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  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Colin-M at 21:42 on 12 December 2004
    I used to work in the computer games industry. At one point I worked on a gothic horror game and in the early stages of development we were encouraged to research some fairly grim subjects; some violent, some fetish and a lot of dark stuff like voodoo, satanism, occultism, demonology. The idea was to submerge ourselves in a sesspool of dabauchery in the hope that this would filter through to the final game without being overt. Our creative gury considered this an important part of the design process.

    Another thing to add here. Although a lot of the things we looked at would be considered "sick" in most circles of conversation - we didn't half piss ourselves laughing at some of it. I mean, why the hell would someone want to pierce themselves like that???

    Colin M
  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Nell at 07:50 on 13 December 2004
    This hunger to know more about authors who've written books that we love is an odd thing. The book is complete in and of itself, initially the author is only present as the creator of the story and the arrangement of the words. It's far more understandable to want to know more about a film star or musician because we see them creating their magic. Has it always been like this or is the cult of the author a recent phenonenom encouraged by publishers and publicists in order to sell books? And supposing a person with nil charisma and conversation skills (someone pathologically shy perhaps) wrote a stunning novel but was unable to go along with the publicity and hype needed to promote the book, would that mean it wasn't taken up? J.D. Salinger got away with it, and created a mythos all his own, but that was then and times have changed. Re. Mark Haddon and his crass remark I can't be the only one so upset by it that I'll never read anything he ever writes.

  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Al T at 08:52 on 13 December 2004
    Thanks for all your response. It just goes to show, you can't please all of the people all of the time!

    Happy reading and writing,

  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Amos at 15:04 on 13 December 2004

    I think the interest in authors - especially writers of bestsellers such as Dog in the night - is an extension of the growing cult of celebrity: people want to know what makes them tick, what inspires them, why do they write like that, what's the next book, and, by the way, what do you think of the government/wmd/organic farming?

    There are more media outlets with pages to fill, best selling books can be bought everyone from Waterstones to Tescos, and the press is full of record-breaking advances and sales of the movie rights. On the face of it, being an author looks fairly sexy.

    With rock stars and actors we want the reality of the person to be as exciting or intruiging as the character they portray or the music they make. Quite often, especially in these days of spin and control, when you eventually find out more about the 'real' person they are either not very interesting or just plain awful.

    The same is true of authors, with the added problem that most are not very rock 'n' roll or sexy in in the first place.

    I also think that the people on this website are probably more interested in the author behind the books we like because we are writers and we are genuinely interested to hear how others ply their trade, how they work, where they get their ideas from and the issues they have faced to get something published.

    It's a bit like trainspotters and birdwatchers swapping notes really.

    Without wanting to offend you, and without wanting you to 'state the bleedin' obvious', what did you find so shocking about the image of the dead dog?

  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by scoops at 15:44 on 13 December 2004
    Nell, I'm embarrassed to say I found the scenario of the dog very funny too. Because it was so bizarre, not because I dislike animals. The cartoon picture on the jacket underscored the strangeness of it. My disappointment with the book - and I'm not giving anything away as this all happens near the front - was that we never really found out why the father did it, and there was no redress once it was revealed - as if these incidents happen in surburbia all the time. Perhaps they do:-( shyama


    ps: Re the question of why we're interested in the authors, is it that they have become as much social commentators as writers - for example, the rise of what is called chick-lit is, I would argue, an attempt by post sixties women to examine exactly where they are socially politically and personally in the wake of the pill, financial independence, etc. It hasn't happened as they imagined and by examining the minutiae of everyday life, they're trying to find patterns and portents that provide some of the answers. Most chick-lit I've read is about deconstructing where we are, and to do so it starts at the micro picture. The same is probably true of writers like Nick Hornby and Mike Gayle. Just a thought to get the ball rolling:-)
  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by anisoara at 15:50 on 13 December 2004

    I felt the same way as you about never knwoing why the dad did it in the first place. I kept waiting for it, but it never did come. I was left with my theories.

    Re the dog, I always found the image disturbing, but it is darkly comic, just because it's so absurd.

  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Account Closed at 15:57 on 13 December 2004
    Presumably the quote marks mean that the author thought this image hilarious? Well I don't.

    There is no great genius without some touch of madness.
    - Seneca
  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Amos at 16:06 on 13 December 2004
    Hi Scoops

    I think the author as social commentator point you make is true to a certain degree, and probably explains the increased interest in writers by the broadsheets on glossy colour supplements, but I still think it has to be celebrity that ends up with JK Rowling in Hello magazine or whatever.

    You only have to look at the title of the competition 'LitIdol' to see where it's heading. Because the bookshops are full of biographies of non-entities like Jordan and Robbie Williams, it gives the impression that anyone can write, so everyone wants to write!

  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by scoops at 16:10 on 13 December 2004
    But isn't it her money that makes JK a celebrity, Amos, not her books? They don't follow Jacqueline Wilson around despite her success as an author because she isn't a multi millionaire. JK embodies the rags to riches celebrity for which the mags also worship soap stars and the like. The books are merely the means, not the focus?
  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Nell at 16:30 on 13 December 2004
    Amos, it was the author's flippant attitude to that image that was so disgusting. Suppose he'd said 'The image of a forked toddler on a lawn “which, frankly, I thought was hilarious”...' O.K. that's not what he said, but is it so very different?

    Scoops, I don't know what to say in reply. I only know that I was shaking with rage and upset when I read that interview, and it seemed to me extraordinary that after all the anger generated by the post on the Prince's memo no one seemed to notice it, let alone object.

    I.B., you've touched on a possible answer, but then again maybe there's the seed of madness in us all.



    Re. the fascination for authors, I can understand the reasons for it, but what of my question? Would a brilliant author with a unmarketable personality be taken on by an agent/publisher?
  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Amos at 16:37 on 13 December 2004
    I think that's the point I'm making - at the moment she could probably publish her shopping list and it would sell.

    The media in general is more interested in her life and why she's NOT writing than the books themselves. She has become a celebrity in her own right... but why? Are we the public or even the readers of her books that interested in her love life?

    You're right it was her success (or money) that made the media sit up and take notice of her, and they helped turn her into a celebrity. But it was her books that made her a success in the first place.

    There has to be a certain 'something' that interests the media in the first place to generate this kind of attention - Rowling obviously has this, but Wilson doesn't to the same degree. But I don't think the measure of their individual celebrity is a measure of their individual abilities as writers.

    I think writers and authors will increasingly become celebrities because there is a growing appetite for new celebrities. The authors that are most likely to have the spotlight shone on them are those that are considered controversial or different - at least different enough for publishers to use this as a way of promoting them and driving up sales.

    On the face of it this shouldn't be a problem - the danger comes when publishing becomes too much like other 'celebrity' dominated areas, like pop music, TV and film, where real invention and talent is sacrificed in favour of crowd-pleasing guff that has been formulated by focus group by businessmen to maximum return on their investment.

    Sorry - does this sound like I am disagreeing with you? I'm not. I think it is a very interesting debate.
  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Al T at 16:43 on 13 December 2004
    Nell, have you seen A Fish Called Wanda? There's a subplot in that in which Michael Palin's character tries to get rid of an old lady (can't remember why). He drops a heavy weight from on high on her doggies, to try and give her a fatal shock. I found it very funny, as did most people in the cinema where I saw it, many of whom, I'd imagine, have dogs. I've heard that the film was test-marketed to an audience with that scene including blood and gore. No one laughed. In the final cut, there's no blood, giving it a sense of unreality and absurdity and making the audience laugh.

    Amos, I think Robbie Williams is very talented (although he looks like he doesn't wash and I wouldn't want to snog him - but I'm sure he'll get over it ). His book credits a co-writer, so he is not claiming to be the world's greatest memoirist (is that a word?). I haven't read the book, but understand why his fans would want to know more about him.

  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Amos at 16:50 on 13 December 2004
    Hi Nell

    I do see your point and I agree with the 'toddler' scenario. I didn't find it hilarious (the description in the book, rather than the author's comment), but I also didn't find it upsetting either.

    I read the book as fiction and didn't have a particular emotional reaction to the image because I dind't think of it as real. It didn't touch me in that way.

    I think it is difficult to know what the author was thinking just from that single comment, which might have been taken out of context by the journalist - but I do appreciate it could be upsetting (both the image and author's comment) to many people.

    As for the question of brilliance Vs. personality - I hope that a brilliant writer would still be taken on by a publisher. But my fear about the growth of celebrity is that this will become increasingly difficult as business pressures come to the fore.

    More headline grabbing stories/personalities will succeed over difficult or slow-burning books written by ordinary people with a real passion for writing.

    Again, you only have to look at music and film to see how this happened before.

    However, I think things like this website and the growth of online communities sharing information will ensure that good writing continues.

    It just means we won't earn much money!

  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Amos at 16:56 on 13 December 2004

    Do you really think Robbie Williams is talented... or do you just like his music?

    I'll defend every person's right to like what they like, but talented? I really don't agree.

    I can also see why people would want to read about him and I'm not suggesting he claims to be a great writer.

    I think in terms of marketing books and making the most money, many publishers would probably stomp on each other (and their mothers)to get their hands on the latest Robbie, Geri, Michelle from BB5 book than seek out and support a new writer with no track record.

  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Al T at 17:03 on 13 December 2004
    Do you really think Robbie Williams is talented... or do you just like his music?

    Primarily, I like his music. But he co-writes his songs and performs them very well, so he seems talented to me. The song Feel has made me cry on several occasions, so I think he has a talent for striking an emotional chord. Must go and listen to it, nice and loud!



    Ah, the potency of cheap music!
  • This 100 message thread spans 7 pages:  < <   1  2  3   4   5   6   7  > >