Road-testing Palgrave Pivot

Over on Vulpes Libris I interviewed a Palgrave Pivot commissioning editor, as part of the Vulpes Alternative Book Publishing Thrortnight. Pivot sells itself as a way to publish your polemic or very-much-extended essay that is too long for journal publication but way too short for a book. During the interview (done by email Q&A over a few weeks … Continue reading Road-testing Palgrave Pivot

The froideur before the storm, in Storm Jameson’s Hidden River

Continuing my reprints of old podcast scripts, this one is from the Appalling Women series, about a Storm Jameson novel from 1955. The Hidden River is set in France just after the Second World War, and sucks narrator and reader into a chilling family drama. Marie Regnier, the devoted cousin and housekeeper to the Monnerie … Continue reading The froideur before the storm, in Storm Jameson’s Hidden River

Now posting on Vulpes Libris: An interview with the Book View Café

We're still working through the Alternative Publishing Thrortnight on Vulpes Libris. Today's offering, from me, is an interview with the Book View Café, a cooperative of writers who do their own publishing, and are pretty effective at it too. LEARN how many jobs there are in getting a book out of an author's mind and into … Continue reading Now posting on Vulpes Libris: An interview with the Book View Café

Sex, death and love (in that order) in James Tiptree Jr’s Her Smoke Rose Up Forever

The short stories of Her Smoke Rose Up Forever are grim and powerful reading, committing the reader to new worlds and leaving unsettling characters in the mind. They are about love, sex and death in the future, across species and time. In the original Introduction to the 1990 edition John Clute writes passionately about the … Continue reading Sex, death and love (in that order) in James Tiptree Jr’s Her Smoke Rose Up Forever

Terror of the tyrannical wife, in Dornford Yates’s This Publican

For the full horror of an evil woman using class and sex warfare you might consider trying Dornford Yates’s magnificently toe-curling novel, This Publican, from 1938, which I podcasted about a few years ago. Its villain Rowena is the most loathsome woman character I’ve ever read, but it is faintly possible that she could be read differently … Continue reading Terror of the tyrannical wife, in Dornford Yates’s This Publican

On recording for the BBC

I was on the BBC yesterday, talking about John Buchan in a half-hour programme you can still hear on the BBC's iPlayer, here. Obviously it's not just me: Buchan's grandchildren Ursula Buchan and James Buchan (both authors), and the esteemed novelist William Boyd contribute most of the snippets of interview, unpicking the detail on why Buchan … Continue reading On recording for the BBC

Magnificently diabolical sexual politics in Jane Austen’s Lady Susan

This post is from my only Jane Austen podcast, because her tremendous novel-in-letters Lady Susan contains one of the truly great Appalling Women in British Fiction. We all enjoy a villain, but there is something particularly enjoyable about a female villain, especially when she’s written for readers who expect women to be pure, perfect, and positive. … Continue reading Magnificently diabolical sexual politics in Jane Austen’s Lady Susan

Now posting on Vulpes Libris: the Alternative Publishing thrortnight

It's going to be busy on Vulpes Libris for three weeks, as we begin a festival of blogging about alternative publishing. I kicked the opening salvo into the stands today with an interview with Peter Kennedy, a first-time novelist who paid for his first novel, Fishermen's Tales, to come out exactly the way he wanted it … Continue reading Now posting on Vulpes Libris: the Alternative Publishing thrortnight

Get your time machine fixed here, in Charles Yu’s How To Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

How to Live Safely in a Science-Fictional Universe (2010) is a seriously metatextual novel, packed with physics and logical puzzles, and cunningly decorated with references to inventions we have never imagined. It's very post-modern (which is not my usual choice) because it leaps about through the conventions of story-telling and novel-writing. I don't know, but I surmise that Charles Yu … Continue reading Get your time machine fixed here, in Charles Yu’s How To Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

Whose book is this anyway? Transitions in Middlebrow Writing, 1880-1930

The cover says its mine, which is good, because I’ve been working on it since 2011. Christoph Ehland, Christoph Singer, Conny Wachter and I ran a conference in 2011 called The Popular Imagination and the Dawn of Modernism, Middlebrow Writing 1880-1930s at the Institute of English Studies in London. That conference spawned two books of … Continue reading Whose book is this anyway? Transitions in Middlebrow Writing, 1880-1930