In fact, the apocalypse as male paradise is something you’ll run into again and again in this novel.  Huge swathes of text are given over to lasciviously explaining how, in order to re-populate the earth, men will have to sleep with as many women as possible (whether they like it or not – it’s all for genetic diversity reasons, you see). Using the apocalypse as an excuse to basically legitimise rape, or, at best, polyamory, is all kinds of messed up. There are whole chapters that read like a pervy manifesto or teenage sex fantasy (“they’ll HAVE to have sex with me now”). But it’s stupid in a structural sense too: there are long passages of dialogue explaining why all this would be necessary, but such discussions are taking place only days after the arrival of the blindness/Triffids/plague, when surely the more immediate concerns of finding clean water, shelter and other survivors should be taking precedent over long-term plans for coupling and repopulation?

Apocalypse as Paradise: John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids
Tomcat in the red room blog

our heritage

July 4, 2019

Cripes! Life seems so hectic, don’t it? So much to do; so little time to do it. Rushing round trying to save the environment while vacuuming, flossing, cooking meals, writing, and feeling particularly pissed off that a nodding bell-end like Jeremy Hunt (Jessa the Hunt), in his attempt to become prime minister, thinks the answer is to bring back fox hunting!

Using a pack of dogs to rip a fox apart is, according to the Hunt, “part of our heritage.”

It’d appear that molecular biologist Christopher Johnson and his colleagues in the States have created a biological enzyme that can chew efficiently through throwaway plastics like those that make water bottles and soap containers. The team is optimistic they can engineer a world where humans keep using this overabundant material – without winding up literally or figuratively overwhelmed by it. In that world microorganisms will digest polymers into their chemical components so they can turn a profit as new and better products.

Ummm!!?

Anyone remember the TV series Doomwatch? The first episode, The Plastic Eaters was written by Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis. It told of an enzyme that went out of control and gobbled up plastic, including all the plastic parts of an aircraft in flight – oh, dear! what a tragedy –

Pedler and Davis used the same idea in a novel, Mutant 59: The Plastic Eater. Perhaps a copy should be sent to Mr Johnson and colleagues as a warning?

I note the current Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, condemns all the fiscal proposals/suggestions/promises made by the two candidates hoping to become our future prime Minister. He condemns, too, the economic proposals of the Labour party. Mr Hammond, affectionately nicknamed ‘Spreadsheet Phil’, gives the impression of a monomaniacal sociopath wandering through a wild orgy of the flesh, thinking only about marginal rates of return, regardless of cost to our society as a whole –

American consumers

June 23, 2019

…our television exists for the sole purpose of selling American products to American consumers…

Orson Welles
Twilight in the smog
Esquire March 1959

Someone clever once said, apropos of the Justice League, that the only thing sillier than an adult dressing up in colourful tights to fight crime, was a whole roomful of such folk. That’s a good analogy for films, TV shows and books that posit elaborate secret societies of vampires, werewolves and other supernatural creatures that operate just below the radar of human awareness. One vampire or werewolf is powerful as both a character and a symbol; a roomful of them is just goofy.

Alex Bledsoe
No Mortals Allowed

The “Twilight” series’ brand of sexuality is fairly straightforward. Sex equals bloodlust, and in general the rule is “Just Say No!” — unless you put a ring on it. The series reads (and watches) like one giant exercise in sexual frustration. Epitomizing this idea, Bella Swan (even her name implies purity)  and Edward Cullen’s first kiss ends with Edward smashing himself into her bedroom wall to stop himself from doing more than pecking her on the lips. If their frisky business goes too far, he’s likely to lose control and devour her… literally. When the couple finally consummate their relationship (three novels later), it’s only after they’ve been married. And immediately after they have sex, Bella winds up pregnant.

The implications of this dynamic are clear. Sexual urges exist, but must be repressed. This repression is a sign of commitment and love. And if you do have sex? You’ll probably get knocked up and have your lover take away your humanity once and for all

Emma Gray
Vampires and Sexuality

myth

November 4, 2018

Folk legend, fairytale, myth are thought of as escapist, but in reality they’re not – they’re distilled metaphor and truth.

Alan Garner
Interview for BBC TV programme Sleuths, Spies & Sorcerers

drunk out of his skull

March 17, 2018

Dr Who

Well, yeah, I was (a fan of Dr Who). I watched it since it started, and I didn’t actually like the first Dr Who, William Hartnell, because he used to be in The Army Game where he was a barking sergeant major, and I couldn’t help seeing him as this barking sergeant major, but in a different suit! I liked Patrick Troughton better, because he was sort of fey and he started to bring that oddness into the character. I didn’t like Jon Pertwee, because he was again a bit too posh, and I really liked Tom Baker. I sort of knew him; I met him once or twice, usually in a pub, and usually drunk out of his skull on 50 valium and a pint of scotch, and ad-libbing like fuck. And it’s wonderful to watch the shows and know that all the other actors are just completely at sea because he hasn’t given them their cue line, he’s just come up with actually a better line, usually. So that was my favourite, like many people I suppose, and I still like him as an actor. I’ve got this sort of secret ambition: I did a book called Mother London and there’s a character in it called Josef Kiss, and he’d make an absolutely perfect Josef Kiss. So the only reason I’d want them to make a movie or a radio thing or anything is just so I can get Tom Baker in to play Josef Kiss.

Michael Moorcock
Interview with Ben Graham for The Quietus 22nd November 2010

escapist…?

February 20, 2018

Folk legend, fairytale, myth are thought of as escapist, but in reality they’re not – they’re distilled metaphor and truth.

Alan Garner
Interview in BBC TV programme “Sleuths, Spies & Sorcerers

19th July

“Roses are red
Violets are blue
Vodka is cheaper
Than dinner for two…”

Sitting here, a solitude surrounded by humanity. All I can do is recite…nonsense!

But thank God, the new Doctor Who is a woman. Perhaps she’ll visit Inter Minor, that planet rich in technological innovation visited once before by the doc? It’s a deeply insular plant with a paranoid population; it severed all links with other worlds after the Great Space Plague, didn’t it? Yes, a planet ruled by grey-skinned humanoids, referred to as ‘the official species’. Each one a potential Philip Hammond look-a-like, they are bureaucratic, officious, without humour or true humanity. And they rule over the ‘underclass’, the workers called ‘functionaries’ who are little more than slaves.

‘Oh, if only,’ sighs Mrs Maybe. ‘But where do they get these stupid ideas from?’

And the inhabitants of Inter Minor positively hate ‘outsiders’: see them as a threat to their lifestyle and culture where art, especially drama and comedy, are outlawed –

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She has always had her head in a book, ever since we first met.

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Hospital again today to discuss percentages and dates –

Diary 21st April

Easter weekend, became a lost weekend. We gave ourselves unashamedly to debauchery, Boys & Girls. And strong drink raged (as it does here, from time to time). Driven by our inflamed, animalistic urges we veered from manic to tender, from gently sentimental to crudely rough. It was, in short, an excellent time for us all.

Saturday night I watched a pretty woman put on her makeup. I M’s face, slightly flushed after her time alone with Dee and Gabby, reflected in the dressing table mirror in the spare room. She drank rum and sprite. Fussed with her hair. Spoke in banalities.

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And now, between various feverish activities, I must decide whether or not to cancel an oral hygienist appointment at my dentist’s. The day and evening preceding we will be with old friends, eating, drinking, and over indulging. Can I face the hygienist first thing in the morning with a hangover and a mouth like a badger’s bum?

HYGIENIST: “Please Peedeel, allow me to fart in your mouth and freshen your breath.”

I think I’ll cancel!

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Vast alchemies. Every three minutes, a person goes missing in the UK. Where do they all go? I find it a deeply disturbing statistic, don’t you?

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Oh, yes, which reminds me. I watched the new episode of Dr Who at the weekend. Peter Capaldi’s last series playing the Dr . Mr Capaldi is a fine actor, but the Who series suffers from shite writing, and is in the guiding hands of those who believe that “narrative and characterization are too distracting from their preferred salad of videogame spaghetti”.

Long live the third rate, ay wot?

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Food for thought: If all men disappeared of the face of the earth, every war would instantly be over.