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From the Editor: November
More than half way through November. Thanksgiving coming up, eat wisely and I hope our American readers have a good time. Managed to catch Mockingjay yesterday. Review on the front page. It's pretty depressing, but quite an education for the teens it is designed for. Dystopia isn't meant to pretty anyway. Also caught 'The Imitation Game' (about Alan Turing and the Enigma codebreakers) Kiera Knightly does a good job of trying to look frumpy and Benedict Cumberbatch is a tortured soul as Alan Turing. Sylish to look at and always interesting, but plays fast and loose with the facts. Turing was never suspected of being a spy and nor would he have tolerated one on his team. The blackmail slur almost certainly isn't true. I'm also pretty sure the Turing Machine he built to crack the code wasn't called Christopher. But it's a movie and entertainment and it does a reasonable job of that.
Caught Interstellar directed by Christopher Nolan. Three hours! My bladder doesn't last that long these days. I really liked the second half and it was visually stunning - Iceland standing in for bleak outer worlds beyond our solar system. Fun to find Matt Damon in the freezer too. This might upset some, but Looper with Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt were a damn site more convincing with their scenes around farm life than McConaughey and co in the corn and somehow more satisfying. Nice effects with the dust bowl though, but perhaps there was just too much foreground story with the failing crops and not enough background to the NASA space programme and the financing of it. A little hard to take Michael Caine as the father of Anne Hathaway, but that aside, it was great to have a movie that didn't shy away from science and challenging us to the concepts of time and space with such fantastic moments as when Cooper finds himself in the infinite library. Extraordinary cinema. Mackenzie Foy was terrific as the young Murph and Jessica Chastain as the older one was very intense. Hans Zimmer's soundtrack was as inventive as ever. Might get it to listen to in the car the next seven hour journey. You should definitely go see it but don't drink anything first or during! Background feature link here and shows you how they did the dust storm and thought about gravity.
Escaped the office for a few days last week on a welcome break to visit Kit, our former publisher. Of course I hadn’t exactly planned to spend five hours on the M25 because a crane had got stuck under a bridge, or when I finally found an escape road someone would break down on the South Circular blocking traffic, and then roadworks in Guildford backed up traffic all the way to the M25 again. Seven hours to do 200 miles in all and I could barely walk once I got there. Getting to be that driving anywhere is such a chore – add cops – speed traps – there’s a lot to be said for going nowhere at all. Trouble is you can’t skype a dinner party. (Yet)
The next day I took some pleasure in reading the new novella by Patrick Rothfuss –‘The Slow Regard of Silent Things’. I am not entirely sure if I enjoyed it but I certainly respect it. It’s short, just 30,000 words. If you have ever known anyone who is even slightly OCD this is a homage to them. He writes with extreme confidence and beauty. There is nothing to the story except seven rather exhausting days in the life of Auri, the most extreme OCD victim that ever there was. She is a broken person, cracked on the wheel of the University, yet surviving in her underground world beneath it. A minor character from Rothfuss’ major story (The Name of the Wind) about Kvothe– the boy who became a legend and myth in his own lifetime. A tale told with great affection for his waif and understanding of her strange afflictions. We all know someone who is slightly compulsive about something. I still remember with great affection a girl who even as an adult had to touch all her teddies and dolls at night before she could sleep and if she got the wrong order, do it all over again. Or the man who couldn’t throw anything away – ever, and lives in a Castle filled with junk and even now has to buy ‘stuff’ everyday, books he will never read, wine, boxes of cereal, jackets, shoes. I pushed open a door on the last visit and found at least a thousand boxes of cereals, unopened, all past their sell by date. So a novella for them makes sense – if they ever have time to read one.
Patrick Rothfuss, of course, is procrastinating. Giving us this slim volume instead of the third part of Kvothe’s story. If indeed there is a third act. Kvothe the Kingkiller is all first act to be honest and now he tells stories about his greatest moments and lost loves to a Chronicler whose life he saved from the Scrael. The reader wants adventure – not the droning barkeep – but we shall be patient. Quoting the author - 'It is the questions we can't answer that teaches us the most.'
At least he has a public who will wait and snap up whatever he cares to share with us. Some writers, selfishly thinking of myself here, seem to glide by with hardly anyone noticing at all, let alone ask what we might be up too. My friends give me lectures about social media and maintaining a visible presence on Twitter or whatever – but I just don’t feel the love for it. Helping run Hackwriters is enough self-promotion thanks and even that is a mere spec in the large heap of dust that is in this corner of the world.
I have been editing the second edition of ‘Another Place To Die’. It’s the same situation, some same characters, but unusually I started from scratch again working with Sam Hawksmoor as consultant,and refocused on the younger kids fleeing the killer virus adding a new character who was edited out of the first edition. No, its not Ebola – something much more lethal. Something that takes out whole cities and more. The virus isn’t important. I was never interested in lone scientists battling the odds to defeat the great bacterial enemy (Outbreak) – I find the story of those who try to outrun it more interesting. In reality you can’t outrun the effects of a plague. It gets you in different ways. Sometimes surviving is the worst option. Out now in paperback. Makes a perfect Christmas present for anyone who is even just slightly afraid of germs!
OK, must get back to work. I hope that the USA survives the horror to two years terror by the Republicans. Only when Obamacare is dismantled will the suckers who voted for them realise just how foolish they were and how much they will miss it. We have horror enough coming here next May for the UK elections. It will be ‘interesting’ as the Chinese curse goes…
November 22nd 2014
Meanwhile download my new Kindle novel MAGENTA. Be nice to get some feedback.
© Sam North - Travel Editor November 2014
author of Diamonds The Rush of '72 and now the new ebook:
download the new novel on Kindle from Sam North
'Life begins somewhere between the fish and the stars’
A mysterious, tragic tale from the wilds of the Lincolnshire coast – a haunting story about a girl who fled the fire into a whole world of trouble. A story about father and daughter and the girl who can read objects...
Do buy Sam Hawksmoor's new book The Heaviness – suitable for any reader who likes to think about such things as betrayal, revenge, relationships and the laws of gravity. All proceeds from our books go into keep Hacks going. All on Kindle.
The Repossession by Sam Hawksmoor a fast paced edgy romantic thriller
'Smart, dark and graceful, this story is sure to send chills down your spine...one of the best, and most fascinating, debut novels I've ever read'. Evie-bookish.blogspot
The Hunting - the thrilling sequel - order yours from Amazon, Waterstones or Chapters or your indie bookshop plus Indigo Books Canada or Kindle
'Without a doubt, one of the best YA Sci Fi series out there.' Evie Seo Bookish
Now read the final thrilling conclusion to the series 'The Heaviness'
|The Repossession & The Hunting by Sam Hawksmoor released across Canada Available in Chapters/Indigo/ Albany Books, Hager and Kids Books Broadway - Vancouver + Bolens Books (Victoria), Mables Fables, Type Books in Toronto,
‘Smart, dark and graceful, this story is sure to send chills down your spine…’ Evie Seo
Part Three - The Heaviness now available
If you're looking for an exciting YA book set in WW2 - Kindle download 'The Repercussions of Tomas D' or buy the paperback - All proceeds go to keeping Hackwriters going
The Repercussions of Tomas D
A Hero? Or Englands Greatest Traitor? USA Paperback here
'Disturbing and very poignant YA novel that presents a chilling alternate future for an England that lost the war.'
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