 2008
Angela Carter

  Angela Carter

 

If only Angela Carter had written a werewolf novel. She intended to – until cancer took her from us on February 16th 1992. Salmon Rushdie, a personal friend of Angela Carter’s wrote: ‘To watch The Company of Wolves, the film Angela Carter made with Neil Jordan, weaving together several of her wolf-narratives, is to long for the full-scale wolf-novel she never wrote.’

Angela Carter worked with director Neil Jordan on the script for the film. The Company of Wolves. Whilst based upon the short story of the same name from The Bloody Chamber, the plot of the film bears a resemblance to Angela Carter’s 1980 adaptation of The Company of Wolves radio play, which introduced such elements as the additional stories being told within the narrative by the characters themselves, such as Granny.

In an L.A. Weekly interview, Neil Jordan said: “In a normal film you have a story with different movements that program, develop, go a little bit off the trunk, come back, and end. In this film, the different movements of the plot are actually separate stories. You start with an introduction and then move into different stories that relate to the main theme, all building to the fairy tale that everybody knows. The opening element of the dreamer gave us the freedom to move from story to story.”

The original screenplay (as presented in The Curious Room) also featured an additional story being told by the huntsman, a very different final tale by Rosaleen (reminiscent of Carter’s Peter and the Wolf from her collection Black Venus) and a scene set in a church with an animal congregation.

Company-of-wolves-poster

Circuses, fairgrounds, freaks, mannequins, wolves, shape-shifters, Erl-kings, murderers, ghost trains, toyshops, castles, fairy tales, myths, legends, enchanted woods and mysterious forests – these are Angela Carter’s literary currency. In many ways she’s an English female version of Ray Bradbury; her writing is infused with a sense of wonder; a bitter-sweet nostalgia for what never was, and an ability to recast the modern as the mythological.

Carter’s book, The Bloody Chamber is packed with twisted, post-modern fairy tales, and contains enough howling wolves, spooky forests, haunted castles, mountain paths, psychopaths, woodcutters and shape-shifters to fill a book of Transylvanian folk tales. And every story has a powerful message that is delivered in an entertaining way. Serious stuff then, but also funny, tragic, comic, insightful, profound, hilarious, unsettling and powerful.

 

 

 

 

Angela Carter’s other books, particularly Nights at the Circus, Wise Children, Black Venus, Fireworks, and The Magic Toyshop are exceptional works. Her radio plays, collected as Come Unto These Yellow Sands are worth reading too.

Here’s a list of Angela Carter’s books:

 

Shadow Dance (1965) – a novel

The Magic Toyshop (1967) – a novel

Several Perceptions (1968) – a novel

Heroes and Villains (1969) – a novel

Love (1971) – a novel

The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr. Hoffman (1972) – a novel

Fireworks: Nine Profane Pieces (1974) – short stories

The Passion of New Eve (1977) – a novel

Comic and Curious Cats (1979) – children’s story

The Sadeian Woman: An Exercise in Cultural History (1979)

The Bloody Chamber (1979) – short stories

Nothing Sacred: Selected Writings (1982) – essays

Come Unto These Yellow Sands: Four Radio Plays (1985)

Black Venus (1985) – short stories

Nights at the Circus (1985) – a novel

Wise Children (1991) – a novel

Expletives Deleted (1992) – essays

The Virago Book of Fairy tales (Editor) (1992)

The Second Virago Book of Fairy Tales (Editor) (1992)

Wayward Girls and Wicked Women (Editor) 1993)

American Ghosts and Old World Wonders (1993) – short stories

Burning Your Boats: Collected Short Stories (1995)

Shaking a Leg: Collected Journalism and Writings (1996)

The Curious Room: Collected Dramatic Works (1997)

Sea-Cat and King Dragon (2000) – children’s story

The Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault (Translator) (2008)

Unicorn: The Poetry of Angela Carter (2015)

 

Here is a short film (by R J Dent) about the works of Angela Carter:

 

Angela Carter’s writing, like Anna Kavan’s, does not fit into an easy category. Hers is a unique voice, one that should be heard/read by more people. Start with The Company of Wolves and go on from there. Angela Carter’s books are worth reading: she’ll take you on a long, strange, and wonderful trip.

 

Angela Carter’s books are available at:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Angela-Carter/e/B000APF7OY/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1462216395&sr=1-2-ent

 

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Angela Carter’s Lycanthropy

Copyright © R J Dent (2013)

 

 

www.rjdent.com

 


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