John Christopher Message Board
Sam Youd posts on 11/26/2007 6:43:39 AM
Michael: no, 10% was not autobiographical tho' based on experience in the book trade, and no, only agents & publishers knew the SW identity at the time. Guardians: I have the original tape but regret can't copy. See IMDB under Die Waechter for info. Return to Earth was "retold" & somewhat expanded by Susan Binder in the OUP Bookworm series.
Michael Leader posts on 11/15/2007 11:58:48 PM
Can anyone tell me if 1995's Return to Earth is simply a reprint of The New Wine or is a new story or expanded in any way? I have not seen the book, but would think New Wine would not be long enough...
michael leader posts on 11/15/2007 6:45:55 AM
Sorry meant to say The guardians...
(these boards are very hard to use!)
Michael Leader posts on 11/14/2007 5:56:03 PM
Thanks Sam, wonderful to have dialogue with one's favourite author!
Just read 10% of your Life - was that semi autobiographical? There was a few authors, one in particular who had written a sex/surgery thriller under a non de plume to keep it quiet from the kids. Did your own kids know about these books when they were young?
Now you've got me excited about the Empty World serial... I assume you saw the subtitled version - do you know if it was available anywhere? Could you make a copy if it's not commercially available? It's one of my favourite books of yours.
Sam Youd posts on 11/14/2007 6:46:19 AM
Bavaria sent me a video of The Guardians (6 x 50 mins) and I thought it better than the then current BBC version of The Tripods -- maybe because they followed my story line faithfully. As to Empty World (same studio but 90 min teleplay), I had a letter from Germany expressing indignation that they had turned the book into "Kitsch-Horror". I asked for a copy of that, but they didn't send one. Interesting indeed to find the SWs being read, four decades on. And no, I don't usually recall starting points but the one for Grass somehow stuck in my mind.
Michael Leader posts on 11/14/2007 12:47:54 AM
Hi Robert, I just finished Helpers as well - how remarkable that 2 people are reading the same relatively obscure novel at the same time. I thought it was the best of the SW, followed by Knives. I'm 4/5 of the way through Ten Per Cent and enjoying it as well, though different in flavour to the others.
Has abnyone seen the German TV adaptions of Empty World and The Guardians? Sam, did you see these? Anyone seen an English dubbed/subbed version?
Robert posts on 11/13/2007 5:35:42 PM
Very interesting about The Death of Grass, Sam. I'm surprised you remember that after all this time; I usually forget the original impetus for my stories before I even finish writing them! +
I forgot to mention that I finished reading The Helpers. Better than the first two Winchester books, I'd say, though Men With Knives is certainly a classic as well. A multitude of strong, complex characters, brewing with psychological insight. I'm surprised that Mr.Youd considers this one substantially darker than most of your works; I found it made some rather uplifting statements on humanity. Definitely a thought-provoking read from either the optimistic or pessimistic perspective, though.
Sam Youd posts on 11/13/2007 10:59:35 AM
Posting can be erratic. As once before, I posted with no result. Trying again.
Trevor -- Thanks for the kind words. The immediate stimulus for Grass was a novel by Ward Moore, Greener than You Think, which hypothesized a rampant strain of grass which dominated and destroyed the planet. I thought of the opposite and pondered consequences. Things developed from that.
Michael -- I am an admirer of Dr Johnson and as far as writing is concerned have tried not to be a blockhead. On the other hand, I've never done anything without putting my best into it. At the time of the SW novels I had five childen of school age. The books were moderately successful which helped, but also, I felt, required anonymity. There was quite a hue-and-cry on lines of "Who is SW?" but revelation only came a quarter of a century later with the Internet, by which time it didn't matter. I doubt my style being distinctive enough to give the game away, but feel they stand up reasonably with the rest. There were three with medical backgrounds, a final one, Ten Per Cent of Your Life, centred round a London literary agency. This was less successful and was not published in the US.
Michael Leader posts on 11/11/2007 10:07:51 PM
One other question Sam: On the cover of the US version of The Helpers, which I'm enjoying now, it says that the non de plume Winchester caused a stir amongst the UK press who tried to guess who the real author was. Was there a lot of press (or a back cover exaggeration)? Did anyone guess who it was? And when did you eventually come out and reveal yourself as the real person behind all these pseudonyms. While the substance is different in the Winchester novels, after reading them and your other works back to back, the style is still distinctly yours - I would have thought a clever journo would have guessed it!
Trevor posts on 11/11/2007 6:27:11 PM
Mr. Youd, how happy I am to discover this message board through which to contact you.
I have been an avid reader of your novels for many years and find myself increasingly returning to your books to study the craft of a master storyteller and to learn about the motives behind your richly drawn characters and the extremes people are capable of. Your fantastic writing has not only entertained but inspired as well. I find no other science fiction author's works as fascinating and absorbing as yours and my love of your writing has led me to seek out your lesser known novels of other genres, most of which have left me pleasantly surprised.
I was wondering if you could share with us how the idea for "Death of Grass" came about and if the attitude and message behind the book were conceived of prior to writing it or if it emerged during the process of writing it.
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