Friday, 29 June 2007

Questions and Answers.

Glenda Larke, our very own Fantasy writer whose books are sadly very, VERY hard to find or are just plain unavailable in Malaysia, asked if anybody wanted to ask her any questions about being a writer. This came about after she read about Oprah's interview with Cormac McCarthy where the former had asked some very inane questions to the writer.

Glenda's answered three questions so far, each answer having a dedicated blogpost each. The answers provide good insight into world-building, characterisation and fantasy writing. Take a look, here, here and here.

Ted at Seksan's!

I'll be reading a little something (tee hee!) tomorrow at Seksan's so you might want to drop by and say hi.

Date: 30th June, 2007
Time: 3.30pm
Place: Seksan's, 67, Jalan Tempinis Satu, Lucky Garden, Bangsar

Here's a map, so you don't get lost in the horrid jungles of wild Bangsar.

Other bipedal organisms who will be there reading with me:
All of them much, much better than me I think!

Farish on Salman.

Farish Noor, every Malaysian's favourite historian, reminds us what Sir Salman's contributions are:
When I hear the name Rushdie mentioned, I think of the same Salman Rushdie who was writing in the 1980s at the time when Britain was under the rule of Margaret Thatcher, she of the foreigner-hating-ways. For many a young Asian academic and student then, Rushdie was our spokesman, our voice of reason, whose powerful commentaries, op-ed pieces, public lectures, etc. warned of the dangers of racialised communitarianism in Britain. He was the spokesman for the downtrodden, the poor marginalised migrants, the minority communities of Britain. His columns that appeared in the press lambasted, again and again, the racist policies of the Thatcher government and the racism inherent in the world of Occidental academia and writing. It was Rushdie who foregrounded and promoted the writing of Asian authors as English authors, so that their works would not be marginalised and relegated to the margins as ‘exotic’ literature from the Orient. Thanks in part of the efforts of Rushdie and others of his generation, literature from the Indian subcontinent and the rest of Asia has entered the mainstream.
Emphasis mine.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Bronze Sky.


Twin Towers-2, originally uploaded by Ali Tehrani.
I mentally slapped myself as the warning sirens started their echoing howls across the bronze city sky.

Earlier that day I had a terrible feeling, a sort of prescient warning, telling me not to leave my box. For reasons I still don't understand, I ignored my feelings and left the safety of my box to go to main street for my weekly supply of acrylae.

I looked up at the architectural monstrosity that loomed and towered above me. The chrome and glass that made up the tower's skin vibrated as it received the pounding of the siren's soundwaves and tried to blind me with intense light that reflected from the city and from the clouds. The clouds that smeared the rust-coloured sky above the tower moved indifferently, pushed on by winds that were gathering speed. Flashes of bright light lit up various areas of the clouds.

I had seen this before. Years and years ago, back in the monsoon of '34. I knew they had come back. Probably for my secret.

I had to find a box. Any box. I had to get underground. Underground and safe, away from the menace that hunted what I possessed.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Ever had that feeling?


Kafka, originally uploaded by 14da.

Ever had that feeling where all you wanted to do was to escape to another world?

Monday, 25 June 2007

Review the Dark City TV Series!

According to Swifty, the Dark City TV series that Xeus mentioned some time back has apparently already started showing on Astro RIA. I don't own a TV and I certainly don't own a satellite dish to connect to the TV that I don't own, so I wouldn't know if the show is really based on the book of the same name. I highly doubt it.

Seems the ratings have been low because there hasn't been any marketing to promote the show. So the filmmakers have taken things into their hands and plunged their film-making selves into the tubes of the dangerous internets to bring you the following message:
NICHE FILMS present DARK CITY, a local 13-episode series playing on Astro RIA every Wednesday at 10:30pm (followed by repeats throughout the week).

In the tradition of omnibus shows like ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS and THE TWILIGHT ZONE, DARK CITY brings you various tales of the macabre with a distinctly Malaysian flavor ... ranging from supernatural horror to psychological thrillers, and black comedies to noir-ish suspense.

With a roster of local cutting-edge directors such as Khai Bahar, Keith Chong, Johan John, Virginia Kennedy, N'aa Murad, Tony Pietra,and Rob Nevis, DARK CITY aims to break new ground in Malaysian TVdramas. So if you're looking for a full 30 minutes of homegrown thrills and chills , give DARK CITY a chance ... you might be in for a surprise!

In the next episode of DARK CITY (Wednesday/June 27, 10:30pm, Astro RIA):

DEATH ROW: A taut prison thriller set in an alternate Southeast Asian country ... and beyond the grave. Directed by Cyberjaya-award winning filmmaker Tony Pietra (and live-action director on the AIM-award winning Pete Teo music video LOST IN AMERICA) and written by Allan Koay, with a score by AIM-award winning electro-rock artist Rabbit.

The week after:

CELLPHONE: A tale of showbiz murder with our favorite daily gadget as the centerpiece. Written and directed by the Anugerah Skrin Award-winning Khairil M. Bahar (CIPLAK).
Those of you lucky enough to afford a television set (and a dish that receives beams from space), why not check the series out and post a review or something on your blog. Swifty is offering to link to your reviews, good or bad, once you have them up.

I'm kinda curious too as to what the show's like. Maybe I should invest in this "television" thing that people talk about all the time too.

UPDATE:
According to Sharon, it seems Xeus is unhappy about the whole thing, so I have personally decided to boycott the show. (Not that it makes any difference...)

JG Ballard's Thirteen to Centaurus.

Science fiction at its best--when the ghee-whiz special effects are stripped bare and that which is left is only the story.

In this 1965 BBC adaptation of JG Ballard's short story, "Thirteen to Centaurus", the 15-year-old Abel questions Dr. Francis of the true nature of the station they inhabit.

Twists upon twists await!

Friday, 22 June 2007

Philip Pullman Wins Carnegie of Carnegies.


Philip Pullman wins the Carnegie of Carnegie 70th anniversary for the brilliant first instalment of the His Dark Materials trilogy:
The opening book of His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman's epic trilogy of wonder and love, won the supreme accolade in its field last night. Northern Lights was declared the finest children's book of the past 70 years, handsomely topping a readers' poll as the best winner of the annual Carnegie medal published in that time.
Northern Lights (known as The Golden Compass in the US) is perhaps one of the most enjoyable fantasy books out there you can read. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the sequels, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, which I didn't enjoy as much.

Livin' La Vida Communista.


Fancy living it up, commie-style?

Some enterprising capitalist pigs have converted old Corbusier-esque concrete apartment blocks into a hotel where you can relive life as it was in pre-1989 East Germany:
"Ostel" takes its guests back to some time before 1989 - an era of ugly brown and orange wallpaper, spartan furnishings and Politburo portraits.

The hotel, which opened in Berlin in May, offers guests a choice of rooms in the style of the old eastern bloc.

The "Stasi Suite" is more expensive than the budget "Pioneer Camp".

The hotel is a former East German Plattenbauwohnung - the kind of mass-produced concrete apartment building that came to symbolise life in the communist bloc.

In the reception four clocks are another throwback to the "socialist" camp, showing the time in Moscow, Berlin, Havana and Beijing.
And if you ever forget that Big Brother is watching you, the hoteliers have displayed the portraits of former Soviet leaders in what I assume are "strategic places".

Town Trouble.

There's a lesson to be learnt from this:
Five farmers from the Auvergne countryside appeared in court yesterday for attacking the writer Pierre Jourde over his novel inspired by their tiny village.

Incensed by Jourde's depictions of heavy drinking, adultery, intermarriage, filthy homes and accidents with farm machinery, some locals say the novelist will never be forgiven. But Paris's literary elite is horrified by the tale of an acclaimed writer "attacked by his own characters".
So next time you sit down and write your novel, ask yourself: "Will the real people I based my fictional characters on try to kill me when the novel gets published?"

Thursday, 21 June 2007

On Perdido Street Station.

I'm only 100 pages in but it's clear to me that China Mieville's Perdido Street Station is the best fantasy-horror-sf book ever. Full stop. Absolutely no arguing about it.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Muffin Top.

Raman of Silverfishbooks duly notes the new words that have entered the Collins dictionary. My favourite? Must be "muffin top", which is defined as "the unsightly tummy bulge protruding over low-rise jeans".

Call me weird but I like that "unsightly" bulge. I don't think it's unsightly at all. I think it's kinda cute actually. But that's just me of course. Anyways, I think muffin top's a cool name for it. Hoho! I am very amused!

Daerah Samad.


I must be stating the obvious here, but I think A. Samad Said is a fucking genius. I just came back from the Daerah Samad exhibition currently running at Galeri Petronas and I'm still feeling floored. I don't remember the last time I felt this way after going to an art exhibition.

Pak Samad's sketches are, at a glance, appear to be random blotches of ink and coffee stains with a dash of poetry to top it off. But looking carefully reveals that these sketches of seemingly random and impromptu lines evoke images and thoughts that must have been playing on Pak Samad's mind at the time. Some of the haiku-esque works are simply beautiful:
kita juga masih menyimpan peta dan hikayat lama, membuka jendela dan pintu sendiri, kita masih akrab disambut mentari*
Beneath these words Pak Samad is a chaotic mess of lines that form what appears to be an urban squatter settlement, with towering skyscrapers looming in the background.

The message that the sketches seem to want to tell are dark and reflective but nevertheless I found Pak Samad's sketches to be breathtaking in its energy, and how I marvelled at the kinetic motion of his calligraphy which fused both Arabic and Roman scripts. These sketches are all Pak Samad's reflections of the human condition and its interaction with the environment, and indeed, in his artist's statement, he says:
"Whether we realise it or not we have been given a beautiful world by the Almighty to enjoy or destroy according to our individual or rampant human desires.

These are some of the turbulences of human stupidity or intelligence that I have tried to sketch."
I feel like I haven't said it enough: Pak Samad's a fucking genius and it's no wonder he's our national laureate. These works are a national treasure and if ever they publish a nice coffee table book featuring these sketches, I'll be slobbering over it in no time.

So! Remember to visit the Petronas Gallery. The exhibition runs till 15th July and if you want some special treatment, drop by on 23rd June at 3pm and you'll be able to join a walkthrough hosted by Pak Samad himself (as well as a talk by Nur Hanim Khairuddin, the guest curator).

Oh, btw, it's free!

* This translation does not do the original any justice:
"We also keep old maps and stories, we open our windows and doors, we are still cheerfully greeted by the sun

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Sir Salman.


Salman Rushdie, one of my favourite writers gets a long-deserved knighthood. The Guardian has a few choice quotes from the literary scene:
"I am delighted for him," said fellow novelist Ian McEwan said last night. "He's a wonderful writer, and this sends a firm message to the book-burners and their appeasers."
The book-burners got the message all right and they don't like it much. Fatwa-spouting Iran has already condemned Sir Salman's knighthood:
"Giving a medal to someone who is among the most detested figures in the Islamic community is... a blatant example of the anti-Islamism of senior British officials," Mr Hosseini [Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman] told a press conference.

"The measure that has taken place for paying tribute to this apostate and detested figure will definitely put British statesmen and officials at odds with Islamic societies, the emotions and sentiments of which have again been provoked."
Bla bla bla yadda yadda. Oh put a sock in it, Iran.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Interview with Per Petterson.

Now that Per Petterson has grabbed the IMPAC Dublin, I guess this would be a good time to highlight an interview with him at Wild River Review. Per Petterson talks about how landscape is important in his books, what he reads, and his writing habits:
I have written everywhere: beside my bed, at the kitchen table, in the living room with my children crawling around my legs.

Now I work in a cabin 100 meters from my house. Living in the forest, I have the space I did not have before.

Usually I sit at my computer (a Mac, always) and start with a notion of something, a few sentences that I feel have some sort of substance. I never plan anything; never plot my books. In fact I do not know how to do that. I write when I can, hoping for the best and try to take things as they come.
Hmm. A Mac person.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Writing by Amir.

A long time ago, my father gave me a book with a loud orange cover, and its title was:

gen
era
tion

It was my introduction to the wit of Amir Muhammad and Kam Raslan (and Sheryll Stothard, but I haven't read anything of her's since).

While I recently got my Kam Raslan fix with Confessions of an Old Boy, I haven't really had much of Amir Muhammad since. Sure, there's his movie blog, but that doesn't hold up a candle to his old writing and it's more about his movies than anything else. And yeah, he has a column in NST from time to time, but I don't read the NST any more on principle, so I frequently miss out.

So I'm glad he's started a new blog that's focused on his writing. This is the Amir I know and love.

So... Yesterday!

So, yesterday I took a day off work to take care of the first leg in the marriage procedure for Muslims. Because almost every state in Malaysia has made it mandatory for Muslims to get a HIV test before getting married, I went to the government clinic in Kelana Jaya early in the morning to take my HIV test... only to discover that they only made tests after 2pm. Drat. I should've gone to the one in Puchong. Which I did, and luckily they let me take my test then and there.

After getting my results (negative), I called up the Imam Jurunikah, the guy who will sign the papers that will allow me to get a certificate saying that I'm allowed to get married. He wasn't in, and I kept calling back until I got a hold of him a little after 2pm. He asked me to come to his house (thankfully not that far away) at 3pm. I brought my father and brother along, because it is required that two witnesses (requirements: Male, Muslim, Malaysian, above 18) be there.

After being chided for bringing relatives as my witnesses (apparently, you're supposed to bring friends or neighbours because if you bring relatives it looks like you're covering up something, but I wasn't about to tell him that my close friends and neighbours are mostly non-muslim), he signed the papers and we had to rush off to the Religious State Department in Shah Alam, to hand in the signed papers and get the certificate. It was already 3.30pm, so we had to drive fast. We managed to reach there at around 4.15pm. Only 45 minutes left till the offices close. Good thing the offices were empty. The staff were efficient and the paperwork was done pretty quick, which I highly praise. I guess there's some truth in Selangor being a developed state after all.

I can't tell you how relieved I was to have settled all that and get that damnable cert. It felt like one of those dumb annoying fedex quests in a console RPG where the reward didn't match the effort. Now that I have the certificate that allows me to marry L, it's her turn to do the exact same thing, only this time, in Johor. That's the second tedious leg of the whole marriage process.

Groan. I take comfort that after all this crap, I will finally be married to my wonderful L.

As a bonus for my effort, I rewarded myself with a copy of Hamzah Hamdani's wonderful updated edition of Hikayat Abdullah, a truly delightful Malay classic.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

The Curse of the Biblioholic.

Dammit.

Seems everyday now there's at least one new book or one new author that I discover and am intrigued about. This is dangerous because I seem to have less spending money nowadays. (Must be that wedding.)

But I can't help it. I keep buying and buying anyway! It's become a daily habit of mine to browse my favourite litblogs, literary websites and LibraryThing, and it's always in those places I find something or someone new to read. I can't stop! If I stop browsing those sites... I'd feel all empty inside!

Last weekend, I bought three China Mieville books that I'd been meaning to read for some time now. LibraryThing's Suggester's fault. And from there, I've been intrigued by the Gormenghast trilogy that Mieville is influenced from. And now I want to get those too!

Dear oh dear. It's a never-ending cycle. The Curse of the Biblioholic.

Monday, 11 June 2007

The Sorted Books Project.


I love this concept--sift through your book pile and choosing some of the books then grouping them together so the titles can be read to form a short short story.Then show them off on your shelves! I must try this with my collection!


More stories hidden in book titles at Nina Katchadourian's Sorted Books project.

Friday, 8 June 2007

Orange Sun.

So now that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has bagged herself the Orange prize, the Guardian decides it's time for an author profile.

She mentions quite a number of interesting points like how the Western world likes to exoticise Africa:
"We have a long history of Africa being seen in ways that are not very complimentary, and in America [where she has been studying for the past 10 years] being seen as an African writer comes with baggage that we don't necessarily care for. Americans think African writers will write about the exotic, about wildlife, poverty, maybe Aids. They come to Africa and African books with certain expectations. I was told by a professor at Johns Hopkins University that he didn't believe my first book [Purple Hibiscus, published in 2003] because it was too familiar to him. In other words, I was writing about middle-class Africans who had cars and who weren't starving to death, and therefore to him it wasn't authentically African."
So it's not just Asia that gets exoticised then.

Also, the poor lady had her handbag stolen the night before the awards ceremony! Good thing she won the Orange!

Thursday, 7 June 2007

My Watershed Novels.

What are the watershed novels that changed and shaped your life? These are the novels that made you take a different direction in your life, that gave you a different perspective on things around you, that inspired you to new and exciting things.

Here are the books that I think were my watershed novels:

Roald Dahl's children's books
I was introduced to Roald Dahl by my first year teacher. I'm not quite sure which exact book it was but I think it was the Magic Finger. (Ah, the days of innocence, long before the word "finger" had dirty connotations...) Thanks to Roald Dahl, I discovered that reading was actually a fun activity! I swiftly consumed the rest of his children's books. James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Witches, et al. I miss him.

Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Which child didn't wish to discover a secret door to another world? Like Roald Dahl, my visits to Narnia encouraged a healthy dose of imagination and fantasy when I was growing up, but on a much larger scale. (Also, an ingrained hatred for the Moors (dirty, smelly creatures!), but I grew out of that.) I still dream of discovering strange new worlds once in a while.

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
I think almost everyone has this on their list of books that changed their life. To paraphrase that blurb on the back of my copy of Lord of the Rings, the world is divided into two: those who have read Nineteen Eighty-Four, and those who will. I was in Form 5 when I read this. I found a used copy in Novel Hut (these was in the days when it was still in Yik Foong) and read it cover to cover in one night. The next day, I wrote on the wall of my school: "SMKGR* - Totalitarian School". Hoho! I felt so cool back then, even though no one else, including the teachers, knew what "totalitarian" meant. I wonder if my graffiti survives? This book taught me to think critically and to always question the "truth".

Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Who knew Victorian fiction could be fun and entertaining? Sherlock Holmes changed my views on 19th century classics. Up to then, I couldn't stomach reading Charles Dickens or the Bronte sisters, but that changed after reading Sherlock Holmes. I think I even attempted Dostoyevsky at one point, but got distracted by Thackeray. I must try again one day. Classics - not so stuffy as previously imagined.

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Ah! My hero. I won't get into the details but suffice to say, I dumped my then girlfriend (she didn't love me anyway) and got a new, better life. I thank fate those horrid years of angst are over. But Murakami continues to entertain me to this day. (Watch out for my review of After Dark, his latest novel!)

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Don't roll your eyes! I know he gets a lot of slack for being simplistic and predictable, but I like this book anyway. I won't defend him, but this book made me realise that maybe I should just sit down and start writing seriously. And I did. No seriously published works yet, but hey it'll happen. It'll happen.

*SMK Gunung Rapat

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Reading List Update.

Used to be I did these reading lists once a month. Now it's once every 6 months. I must be getting forgetful. So this is a list of what I have read so far in 2007 (minus one book).

I am currently reading:

Bila Tuhan Berbicara by Faisal Tehrani
A science-fiction post-apocalyptic novel and boy does it have lots of science in it, especially from the point of a vulcanologist. The science is balanced out by a healthy (some would say unhealthy) dose of theology. The novel is actually presented in a drama format and it's interesting where Faisal takes the reader within this self-limited confine. I'll be writing a review about this book soon, so watch for it.

I have previously finished reading:

15 Jan 2007: The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
Likeable, but hard to read. I have a feeling that Spontaneous Prose is an acquired taste, like wasabi or sambal belacan. On the whole, it is an okay book. I liked Ray's hitch-hiking and freight hopping journeys across the US as well as his musings on life and people. But it's very unlikely I will be reading this again any time soon.

29 Jan 2007: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
A breathtaking story of two young Jewish boys who create a famous comic book hero, not unlike the story of Siegel and Shuster, creators of Superman.

5 Feb 2007: Fanny Hill by John Cleland
Porn in Victorian English is still porn. Is porn literature? Leave it long enough and anything becomes literature, it seems. Dated and boring.

14 Feb 2007: The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien
Read my review!

27 Feb 2007: The List by Tara Ison
Read my review!

3 Mar 2007: Hear the Wind Sing by Haruki Murakami
Read my review!

8 Mar 2007: Pinball, 1973 by Haruki Murakami
Read my review!

23 Mar 2007: Naratif Ogonshoto by Anwar Ridhwan
This by far the best Malay novel I've ever read. I'm planning on reading the English translation (titled "Tales of Ogonshoto") soon, and when I'm done with that I'll write a review. In the mean time, you won't hurt yourself if you got yourself a copy and read it. The English translation is published by DBP so you'll probably only be able to find it in DBP or Dawama's stores.

10 Apr 2007: The City by Joel Kotkin
A good concise look at what makes (and made) a city tick. At the core of this book is the author's statement that a successful city requires three elements: security, economy and religion/culture.

16 Apr 2007: Advencer Si Peniup Ney by Faisal Tehrani
A ney player (a ney is a type of middle eastern flute) is visited by a group of 40 djinn who take him to a country in the clouds where hedonism is the way of life. Interesting fantasy premise, but bogged down by a very blatant need to lecture and talk down to its readers. Would've been much more enjoyable if all that was a little more subtle.

7 May 2007: The Consumption of Kuala Lumpur by Ziauddin Sardar
An interesting look at the political and cultural history that created Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur, from a foreign perspective. The book begins from Malaysia's "official" starting point in history, Parameswara's Malacca and continues till the late 90s, in the midst of one of Malaysia's most tumultuous political era ever: Anwar Ibrahim's ousting. The latter is where the book flounders. The history was interesting because the perspective that the author gave was a different take from the official Malaysian version, but when it comes to current issues, it's a been-there-done-that kind of deal.

12 May 2007: Confessions of an Old Boy by Kam Raslan
Read my review!

16 May 2007: After Dark by Haruki Murakami
His latest book! Not out yet in Malaysia but Kinokuniya will have stock very soon. My review should be published in the Star by then.

27 May 2007: The Raw Shark Tales by Steven Hall
Jaws meets Existentialism. Good pun on Rorshach tests too. Haw haw. Expect a review of this soon too!

28 May 2007: May 13 by Kua Kia Soong
Read my review!

3 Jun 2007: The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
Gumshoe detective story meets Existentialism. This is as good as they say it is. I must reread this one day as I haven't unlocked all the puzzles that are thrown at you in the book. Makes me want to go out and buy all the rest in Auster's oeuvre.

I might be reading these next:
  • Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
  • The Best Short Stories of J.G. Ballard by J.G. Ballard
  • The Paris Review Interviews Vol. 1 ed. by Philip Gourevitch
I'm not sure if I should go for fiction or non-fiction for now.

Previous Reading Lists:

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Dedicated by Burgess.

I've been wanting to blog this for ages, but I've never managed to make the scanner work properly... that is till now.

Some years back, my dad was browsing the shelves of NovelHut, Ipoh's best second-hand bookstore, and found a copy of Anthony Burgess's Time for a Tiger. Price? RM2. (That would be approximately USD$0.60 or GBP£0.30).


Did I mention it was a hardcover first edition? Here's the dedication page, with the famous dedication written in Jawi. Jawi is the Malay language written in Arab script, a norm early last century. Nowadays, Malay is written in Romanised form. The dedication says: "Kepada sahabat-sahabat saya di Tanah Melayu" which translates into "To my friends in Malaya." On the opposite page, proof this is the first edition.


A first edition is probably valuable by itself. But this copy has something extra that makes it even more special--a personal dedication by Burgess himself to a friend:

If you can't make the writing out, it says:
Lilian Sivaram

In friendship
--Anthony Burgess
(John Wilson)

Xmas 1956
I think it is the MOST AWESOME THING EVER to have a book personally signed by a famous writer friend! (John Wilson is Anthony Burgess's real name.)

But a few questions arise:
  1. Who is Lilian Sivaram?
  2. Why was this book--obviously valuable to its owner--found in a second-hand bookstore in Ipoh going for merely a song?
I don't know the answers but we can speculate. Lilian Sivaram was obviously some one close to Burgess during his days in Kuala Kangsar. Possibly the inspiration for the character of Rosemary in Beds in the East, the third book in the Malayan Trilogy? When Lilian passed away, her books were sold off by her children, who like most Malaysians don't care much about books. And that's how it eventually got into my father's hands (and now, mine).

It probably isn't far away from the truth. In the meantime, this book occupies a very special place in my library!

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Ray Bradbury: "Fahrenheit 451 wasn't about censorship!"

Well, this gave me a bit of a start. In the LA Times it is reported that Ray Bradbury is now saying that his dystopian novel about book censorship, Fahrenheit 451, isn't actually about censorship:
"It is, in fact, a story about how television destroys interest in reading literature."
Makes sense. After all, Fahrenheit 451 was written in the 50s, and TV was the "new" medium, and like all "new" mediums, the unfamiliarity alone is often enough to garner a bad rep. That's how it was with novels in the 18th century and comics in the 50s. These days it's the video games that get the bad rep.

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