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The Beast in the Cave

My grandfather's grandfather, Charles Waters, founded the International Bible Reading Association. There's a monument to him in Camberwell Old Cemetery, just down the hill from the Horniman Museum and Gardens in South London. Obviously the 'fluence has skipped a generation. I was poking around on the web and found his obituary from the Adelaide Advertiser, Jan 1910). In this there is a lengthy quote from a letter he wrote describing a visit to a cave in America:
"During my visit to America a few months ago I went with some friends to see a wonderful cave in which we walked continuously for four or five hours and then did not see one half of it. On our way out we had to pass through a place very fairly described as the 'corkscrew.' By some great power the rocks had been rent apart, leaving just space enough for one person to pass through and up in a zigzag course. My companions, who had a lamp, had failed to notice that I was not close behind, and I was left in the 'corkscrew' in total darkness, with nothing to show whether the next step was to the right or left or straight on. and my call for 'light' was unheard. Then came the terrible thought -What if I should be left in this fearful place with no light, no guide, and the way unknown? I might wander farther and farther away or take a wrong step and fall into some deep pit such as we had seen."
Very much shades of Lovecraft's The Beast in the Cave, and quite possibly in the same place, Mammoth Cave, which we also visited a few years back. The old entrance to this is described thus: "Climbing up through Cork Screw requires endurance, patience, and skill equal to that of climbing a treacherous mountain. "

These are taken from here. Bold if I've read SF(7) or Fantasy(5). I'm clearly not keeping up with my reading.
SF:
1 Scalzi, John : Old Man's War (2005)
2 Stephenson, Neal : Anathem (2008)
3 Bacigalupi, Paolo : The Windup Girl (2009)
4 Wilson, Robert Charles : Spin (2005)
5 Watts, Peter : Blindsight (2006)
6 Morgan, Richard : Altered Carbon (2002)
7 Collins, Suzanne : The Hunger Games (2008)
8 Gibson, William : Pattern Recognition (2003)
9 Mieville, China : The City & the City (2009)
10 Stross, Charles : Accelerando (2005)
11 Mitchell, David : Cloud Atlas (2004)

12 McDonald, Ian : River of Gods (2004)
13 McCarthy, Cormac : The Road (2006)
14 Harrison, M. John : Light (2002)

15* Willis, Connie : Black Out/All Clear (2010)
15* Chabon, Michael : The Yiddish Policemen's Union (2007)

Fantasy:  
1 Gaiman, Neil : American Gods (2001)
2 Clarke, Susanna : Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (2004)
3 Rothfuss, Patrick : The Name of the Wind (2007)
4 Mieville, China : The Scar (2002)
5 Martin, George R. R. : A Feast for Crows (2005)
6 Rowling, J. K. : Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007)
7 Bujold, Lois McMaster : The Curse of Chalion (2001)
8 Mieville, China : The City & the City (2009)
9 Fforde, Jasper : The Eyre Affair (2001)

10* Bujold, Lois McMaster : Paladin of Souls (2003)
10* Pratchett, Terry : Night Watch (2002)
12 Gaiman, Neil : Coraline (2002)
13 Wolfe, Gene : The Wizard Knight (2004)
14 Pratchett, Terry : Going Postal (2004)
15* Gaiman, Neil : The Graveyard Book (2008)
15* Lynch, Scott : The Lies of Locke Lamora (2006)

Top 50 20th Century SF novels from Locus

 As before, taken from thes ratings. Bold(47) if I've read them, italics(0) if I've only seen the film (or TV show). Turns out I'm bigger on SF.

1 Herbert, Frank : Dune (1965)   
2 Card, Orson Scott : Ender's Game (1985)   
3 Asimov, Isaac : The Foundation Trilogy (1953)   
4 Simmons, Dan : Hyperion (1989)   
5 Le Guin, Ursula K. : The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)   
6 Adams, Douglas : The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1979)   
7 Orwell, George : Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)   
8 Gibson, William : Neuromancer (1984)   
9 Bester, Alfred : The Stars My Destination (1957)   
10 Bradbury, Ray : Fahrenheit 451 (1953)  

the rest ...Collapse )
Obviously some recent films may have something to do with the ratings. Bold(35) if I've read them, italics(3) if I've only seen the film (or TV show).

1 Tolkien, J. R. R. : The Lord of the Rings (1955)
2 Martin, George R. R. : A Game of Thrones (1996)
3 Tolkien, J. R. R. : The Hobbit (1937)
4 Le Guin, Ursula K. : A Wizard of Earthsea (1968)

the rest ...Collapse )
I picked up four books from the great Hurley Books in St Austell. I talked to the bookseller by phone which made me feel like a character in a 50s novel. The four books, or pamphlets really, around 60 pages each, were in published in the early 1930s in the New Knowledge Series. The series includes five books (as far as I can ascertain) and I have the four of them that were written by T.F.G. Dexter Ph.D. BSc BA. He was a Cornishman (I'm assuming) and his doctoral thesis was in archaeology concerning Perranzabuloe and St Piran's Oratory and Monastery in Cornwall.

The four books are:
  1. Civilization[sic] in Britain, 2000 B.C.
  2. The Pagan Origin of Fairs
  3. The Sacred Stone
  4. Fire Worship in Britain

At the front of each is the synopsis of the series which present's Dexter's thesis on the settlement of Britain and which bears repeating in it's entirety:


Synopsis of the series.Collapse )

Parcel passed back

We took off a few too many layers and it was difficult to make it coherent. I wrote the start and the end and Simon did the middle. Can you spot the joins?

SmokeCollapse )

Another parcel

I decided to change my piece for Monday. This one's more kind of noir.

SmokeCollapse )

Pass the parcel

More creative writing. This week were playing a variant of exquisite corpse. We're to write the start of something for someone else to continue and another to finish. We've also been looking at 'last-lap' stories which start as the bullet hits the brain, or the wave starts to break, or realisation to dawn, then backfiling, or maybe not, to finish off what's left to tell.

Armour"s SlaveCollapse )

It soon come

Creative writing has started up again. This week's homework was to write a piece in a style not one's own describing the journey to class, a nod to Queneau's Exercises de Style.

Mine was inspired by this.

It soon comeCollapse )