Next month is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which should now really be called InNoWriMo because the movement is now an international one. I’ve participated in the last two Novembers, each one successfully writing the requisite 50,000 words leading up to what exists as an unfinished over 100,000 word novel on my hard-drive. This year I’m busier than ever and in the throes of a fascinating course on Shakespeare and his world alongside all the usual pressures of family and work as Christmas rapidly approaches. Leaves me with a question to answer in the next two days – do I go for it again? If so, what do I do? Do I continue my previous story, ‘The Roar of the Lion‘ and see if I can finally finish it, or do I do something new – I have the beginnings of a sci-fi novel rumbling about in my head all of a sudden. I really shouldn’t do it, but I’ve got this nagging suspicion I’m going to dive into the heady waters of the NaNoWriMo sea and see what comes out at the other end…
Tags: cycling, Ned Boulting
This is the sequel to Boulting’s ‘How I Won the Yellow Jumper’ (see my review here) which I devoured and loved. What is it? It’s not really the story of how we came to win the Tour de France and quickly rise as a cycling power as a nation over the last few years. It’s not a systematic history of British cycling either. It’s the account of a number of our cycling greats – a say number because it is in no ways complete and looks often into either those who are alive and forgotten by the mainstream or the more idiosyncratic. Interwoven around this in Boulting’s easy to read style is his own story of falling in love with cycling and becoming a MAMIL (middle-agged man in lycra), something I can readily relate to. Again I loved it! It’s not a heavy weight book, it’s language is accessible to the non-cycling buff, which successfully conveys something of why we take to the bike and ride and how many Brits have done this despite it being unfashionable and eccentric to do so. Others may not rate it 5 stars, but I smiled my way through it, a knowing smile from both enjoying the jokes and realising that I have come to see cycling in much the same way as Ned has.
A great review of Greenbelt ’14 can be found on the New Internationalist blog here: http://newint.org/blog/2014/08/27/faith-greenbelt/. Captures something of why I love this festival, although that is very hard to pin down; more something that just is than anything definable. My own review will follow at some point soon I hope!
Tags: Call of Cthulhu, Hastur, horror, Lovecraft, Robert W. Chambers, The King in Yellow
Having been introduced to the King in Yellow in a Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game scenario at the wonderful Continuum Con earlier this year I thought I should look up some of the source material behind this part of the Mythos and so when I saw the original book was available for free on the Kindle I downloaded it instantly.
It’s not quite what I expected. The book is a series of short stories, some related with shared characters and themes, others entirely independent. After the first few, most aren’t connected to the King in Yellow specifically (see here for an outline of the included stories and a little more information on the King in Yellow.) The rest are a strange collection of romance, adventure war and observation.
So what did I make of it? Some I adored. Some I’m not sure I got. Some felt clumsy whilst others really well scripted. In the end I’m left wondering whether to give it 1 star or 5 because whatever the quality of the writing, somehow the book has a haunting quality to it which has stayed with me since reading it, a mood, an mystery, something hinted at which is hard to pin down. The best horror in literature or on the screen is always that where little is revealed and detailed but much eluded to. While the King in Yellow didn’t describe what I hoped it might, it has spoken of lots more, just beyond the periphery of my vision, whispering on the edge of my consciousness…