In the Mail: SS-GB.

I picked SS-GB up because – well, this is actually kind of entertaining. A couple of people on Twitter got exceptionally pissy just because I made the perfectly reasonable observation that Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America was such a godawful book and crappy alternate history that I couldn’t finish it, which gets funnier and funnier the more I think of it. I mean, why the hell do they care if somebody thinks a book is awful*? Anyway, I forget how I found out that the BBC actually made a miniseries based off of Len Deighton’s SS-GB (which was an infinitely better alternate history novel**); but I did find out, and I purchased it accordingly. And here it is! Hope it doesn’t suck.

Continue reading In the Mail: SS-GB.

Ooh: The BBC is doing a version of SS-GB.

It’s apparently going to be a five-part series.  For those who aren’t familiar, SS-GB is an alternate history novel by British spy novel great Len Deighton: as you might have gleaned from the title, it’s a police/spy novel set in a world where the Germans won the Battle of Britain and are now occupying the United Kingdom. I read it a while back, and I can say that it’s certainly adaptable for the television screen.  And a miniseries would probably do it more justice than a movie, at that. Continue reading Ooh: The BBC is doing a version of SS-GB.

Looking for someone to read? (Tim Powers)

(Today’s author: Tim Powers)

Tim Powers is one of those authors who doesn’t exactly fit the standard criteria. Yes, it’s sort of fantasy; yes, it’s sort of modern fantasy, or sort of historical fantasy; and yes, there’s a sort of urban fantasy feel to his stuff. On the other hand, most authors don’t meticulously interweave historical accuracy in with the fantastic elements, and Tim Powers does. Read The Stress of Her Regard and you will totally buy the idea that the history of literature is the history of vampires, at least while reading it; and we are so conditioned now to accept that Voudon goes along with piracy* that we forget that this was first suggested by On Stranger Tides*.

If that hasn’t scared you away yet, good: because you’ll want to read Declare. This book involves three themes: the Catholic Church; the Cold War; and the secret occult origins and sustenance of the Soviet Union – with the last being treated in much the same way that modern fantasy treats the occult trappings of Germany’s Nazi regime. The book is written in a very classic Cold War spy fiction style: Len Deighton would have loved it (by the way, his SS-GB is one of the classics of the alternate history genre).  So check it out.

Continue reading Looking for someone to read? (Tim Powers)