Archive for April 2011
I tend not to worry about birthdays, I do remember my families, but not mine. I don’t celebrate the day I was born and don’t see the need to let others celebrate it either so it came as quite a shock to me this week when I was reviewing some of my old posts here to find I’d missed the second anniversary of my blog.
I started on the 23rd April 2009 with a thank you to the Melbourne Science Fiction Club for a fabulous Minicon. I have been trying to get them to give me a guest post but they are very busy as they hold regular weekly meetings and a Minicon every year. This year it will be on 14th May follow this link for further details.
I’ve had great fun with the blog and I hope my readers have enjoyed themselves as well. I should really have a sale for celebration but as I’ve missed the actual date I’ll announce a sale now to start on the 1st May. If you want any books or part-work magazines everything will have a 20% discount for the month of May. That’s also the date of the first Klatch for Melbourne Discworld fans, more to come of this next week.
Continuing the theme of Aussie Book month, Squid Ink read Nylon Angel by Marianne de Pierres. I don’t quite agree with guns but Squid Ink has a mind of his own.
I picked up this book at a fete recently meaning to try and sell it. It’s not in good condition and I’ve just checked the price and found it’s probably not saleable but I did read it so I can scribble a few words about it here.
I haven’t read any Secret Seven books for quite some years, more than I care to think about as I didn’t read any to my kids. The kids were quite good readers from fairly early on and didn’t need me to read these to them so I didn’t get to revisit them at that stage. I was both pleased and surprised to see how well it’s aged. There are parts of it which interested me just to see how society has moved on and to see how the behaviour is no longer tolerated.
Anyway, the storyline goes a bit like this. It’s the holidays and the Secret Seven go to their shed for their first meeting, when they get there it’s being repainted and they’re not allowed anywhere near it for some time. They find another hideout which is fine until they discover their things are going missing. They see a book in their hideout with a name inside and a message about a meeting. Two of them go to watch this meeting and find out the valuable information which eventually leads to the post robbers being caught by the police.
Several interesting things came to light here. These children can’t be very old but they’re allowed to roam free around the area, they’re allowed to take food, drink and other things to their hideout. They’re even allowed to take kitchen equipment such as cups and tins. They talk about their chores they have to do at home as if they have no choice and have to do them by a particular time of day. One of the boys, Colin, gets his ears boxed by one of the men and is quite proud of the fact, the man doesn’t get into trouble for hitting a young boy. They don’t spend all their time together, they do talk about having to do things with their families.
With the food, drink and equipment, I suppose it does depend on the parents and how much they trust them, but I can’t see this happening here unless they had a cubby house in their back garden.
Doing the chores sets such a good example for any child. These children don’t seem to be too upset about doing them and just seem to accept that they have to do them as a part of life. I thought it was really good training.
The child brutality bit had me really interested. That would get quite a mention in books written today and the man would then get an extra charge on top of his original one and would be in jail for longer. It’s just interesting how society has moved on and this makes a really good illustration of that. It’d be great for people to use this as a study to show how far we’ve come.
Anyway, I do still recommend the Secret Seven books. This was quite readable and there weren’t too many words that have dropped out of use. I’d suggest these books are less likely to be rewritten.
This article on ABE Books got me thinking. It’s a description of the most expensive books sold through ABE in March 2011.
I don’t have many books on my shelf that are worth a lot of money. I tend to buy reading copies and pay as little as possible for them. I don’t actually like being the first person to read a book and therefore prefer to buy pre-loved copies. There’s something about opening the book for that first time that just doesn’t excite me. It has that new book smell and that turns me off somewhat. You might think about any magazines you receive in the mail, when you take them out of the plastic and open them they smell newly printed. A new book has that same smell and feel to me. I know people who actually have to air their magazines before they can read them as the smell gives them migraines, but that’s not my problem thank goodness.
I have a friend who is a compulsive buyer of books. He’s always trying for the next big book, that elusive second edition or the even more elusive first edition of each author/series he’s trying to collect. While he’s searching for that more expensive and harder to find first edition he buys whatever he can lay his hands on. He’s running out of bookshelf room, I did suggest he put the shelf on his ceiling but I suspect he thought I was joking. Another friend is trying to buy first editions of several of her favourite series/authors. Enid Blyton and J. R. R. Tolkein spring to mind. I have yet another friend who would be so anxious to read the book she’d buy the hardcover and then replace it with the softcover as soon as that came out.
I just don’t get this way of buying books. I buy books to read, not as collector’s items and certainly not to worry about any appreciating of value that is likely to happen over time. I have read at least 90% of the books sitting on our shelves and many of them multiple times. I would feel very uneasy reading books worth too much and I’d feel very strange having them on my shelf if I felt I couldn’t read them for this reason. It’s an interesting situation.
Having said that there is one book I would pay more than normal for. It is very collectable and I’d be interested in knowing if having the author’s signature makes it more collectible or not. This book is called Carpet People by Terry Pratchett. It was written by him when he was 17, published when he was 21 and revised when he was 40+. I have a copy of it in the revised form and I’m really curious to read it to see how good he was back then. Publishing in 1971 wasn’t nearly so competitive as it is now and I’m really curious to see what sort of promise he had back then.
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Armed Corps. These soldiers were sent to Gallipoli and were a multi-national Corps. Mostly composed of soldiers from Australia and New Zealand with soldiers from other countries.
Gallipoli was a slaughterhouse and so many of these soldiers died. ANZAC Day first started in 1915 in New Zealand when the soldiers landed in Gallipoli and has been extended since World War II to include soldiers from other wars.
It is a time of great remembrance and many people gather all over Australia and New Zealand. In Melbourne they meet at the Shrine of Remembrance for a Dawn Service.
Lest we forget.
Elisabeth Sladen played Sarah Jane Smith on Doctor Who, K-9 and Company and also had her own show, The Sarah Jane Adventures. She passed away on 19th April 2011 after suffering from cancer, she was 63. She will be very much missed.
I always had a problem with Sarah Jane. She seemed to be a bit of a carpet, always going and getting into trouble and needing the Doctor to get her out. When they brought out The Sarah Jane Adventures I was ambivalent about seeing it but when I finally took the plunge I was enchanted. The story goes that Elisabeth Sladen was nobbled with her acting as Sarah Jane and was not able to play her as she wanted, but was allowed to change her for The Sarah Jane Adventures (SJA). In SJA, Sladen is just perfect. She has the right mixture of fear when facing problems, nous when it comes to extricating herself and her young companions and empathy for others. She’s no longer, the screaming female who needs to be extricated by The Doctor but has grown up and matured.
Sladen has done many other acting roles, on both stage and screen but will be most remembered for Sarah Jane. As Sarah Jane she worked with both Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker and was also asked to reprise her role when Peter Davison took on the role. She declined but did take on her role in K-9 and Company.
My condolences go to Sladen’s family for their loss. She will be very much missed by so many people.
Imagine a school set up like a computer game. You make the decisions, you control the action, you play the game. If your profile is right, you’ll get branded by one of the sponsors. Then you’re celebrity cool. And that’s what everyone wants, isn’t it?
Katey, aka Kid, is not so sure, though being branded would solve some financial problems. But when she witnesses a mock suicide, she finds herself drawn to an underground counterculture group – the Unidentified.
Then the real game kicks off.
I had no idea what this book was about, I think I won it on Twitter or Facebook but I didn’t make a note in the book when I received it so it’s anyone’s guess. I tried not to read the back as I’m enjoying the idea of opening a book without knowing anything about it. I’d like to do that with a movie too, especially a Mel Brooks movie; I always wonder if the knowledge that it’s a Mel Brooks movie means I know I’m going to enjoy it as opposed to actually enjoying it. I can’t help wondering if there’s a difference.
Anyway, onto the book. The supposition that schools are handed over to the corporation and the students will study games for rewards is an interesting one. I’d certainly be curious in seeing if that model works, I’m sure it works for some people but others might not like it. I enjoyed the writing, it was aimed fair and square at the young adult market, the lead character is likeable and vulnerable. Computers, large and small are used throughout the book and Twitter (under a different name) is used as a communication device by staff and students alike. All the privacy and nonprivacy options are there and we see them all in use. We see that parents are allowed and able to block their children from leaving school at certain times, parents are able to monitor them and children are able to figure out how to work around those blocks. They do this by programming their computers, so they’re learning more programming which will stand them in good stead when they leave school and get a job. Now, I’m not condoning kids going against their parents instructions but it is interesting how things move on in this book and you don’t wag school by just jumping a fence but by learning how to write programmes.
Kid just happens to be in the right place at the right time and then happens to be the first to investigate the mock suicide, something the school authorities are able to monitor, and so the sponsors pick her out as someone to brand and make her a leader. Kid is not happy with this and feels like a fish out of water but in the end adjusts to the situation and uses it to her advantage. This shows that investigating, putting information together and learning can be a good thing. It indicates Kid has learnt how to do these things in school, pointing out that school can be a good thing. So many people don’t like school and can’t see it as a means to an end but I feel this book does highlight this problem and show a positive solution.
I’d certainly recommend this book for anyone interested in young adult literature. I would be happy to recommend it to roughly 13 years and onwards.