John Christopher Message Board
Robert posts on 12/12/2007 11:41:26 PM
re: Michael Dowling - I don't think so either,but easier than Peter d'Aurigny. Sarnia herself said breaking up with him had nothing to do with his retreat. I find it hard to blame him, since we don't actually see what made him abandon her; we have no idea what he went through,only what Edmund told her, which was probably peppered with half-truths and omissions. Since Sarnia didn't see it either, she would be in the same position.
+ Interestingly enough, in general it seems to me that the romances of Mr.Youd's romance novels are not as strong as those of his non-romance novels. Though I liked the matchings of Castle Malindine and A Bride For Bedivere, they pale in comparison to the complex relationship of Veronica and Mikhail(of Patchwork of Death), their rupture of trust, and their heartwarming reconciliation. Or the semi-tragic pair of Tom and Mary from Men With Knives. Their shared dependence was interesting from the start, and the way in which the book leaves the couple intriguingly dangles between despair and perseverance. Or Mat and Cherry(of The Little People). I love how their love rises above their ugly flaws, and I give much of the credit for my now being able to write good romance to the inspiration of that couple. Sam really laid down what true love is(and isn't) in that book.
+ Sam, that line was delivered in the scene where they confront the Jelains with evidence of their crimes. Peter was commenting on Edmund's increasingly feeble counterarguments. It's in chapter 27 if you want a quick look.
+ Sorry I didn't reply earlier, Michael; the JC Cavern is the most complete list I know of. I'm ashamed to say that I have yet to track down a single one of Mr.Youd's short tales!
michael leader posts on 12/11/2007 5:41:30 PM
So is there a complete list of your short stories Sam? JC Cavern was the best I found, but lists only JC shorts, or those under Vine and Youd that were reprinted in 22nd Century.
The two Rye shorts are My Man Closters and Hapladies - they're not yours? I've yet to read them so can't tell! Funny they appeared around the same time in British horror anthologies!
Sam Youd posts on 12/11/2007 6:39:31 AM
It's interesting to have these comments on the Hilary Fords but to engage in discussion would require me to re-read them and I don't feel up to it.
Michael: there were no Anthony Rye short stories, just the one novel. I found there was another AR writing and if I had continued would have written as Anthony S. Rye. What I did was revert to SY.
Robert: glad you found Peter d'A witty but can't recall the line. It must be the way he said it.
michael leader posts on 12/11/2007 12:57:37 AM
All valid points Robert. But I guess it is fiction - which is full of coincidences and contrivances. Marrying Michael, the man who abandoned her... I don't think so. Would be interesting to hear Sam's viewpoint on it.
Any ideas if there's a more complete list of Sam's short fiction than JCCavern. I've found 2 Ghost stories by Anthony Rye I believe under pseudonym, but no others under the other pen names. I've just tracked them all down, having previously only read 22nd Century.
Robert posts on 12/9/2007 11:22:57 PM
From what I've seen, how much wealth a person already has has little to no bearing on his desire for more. And given his own conception, it's to no credit whatsoever that Peter is willing to overlook the child. Really, the only positive trait Peter has is his courage. I think Sam intended him to be a lovable jerk, not a character of any nobility. At that he succeeded, but as far as convincing me that Peter loves Sarnia, he came up short. +
I'm unclear as to why you think Sarnia's pregnancy would make the rape worse. As I said, it's exceedingly rare that rape leads to pregnancy, but in every case that I've heard of, the resulting child is a great comfort to the mother in the wake of her ordeal. That said, to me it's all too clear that the only reason behind Sarnia's pregnancy was a last-ditch attempt to create a bond between her and Peter. And his mother being raped, too... the odds of one child by rape falling for a woman with another child by rape must be astronomically small. Altogether too contrived for my taste. Sarnia is still a most powerful novel that kept me gripped to it almost from cover to cover. I just would have found it much easier to swallow if she had just married Michael in the end.
Michael Leader posts on 12/4/2007 7:53:24 PM
No I liked Peter's proposal. He was already rich so the inheritance meant little from what I gathered, and I thought he intoned that he'd be happy to stay in England if she chose. I liked that he was willing to look beyond the unwanted child. As for the pregnancy, I thought that was a masterful little end twist that I didn't see coming - the rape was hard enough to bear. Poor girl! Bedivere I also enjoyed, but I found Sarnia's continual manipulation to the point of devastation was harrowing, and the triumph rousing.
Any answer to my earlier post anyone? Sam?
Robert posts on 12/2/2007 10:03:11 PM
Castle Malindine was actually my favorite of the three "Gothicks"(never heard that term before Sam mentioned it here). Sarnia is the most shocking and emotionally powerful, though. The scene where she gets her first look at her reflection since the start of her captivity is absolutely devastating(as I mentioned before, I in fact used it as the inspiration for a piano composition). However, the ending rather dampened my love for the novel. Peter d'Aurigny's proposal struck me as a painfully transparent attempt to get his hands on Sarnia's inheritance, and that Sarnia wouldn't suspect him even after all that had happened to her is beyond belief. Also, her pregnancy seemed very contrived, not only because of how exceedingly rare it is for rape to lead to pregnancy. In general, it felt like Sam had to throw Sarnia together with d'Aurigny so that the book would fit the basic formula for a romance novel. Which is understandable; he had to give his publisher a book that would sell. If the ending held up to the rest of the book, I would agree that Sarnia is one of the best of the non-JC works. As a side note, Peter d'Aurigny's witty line "Everyone lies but you, it seems," is one of my favorite lines of dialogue. You really have a way with dialogue, Sam. +
A Bride For Bedivere is outstanding as well(heck, they're all outstanding), but too psychologically dark for my taste. That wouldn't be a problem, except that A Bride For Bedivere isn't as thought-provoking as Mr.Youd's other darker works, e.g.The Death of Grass, The Caves of Night, Empty World, Men With Knives, etc. I think you'll find it a good deal more tense than Castle Malindine though, Michael.
+ Castle Malindine gave a nice balance between the extremes of Sarnia and Bedivere, in my opinion.
Michael Leader posts on 11/29/2007 12:11:19 AM
True, but her utter helplessness makes for great tension. I particularly liked the nastiness of the bad guys and the three potential suitors made for a great change. Malindine's stronger heroine meant the tension dropped. Bedeviere I am only 50 pages in but am enjoying.
I've just tracked down every short story you wrote - any favourites there? Also I found two under the Rye pseudonym in ghost anthologies - any others written under pseudonym and how can I find them? Or do I now have a complete set (according to the JCCavern list)
Sam Youd posts on 11/27/2007 8:52:10 AM
Michael -- personally I thought both Malindine and Bedivere were better, largely because I thought Sarnia herself a bit wet. But chacun .....
Michael Leader posts on 11/26/2007 5:28:30 PM
Thanks Sam. IMDb doesn't have any release details either, and I doubt it will have much legs with English subtitling, but if a Tripods film is successful, then maybe there'll be a revival of interest in your works.
I just read Sarnia on my trip through your pseudonym books and was blown away - I am not a huge fan of thisd genre but wow - that's probably your best non-JC book. I hope Malindine, which I'm on now, is as good!
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