Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Contribution to The Gnostic, Issue 5

Issue 5 of The Gnostic is out now, featuring an essay by myself on David Lindsay, an interview with Patrick Harpur, and contributions from the likes of Miguel Conner, Andrew Phillip Smith and Edward Gibbon (yes, the Gibbon!).

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mediaeval Musings

I am currently writing fiction with a mediaeval setting (12th century to be exact), and I have had similarities between that age and our own very much in mind of late. For instance, scientists today occupy the role taken by the church back then, in the sense that we go to them for descriptions of the world, for causes, explanations and answers. (I wonder if an out-and-out secularist like Richard Dawkins is aware of how similar he is to a mediaeval churchman?!) Similarly, a monarch imposing extra taxes on the populace so that he can go to war is exactly the same as taxpayers bailing out banks - in other words, the majority of people being forced to pay for the follies of the rich. This is one of the reasons, I would argue, whereby historical fiction retains its relevance. 

Friday, June 08, 2012

Bradbury & Tarkovsky

As many of you will know by now, Ray Bradbury died on Tuesday at the age of 91. As well as being a giant of SF, he was also one of Tarkovsky's favourite authors (despite the fact that Tarkovsky often used to claim that he didn't like SF). Here is something from my book Andrei Tarkovsky that suggests a link between the two maestros:

In summarising Bradbury’s masterpiece, The Martian Chronicles, John Clute and Peter Nicholls draw attention to the book’s qualities, which are positively Tarkovskian:‘The mood is of loneliness and nostalgia… throughout the book appearances and reality slip, dreamlike, from the one to the other… [it has an] antitechnological bias, the celebration of simplicity and innocence as imagined in small-town life, the sense of loss as youth changes to adulthood.' - John Clute and Peter Nicholls, The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Orbit, 1993, p.151.