So. My third day at the London Book Fair, 2013.

Not much to say about today, at least when it came to the fair. I only stayed a little while this time, two hours at the most, walking around the stalls and booths and making notes to follow up. Also covertly watching the big rights meetings at many tables spread out across wide areas, and getting very excited to see posters for books I’ve waited avidly for – such as Ben Aaronovitch’s ‘Broken Homes’, and Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Ocean at the end of the Lane.’ I was very much hoping that they might have some books up for offer, but nope. Sigh.

However, I can put it on record that I actually – gasp! – talked to people. Of my own accord, and for more than a few seconds! I’m really too old to still be having this mental block when it comes to social matters, but damn it was satisfying, even if there was also a lot of terror sweat involved. Once you get going, it can be okay.

And everyone was so nice! That’s what was most important for me to take from this experience; the fair was filled with people taking part in a trade they’re passionate about and want to help other people get into – admittedly for good business reasons, but also to serve the book in all its different forms.

I really enjoyed these three days; I’ve learned a lot about possible career options, I’ve met some interesting people and found some options I might not have considered, and I walked around a lot with my mouth open without looking too much of an idiot, I hope.

Then I treated myself and went to Waterstones, an experience which shall be elaborated upon in another post.

So. My second day of the London Book Fair, 2013.

While yesterday was mostly taken up by seminars in the upper rooms, today was spent very much in the second hall, listening in on various presentations and debates to do with digital media. A whole lot of talk about social networking and marketing, marketing, MARKETING.


Circa 10.20: Arrive at Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre. Get badge scanned. Go into hall and hyperventilate.  That’s still a whole lot of people.

10.40: Catch the tail end of The Marketing Toolkit: How Translators can Make their Work Matter, 10.00 – 11.00 – speakers Ira Silverberg, Esther Allen, Max Porter and Chad Post.

I don’t know a great deal about translation, being a pathetic speak one-langue-only-person while kidding myself that I can sort of get by in reading French (something I need to rectify immediately) so it was fascinating to hear the importance of good translators being discussed, as well as the fact that they were often overlooked and were out of the limelight, although sometimes by design. There was talk about the importance of translating short stories and submitting them to the right places.

One lady asking a question, who was centered in Norwich, talked about the difficulty in getting to know about good translations and opportunities when you’re not in London. Still, the panelists believe that England is going through something of a Golden Age when it comes to translation. Ira Silverberg talked about a charming anecdote about ten years ago where a thing she was part of had organized six translators to present Don Quixote in six different languages; they thought no one would turn up and then they were having to turn people away!

They also emphasized the importance of translators getting to know the likes and preferences of their publishers when they were far away from geographically, in order to connect with them.

Continue reading “So. My second day of the London Book Fair, 2013.”

So. My first day of The London Book Fair, 2013.

Back when I was preparing for the fair, I learned that Neil Gaiman was going to be present. I was overjoyed.

Then I learned he was only going to be present at the Digital Minds conference on the 14th, rather than the three days that the main fair would take place – and that the cost to attend said conference was £359.

To which I said accordingly, and probably for the first time ever, FML.

Even though I was not to see Neil Gaiman, sob sob, the first day of the London Book Fair was still very enjoyable and informative. Here follows a roster of the day:

Continue reading “So. My first day of The London Book Fair, 2013.”

So. What I thought as I watched Doctor Who: ‘Cold War’

This isn’t so much a review as a stream of consciousness,  with very occasional moments of discussion and/or rants. (Well, there’ s a sort of review at the end, but don’t expect anything too deep.)   If you haven’t seen ‘Cold War’, this probably won’t make much sense.

So yes, we are back on good old Planet Earth, complete with an intro shot that swoops over various icebergs and an actual subtitle telling us where we are; North Pole, 1983. Has the show ever done this before? I can’t remember seeing a specific subtitle telling us the location of the week, usually they leave that to the Doctor or the supporting cast to explain.

Oh no, not a camera plunge into the water, I hate those! Not that they’re bad – often they’re crucial in helping to set a scene – but it’s a pet peeve of mine. Gives me the shivers.

And here we have the bottle of this bottle episode; a submarine. Really, is the TARDIS going to be able to fit into that? They appear to be about to launch torpedoes  and I am distracted by the fact that Davos Seaworth and Edmure Tully are on board. Or rather Liam Cunningham and and Tobias Menzies, but two Game of Thrones actors in one episode of another series altogether; what are the odds?

Also, David Warner as the professor, who spoils what turns out to be a drill by enjoying his Ultravox. I don’t know who Ultravox were/are and I don’t care, I love this character already and he’s barely spoken.

The tension between the submarine captain and his…second in command, I’m not going to pretend I know how the Russian navy works, runs its course, and we get our first mention of the ‘specimen’. Naturally, it is a mammoth; what else could it be? Nothing can possibly go wrong.

What am I saying? This is a pre-credits sequence. Stuff going wrong is kind of standard.

Continue reading “So. What I thought as I watched Doctor Who: ‘Cold War’”

So. About Disney’s ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’…

…I really do love this film.

Nope. No statement of something about it that bugs me this time. It is a great film, adapted as it is from a book where just about the only people left alive at the end are one lucky son of a gun poet, the knight who caused a good deal of the whole mess, the woman who (oh no! What a punishment!) he must marry, and a goat.

Personally I think the goat deserves her own book, but you can’t have everything in life.

There isn’t much about this film that I don’t like. I love the visuals, the adaptations of the characters, the dialogue. And the music! The way Paul Kandel (Clopin) hits that last note in The Bells of Notre Dame! Tom Hulce singing as Quasimodo! Esmeralda’s heart breaking God Help the Outcasts! Tony Jay singing Hellfire! Hold onto that last one, we’ll be returning to it in a minute.

I’m going to make a very bold statement here, which might be controversial – I even enjoy the gargoyles.


When they’re not singing. (There is a limit to the capacity of even my generous heart.)

They’re fun and supportive and gave Quasimodo someone to talk to, and sometimes they provided some real comic gems. Again, when they weren’t singing.

Really, I’m sure a lot of people would agree with me when I say that you could take A Guy Like You out of the soundtrack and let it drop into that fiery pit Frollo was ranting about, and we would rejoice and not mind one little bit.

Continue reading “So. About Disney’s ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’…”

So: Hannibal 1×02, ‘Amuse-Bouche’

So. Hannibal 1×02, ‘Amuse-Bouche’, repeated again because the archive page won’t show the title for some obscure reason.

I think I was afraid that Hannibal might swiftly become a ‘murder of the week’ formula, so it was a pleasant surprise to see Crawford and Graham picking up where they had left off last time and trying to find the remains of Garret Hobbs’s victims. Really, though, should I have expected them to simply hare off to a new murder inquiry? Watching the reams of paper work in Hot Fuzz has taught me that police work is never that simple.

In addition, Abigail Hobbs is still very much in the picture, in body if not in spirit; she’s now in a coma from loss of blood, thanks to that parting gift of a slit throat from her daddy. Rather in the manner of taking in stray dogs, Will has very much taken this lost and orphaned girl into his heart, staying in her hospital room for quite a few nights as he has. But is his concern that of a rescuer, or that of the father he shot but who refuses to get out of sight and out of mind? The situation’s only more complicated by the revelation that Abigail could possibly have been complicit in her father’s murders – even if Graham is positive that Hobbs killed alone, that doesn’t necessarily mean he hunted alone.

Still, another case lurches out of the ground to scare unsuspecting hikers as well as the audience. The choice of soundtrack for this scene makes your skin crawl, discordant and overlaid with drips that turned into a gush, as a line of dead hands rose out of the earth with hypodermic needles embedded in each one. I though at once of corpse farms, places where the decomposition of bodies is studied…but the colonization of fungus in the bodies soon put that idea to rest, along with any hope that I will ever get around to liking mushrooms.

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This is really the first draft of something that’s rather in the vein of Neil Gaiman’s ‘Chivalry’, if not nearly so good. Expect revisions pretty soon



Mink, both white and dark.

I don’t dare to look any closer at the labels than that; I don’t want to think how much these coats cost, in more ways than one.

“I’m sorry, little guys.” I can’t help it, it slips out and I hope the terrifying sales assistant looming near the fur section didn’t hear. “I’m so sorry,” I say to a chinchilla coat, under my breath this time.

Continue reading “Golden”