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steve r
Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 03:17 am:   

Hi Rhys,

Did you get my address? Hope to receive Stars before Friday (when I'm off to Menorca for a week) so that Christmas Day can be spent as it should be - reading the Good Book!!.

Quite unpleasant review of Fisher of Devils up on www.thealienonline.net (reviews). OK, could be said the TTA review was almost too generous (did you get to read it?). And Fisher full of imperfections, of course. But this one actually LIES – e.g, talks about 'lots' of references to 'danglies', 'wobblies', etc, when the only reference is in first couple of pages, and states that the book contains nothing but unsubtle and smutty 'Carry On'-type 14-year-old schoolboy humour, and no wordplay at all. Stresses there is no 'message' (I would have thought I screamed importance of love in every sentence, as opposed to ‘rules’ of conduct!) That 'Ariel' isn't one of the old gang of 'dwarves', is he, by any chance? I'm putting this here, and not in private email, to see if anyone here has read the book, and could comment (for or against the Alien comments: I really am fairly open-minded, I think, and open to considered, not splenetic, criticism) - that's if you don't mind me pinching your board like this.

Also, there's an interesting discussion going on at Pete Tennant's board on TTA about reviews and reviewers.
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Neil A
Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 09:20 am:   

Steve, I haven't got round to reading Fisher yet, but, as you managed to get an interview on TAO, maybe they'd be interested in posting your own views on the novel. It sounds as though you've lots to say.

And at least your book is garnering reviews. I think nobody wants to look at mine as it's a bit neither here nor there.
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steve r
Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 04:05 am:   

Hi, Neil, just send it to them, they'll probably review. I'm not complaining so much about a bad review, as the superior TONE of it, and actual misrepresentations to try to make it seem the work of a moron. (E.g. ending 'Ooh , matron!')More of this, if I can find time, on that TTA board which is discussing this very point.

Rhys, IS IT ON ITS WAY? MY FESTIVE SEASON IS AT STAKE!!
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Rhys
Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 04:46 am:   

Steve: at least you got a review for your Prime book! Sean Wallace didn't actually bother to send out any review copies of my book at all!

'Ariel' isn't one of the dwarves as such. He works for the Manchester branch of Waterstones, I believe.
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steve r
Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 08:31 am:   

There you are then: the Great Divide! However, if he's not one of those pesky dwarves, he may yet be saved. His saving grace is he lovs Pratchett. My father came from Manchester (actually he only came to engender me, and then buggered off again!)

Didn't Ed Bryant do a review for you?

If book NOT in post, don't send now, as I won't be here after Saturday.

If I haven't said it before, read COLD COMFORT FARM (stella Gibbons 1932) Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. For instance, I saw someone claim recently that the second person narrative was `postmodern('You wake up, you sense something is wrong, you find a dwarf in your coffee jar,' etc. Stuff and nonsense! Humbug! Stella Gibbons uses it to introduce Great aunt Ada Doom, who once saw something nasty in the woodshed.
If you haven't got it, then I'll send you a Cold Comfort (and some chocolate) for a Persolated, OK?
And for god's sake, don't forget: there have always been Starkadders on Cold Comfort Farm!!
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steve r
Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 08:35 am:   

...and I think I almost prefer the unruffled (unruffllable) Flora Poste to my previous literary heroine, Sue Brideshead, of 'Jude the
Obscure'. Almost...
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Murphy
Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 10:13 am:   

Just A Thought

"Reviewers! They fill me with dread!
Eyes of bats! Tongues of snakes! Souls of lead!
They are all full of praise . . .?
I'll accept their bouquets
And hope they've not heard what I said!"
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 10:51 am:   

Cold Comfort is great!

Rhys--thanks for the Guardian copy and the cool book. I owe you an email. And you should expect plentiful reviews of A New Universal shortly.

JeffV
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des
Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 11:08 am:   

Cold Comfort is indeed great!
I read all of it aloud to my wife in our courting days.
des
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Rhys
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 04:29 am:   

I've had COLD COMFORT FARM on my shelf for years but I've never read it. Now I think I'll make it one of my books for 2004.

One of my favourite ever satires is THE ASCENT OF RUM DOODLE by W.E. Bowman, which is a brilliant spoof of all those mountaineering books written by the likes of Shipman and Tilman (which I also like!)
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steve r
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 12:50 pm:   

But, Des, how romantic. Do you think it was that that finally brought her to her knees? A friend tells me that none of her other books is anything like Cold Comfort.

Murphy, you're quite right, I'm back to my tranquil innocuous self again now. It was a combination of events (painful) that put me back into my pre-Reform School days persona.

Rhys, I'll see if my friend Jerome has a Rum Doodle.

Jeff, while you're here, Veniss was wonderful.
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des
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 10:42 am:   

Steve R: But, Des, how romantic.
********
I have always been such. Courting was an important period in my life, laced with readings aloud. Reading to one's partner is an important activity - as proved by the fact we're still married after over 33 years.
des
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Murphy
Posted on Saturday, December 20, 2003 - 01:40 am:   

Well, Steve's friend is not strictly right about none of Stella G's other work being anything like CCC. There is actually a later-written 'prequel' short story written for a magazine, 'Christmas At Cold Comfort Farm', set in the pre-Flora days. And another called 'Conference at Cold Comfort Farm', possibly post-war, when the place has been taken over by a Trust. I can now justify my haunting of second-hand bookshops as a search for these elusive items.

Have been fascinated to find that Stella wrote CCC while working for ''The Lady', which throws a whole new light on that venerable organ, still with us today.

Next time Steve blows his top I will prescribe a course of Brahms and Simon's 'Don't Mr Disraeli!' or 'No Bed For Bacon', and yes, I do think they should have appeared on the credits for 'Shakespeare in Love'. And a fantastic print-sodden Christmas to one and all!
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steve r
Posted on Saturday, December 20, 2003 - 02:22 am:   

Thanks for the information, Murphy, pleaase hunt these items for me. (No more blowing my top - as you know, the circumstances were a trifle unusual...)

And congratulations to Des and his Equal - the sort of successful marriage Flora Poste would be proud to know she had a small hand in bringing about. May there be 33 years more! Not impossible - there's a wee chappie in Menorca 114 years old.
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Rhys
Posted on Saturday, December 20, 2003 - 05:47 am:   

Murphy: CCC? What's that -- 300 in Roman numerals? Is this an allusion to an even longer marriage than the Menorcan one mentioned by Steve?

I haven't done much reading aloud for any reason. There was one young lady who used to read extracts of Suskind and Bataille to me, but she was kinky, thank goodness!

I'm currently working on my *best of* review of 2003 for FANTASTIC METROPOLIS. It's too late for Cold Comfort to get in there, but maybe next year it will... First I have to read and enjoy the thing!
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Rhys
Posted on Saturday, January 17, 2004 - 06:03 am:   

I am enormously dismayed to discover that my old college has just been knocked down to make room for a housing development!

The Fairwater campus of UWIC has been completely demolished! Last night I went to visit it for the first time in twenty years... I came across a mountain of rubble surrounded by wire fencing!

For me, this college was the site of many crucial formative experiences. The first place I smoked pot... The first time I caressed a woman's thigh... The first time a girl climbed through my window uninvited... The first time I pushed a man in a wheelbarrow down a hill... The place where I discovered Brian Aldiss, Ursula LeGuin and T.J. Bass -- and King Crimson, Brian Eno and Hawkwind... The first time I played piano in a combo!

Now all gone: existing only in my head and nowhere else. Woe!
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steve r
Posted on Saturday, January 17, 2004 - 11:27 am:   

I trust that the girl who climbed in through your window uninvited was sent away with a flea in her ear!!

'Tis indeed sad. And so many of those youthful thoughts probably perished with the rubble.

However, to cheer you up, and show you even worse horrors, visit www.ookami.co.uk and be shocked at 'chat' - and then see if you can beat it!!
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Murphy
Posted on Saturday, January 17, 2004 - 03:33 pm:   

CCC? No doubt a F******* avoidance, as CCF may stand for Cold Comfort Farm, but also Combined Cadet Force.

I'm surprised that Mr. R didn't mention that the only building in which I have ever seen him practising his other occupation has similarly been reduced first to rubble and now to turf.

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steve r
Posted on Monday, February 23, 2004 - 09:08 am:   

Seeing as wot I've taken over this part of your board...
a test for you (no peeping). Which book was Cosimo reading aloud to Gian dei Brughi the night before he was hung?
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Rhys
Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2004 - 01:06 am:   

Um... Was it something by Samuel Richardson? Pamela or Clarissa?

I reread BARON IN THE TREES in 2002, so my memory of it is relatively fresh!
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steve redwood
Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2004 - 09:10 am:   

Close! that's what first made him pine for family life. but at the end, he was (clue!) hung... Another clue: Robin Darktree.... Now open to all comers..

Hey, bet you're happy to have your name on top of Lord Dunsany's on teh home page of Nightshade!!

Ah, remember why I initially pinched this thread? Ariel today has proved himself both brave and noble. www.thealienonline.net Of course, there are things I stil don't agree with (the second half of Fisher of Devils isn't as good as he says (!), nor teh first part so bad) but that doesn't matter. We never were quarelling about the content of the review,just the tone. And Ariel has more than made amends for that. Can you imagine mainstream reviewers willing to do that?

I have a plan to get your Infamy reviewed in Spain's top newspaper. But Rosa's on holiday at the moment. But I see possibilities ... but beware, ONLY possibilities at the moment. Does your publisher have any spanish or Latin american contacts?
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Rhys
Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2004 - 01:19 am:   

Thanks Steve. But I'm starting to think that my INFAMY doesn't actually exist, that it's a figment! I seem to have been waiting for it to come out for ages. I've had to let down quite a few people who I promised would have copies by now.

If I don't receive a copy by Friday (that's in two day's time) then the book is dead as far as I'm concerned and I'll probably have nothing more to do with it. Just ONE copy is all I need, but clearly that's too much to ask for. If I don't get it, one of my biggest plans for this year will have to be cancelled. If that happens I'll disown the book.

It seems that even something as simple as e-mailing me a copy of Clute's foreword (if one actually exists) is too much to ask... I was promised that months ago...

I'm in a pretty bloody sour mood, as you may have guessed and getting more and more disillusioned with writing.
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red steve
Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2004 - 01:47 am:   

Hey, Rhys, don't be influenced by the Razorblade experience. And publishers are too often the victims of printers, etc. They have hassles we can hardly imagine. Plus transatlantic divide. It must be awfully frustrating, but Infamy DOES exist, I've seen rave reviews, there'll be more, and there'll be so many beautiful Argentinian ladies (beautiful AND intelligent, in this case!) wanting to meet you, and kiss your fingers.... then the rest of South America... then Spain.... then Hispanics...well, my veins are filled with jealousy.

It's the weather. Today, the same here as in Britain. Does it push you down like it does me? The difference is, here we know that within a few hours, a day at most, there'll be at least a burst of temporary sunshine.

Isabel says if you become disillusioned with writing, she'll never speak to you again! So there!
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Rhys
Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2004 - 06:12 am:   

I appreciate all that, Steve. But I've got a furious next door neighbour on my back demanding to know why I tricked him into trying to buy it -- and mocking me whenever he encounters me on the street. That's just one item on my list of disillusionment factors!
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very red steve
Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2004 - 07:13 am:   

My case, I submit,is worse! I've got furious people on my back demanding to know why I tricked them into buying Fisher - and mocking me whenever they encounter me on the street!
A clear case for Dr lambshead!
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2004 - 07:22 am:   

*sigh*

Rhys, your book does exist. I asked the writer of the introduction to send it to you. I would myself have sent a copy of the book to you but got tied up with all kinds of obligations that took me out of town. I would gather from Night Shade that copies of your book are on their way to you. Booklist has given the book a glowing review and Publishers Weekly is supposed to review it, in addition to many other reviews that will be coming out.

As for being disillusioned with writing, at this point I have only this public advice about it: write or don't write. But just do it. Don't bitch about it.

JeffV
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Rhys
Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2004 - 08:27 am:   

I hardly ever bitch and I feel like doing it now, so that's what I'm doing. I deserve it.
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2004 - 10:02 am:   

Rhys:

It's your call, re the bitching. LOL!

Re the copies--they are on their way, confirmed. Just a question of the exact day they arrive.

JeffV
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Steve R
Posted on Thursday, July 01, 2004 - 03:18 am:   

Latest reviews of Fisher of Devils:

http://www.laurahird.com/newreview/fisherofdevils.html

http://www.ookami.co.uk/html/fisher_of_devils.html

And of The Heisenberg Mutation:

http://www.thealienonline.net/ao_030.asp?tid=2&scid=20&iid=2410

http://www.ookami.co.uk/html/the_heisenberg_mutation.html

http://www.spiralthreads.co.uk/
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Mastadge
Posted on Thursday, July 01, 2004 - 04:02 am:   

Yeah, I just ordered Heisenberg. I hadn't even heard of it until I read the review over at The Alien Online.
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steve r
Posted on Thursday, July 01, 2004 - 02:41 pm:   

Ah, my one American faithful reader, let me send you flowers! It's the same series of chapbooks (available in US at Shocklines and ProjectPulp)that produced Rhys' 'In Praise of Ridicule' - and I have the whisper that another Rhys chapbook will be out VERY soon... (and the site has Rhys' latest story, a corker: 'The Minotaur in Pamplona'.
www.ookami.co.uk

I forgot to mention above an Amazon 'avid reader' Fisher 'review' which I hear will also appear on SFSite (oh dearie me!). Remember, you saw it here first! And no,you can't have your money back!

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1894815416/qid=1088367010/sr=1-1/r ef=sr_1_1/104-5416505-6057501?v=glance&s=books
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Mastadge
Posted on Thursday, July 01, 2004 - 06:32 pm:   

I've got In Praise of Ridicule as well. And I'm looking forward to the new chapbook. And the old one too, once it's e-mailed out.
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neil a
Posted on Friday, July 02, 2004 - 05:03 am:   

'The Minotaur in Pamplona', has really stayed with me, Rhys. In fact I may have a tiny proposal to put to you regarding it.

Have you read 'The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break' by the way? Indeed, have you even heard of it before?

http://tinyurl.com/2e54m

I haven't yet, but was wondering if it had any influence on your writing the story.
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steve r
Posted on Friday, July 02, 2004 - 01:33 pm:   

Mastadge, I hear the cavalry have arrived, and that one of the soldiers at the front of the charge was your good self (on Amazon.com). Many thanks for your support. Hope the chapbook doesn't disappoint.
And read your review of that Paul Witcover novel: one for my list, I think. I came across one of his short stories somewhere, and was mightily impressed.

Neil, Rhys is a bit possessive, I don't think he'll let you take the Minotaur on holiday to Blackpool...
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Mastadge
Posted on Friday, July 02, 2004 - 02:54 pm:   

WAKING BEAUTY also made my 10 Favorites list last year -- in fact, it was higher on the list than FISHER, I'm sorry to say -- as well as my 10 Best list. I can't wait until Witcover's next book comes out . . . only 9 more months or so I think.
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steve r
Posted on Saturday, July 03, 2004 - 01:07 am:   

Higher than fisher? GULP! Absolutely a must-read, then!!
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Mastadge
Posted on Saturday, July 03, 2004 - 07:27 pm:   

Heisenberg arrived today. Haven't read it yet, but how does D do it? She didn't charge me anything more than the £1 even though shipping to the US alone cost more than twice that. . .
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Rhys
Posted on Sunday, July 04, 2004 - 07:21 am:   

Neil: despite what Steve claims I am not possessive in the slightest... Therefore make your proposal! I look forward to hearing it.
I haven't read the minotaur story you mention but I now realise that I'm not the first to write a piece about the minotaur in the modern age... Quite often our 'original' ideas turn out to be old, don't they? It's unfortunate.

Mastadge: I know how D does it. She sold all the letters of her name apart from the first one and supports her press on the proceeds.


Currently reading:

BLACK AURA ...... John Sladek
THE WEIRDMONGER ...... D.F. Lewis
NEMONYMOUS #4


Currently listening to:

Dear Catastrophe Waitress ...... Belle & Sebastian
Awcmon (& Noyoucmon) ...... Lambchop
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neil a
Posted on Tuesday, July 06, 2004 - 05:04 am:   

More on cigarette breaks:

http://www.bookmunch.co.uk/view.php?id=1001

The Alien Online review of Heisenberg is in opposition to my views. The 'title track' and 'the solaris effect' were my own favourites. Decent review though.
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Mastadge
Posted on Tuesday, July 06, 2004 - 09:22 am:   

Steve, any idea when we might expect to see a second novel?
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Neil
Posted on Wednesday, July 07, 2004 - 03:48 am:   

Well (sneaky plug alert), Mastadge, there'll be an extract in the next issue of Fragment.

www.fragmentmagazine.co.uk
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steve r
Posted on Wednesday, July 07, 2004 - 03:51 am:   

Rhys, where are you?

Neil, I agree with you both! My own preferences are 'Heisenberg' and 'Shelf', with Heisenberg maybe stylistically more accomplished. But I will admit the Alien Online reviewer was more than generous in his comments on the stories.

Mastadge, well,you're a young chap, so there's hope (and for me too, posthumously)... the second novel is all done and wearing its Sunday best - but so far four major publishers have told him to go away and wash himself behind the ears! There is an excerpt (modified to be a self-contained story) on that notorious www.ookami.co.uk ('Cain and Mabel'). It's one of my own favourites. But humour is even more subjective than love or one's belief in WMD!

By the way, if you're studying, how do you get time to read so much, and write all those reviews as well?
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Mastadge
Posted on Wednesday, July 07, 2004 - 10:33 am:   

Most of the reviews I wrote years ago. You'll notice that most of them are 4- or 5-star reviews of pretty bad books. I haven't written many reviews at all since I started reading books slightly more sophisticated than The Wheel of Time two or three years ago.

As to reading so much . . . I'm a relatively fast reader, and I make time to read every day. Although I do read a bit less than I used to. It helps that my body doesn't seem to need or even want all that much sleep. I also don't watch TV, which for many people seems to be quite the time-sucker. I don't go to parties and bars and so forth, because I don't enjoy such settings. I tend to get less reading done when there's a computer around, though. . .Also, I'm not really "studying". I'm taking classes, yes, but . . . heh. They just don't require all that much time. Each class itself is only an hour or two per day. Outside of class, aside from the occasional paper which takes usually no more than 2-5 hours, there's mainly reading. And as I'm a fast reader and tend to get everything I'm going to get out of a book my first time through, I don't need to go back and highlight and re-read and make notecards and notes and all those things that some people do. I've never understood how so many college students complain about the workload, because at the undergrad level it's really not bad at all. I've had volunteer jobs a lot more demanding than any schooling I've ever done.
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steve r
Posted on Thursday, July 08, 2004 - 10:46 am:   

ah, you're so lucky to be a fast reader. I'm the opposite (and always have been, but worse now) - you can read four books to my one (rhys is the same). worse, even with slowe reading, I don't remember the books after a few days!

Yes, I agree. But there aren't any traffic policeman jobs here! Or night watchman.

At Uni, great sufering - victorian literature doesn't get swallowed easily by slow readers...
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steve r
Posted on Sunday, July 18, 2004 - 04:45 am:   

I like this cuckoo lark (psst, hear the pun?)so I've also stuck sound bites (the sort with an audible crunch) , etc. all nice and orderly, on authors' threads, forums, www.ookami.co.uk.

Ah, also sort of review there of Electric Velocipede, which I thought was overall a great magazine.

Now, back to gazing at Rhys's Muses... ¡Caramba! Isn't one of them mine¿¿??


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