January 20th, 2007

Kim Newman - your country needs you

I have just finished reading The Man From The Diogenes Club by Kim Newman, recommended and lent by Herr Doktor mr_snips. I have to say that I read Kim's first published novel The Night Mayor, some sort of film noir VR (possibly with AIs, I forget) more or less when it came out and didn't think was very good, so I haven't read anything by him since. However TMFTDC is excellent. The protagonists Richard Jeperson and his sidekicks Vanessa and Fred solve supernatural or generally freaky crimes and mysteries, very much in the manner of The Avengers or Department S. Although it is set in the 70s Newman avoids unacceptable levels of irony and knowing winks from the present day.
My only criticism is Collapse ).

Three of the five stories set in the 70s are available online linked from here http://www.johnnyalucard.com/online.html - Tomorrow Town, Soho Golem and The Serial Murders, possibly the best three, although you miss the first story which introduces the characters.

Now, the point of this other than to possibly, if I can be bothered, to list all the books I read this year (*) is that clearly Mr Newman must receive the call-up from the BBC for a series, set in the 70s and properly lit, based on these stories. One could argue that there is a danger of revisiting the territory of Life On Mars, but we will be relying on the irony being kept down to manageable levels and there won't be any time-travelling hence no culture shock. The five stories set in the 70s all scream out for a TV treatment, with both Soho Golem and The Serial Murders meriting two-parters.

Why the 70s? A much maligned decade, and somehow the world has become too ironic for something like the Avengers, however updated to the present day, to work. The world changes. I even have difficultly in seeing The X Files working post-9/11. Perhaps this is a failure of imagination on my part.

The other series that sometimes occurs to me as being overdue for revival is 'Adam Adamant Lives'. However, I think the zeros would just reduce him to catatonia. I thought about teaming him up with the long awaited polyamorous vegan cryptographer goth heroine but I imagine he would just scream 'harlot', storm out into the street and be run over by a bendy bus.

(*) although you will be very bored by some of them. e.g.
Book 2 - Constraint Logic Programming Using Eclipse (that's Eclipse as the annoyingly capitalised Prolog variant rather than the IDE). I have to admit that I started skimming towards the end :-)