I’ve come to the end of Readers Imbibing Peril, it’s the first time I’ve taken part and I did enjoy it. I did quite well I think, the only book on my original list that I didn’t read is Shirley Jackson’s Dark Tales. I requested this one from the library and it hasn’t arrived yet, I will read it when/if it does turn up.
The only author who was new to me was Raymond Chandler, I’ve been meaning to get around to reading him for decades, I loved The Big Sleep so I’ll definitely be reading more of his books.
Sherlock Holmes and the Martian Menace by Eric Brown is the most recent publication in the series which is published by Titan Books. It’s not at all my usual kind of reading fare, I’ve never been a huge Sherlock Holmes fan mainly because I found his smart Alec observations to be quite tedious, thankfully they don’t feature too much in this book, but otherwise I think this strange mixture of the Edwardian era and SF works really well.
Earth has been invaded by Martians who are obviously much more technologically advanced than humans. The first invasion was very violent and culminated in many deaths but the invaders couldn’t fight off a common terrestrial virus (yep) so it was ultimately a failure. Six years later another Martian armada arrives on Earth, suposedly they’re peace-loving and their technological advances are very welcome by the people of Earth as they bring prosperity. There’s no doubt though that the Martians are in charge and Earth is just a part of their empire.
When Holmes and Watson are asked to investigate the death of an allegedly famous Martian philosopher and the investigation takes them to Mars, it isn’t long before Holmes realises that the whole thing is a con to get them to Mars.
All is not hunky dory on the planet and there’s a rebel faction, they’re not at all happy with those in power. Can they team up with Holmes and Watson?
I really enjoyed this book which has plenty of tension, interesting characters, is well written and also manages to convey an authentic Edwardian atmosphere at the same time as being futuristic.
I must admit that I was given this book by the author who is an old friend of ours. He writes science-fiction and also a crime series which is set in the 1950s. Although Eric Brown is a proud Yorkshireman he has been living happily in Scotland for several years now, but I’m not sure if he can be counted as a Scottish author.
I was listening to Radio 4 Extra this afternoon whilst making a pot of lentil soup, as you do, well it has suddenly got really cold, I got caught in a hailstorm today and it’s going to be icy overnight apparently, so soup is a necessity!
Anyway, at the end of ahem Dick Barton Special Agent, the presenter mentioned some of the up and coming attractions in the shape of an Eric Ambler thriller, Sherlock Holmes and much more. I’ve just realised that I missed a Jill Paton Walsh thing so I’ll be listening to that via the iPlayer soon too. Have a look here if you haven’t already!
I also saw an episode of the Martin Clunes programme Islands of Britain on the telly last night and wondered if some of it might be on You Tube and sure enough it is. I thought it might be of interest to some people who can’t get it on their TV.
The other thing which I thought folks might like to see is good old Tom Weir. I think I saw that Peggy Ann was watching him. You might never have heard of him before, he died a couple of years ago but he was a good age and about 30 or 40 years ago his short TV programmes used to be on a lot. I was amazed when I looked in on my insomniac then teenage son some years ago to see that he was watching an ancient Weir’s Way at about 3 o’clock in the morning. Tom had a big following with the insomniacs I think.
Although Tom had climbed all over the world, even up the Himalayas, it was always the hills of home which were his favourites and they happened to be in the area which I grew up, he was a a bit of a local hero and could often be seen on the hills. If you’re interested in some Scottish scenery there are loads of clips of Tom. Here’s one for a starter!