John Christopher Message Board

MartinDoddles posts on 10/20/2008 8:53:30 PM Always being one for location reading - knowing the setting to assit in mental context - just come back to guernsey from a weekend in Winchelsea .. and set to re-read Empty World. Passed by the Youd abode in Rye but felt it was inappropriate to knock. Still searching for missing volumes if any one has any to spare. Martin
Robert posts on 8/26/2008 4:49:45 PM Oh, I wasn't suggesting it could lead to a reprint. I just thought it might get a few more people to look up your works. Personally, I think the semicolon works best, even though it's grammatically incorrect and in your shoes, I'd never have thought of writing it that way. The semicolon gives more of a pause to it, which works well for the rhythm of the sentence.
Sam Youd posts on 8/20/2008 7:33:34 AM Robert: I misremembered -- can't blame the publisher. In fact I think the best version might be: "I cried the day my father died; from joy." (Not sure whether the semi-colon is better than a comma there but there's not much in it). Congratulations on your success with the essay. Doubt if it will lead to a reprint, but I'm flattered that you thought it a worthwhile jumping-off point!

Robert posts on 8/17/2008 8:33:03 PM Alan, I see what you mean re: resolved/unresolved endings. I agree that it seems most audiences today can't handle the concept of issues being left unresolved by a story. As the work of Sam and others has shown, it's better to treat a long-term problem as a long-term problem and leave the outcome unseen. After all, long-term problems take a long time to resolve, and when they do(as shown in Mr.Youd's _Pendulum_, for instance), they often change into a different long-term problem. On the other end, though, I think a lot of creators use open-ended endings as a cop-out from resolving plot threads that should be resolved. +++ Hey Sam, thought you might be interested to hear that I just sold a "favorite first line" critical essay to the magazine The First Line using the opening sentence of A Bride For Bedivere. Hopefully that will rouse some more interest in your works! By the way, I remember you quoted that opening sentence to me as "I cried the day my father died; for joy." but in my copy of the book it says "I cried the day my father died; but from joy."(a somewhat weaker wording in my opinion, though the line undeniably still delivers a punch to the gut) Any idea why this is? Did your editor change the line before the book went to press?
Alan posts on 8/14/2008 4:52:12 PM Michael, I'm also on the lookout for Crown and Anchor (and Palace of Strangers) so if I track it down I'll let you borrow it. I'm also intrigued by the O level passnotes book on Death of Grass but I've never seen it anywhere. On holiday at the moment and have read The Guardians and the Lotus Caves on the beach this week (in between the rain). Without wishing to sound too obvious, I am surprised just how well they stand up. Haven't read The Guardians for twenty years and the whole thing was tremendous. Made me wonder if Robert Westall used it as his inspiration for Futuretrack 5.
Michael posts on 8/7/2008 12:37:49 AM Alan: Try David Cronenberg's films. He usually leaves things "unresolved" instead focussing on his theme or characters arcs. Some films are more violent than others though, so if you're squeamish. Robert: Track down all of Sam's shorts - they're almost all fantastic!! BTW, anyone, my only gap in my Sam reading collection is Crown and Anchor. Does anyone have this book and would lend or sell it to me? I'll pay a fair price.
Alan posts on 7/28/2008 6:43:17 PM Sam, I saw a bit of the Spielberg version of War of the Worlds last night. Not only did they refer to the machine as Tripods but there was a scene where Tom Cruise destroyed one after being pulled up by its tentacle through the judicial use of a hand grenade. Ring any bells?
Alan posts on 7/28/2008 4:05:05 PM Sam, I saw a bit of the Spielberg version of War of the Worlds last night. Not only did they refer to the machine as Tripods but there was a scene where Tom Cruise destroyed one after being pulled up by its tentacle through the judicial use of a hand grenade. Ring any bells?
Sam Youd posts on 7/22/2008 6:22:00 AM You can't post a second time without someone intervening, but I can now correct an error: the US title for Cloud on Silver was not The Ragged Edge (that was A Wrinkle in the Skin) but, more appropriately, Sweeney's Island. Thanks for the kind words, Alan and Robert.
Alan posts on 7/20/2008 4:03:58 PM Robert, the point I guess I'm making is that in most narrative tales, a resolution to the circumstances is normally seen as the end especially in these modern times. I am struggling to think of a modern film where the arc of the protagonists has been the start and end of the story but rather it would be neatly fitted with the wider circumstances. A good example might be 'The Birds' where no explanation is given and no solution is found to homicidal birds attacking humans. If that was made today then the film would have offered a reason for the behaviour and a solution 3 minutes from the end. I went to see War of the Worlds by Spielberg which I thought was a marvellously grim adaptation of the novel but thought how much more interesting would it have been if they had just found some sort of sanctuary (a la Death of Grass) without resolving the issue of the Earth being dominated and subjugated. That's why I enjoy Sam's novels so much because easy solutions are not found and the messy reality of real relationships are preferred to glossy happy endings. I agree with Sam that the novels mentioned do have complete character arcs but there is the potential for the situation to be exploited further. I find it tremendous that this wasn't done because he felt the purpose of the tales had been accomplished regardless of what could have been commercially rung from the scenarios. Almost needless to say, I find it wonderful that my imagination is free to speculate the future of the characters. Empty World was the book that first turned me onto reading and a run of the mill sequel would have removed that sense of awe and wonderment at its utterly unexpected solution. But it still didn't stop me being surprised there was no sequel as other books I'd read up to that point would have had one especially with such a rich story.
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