#127 Remembering Dunkirk

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I wanted to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the evacuation at Dunkirk, so I thought I would share this short excerpt from my book, Fred & Leah, which is a fictionalised account of my grandfather’s experience in France – he was one of those tens of thousands left behind after the evacuation.

Thursday, 23rd May 1940 – Lanheres, France

“I won’t lie to you, Wooll,” Major Potts told Fred when he had managed to reunite his platoon with the battalion and the rest of the 51st Highland Division at Lanheres near Etain. “The general situation is very serious.”

The major looked around to check there was no one to overhear.

“You’re a career military man, like me. You’ve been around a bit, you know what it’s like. Between you and me, it’s now not so much a question of the division re-joining the BEF, as avoiding destruction or surrender.”

Fred had imagined the situation was bad, but this had exceeded his worst expectations.

Major Potts checked once more that the coast was clear before lowering his voice to a virtual whisper.

“It’s becoming apparent that the French are collapsing.  It sounds like they’ll try to evacuate the BEF from the coast, so we’re going to move somewhere north of Paris, and from there we should be able to make it to Le Havre.”

Fred didn’t want to show it, but inside he was relieved. News of a boat from Le Havre to England, where Leah and the rest of his family were, was the best news he had received in months.

“I heard the French have been giving up by the thousands, sir. They think they’ll be taken prisoner and then sent to their homes.”

“Of course, none of this is definite, you understand,” warned the Major. “I’m telling you because I know you’ll be able to maintain the spirits of the men without going into detail.”

“I understand,” said Fred.

“Get your men ready to leave tonight. Keep this under your hat, but we’re heading to Cornay, near Varennes. It’s about fifty miles, but it’ll take a couple of nights to get there. The roads are congested with French transport and refugees, and the route may be difficult to find.”

 

If you would like to read more, you can download a free sample of the book here.

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#126 The economic impacts of Covid-19 in Brazil

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As you should be able to see from the graph above, about 55 days into the pandemic here, Brazil has not yet managed to bend the curve and is now registering the second-highest official daily total of deaths in the world.  Needless to say, the actual number of daily deaths above the average is likely to be much higher but the data is difficult to obtain.

There are several reasons why Brazil’s efforts have been so ineffective in containing the virus so far, not least because the President, Jair Bolsonaro, parades around in a Trumpesque display of sound bites calling the virus the sniffles, sacking his health ministers and encouraging people to gather in protests where he can shake their hands and cough on them. In this appearance, reported by the Mail Online, there are some salutes which are frighteningly close to Naziesque but perhaps that’s how they always pray.

From the early days of the pandemic, Bolsonaro has been at odds with the state governors who have been trying to encourage social distancing in an effort to flatten the curve. He knows that the economic consequences of the virus are going to be significant in Brazil and he is setting himself up for a time after the pandemic when he can blame the recession on the political rivals whose measures he is now opposing.

The unfortunate immediate consequence of this is that many Brazilians, especially those on the right-wing who support Bolsonaro, are not taking the mitigation measures seriously and in some instances are deliberately trying to hinder local government efforts to slow the spread. It is estimated that only 48% are self-isolating but the target is 70%.

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“Brazilian scientists have created a mask with the capacity to save millions of lives.”

For example, as traffic on the streets increased as paulistas tired of staying at home, the Sao Paulo mayor, Bruno Covas attempted to implement a rule which would permit only cars with registrations ending in even numbers to be used on dates which had even numbers and cars with registrations ending in odd numbers could only be used on dates with odd numbers. The measure would effectively keep half of the motorists at home at any one time but the result was not effective and so they withdrew the measures after one week.

Covas says that Sao Paulo hospitals are at 90% capacity (91% yesterday) and could run out of space within two weeks. and so has taken the desperate measure of taking two bank holidays from June and November and moving them to tomorrow and Thursday with a third holiday proposed to be moved from July to next Monday, effectively creating a six-day holiday.  He explained his reasoning by saying that yesterday Sao Paulo only saw 56% isolation and that the periods of highest isolation have been on holidays and at weekends. However, the immediate effect of this seems to be lost of paulistas heading to the beach for a long weekend, the state government did not co-ordinate any measures to prevent this mass exodus.

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Cars queuing at toll booths on their way to the beach for the surprise long weekend

It is not only the covidiots that are breaking the isolation. It is very easy for white-collar workers like me to work from home and continue receiving my salary, but for those who worked in the restaurants and bars or shops that have been closed by the state governor, or those who were employed to clean them or the homes, schools, universities which are no longer employing as many cleaners, security guards or kitchen staff, then life is not quite a rosy.

Adults who find themselves unemployed and have a family income of less than the monthly minimum wage (approximately $500) can apply for emergency help from the government which is equivalent to just over $100 per month. So far, 50 million people, a quarter of the population and a half of the working population, have applied to receive the benefit.

The scheme has been administered online through an application but given that in 2016 only half the population was online and this was predicted to rise to 68% by the end of 2019, it is not surprising that large queues formed outside banks with people wanting to apply. Needless to say, the social distancing rules were not rigidly applied in these situations despite the best efforts of some of the staff.

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“The council marked out the queue to ensure social distancing but the people always find a way”

For families in which the household income has been lost completely this emergency help is not going to go very far, even if they are in receipt of Bolsa Familiar (government benefit equivalent to family allowance). So, it is not surprising that hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons are inviting customers for illicit cuts, waxes and polishes. Even my local off licence (liquor store) only has the shutters half closed so that regular customers can top up their stocks. Bolsonaro declared hairdressers,  beauty salons and, amazingly, gyms as essential services so in some cities they have already re-opened.

When I arrived in Brazil I was told that the country does not have hurricanes, earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, the only natural disaster, I was told, is the people. It certainly seems that, in the case of Covid-19, there are those who are struggling to isolate but there are also many who refuse to listen to science and prefer the platitudes of those who should know better.

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# 125 The real losers of the Coronavirus are the usual suspects

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Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Obviously, there are no real winners of the Coronavirus pandemic, unless you count supermarkets and Amazon who seem to be doing quite well at the moment. What I mean by my deliberately provocative title is that there are those who are fairing much worse with the virus and others who are predicted to suffer as the virus spreads across the world.

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There is quite a lot of data showing how those in older age groups are more at risk of dying from Covid-19, those with underlying conditions are more at risk and in addition to this those in certain ethnic groups appear to be more at risk.

In the UK, it has been estimated that black Africans are 3.7 times more likely to die than would be expected, even when taking into account their geographical location and age. Health conditions, living conditions and occupation may all be contributing factors. The socio-economic situation, access to health care and deprivation clearly play a role, however, very little is being said about the biological fact that those with darker skins absorb vitamin D much slower and vitamin D’s role in the immune system. Political correctness seems to be dictating that we cannot talk about factual biological differences between races that don’t make one race better than another. Dark skins absorb vitamin D more slowly but they are better at protecting from harmful UV rays.

Dr John Campbell has been arguing the importance of vitamin D and the immune system on his YouTube channel and posted a study from Indonesia which suggested that vitamin D deficiency could make patients 10 times more likely to die of Covid-19. Obviously, this is only one study and much more work needs to be done but asking your doctor whether you should supplement your diet with vitamin D, especially if you have dark skin or if you don’t get much sun, seems like a good idea.

Another issue Dr Campbell has been highlighting on his YouTube channel is the inequality between developing and developed nations in their ability to respond to the virus. For example, Italy has 80 ventilators per million people compared to Kenya which only has 0.5 ventilators per million. The UK has 28 doctors per million people whereas the Democratic Republic of Congo has less than one per million. In Nigeria, only 4 out of ten people have access to running water which is going to make handwashing quite difficult. On top of this, underlying conditions such as TB, HIV, Malnutrition and Malaria are widespread across Africa.

In addition, David Nott, a trauma surgeon from Wales who has volunteered in crisis and conflict zones, says there is only a short amount of time before the most vulnerable parts of the planet are hit by the coronavirus.  In a paper to the Lancet, he said: “The main positive influences on reducing the number of deaths from COVID-19 have been handwashing, social distancing, and the lockdown. For the most vulnerable people on this planet, such strategies are not an option. People who live in conflict zones or in refugee camps cannot physically distance, they cannot self-isolate, they have inadequate facilities for washing, and are often without access to health care.”

Speaking on Sky, he added: “David Miliband, from the International Rescue Committee, did a survey very recently on 34 fragile countries using the same sort of modelling used by Imperial [College London].

“In these countries, he said there is going to be between 500 million to one billion infections”.

40 countries have pledged $8 billion to help fight the spread of the virus but questions have to be asked about whether this is going to be enough and why developed nations only consider health conditions to be important enough to fight serious after it has affected their own citizens.

According to UNICEF, 15,000 children die every day, most of these deaths are preventable. This has been going on for years. On September 11th 2001, 2,996 people died as a result of the terrorist attacks in the US, these deaths were, of course, tragic and they led to the invasion of Afganistan and then Iraq. In 2007, it was estimated that the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could cost US taxpayers a total of $2.4 trillion by 2017 when counting the huge interest costs because combat was being financed with borrowed money. Basic maths would then say the US spent $800 million for each person who died in the 2001 attacks.

In 2019, the New York Times estimated that over $2 trillion had been spent on the war in Afganistan alone.  They say there is little to show for it. The Taliban control much of the country. Afghanistan remains one of the world’s largest sources of refugees and migrants. More than 2,400 American soldiers and more than 38,000 Afghan civilians have died. The Taliban are getting stronger and stronger and in 2017 328,000 hectares were being cultivated for opium poppies as opposed to 84,000 in 2002.

UNICEF complains that global progress on child survival has stalled largely due to a lack of political commitment and leadership. Why are the lives of these children worth any less because they were born in a developing rather than a developed country? If 15,000 British children died in a day, the Prime Minister would be expected to do something pretty quick or he wouldn’t be the prime minister for long. Why are we not as appauled just because these children are dying somewhere else?

In 2017, the World Bank estimated that countries need to quadruple spending to $150 billion a year to deliver universal safe water and sanitation by 2030, helping to reduce childhood disease and deaths while boosting economic growth. This suggests that only $37.5 billion was being spent per year as of 2017, a mere $6,520 per infant mortality.

I believe we should apply the same value to people wherever in the world they happen to be born and it worries me that if Covid-19 had not affected so many people in developed nations we might not have been as bothered to do anything about it.

The World Food Programme is reporting that the coronavirus emergency threatens the delivery of vital food assistance to nearly 100 million hungry people. You can donate to the World Food Programme here.

Every week, around the world, hospitals, medical personnel and aid workers come under attack. They are not a target. Health Care in Danger  is an initiative of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement aimed at addressing the issue of violence against patients, health workers, facilities and vehicles, and ensuring safe access to and delivery of health care in armed conflict and other emergencies.

According to the UNHCR, conflict and heavy floods has forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes in Somalia, amidst COVID-19 threat. You can donate to the UNHCR here.

You might be reading this while on lockdown yourself, or while watching the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread rapidly and without discrimination, make its way across the world. You can help UNICEF protect and support children and families affected by COVID-19.

After five years of war, people in Yemen have some of the lowest levels of immunity and the highest levels of vulnerability in the world. If that wasn’t enough, only half the hospitals are open. You can donate to the UN Population Fund here.

Medicins Sans Frontieres teams are racing to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in over 70 countries, including opening projects in new countries as they become pandemic hotspots. You can donate to MSF here.

I understand that many of you reading may have lost your jobs as a result of this pandemic. My thoughts are with all of you and I will endeavour to write a post related to the economic and other impacts of Covid-19 soon.

Stay safe.

 

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#124 Reading The Man in the High Castle

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I thought you might be up to your ears in posts about Covid-19, so decided to post a book review this week rather than reporting on the debacle that is unfolding in Brasil.

A friend of mine told me he had started watch the Amazon Prime series The Man in the High Castle, so I thought I would give it a go. I was already a couple of episodes in before I realised I had picked up a copy of the Philip K Dick novel from a backpackers hostel while on a stag weekend in Rio de Janeiro.

PKD, as he is affectionately known by those who like abbreviate the names of great people a la FDR or JFK, was quite a prolific author for his day, writing 44 novels and 121 short stories.

Some of his most notable works include Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep which was adapted into the film Bladerunner. Many of his short stories were used for a series of short animated films on Netflix called Love Death and Robots.

The novel of The Man in the High Castle is, as is often the case, quite different from the series. Elements of the novel are clearly recognisable in the series but the Amazon adaptation quickly departs from the original, adding new characters and new story lines. Having said that, both work in their own way and should be considered completely separate if they are to be enjoyed individually.

The book goes into much more detail regarding Frank and Eddy’s jewelry business and their relationship with Childan is quite different. Tagomi is central to the novel’s plot which is much more focussed on the role of the I Ching. Juliana and Joe are together in the neutral zone from early in the novel.

If you haven’t seen the Amazon series or read the book, you might be interested to hear that the novel is set in 1960s USA in an alternative history in which Germany and Japan were the victors of the Second World War. Both the novel and the series explore the concept of multiple universes and I would recommend reading the novel and then perhaps watching the series if you can tolerate how annoying some of the characters become.

Either way, they are both entertaining ways to avoid writing.

 

 

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#123 Celebrating Easter with Covid-19

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When I say Easter, I obviously mean the holiday we are given in April which was the time, the venerable Bede observed, that the pagan Anglo Saxons held their feasts in honour of their goddess Ēostre. She is thought to be a descendent of the proto-indo-European goddess, Hausōs, who was the bringer of light and the dawn. Given that the sun rises in the East it is no surprise then that the words are so similar.

The Christians use this time to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, Jews celebrate pass-over and our consumer culture celebrates with the easter bunny and easter eggs. The egg is an ancient symbol of new life and rebirth and is likely to derive from ancient page ceremonies, although early Christian communities in Mesopotamia were reported as having painted eggs to represent the blood of Christ. Rabbits are also an ancient symbol of life and rebirth.

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At the moment birth is far from the minds of many and it is death that is the focus as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect the lives of millions around the world. As you can see from the graph above, the UK curve is still very close to that of Italy, slightly above the US, while Brazil is still slightly below where the UK was at that point in the epidemic.

Here in Brazil, Human Rights Watch has accused President Bolsonaro of attempting to sabotage anti-covid-19 efforts. In a news release the advocacy organisation, which investigates human rights abuses all over the world, said: “President Jair Bolsonaro is putting Brazilians in grave danger by urging them not to comply with social distancing and other measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 from state governments and his own Health Ministry, Human Rights Watch said today. He has also acted recklessly by disseminating misleading information about the pandemic.”

In the streets of Sao Paulo, where there is not the same level of lockdown as is being enforced in the UK and New York, people are out buying easter eggs for Sunday. Many in the population already seem bored by the social distancing measures and the country is in danger of these measures breaking down at the worst possible moment.

 

 

 

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#122 Living with lockdown

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There has been so much going on that I probably shouldn’t have left it till the end of the second week confined to the flat before I started writing about the experience.

The last two weeks I have spent working from home, teaching Drama online is certainly an interesting experience and I am learning loads all of the time.

The writing on my work in progress, a prequel to WHEN THE WELL RUNS DRY, is proving complicated. the dystopia of current events is threatening to eclipse the fiction of my novel.

Fortunately, the interesting times in which we are living is providing plenty of material for the novel and I find myself making notes all of the time.

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Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, is picking a fight with the governor of Sao Paulo, Joao Doria. The latter ordered strict isolation measures much to the annoyance of the former whom many believe has already contracted the virus and is trying to hide it. Both men are likely to be contenders in the next presidential race and have decided to use the virus as a political football.

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President Bolsonaro, very much like President Trump, has been trying to play down the seriousness of the pandemic, referring to his prowess as an athelete in his younger days and claiming that Covid-19 is nothing more than a little cold.

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He has been the object of humour after he struggled during a press conference to put on a face mask, using it as a blind fold at one point and hanging it of his ear at another moment.

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Social media is full of memes exploring what individuals could do to entertain themselves during isolation.

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The image above gives viewers the opportunity to vote on what they think they will will end their qurentine with:

a) 10kg heavier, b) pregnant, c) divorced, d) aloholic, e) mad, f) broken, g) having read all the books you wanted to read or h)  arrested by the child protection authorities.

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It’s dificult writing anything, knowing that anything I write will be out of date by the next day, such is the speed at which current events are changing.

Therefore, I’ll lrave this post as it is for now and try to post updates more frequently for those who are interested.

 

 

 

 

 

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#121 The Handmade’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

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The Handmade’s Tale was written in 1985 and I think I had seen some but not all of the 1990 film adaptation when it appeared on TV at some point but I had never read the book. The closest I had got was Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales which I read while writing my Masters dissertation on the depiction of Jews in literature.  When the TV series and the sequel, The Testaments, were released I thought it was about time I gave it ago and so I downloaded the audio version.

The book is set in a near future dystopia in which the United States Government has been toppled by a theonomy, in other words a Christian government where society is ruled by devine law, and explores the themes of subjegated women in patriachal society. Like its sequel, the book was awarded the Booker Prize

Atwood categorises the book as speculative fiction and wrote it at a time when the religious right in the US was discussing what they would do with women if they took power. She extrapolates what might happen if one took these ideas to their logical conclusion.

She claims that she : “didn’t put in anything that we haven’t already done, we’re not already doing, we’re seriously trying to do”.

She also describes the book as a: “study of power, and how it operates and how it deforms or shapes the people who are living within that kind of regime.”

I enjoyed the book so much that I immediately downloaded the sequel which I am listening to at the moment. In some ways I have found the sequel to be more shocking and graphic that the first although I imagine that I would find both even more shocking if I were a woman.

The Testaments is set 15 years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale. It is narrated by Aunt Lydia, a character from the previous novel; Agnes, a young woman living in Gilead; and Daisy, a young woman living in Canada.

We see in more detail how the regime came about and what happened to those resisting the campaign in neighbouring Canada, Atwood’s homeland.

My own current work in progress, which is tentatively titled WHEN THE CHICKENS COME HOME TO ROOST focusses on the build up to the collapse which sets the scene for my dystopian novel WHEN THE WELL RUNS DRY.

Like Atwood, I am finding it difficult to write a fictional near future dystopia because the present keeps revealing itself to be more fantastic than fiction.

 

(all paid links)

 

 

 

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#120 Worrying about the Coronavirus

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This week has seen the first case of coronavirus identified in Sao paulo. The 61 year old man had recently returned from a business trip to Italy and is the first known case in Latin America.  Stock prices plunged in Brazil and Mexico amid fears that measures to slow the spread of the virus could cause delays in supply chains.

Health officials quickly rushed to trace the other passengers of the man’s flight from Italy and there are about 20 potential case with 12 having recently visited Italy.  There have been a growing number of cases in Italy but despite this, the upcoming European football championship there in June is planning to go ahead. As of yesterday, there were 81,397 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 2,770 deaths. 30,384 people have been confirmed to have recovered from the virus.

It is assumed that the virus spreads like other viruses via cough and sneeze droplets. These droplets can be inhaled or picked up through touch though there is uncertainty as to how long the virus can survive and whether it can be transmitted before symptoms develop.

Precautions for reducing the spread of the virus include washing hands, covering the mouth with a tissue or elbow when coughing or sneezing, wearing a face mask, seeking early medical help, avoiding contact with live animals in infected areas, avoiding under-cooked or raw meat and, if you have returned from in infected area, avoiding contact with people for 14 days.

At under 2%, the death rate for the virus is only slightly higher than influenza (1%), which kills around 400,000 people annually, and significantly lower than SARS (10%).

COVID-19 Fatality Rate by AGE:

AGE
DEATH RATE*
80+ years old
14.8%
70-79 years old
8.0%
60-69 years old
3.6%
50-59 years old
1.3%
40-49 years old
0.4%
30-39 years old
0.2%
20-29 years old
0.2%
10-19 years old
0.2%
0-9 years old
no fatalities

*Death Rate = (number of deaths / number of cases) = probability of dying if infected by the virus (%).

Of those infected by the virus, so far there have been no fatalities in the under 9 age range and out of those over 80, less than 15 out of every 100 have died. Those with no pre-existing conditions have a significantly lower chance of dying than those with.

PRE-EXISTING CONDITION
DEATH RATE*
Cardiovascular disease
10.5%
Diabetes
7.3%
Chronic respiratory disease
6.3%
Hypertension
6.0%
Cancer
5.6%
no pre-existing conditions
0.9%

*Death Rate = (number of deaths / number of cases) = probability of dying if infected by the virus (%).

We all love a good health scare and it certainly does the job of distracting me from my writing.

 

 

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#119 Watching Sao Paulo flood

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On Monday of this week it had rained all night and two of the largest rivers in Sao Paulo burst their banks.

Just over a hundred years ago, Sao Paulo evolved from what had been an indigenous settlement in between two rivers into a sprawling metropolis which now supports 20 million residents.

The indigenous community had built their settlement on top of a hill because the rivers had a tendency to flood and the first European settlers followed suit, essentially evicting the previous occupants from their land.

As demand for land increased, the poor were left with little option than to occupy the spaces on the flood plains and consequently were the victims when the rivers flooded.

The flooding of urban areas was an unsanitary process, so city planners decided to canalise what had previous been beautiful meandering rivers into straight channels, bordered by multi-lane highways.

Other cities such as Moscow, Vienna and Paris and created train, tram and subway networks encircling the city but in Sao Paulo the lobby of car manufacturers such as Fiat, GM, Ford and Volkswagon was very strong so mass transit systems were abandoned in favour of large avenues designed for car use which bordered and, in some cases, covered the rivers they followed.

As a result, many of the rivers in Sao Paulo have become invisible to the public, hiding the polution and waste which flows through them every day.

The rivers Pinhieros and Tiete and relatively slow flowing rivers and soon begin to smell very badly due to the effluent which accumulates.

When the rivers do inevitably flood, despite various attempts at flood prevention schemes, it understandably causes, not just chaos on the roads which border the rivers and occupy the flood plains, but also dangers to public health and sanitation.

Sao Paulo’s rivers have always flooded but the problems they cause are a consequence of urbanisation and poor planning based on the financial interests of the car manufacturers rather than the interests of the majority.

If you are interested in learning more, and you speak Portuguese, then there is and interesting documentary called Entre Rios which examines the issues surrounding the urbanisation of Sao Paulo.

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#118 Reading Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

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Photo by Anthony on Pexels.com

I found a copy of Anansi Boys in a bookstore in Sao Paulo and decided it was time to put an end to having to admit I hadn’t read any if Neil Gaiman’s books.

The admission was as surprising to me as to others given my love of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett.  When I first read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I thought the humour was completely original and unique and it wasn’t until many years later, when I read Dickens, that I realised it was just that Adams was an astute observer of life.

This same streak of humour can be found in Gaiman’s work and it was very refreshing to be enjoying such humour once more.

Most people are probably aware of Gaiman’s work through his previous novel, American Gods, which was adapted into a TV series. One of the key characters of Anansi Boys, Mr Nancy, an incarnation of the West African trickster god Anansi, also appears in American Gods.

After already establishing himself in the workd of comics, Gaiman completed his first novel, Good Omens, which he wrote with Terry Pratchett and which was later made into a TV series by Amazon and the BBC.

Anansi Boys, released in 2005, tells the story of Charles Nancy whose life is turned upside down after he travels to Florida to attend the funeral of his father. The book received enough votes for Hugo nomination in 2006 but Gaiman withdrew the book.

In his web based journal, he explained why: “I suppose partly I did it because I have three Hugos already, and I felt it was better to get more names on the ballot that weren’t mine, and partly because I think I feel more comfortable when the things of mine that get Hugo nominations are marginally closer to SF than to pure fantasy, but mostly because when they told me Anansi Boys was nominated it just felt right to say no thank you, this time. Obviously I’m grateful to everyone who voted for it, and happy for the other awards that it’s won and is nominated for, but on this one, well, it just felt right to say no.”

In 2007, the book was adapted by the BBC into a radio play. Gaiman stated that he was displeased with the BBC radio adaptation, because “budget cutbacks and less broadcasting time for drama [have caused BBC to decide] it would have to be an hour-long adaptation. And bad things happen when novels get cut down to an hour. So despite a really terrific cast and production and as solid a script as could be in the circumstances, I was not happy. It felt like one of those Readers’ Digest condensed books”.

One of the consequences of his disappointment with this adaptation was that he decided to write his own screen adaptation which he finished in 2010 around the time he was also wriying for Doctor Who.

In 2017 a six part adaptation was commissioned by Dirk Maggs. Dirk Maggs has adapted no fewer than five of Neil’s books for Radio, including Neverwhere and Good Omens. This adaptation of Anansi Boys is apparently Neil Gaiman’s favourite so far.

If, like me, to hadn’t read one of Neil Gaiman’s novels, you could do a lot worse than start with Anansi Boys which is an entertaining read full of entertaining characters and events. In relation to my own novels, the book has the same light hearted feel of my Mastery of the Stars series but is fantasy as opposed to science fiction.

Reading Anansi Boys is certainly a good way to avoid writing.

 

(all paid links)

 

 

 

 

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