Sunday, 27 June 2010

Theatre of Cruelty - A Discworld short story by Terry Pratchett

Copyright © Terry Pratchett 1993
It was a fine summer morning, the kind to make a man happy to be alive. And probably the man would have been happier to be alive. He was, in fact, dead. It would be hard to be deader without special training.

"Well, now," said Sergeant Colon (Ankh-Morpork City Guard, Night Watch), consulting his notebook, "so far we have cause of death as a) being beaten with at least one blunt instrument b) being strangled with a string of sausages and c) being savaged by at least two animals with big sharp teeth. What do we do now, Nobby?"

Neil Gaiman wins Carnegie Medal

Following on from winning the Hugo award and Newbery Medal, Neil Gaiman's 'The Graveyard Book' has now won the Carnegie Medal, the UK's foremost award for children's literature.

Inspired by the sight of seeing his own two-year-old son riding his tricycle round gravestones, 'The Graveyard Book' is the story of a young boy brought up in the quiet and comfort of a cemetery, safe from the dangers of the outside world.

Gaiman once said that it was only because of his established reputation that publishers even considered a childrens' book opening with a serial killer at work. Only in a Gaiman story could the dead and undead be more human than the living. In the words of the Carnegie judges: "'The Graveyard Book ... manages to mix extreme creepiness with gentle humour. ... We felt the book was intriguing, it's very atmospheric and it has an extremely satisfying ending."

Friday, 25 June 2010

Doctor Who The Big Bang preview trailer plus Stephen Moffat interview

Apparently this professional looking trailer is fan-made, though it is hard to believe.  Enjoy

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Terry Pratchett returning to SF with Stephen Baxter

(c) Terry Pratchett
After many decades of writing the extremely successful Discworld books, Terry Pratchett is collaborating with Stephen Baxter to write a new science fiction novel: The Long Earth.

"I thought to myself [Discworld] is fantasy, and I want to get back to my first love, which is science fiction" (Guardian Interview)

Monday, 21 June 2010

Guards! Guards!

While Terry Pratchett had already published ten books, Guards! Guards! the 8th Discworld book is the one where he first realises the art of art of “serious comedy”. His previous books had mostly been clever satires on fantasy clich├ęs and popular culture, but with Guard! Guards! we see the flowering of his ability to write about dark subjects yet make laugh-out-loud jokes without belittling the seriousness of the subject. It is true that he more fully realises the technique in his later instalments of the Night Watch series, but it starts here.

Monday, 14 June 2010

The spaces in between - The City and The City

The City & the CityHow does one review a book that is a mystery set in a city that is, at its heart, also a mystery? Where the author hides and obfuscates; only slowly revealing what a strange framework the characters walk in? As obligation demands that one does not reveal too much, the answer must be “carefully”.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

SFBK reading plan

OK, this may seem a little geeky (and why not), but I have been analysing our reading list to date. The books that we have read so far (including the three planned for the next few sessions) are as follows: