Poop Poop

I caught the new stage musical by Julian Fellowes, Stiles and Drewe in October – the same creative team who crafted the stage version of Mary Poppins and the simply joyful Half A Sixpence – a new adaptation of The Wind In The Willows.

I’ve loved the stories and characters since my uncle first introduced them to me, and have enjoyed the various adaptations (I remain a champion of Terry Jones’ criminally underrated film version featuring most of the Pythons) over the years.

I’m glad to say new production is as charming and faithful as I’d hoped, featuring some lovely songs, fantastic production design and  great performances (Rufus Hound’s enthusiasm as Toad is infectious). The moment I returned home I had to pull out this version of the book so i could pour over the text and bask in the warmth of Inga Moore’s illustrations once more.

This edition was bought by my little sister as a Christmas present because she thought I’d love the artwork. She was absolutely right.

The Player Of Games

The Player Of Games.jpg

After weeks of on/off reading I FINALLY finished The Player of Games, and boy did I love it.

That it’s full of brilliantly unique ideas goes without saying. It blends vast, magestic concepts and descriptions with Iain M. Banks’ trademark humour so that, while the universe is always awe-inspiring in its complexities, it is never dour. Characters are brimming with personality and it reminded me why I loved Consider Phlebas so much – for every grand idea there was a remarkably human personality which undermined it’s pomp and circumstance in a rather sweet way. Continue reading

The Dark Tower Volume 1: The Gunslinger (1988)

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First Published: 1982 (in parts – 1978, 1980, 1981)

Edition Published: 1988

Cover Illustration: Michael Whelan

Illustrations: Michael Whelan 

Publisher: Sphere

Notes: A copy which seems to have travelled as long and hard as the gunslinger, himself. Inlaid with the full set of illustrations by Michael Whelan, none of which I’ve seen before (my original copy did not include them). Really pleased to find my old friend Roland on the first successful day of Collecting King.

I love the composition of Roland on his haunches, staring out across the water (although the ocean doesn’t really make an appearance until The Drawing of the Three, but let’s not niggle too much) and the hazy appearance of the Dark Tower itself. Is it a hallucination? Quite possibly. A dream, or maybe a nightmare. The point is, he’s alone and focused on his quest.

I actually really like the layout of the author and title which sets itself up to be maintained throughout the series, it’s just a shame it never got used beyond book 3.

Banks On The Beach

The first day of a week off and it’s time to get back into reading The Player Of Games.

There’s been such a lot going on and so many things to deal with over the last month or so that it’s nice to actually zone out, listen to the waves and simply enjoy getting lost in a universe of prissy drones, surly lifeforms, spaceships with such names as  The Little Rascal and planets whose reigning emperor is chosen by winning a (ludicrously) difficult and epic game. It’s the kind of book I wish I could dream up and write but it’s just so vast and strange and wonderfully sexy that it could only have come from Iain M Banks.

I’m halfway through now and enjoying every page. I can’t understand why it took me so long to explore The Culture series, but I’m glad I’m doing it now.

Value For Money

First Published: 1990

Edition Published: 1990

Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton

Notes: At 37.5 pence per minute you can hardly complain! It’s a heft book with the type of “typical” horror illustration I remember so vividly from childhood and which also provokes memories of Jim Henson’s Storyteller series, in particular the traumatising episode called The Solider and Death (I think). It scared me for days and led to my mother banning us from ever watching the program again…

I found this first edition in a charity shop  with the cheeky little demon poking out from beneath a pile of books.

It’s almost as if he was trying to tease me…

Destiny

Since (finally) upgrading my PS4 subscription I also got myself into Destiny, a game I was hugely unsure about when playing the initial Beta, and was very skeptical about after my love of the original Halo trilogy, but have actually since grown to love. Bungie do such a great job of creating exciting, edge-of-your-seat and enjoyable action sequences that I’ve got quite swept away in it all and while playing it I felt my mind wander to Iain M Banks’ Culture series.

There’s nothing specific to link the two – the characters are vastly different and while the technology and portrayal of society occasionally brush shoulders they are not particularly close, yet there is something which makes me connect the two.

It might be The Traveller. At this point (I’m very early in the game) it seems such a strange, abstract idea that it could almost sit alongside some of the Culture’s own technology and history but I think ultimately it’s the sense of scale, a sense of something truly epic which resonates with my memory of Consider Phlebas and which pushes me on to reading deeper into the Culture.