Decline of Dennis

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Lark
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Decline of Dennis

Post by Lark » Mon 8 May, 2006 21:10:42

I dont know what could have lead to Dennis Wheatley's decline in less than two generations,

if I find copies of his books reprinted they are usually at clearance or bargain book shops, the majority of my wheatley books are second hand copies from second book stores,

I was wondering what everyone thinks has been the greatest factor in this sudden disappearence,

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Bob Rothwell
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Post by Bob Rothwell » Mon 8 May, 2006 21:27:17

Ignorance, illiteracy, lack of imagination, lowering of standards, PC-ness, sexism, racism, anti-Britishness.............
Read DW's Letter to Posterity and work out what DW would think!

Seriously (well, maybe I was a bit!) the days of the Boys' Own adventure stories seem to have past. TV and the media in general have taken most of the mystery out of life; and to those immersed in this culture DW is perhaps now a bit tame. I don't have an intellectual viewpoint on this: all I know is that I still enjoy a good yarn interspersed with factual history and real places and like to get a real feel for the views and aspects of a now almost-forgotten culture. Interesting, though, that TV series like Sharpe still thrill thousands. One day my dream will come true and we'll be watching de Richleau, Sallust and RB take their rightful place on the small screen and people may come back to him.

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Post by gloomysundae » Tue 9 May, 2006 07:25:07

Hello Lark

I agree with Bob in that it's nothing a good period TV series couldn't fix (or a film: look what The Devil Rides Out did for his career in the sixties).

I first read him in the early eighties and nearly gave up altogether on the likes of Ka Of Gifford Hillary, not because his politics are out of step with mine (who cares?), but because they reared their ugly head so often. Reading the book again recently I still think that he overdoes it to the detriment of a decent plot and that could be a factor.

I doubt political correctness has much to do with it. When was the last time you thought: "I can't, under any circumstances, read that - it's not P.C.!"

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Post by Bob Rothwell » Tue 9 May, 2006 18:26:22

gloomysundae wrote: I doubt political correctness has much to do with it. When was the last time you thought: "I can't, under any circumstances, read that - it's not P.C.!"
I hope you're right, but I do wonder if the younger generation have been brainwashed?

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Post by Lark » Tue 9 May, 2006 20:13:07

I like to read Wheatley's politics, though I do think they are so overstated at times that it almost reads like he is satirising himself, like a weird pastiche at times, which I'm sure he didnt mean at all,

I dont think a book would suffer from being un-PC the success of books like Fight Club I would think has more than a little to do with them being un-PC or shocking,

I sure would love to see a Wheatley series on the BBC, the closest they will get will probably be Sea of Souls or something like that, I sure would like it if they shot it unchanged, warts and all,

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Post by Garry Holmes » Sat 13 May, 2006 12:32:01

I still think that the main reason that DW is not widely read is the unavailability of the books. You can't find them in libraries and they aren't available in Ottakars, WH Smith's et al. If they ever turn up in charity shops, then the often seedy looking covers are unlikely to attract the innocent punter. A TV series or reissue of the books would seem the best way to reverse the decline.

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Post by Lark » Sat 13 May, 2006 23:06:59

even recent reprints of the books dont seen to be in a format liable to appeal to any market but when you consider the success of things like the Da Vinci Code surely its time for a come back?

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Post by Diamondhairdan » Mon 15 May, 2006 12:10:59

Interesting, as I have to agree with Bobs earlier points, but one thing I would mention is DW's statement on historical accuracy - how the majority gain their knoweldge from fiction (be it books or film), and therefore how he viewed it as criminal when authors were inaccurate witht he truth in order to facilitate their own plot. I think in todays world, that point is more important than ever, with people like Two Jags Prescott wanting to re-write the history books due to our apparently "shameful" past (eh???), people like Mel Gibson releasing the abysmal and totally fabricated Braveheart, and the likes of Dan Brown breaking the sales charts with poorly phrased, imaginary (yet evidently successful) novels such as the Da Vinci Code. The problem with society now is that those sorts of people are in high positions of influence, and Im not sure where its going to take us. For example, when presented with a budget to film one of our greatests military triumphs of all time, Kenneth Brannagh decided to produce an anti war film, and completely messed up an opportunity to capture the glory of Agincourt.

Whatever one may say about DW's political preferences (though I am right of centre I readily conceed that his views were often a little too forceful in the midst of a great plot), and his much maligned style, I have read few authors who can better his ability to tie together a story, and his historical knowledge was second to none.

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Post by Lark » Mon 15 May, 2006 20:01:48

I dont think that Braveheart is the worst example of historical revisionism, though I would say that I'm a celt,


I think worse are things like Black Hawk Down, you would think it was world war three instead of a US adventure botched by the third world's answer to street gangs, or the films about world war two that would make you think America fought it single handed, won it for everyone else and it was a thankless task anyway, the worst was the film about the enigma code that had American agents in the place of the British ones that actually recovered the enigma machine,

I dont mind DW's jingoism because it usually is tempered, like in the Satanist when he describes what he believes to be the Irish relationship to Britain or England, I certainly dont mind his perspective on America or American ascendency in world affairs,

I dont even mind the general demenour of his conservatism, or rather patriotism, so much because, again in the Satanist, he seems to have a tolerant out look to things like straight trade unionism and social partnership in the economy,

I agree with DH though fiction now really and truly is fiction and it still gets read as though there is an element of truth in setting the scene etc.

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Post by Diamondhairdan » Wed 17 May, 2006 12:08:09

Well I stand by the fact that Braveheart is a total fabrication of the truth, not helped by the depiction of an ill-discplined Scottish rabble seemingly brushing the "barbarous" English aside, and an old man being shot in the leg with an arrow, and simply snapping it off and having the capacity to fling a spear in through the window of a tall tower...well done there Mel, perhaps you cuold just change the title to the Patriot and set it a few hundred years later... oh, you did.

I have to confess Ive not seen Black Hawk Down, but I'll take your word for it. Is the Enigma film the one with John Bon Jovi? In which case I have heard some appauling reviews of the film, so again, totally agree.

At last if they made a film of The Man Who Killed the King, or Desperate Measures, it would stand up in terms of accuracy as well as being a great film. I remain convinced, despite so many bad experiences, that both things are jointly possible...

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Post by Bob Rothwell » Wed 17 May, 2006 23:08:11

Diamondhairdan wrote: At last if they made a film of The Man Who Killed the King, or Desperate Measures, it would stand up in terms of accuracy as well as being a great film...
A film that was as accurate as the book?? Now there would be an interesting idea. However, all things are possible - I heard recently that the film Da Vinci Code got slated by some, because it stuck too rigidly to the book!

And whilst on that subject - I thoroughly enjoyed Da Vinci Code after being pointed in that direction in 2004 by a correspondent who said "If ever there was a Duc De Richleau Story This is it". And am I glad I read it when I did :roll:. I just cannot believe the hype I'm seeing/reading/hearing. Don't they know IT'S A NOVEL :!:

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Post by anon01 » Sat 20 May, 2006 09:11:04

i too read and enjoyed the da vinci code before all the hype. all my friends who have read it since haven't liked it and have mocked me for enjoying it. all i can say to them and these people that are wandering around looking for the "clues" and the "the truth" is that there is one very important word in the book that they all seemed to have overlooked. its on the back cover and its FICTION.
p.s. most of these friends quite happily que for hours for the harry potter books! thats the real problem, sales by hype. i must buy this book or miss out.
for a good plot and story the only author of recent times that comes close to dw is jeffrey deaver.

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Post by Lark » Sat 27 May, 2006 23:52:33

Dan Brown actually does remind me of Wheatley only writing adventure and conspiracy tales instead of occult ones, though Wheatley did that too,

I remember reading interviews with Brown before he was famous, before Da vinci Code even, when he talked about just trying to find a couple of popular elements and combine them in a book that would be sold in airports for people on the beach,

his first book was about encryption and spies but it wasnt as popular, I think its a curious mirror of society, in the US at least, where its had such a huge market and the hype and demonstrating and stuff just shows that once you've written something its up to people themselves how they interpret it,

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Post by Hoyo de Monterrey » Mon 29 May, 2006 00:44:09

I suspect that DW's books would still sell in their thousands if they were in print, but publishers and booksellers alike are afraid of transgressing the "rules" of the PC brigade and dare not publish them - more's the pity.

Wheatley is still a cracking good read, and the only thing that really annoys me about his writing is his all too frequent insertion of himself, or mention of himself and his books, into the narrative. In the same vein, "The Golden Spaniard" provides an early, and rather irritating, example of "product placement" (Lobb shoes, Sulka shirts, Scott hats, Beale & Inman ties). I hope those firms were suitably grateful!
"Here's to crime"

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Post by Frank Linmarsh » Tue 30 May, 2006 12:27:28

I'm currently forging my way through The Haunting Of Toby Jugg at present. The constant Socialist and Taxman bashing is a little distracting but also interesting from an historical perspective. The book was first published circa 1948 i.e. just after the so-called Letter To Posterity and seems to reflect quite a few of DWs concerns. The adventure though has happily sent me back to my childhood when I seized upon Agatha Christie, Ian Fleming and DW as 'adult authors'. Some of the jingoism does grate in a 'they wouldn't get away with that today' kind of way, although Christie and Fleming are still published. Was DW a peculiarly British phenomenon? I'm amazed at the number of ladies 'of a certain age' I come across at work, who, when I mention DW, start raving about him.

PS Bob, if you should read this, excuse my cheek, but over at The Vault, I've penned a short story, featuring a character called 'Gregory Pendennis' who is (I hope) an 'affectionate lampoon' of a certain Black Magic Story author. I'd be interested in your opinion!
It Begins

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