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    ichabod @ichabod

    @purofilion  Sure thing; Lashner and Gruber both did work that impressed me, which is why their names, though not their titles, have stayed in my mind.  If you like the Belize gothic from Lashner, he has several other books about the lead character, a shady Philadelphia lawyer, that you might like too.  Gruber is a cut above, in my opinion.  Enjoy!






    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    This possibly won’t mean that much to anyone not of the Scottish persuasion but William McIlvanney has just died. He was a towering figure in Scottish literature, virtually invented Tartan Noir all on his ownsome and was a formidable but deeply compassionate intellect. His is a deep loss not just for Scotland but for literature in general.

    Craig @craig

    @jimthefish Means something to me. Must’ve read at least half of his output. At least he has a fantastic legacy. And he got away with a fantastic moustache for many years.

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord


    He was the creative writing fellow at Aberdeen uni when I was there and I was lucky to share a few pints with him. He was a first-class guy — insightful, funny and always incredibly generous.

    And, yes, one of those very few blokes who can totally get away with unabashed, old-school moustache action….

    Craig @craig

    @jimthefish I’m jealous. I remember having to read ‘Laidlaw’ in secondary school and for once it didn’t feel like school work at all.

    Mersey @mersey

    @soundworld @morpho

    My beloved Lem’s books are Solaris and The Star Diaries. The last one is very, very funny but also deeply political.

    Oswino @oswino

    Has anyone read the book “The shroud of sorrow”by Tommy Donbavand.The doctor delivers a baby in it,its just crazy please comment below if you have

    Missy @missy

    I have just finished listening to an audio book entitled:

    THE LAST SHERLOCK HOLMES STORY, by Michael Dibdin, read by Robert Glenister.

    Has anyone else read/listened to this?



    1997whovian @1997whovian

    I am currently reading Stephen Kings “IT”. Which of his other books should i read?

    Missy @missy


    Try Christine and Salem’s Lot. I enjoyed both. There is also the Talisman, writen by Peter Straub and Stephen King .

    Pure fanatasy.


    1997whovian @1997whovian

    @missy cool i shall look at them next thanks 🙂

    ichabod @ichabod

    @missy    Michael Dibdin — that’s the guy I’m thinking of — has written a line of crime novels set in Italy?  I’m pretty sure I read this Holmes one, but I’ve read a half dozen Holmes things in the past year, so can you talk a little about the story?  Now that copyright is no longer controlling what people write about Holmes, some interesting variations are appearing, usually tackling the sorts of subjects ACD stayed away from, and “humanizing” Holmes (while Watson becomes much more autonomously action-y than I remember from the original stories) in pretty unsuccessful ways, at least as I’ve seen so far.

    @1997whovian  re Stephen King, The Shining, which is brilliantly creepy and now legendary through film, and Pet Semetary which I found impressively horrible.



    Missy @missy

    Many people enjoyed The Shining, and I can understand why, but not a favourite of mine. Pet Cemetery, was pretty guesome.  “IT”  scared the living daylights out of me though. I have never liked clowns.


    Anonymous @

    Yes, talk about horror: forget about the Daleks, just send in the clowns!

    Missy @missy




    Anonymous @

    Yes. When the movie version came on television, I didn’t get very far before shutting it off and I don’t want to go there again, ever. I’ve never even seen the book and I don’t want to.

    Missy @missy


    A very good move on your part, believe me.

    I’d say  that “IT” is the most terrifying book I’ve read – so far.


    Anonymous @

    “A very good move on your part, believe me.”

    OH, I believe you. I really, really do.

    TheBadDoctor @thebaddoctor

    Hi, I have a question.

    Just finished season 1 of Doctor who. (The newest series with bad wolf and the daleks at the end) I really liked it. Is there a book about season 1 I realy want to read a doctor who book without spoilering myself the other seasons. Which one should I read?



    Missy @missy


    Sorry, I cannot help you there. Perhaps another member can.

    Has anyone read books by Joy Dettman?  She is an Australian writer.


    Anonymous @

    @thebaddoctor @missy @janetteb (sorry Janetteb I forgo to tag you in the previous convo regarding Hardy – I wholeheartedly support your convictions about Hardy).

    the new iPad I have is ‘maddeningly’ over -auto correcting my sentences.

    no, bad doctor I don’t have books on Doctor Who to suggest. As for Dettman I would agree with a mate o’mine -R. Manne & complain that her ‘epic, sagas exemplify all that is negative in the ‘saga’ type of that which is supposedly epic  but eludes instead -this is strictly my opinion as many Australian critics favour her output.

    puricle I have to add loves the Shining in film format _ long ago it made my top 20 list of movies though it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it enough to reconsider filmic elements.


    He’s ploughing thru some Australian novels by different female writers & he’s definitely enjoying them.  Hot damn I need to get used to this particular iPad. So used to Microsoft these days. In re-reading my paragraphs there are a multitude of grammatical errors and oops I have 7% remaining….terminatinnnngggggg apologies


    Missy @missy

    Wouldn’t  you know! JD is the only Aussie writer -so far- that I actually enjoy listening to.


    Brewski @brewski

    Hi all!

    I imagine I’m like the rest of your waiting around impatiently waiting the new series.

    I have  been keeping occupied and I really REALLY hope it’s not horribly self serving to put this here,  but I just published a book on Amazon is anyone is interested.  Specifically in sci-fi, time travel with a bit of a gay love story thrown in.

    It’s called “A Particular Memory” by Matthew Bruehler.

    Oh! Is THAT where the “Brewski” came from?!

    Anyway,  check it out if you have a minute.


    Missy @missy

    @brewski:  Good for you. thank’s for posting.

    I’ve just started reading “Master Humphrey’s Clock” by Charles Dickens. It’s a new on on me, so should be interesting.


    ichabod @ichabod

    @brewski  Congratulations!  Thanks for the news — good luck with it.

    ichabod @ichabod

    Was reading a new post-collapse UK novel called “Chimes”, can’t recall the author’s name, but it’s very well written, with an interesting concept that might be of particular interest to music enthusiasts here.  I ran out of time and returned it to the library without finishing it, but I recommend it, should people come across it.  Luckily, one of our local branch librarians is an SF fan, married to an SF writer, so we get a *lot* of the newest in the field.

    Also “Snow White Must Die”, translated from German by a friend here, and popular in Europe — a contemporary murder mystery set (so far) in a rural town.


    Missy @missy

    Thanks for that ichabod. *thumbs up*


    Brewski @brewski

    Thanks @ichabod and @missy!


    ichabod @ichabod

    @mersey  Lem is amazing — the thing about “Solaris” is that opaque and subjective as it seems, it’s been made into movies twice that I know of — it exerts some kind of pull on movie folks, but how?  I loved the first film version that I saw (Russian?), and the US one was pretty good too . . . for some reason, I tend to think of Doris Lessing’s SF in tandem with Lem’s, but I haven’t read either recently enough to explain (maybe) why . . .


    Missy @missy

    I’ve just finished listening to  “TRACKS” by  Matthew Broughton, on BBC 4 Extra. They should make a film of it.

    Quite terrifying.


    Mudlark @mudlark


    Moving the discussion here, so as not to stray too far off topic.  When I first read TLoTR at the age of fourteen I did so at a gallop, concentrating primarily on Frodo’s quest.  I had read The Hobbit when I was younger, and so seized on the first two volumes when I came across them in the school library.  It was immensely frustrating to find that neither the school nor the public library had the third volume.  What drew me in, I think, was the obvious resonance with the myths ands sagas of northern Europe, which had always held a particular fascination for me.

    On the second reading four years later and in subsequent re-readings  I found a lot more in to appreciate and digest.  The pace never bothered me – in fact, provided that they are well written, disciplined and without redundancy, I prefer slower narratives which allow space to explore and consider the scenery and hinterland of the imagined world, whether that world be fantastical, futuristic or prosaic.

    It never occurred to me to feel bothered that the protagonists in TLoTR were predominantly male, no more than it would have done if the principal characters had been female. What mattered, and still matters, is that the characters are believable and three dimensional in the context, and written with insight and depth.  In TLoTR they are to some extent archetypes, of course, but to me at least, they live and I can understand them.

    I wonder sometimes if this outlook is in some way androgynous, in that I seem to be able to think myself at least partially into the skins of both male and female characters. Perhaps this is innate, or perhaps it stems from the fact that I was born and reared as the only daughter in a family where it was taken for granted that my education was no more nor less important than that of my brothers, that potentially I was equal to anybody, and that any career was possible if I had the ability and was prepared to work for it, and this was also the ethos of the girls’ high school which I attended. Maybe I applied a kind of mental filter to my reading, but I grew up thinking that this was the normal state of things and, until I was adult and my sense of self to a large extent established, I remained pretty much oblivious to the assumptions and social pressures which bore on so many other girls of my generation. I thought then that it had all been consigned to a Dickensian past.

    Thinking back, I remember at the age of eleven being introduced in English classes at school to extracts from the opening chapters of Mill on the Floss and David Copperfield, which led me immediately to tackle the novels as a whole; and I identified equally with David Copperfield and with Maggie Tulliver. Make of that what you will 🙂




    ichabod @ichabod

    @mudlark  It never occurred to me to feel bothered that the protagonists in TLoTR were predominantly male

    Me, neither — until I began to notice such things, sometime in the late sixties, and the common under-representation of women in modern lit. fiction (as well as the US Congress, SF awards, etc.) became one of those things that once you see, you can’t un-see.  I don’t want to blame mid-last-century authors who didn’t foresee this awareness (I didn’t have it, myself, back then) and for the most part I don’t, but it does sometimes put me off a work that I find otherwise appealing.  A good deal of the problem with “heroic” (that is, larger than life and full of derring do) fantasy fiction of the last century is that it tends toward stories about war, usually with swords-and-armor flavor that does not favor leading women characters (“The Deed of Paksenarion”, by a woman whose name I cannot remember, is an example of dealing with that and doing it well).  And, as I understand it, Tolkien was drawing on his own battlefield experience in LOTR, at a time when nobody thought seriously of military women except as behind-the-lines support personnel.

    As for the ability of many women readers (myself included) to easily inhabit male protagonists and foreground characters, most older women, like me, did that as young readers without so much as a hitch in our gait, since the range of exciting YA fiction written with female leads was kind of narrow (once you’d read the 19th c classics and “National Velvet”, all of Nancy Drew etc.).  Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, Rafael Sabatini, Jack London, Melville — boys and men all over the place.  Girls and women, when they appeared, tended to be walk-on characters used purely as plot-mules (like, IMO, DW’s Clara up til S8) — kind of insulting, really.

    As a science fiction fan from early on, I was in even direr straits than most — this was the Golden Age of SF, which meant almost all the authors were men or used gender-ambiguous names (Andre Norton, Leigh Brackett, C.L. Moore) to get published.  And again, a lot of SF was war stories (in space), or Exploration/Colony stories where “girls” were prizes and men were, well, men (and aliens pretty much were too).  Hideous but wonderful example: “Tiger, Tiger”, by Alfie Bester, in which our hero rapes a woman (as I recall, a blind woman of color who’s a — psychiatrist?), and she, um, well, she falls in love with him.  Naturally.  And not right away.  Mind you Bester was coming off his second divorce, I think, so . . .   It was a rare pleasure to come across something like Naiomi Mitchison’s “Memoirs of a Spacewoman” and Judy Merrill’s work (that was sometimes actually about women’s lives and experience on Earth).

    But I started out with lots of adventure fiction about boys and men, and learned without even being aware of it to see through the eyes of (fictional) males.  Girls and women still learn to do this, while boys and men still (I hear ,from librarians and people who stock those vanishing shelves of books in airport shops), shy away from books about female characters (except some of the first-rate female thriller and crime-novelists of our times).  The androgynous reading mind that you speak of is, I think, very much part of a great many women’s young reader experience; not so much in the case of boys and men.  (These are generalizations, and to be taken as such, please!).

    It’s kind like — clothes.  Many women wear women’s clothing but also clothing adapted from men’s clothes or actual “men’s clothes” (these are — in the US — usually cheaper, better made, and have pockets, for gods’ sake, like this cotton flannel over-shirt I’m wearing right now), but most men don’t wear clothes designed and sold for women.  Kinda like that . . . with fiction.  I’ve seen studies showing that adult males in in the US rarely read fiction because it’s “a waste of time”, unless they’re Bond fans, or Clive Cussler fans, or fans of the stable of invisible, non-credited writers writing under the name James Paterson.  It’s different in SF/F these days, thanks to the invasion of the women writers that began in the sixties and hasn’t let up since (see: Connie Willis, Kate Wilhelm, Nnedi Okorafor, Octavia Butler, Nicola Griffith, Tiptree, Karen J. Fowler, Margaret Atwood, etc. etc.).

    But most male readers seem to still avoid mentally inhabiting female protagonists, where women readers can do the opposite without even noticing that we’re doing it; which is a great advantage, IMO.

    My own case is — whatever it is; not unique, certainly, to women of my generation, but not common either.  I’m the eldest of three sisters, raised by my mother and her family, and firmly convinced from very early on that I would somehow disguise myself as a boy and run away to sea, because I saw what my mother went through as a smart, talented, commercial artist desperately searching for a decent man to help support us because of the inadequate salary she was paid as a studio boss for Burlington, and because she was a woman herself raised by her mom, a Viennese (who talked romance, woman behind the throne, ironfist/velvet glove, blah blah, while supporting *her* kids as a successful milliner and corsette maker in Manhattan).  As luck would have it, I managed not to run away to sea, mainly because there were no clippers left . . . no Tall Ship regattas in those days.  But I wasn’t ever, really, what people thought of back then as a regular girl: too tall, too sharp, too interested in things that weren’t boys.  Or girls, much, either, so I’m no sample to judge by.

    I rather doubt that anyone on this list is, either.  I mean, this is about Doctor Who, not Leave it to Beaver.





    Mudlark @mudlark


    I wasn’t ever, really, what people thought of back then as a regular girl

    Nor I, though I could look the part if I tried – small, blonde, etc. etc.  As a kid, if I could be persuaded to take my nose out of whatever book I was reading, I was much more likely to be found tearing round the countryside with the boys, exploring abandoned chalk quarries, climbing trees, building dens in the woods and sliding off haystacks, than I was to be playing with dolls; and I *loathed* the colour pink – a prejudice which it took me decades to overcome. As a teenager I wasn’t typical, either, although becoming a bit more conscious of the fact that I marched to a slightly different drum; and from the age of 16 I was in any case starting to focus on my ambition to be an archaeologist. The fact that I went to an all-girls school was probably an advantage, in that I was at most regarded as being slightly eccentric, gained a small amount of status from my academic ability, and there was no pressure for me to be other than myself.

    Like you, I was a reader of science fiction from an early age – around ten or eleven in my case, but what mattered to me were the ideas, the speculative dreams of future utopias or dystopias and the extrapolation from scientific theories.   The characters in the novels and short stories written by the  authors of the ‘golden age’ were rarely more than two dimensional puppets anyway and of lesser importance, though I did discriminate and there were certain authors I learned very rapidly to avoid.  I was always sensitive to how girls and women were portrayed, and recoiled from any evidence of misogyny  Your mention of ‘Tiger Tiger’ reminded me that I have a copy in my fairly extensive library – Penguin edition, 1967, and what you say of it may explain why have never re-read it since and have only the haziest recollection of the plot.  Equally,  I latched on to any depiction of a strong and clear minded female character, as in John Wyndham’s  ‘Trouble with Lichen’.  As for the more militaristic end of the genre, warfare in space held little appeal unless there was a more interesting wider context.

    What you say about women’s greater ability in general to inhabit male characters in fiction, whether is as writer or reader, is true in my experience, also, but things have improved, and I have noticed recently that there are now a few more male novelists who can portray rounded female characters, or even write a convincing female first person narrative..

    Reading choices are another matter, though all the anecdotal evidence is as you say. I have only my own immediate family to go by, and most of them are or were fairly eclectic readers and perhaps not typical. One of the dominant figures of my childhood was a great uncle-by-marriage who was a journalist, American correspondent for a London newspaper in the 1920s and, when I knew him in the 1940s and early 50s, the editor of a middle-brow weekly literary magazine. Their house was my heaven, where I was free to roam his library and read anything which caught my fancy.  He was a blunt spoken Yorkshireman from Keighley, and as far as I could tell he did not discriminate between the writings of male and female authors.  He was certainly nuts about the novels of the Bronte sisters, wrote about them and was a leading member of the Bronte Society. My father did not have a great deal of time to devote to reading, but he encouraged it in us and he was, among other things, highly appreciative of the novels of Georgette Heyer, as being well written, witty, and highly entertaining.  My mother, who was the eldest of three sisters, was a voracious reader from an early age, although her family owned very few books because they could not afford them and her main resource was the public library. But her taste in novels was narrower than mine and perhaps more ‘literary’, and her preferred authors were almost exclusively female.  My younger brother seems fairly conventionally masculine in his reading tastes and his favourite novelist is John Berger, but my youngest brother’s and my tastes overlap to a considerable extent (it was I who introduced him to the works of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett) and when he visits almost the first thing he does is to prowl my bookshelves for reading matter – sometimes books magically transport themselves across the English Channel. When I think about it, though,  most of those books we have in common are by male authors.

    Reading habits are clearly partly a matter of personal inclination and partly of social conditioning, but sexuality and gender lie along a spectrum with no hard and fast boundaries, and writers who can command that spectrum have a clear advantage, as do readers who are not constrained by a gender or age determined strait jacket.  There are men who are fans of the novels of Jane Austin – I seem to remember that Rudyard Kipling wrote about such in his short story ‘The Janeites’ – and there have always been men like my great uncle who appreciated the works of the Bronte sisters; and then there was my father who could not understand my fascination with science fiction and fantasy, but enjoyed reading what are normally regarded as quintessentially ‘feminine romances’.

    What is ‘normal’, anyway?  As you say, this is the Doctor Who Forum.






    ichabod @ichabod

    @mudlark  Yup, not much “normal” around here . . . DW selects, I think, for “bored with normal” individuals who have accordingly eclectic tastes.  In my parents’ house, was allowed to read anything I was tall enough to take down from the bookshelf.  I was a tall kid, which didn’t help when it came to “Gormenghast” or “Finnegan’s Wake” (my dad left most of his books behind, and he was an autodidact of wide-ranging interests, so . . . ).  The local branch of the New York Public Library was my second home.  I also was in an all girls’ middle school, Hunter elementary, until my mom got nervous: I didn’t like boys much.  Girls neither, but she was working off the middle class urban European lady model she got from my Viennese grandmother, and I as furiously rejecting it — she got that part right!  Being a smart girl among a lot of smart girls was *great*, and something I returned to with college  — Barnard is a small, strong, liberal arts college and was all female at the time.  Being not only expected but required to use my brains (without being ridiculed for it) was the best thing that could have happened to me.

    Just read a good new novel, “Beloved Poison” by E. S. Thomson.  It’s an historical mystery set in a London hospital about to be torn down and replaced by a railway stations in the mid-19th c.  Interesting, and the author’s note at the end identifies her as an historian.

    Next up, the newest Flavia de Luce story, by Alan Bradley.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    Thanks for the tip about ‘Beloved Poison; it sounds just my kind of book and I will look out for it.  I haven’t come across Alan Bradley or the Flavia de Luce series, but having looked them up I think the books sound interesting. My only reservation is that, although the author is Canadians and he had never visited this country when he started writing, he set the books in England. Not necessarily a reason to reject the work, but it brings to mind some other books set in Britain by North American authors.

    One such is Connie Willis.  In many ways I like her writing and  I enjoyed ‘Domesday’, even though some of the historical details and perceptions were a bit iffy if not outright wrong, but my appreciation of the two part novel ‘Blackout’ and ‘All Clear’  was diminished by the numerous and ubiquitous factual errors and cultural false notes, and I think that was the case with many British readers .  I know that she did a great deal of research into the blitz in London but, despite the vast resources of the Mass Observation archive, she seems to have gained little insight into the nuances of social hierarchy and social history of that period as it pertained to the blitz, and her knowledge of the geography, flora and fauna of the British Isles* and such matters as coastal defences appears somewhat sketchy, to say the least.  One of the most convincing sections is that which is clearly based on the information she gained from a chance encounter in the Imperial War Museum with a group of women who were having a reunion there.

    Picky, picky, picky, I know; but if a novel is set in the past or a foreign country, and the reader knows a great deal about the period or the country in question, such errors are an obstacle to immersion in the story.

    Digression and mini rant over.

    Have you come across The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, by Natasha Pulley?  If not, I recommend it. It is her first novel, set set chiefly in late 19th century London, and I’m not sure whether it should be classed as fantasy or magical realism or something in between; but it is beautifully written and I found it spell binding.


    * Many British species were introduced deliberately into North America but, with the exception of the grey squirrel, the same is not true in reverse.  Do you recall a song briefly popular in the 1960s –  ‘Country Gardens’ set to the tune of that name by Percy Granger? The lyrics consisted largely of a list of birds and flowers supposedly to be found in an English garden, and the one thing remarkable about that list was that hardly anything in it would in fact be found in any garden in England 🙂

    ichabod @ichabod

    @mudlark   Oh, I know that feeling of being yanked by the ear out of a story by a glaring mistake that you know hardly anybody else even notices!  It’s maddening, especially if the book is otherwise good — that just makes it worse.  Connie’s books, though — they mostly leave me cold, but Doomsday’s ending slew me, emotionally, regardless of wobbles in the (too long and too contrived) story.  It was the recognition of Entropy, and the futile but insistent human response to it, that worked for me (as I recall; I read it a long time ago, and a lot of printed pages have passed under the bridge since then).

    I’ll definitely go look for the Pulley book — sounds just my meat, and thanks!


    lisa @lisa

    Reading the “Fourth Turning”  a dystopian pseudo historical hypothesis about how history moves in cycles.

    This is the book that  Darth Bannon has immeasurable respect for.   I  read everything.  I even have

    read Breitbart.  In fact when all the immigrants started coming thru in the great migrations to Europe

    I even felt they made a very justified point that I could get my head around about how that would create

    some serious dysfunction and tensions through out Europe.

    Still I totally believe Breitbart is  dangerous as much as scientologists or Ayn Randians or any other cult.

    But !  They are just basically responding to their ideology.  Breitbart Bannon the individual  has a very

    deliberate agenda and that’s a very different dynamic because now  Darth Bannon has fallen into tremendous

    luck with Trump.  I’d say Bannon is an alcoholic and nothing against alcoholics but they seem to relish in some

    rage, delusion and fear.   Plus all of his flawed beliefs about this Fourth Turning stuff  also coincide

    with the evangelicals end times rapture stuff.  They widely supported Trump in spite of who he is.

    I did some reading about that too and they have some weird interpretations about  Trump being part

    of their prophecies.

    Bannon wants to be a champion for this crazy agenda and I’m worried that he is looking to create

    a trigger point to start this Fourth Turning which is a bit terrifying given the power he has now.

    So my reaction is to read the book.


    Since there are so many fans here of sci fi  and since right now the reality is that  we appear to be

    in strange global  times where all the great dystopian literature is selling out on Amazon  I thought

    I’d give this book a mention.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @lisa   Yes, dystopia is us right now — or we fear we’re becoming that, and are checking out how bad it can get so we can reassure ourselves that at least we’re not *there* yet (full-on 1984, or Fahrenheit 451, or Handmaid’s Tale et al).

    As for Raptures and Turnings etc., I think we’re at a place of critical choices.  The reactionary backlash rising everywhere against the powers that be is an indication of the strength of the pull of momentum toward a future characterized primarily by massively increased and increasing interconnectedness (like — anti-Trump demonstrations not just in New York and San Francisco but lots of inland towns and cities, and cities not even in the US; like flashmob videos — and everything else — passed around on Youtube etc., like my sister’s FB friend in Norway who wants her to come visit [or stay, if that were possible]) with all of the plusses and minuses that that entails.  Parochialism is being drowned, and it’s fighting back.

    I think we’ve got decades of this war (at all levels) between the drive to go forward toward necessary cooperation and innovation, and the frantic drag of people trying to force a return to a splintered distortion of the past that pits every group against every other group for fear of some bunch of “inferiors” getting ahead.  Bannon is a malicious savage, a chieftain in the latter mob.  Even if he were to prevail, I don’t think it would be for long.  Americans get restless with authority — any kind of authority.

    But with all that said, lots of us share you fears.  The loyal opposition — loyal to the Constitution, not to the knuckle-draggers — has a lot of backbone to grow in a short time.  I do like the way Elizabeth Warren has turned the ass McConnell’s own “Me Tarzan, you shut up” words against him.  We do know the way; inspiration helps.

    I’m looking for a button to wear — “Nevertheless, she persists.”  Damn right she does, sonny boy.

    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby

    <p style=”text-align: center;”>Right fellow whovians I have a bit of a challenge for you. I have been racking my brains and searching my bookshelves looking for a book I read quite awhile ago, way back in the late 90s. Unfortunately I cant remember the author or the darn books name😤😤 probably because of quantity of books I have read. The main points from the plot I remember is that it was about an order of knight/paladins who existed  for good to go into battles with impossible odds always leaving behind one last knight to rebuild the order. If I remember right the Order was limited to 100 knights and the story was about the last knight of the order who was then getting old trying to rebuild the order to fight an impending major threat. The story was set in a semi mystical medieval world. I had thought it was by david Gemmel and was called the legend of the 100 but this doesn’t seem to match any of his books. Any help in “scratching” the itch not being to remember the books title and author name would be greatly appreciated.</p>

    Mudlark @mudlark


    Your mention of Alfred Bester’s ‘Tiger Tiger’ has led me to reread it after an interval of nearly fifty years, and I think your memory may have done some disservice to the novel, not least in conflating two different female characters.

    The central character, Gully Foyle, is not portrayed as a hero in any usual sense, although his growth in self awareness and ultimately to a kind of redemption is charted in the course of the narrative. At the outset he is an unthinking brute, bred in the gutter, uneducated, speaking only the inarticulate argot of the gutter and driven by unreasoning rage and the desire for vengeance on the ship (note, at this stage not even people) which had ignored his distress signal and left him to die in the wreckage of the Nomad.   The rape of the psychiatrist to whom he had been assigned for rehabilitation is portrayed clearly as a symptom of who he is at the time. When, much later, he encounters her again, the devastating effect that the rape has had on her life is stated explicitly. She certainly does not fall in love with him, but in her desperate state she is persuaded, by the offer of large sums of money, to instruct and guide him on how to conduct himself in upper class society.

    Between these two events, the second woman in his life is encountered in the prison/hospital in which he is confined, and it is she who stimulates his latent intelligence, teaches him to think, gives him the language and vocabulary to express his thoughts and provides him with the beginnings of an education.  But he is still an angry, driven man, dominated by his lust for revenge, and after their escape together, when he is faced with the choice of saving himself or risking all by waiting for her, he abandons her to what he assumes is her death.  When they meet again, her attitude towards him is, to say the least, ambivalent, and she is a force to be reckoned with.

    The third w0man in his life is the blind woman, a member of a powerful clan, who ‘sees’ things in an electro-magnetic  spectrum, and it is she who falls in love with him and who he, in turn, both loves and loathes. She is, in her own way, as monstrous as he if not more so, conscienceless in her responsibility for countless deaths, and when he confronts her he sees a mirror of himself, becomes fully aware of what he has done and become and, in doing so, is freed from the compulsion which has driven him to this point. He acquires a conscience and feels the need for atonement.

    All this is set in an imagined future in which women have been consigned to a kind of purdah ‘for their own protection’, but all three women have agency in their different ways, and all three have a crucial part to play in the release of the protagonist from his prison of ignorance and anger. At the end it is in part their understanding and forbearance which redeems him.

    On the whole not bad, I think, for a science fiction novel of the 1950s

    ichabod @ichabod

    @mudlark   Thank you!  Not bad at all!  I had only remembered the psychiatrist, and the rich white woman (?) whose ship Voya was, as I recall.  Definitely conflated the shrink with the blind lady.  This certainly sounds a whole lot better than the story as I remembered it!  Which makes me happy.  Goodness knows it made a hell of an impression on me — “Fourmyle of Ceres” arriving at a party in a train chugging down a track being laid for it on the spot was unforgettable.  Or, at least, that’s as I remember it.  Even then — I was in my teens, checking in every day for the next installment in F&SF, I think it was, down at the magazine rack in the corner drug store.  Bravura work.

    I’d better dig out my own copy and give it a whirl now.  So many books, so little time — I don’t do a lot of re-reading these days; my loss, I think.

    MissRori @missrori

    (mmm)  I’ve been reading a lot of comics/manga lately, which I enjoy a lot, but I haven’t found a really compelling novel to read in a while.  I was wondering if anyone here had a recommendation for an uplifting sci-fi/fantasy story to help me power through these tough times?  🙂

    winston @winston

    @missrori   Recently I started reading a series of books by Jonathon Stroud called Lockwood and Co.. These are called young adult books but I like them and believe me I am a long way away from being a  young adult. As I told the Librarian “I refuse to limit myself to certain sections” and I am glad I don’t because I found these books. This is a fantasy series about a world where ghosts are everywhere and only young people can see or sense them. They have become ghost busters while adults hide in their houses.There are 4 books now and they have  been a fun and enjoyable read. Good luck in your search for a good book.

    MissRori @missrori

    @winston Thank you for your recommendation.  (writes it down)  I don’t turn up my nose at YA books even though I’m pushing 39 at this point.  Reading the 12 Doctors 12 Stories anthology was fascinating in that respect.  (Holly Black’s story for the Twelfth Doctor, “Lights Out”, is one of the best expanded universe stories about Twelve — and even though it was one of the very first, it fits well into his larger character arc in the show.)  I think one reason people are really into YA books nowadays is that they tend to be more story-driven than “adult”-oriented fiction.  I’ve always found it harder to take interest in a story that doesn’t have a gripping hook, that doesn’t get into the action right away.

    Missy @missy

    There are a couple of American writers – Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. They co-write novels. all of them – so far -riveting. One of their characters Pendergast, is a particular favourite of mine. He is a man of mysterious origins almost magical – but not.

    Missy @missy

    I have just finished listening to “Rogue Herries” on BBC 4. What a story. I was in my early teens when I read this book, and still found it enjoyable. They did make a film of it a few decades ago, but it would be interesting if the BBC brought out another updated series.


    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    As mentioned on other threads I recently celebrated my 60th birthday – my sister in law mentioned to me that she’d heard of someone who on this auspicious occasion had decided to try to read 60 books in 60 days.  Since my default response to challenges that don’t involve physical activity is ‘challenge accepted’, I’m doing just that.  I’m now on day 25 and have completed 25 books (or 24.5 if one’s being picky and counting one rather short book I read as 0.5).  I’m doing fortnightly blogs about what I’ve read – hopefully spoiler free – the first of which you can find here:

    Anyone looking for new authors to explore or generally things to read might find something they like the look of!

    v best to all

    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    Over on Twitter, there’s a virtual book group happening, as people all over the globe read or re-read Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising, which is set at Midwinter/Xmas, and comment, ask questions, share favourite bits, and even share their own artwork/music inspired by the book (and the series it’s actually book 2 of).  I love the book, and the series, and it’s truly a lovely thing to be part of.  If you’re on Twitter and want to join us, the hashtag is #TheDarkIsReading…

    Hiker @hiker



    Now we know your superpower!



    Missy @missy

    This is a book so I’ll mention it here. I’ve recently begun listening to Dombey and Son on 4 Extra.

    We didn’t read this at school and surprisingley I never gave it a thought.

    What marvelous series this would make on TV.

    At the moment I’m right into the Harry Potter books, for the third time of reading, and Loving them.


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