Decline of Dennis

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Garry Holmes
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Post by Garry Holmes » Sat 3 Jun, 2006 10:50:14

Big fan of Fleming & Christie too. I would point out that both of them have large film and/or TV franchises behind them. It's also the case that Christie's publishers now remove any non-PC sentiments from some of the earlier novels. I know that there is some mild anti-semitism in Christie's pre-war novels. Ironic that Wheatley is no longer in print, since I think we can all agree that one thing he definitely isn't is anti-semitic!

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Bob Rothwell
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Post by Bob Rothwell » Sun 4 Jun, 2006 00:37:17

Frank Linmarsh wrote: 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!
Frank - brilliant, couldn't leave my mouse scroll-wheel alone! You must expand this to a mini-series if not greater. Pardon my intrusion, but I've added a link to the novelette in your message for other members. Don't know enough about other references, but loved the very thinly-veiled tongue-in-cheek, but sympathetic, DW ones. And so many avenues for expansion. If Alan and Diamondhairdan are browsing - a challenge for a short story in the DW style??

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Post by Hoyo de Monterrey » Mon 5 Jun, 2006 23:39:00

Bob Rothwell wrote:
Frank Linmarsh wrote: 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!
Frank,

Splendid stuff - but it possibly owes more to R Chetwynd-Hayes than to DW?

Great fun - well done.
"Here's to crime"

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Post by Frank Linmarsh » Tue 6 Jun, 2006 07:19:31

Many thanks for your kind words! I haven't read enough of him to write in his style, but, owing to revisiting the Black Magic novels and watching A Letter To Posterity, I just loved his larger than life image and the Gregory Pendennis bit just poured out. Some other colleagues have told me it bears expanding, so I'm running through a few ideas at the moment. Have finished Toby Jugg and thoroughly enjoyed it. The scene where Toby clonks Helmuth with an empty bottle of champagne has rocketed up my all-time fave DW episodes. They certainly don't write 'em like this anymore!
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Decline of Wheatley

Post by Toohey » Mon 24 Jul, 2006 14:54:15

To be honest I've not been that impressed with his talents as a writer - he did not have a great deal of literary talent but could pen a good romp. Though more often than not this wasn't the case as the majority of his works are a bit of a mess! Almost every novel is too long and rambling with too much politics and not enough story to keep the damn things moving.

Perhaps when first published his works, like Flemings, were considered the cutting edge but today they come across as very quant.

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Another reason...

Post by Alan » Sun 30 Jul, 2006 11:14:04

While "political correctness", declining literacy standards and the fact that DWs books are set in a mileau not familiar to modern readers all play their part, I think the main reason is much more simple and less sinister. Simply there is so much published today, and a modern young reader is (quite naturally) find her/his self with a Stephen King or Dan Brown in his hands by default. Why would publishers need to resurrect an author who published his last work in the mid seventies, when there are more than enough modern novels to go around... And that's before we take in the competing claims of movies, cable TV, the internet, comics, anime cartoons, ebooks, etc etc. The bookshops are full of books published much later, set in familiar backgrounds and of which the reader has already heard.

It would be very strange if while standing in front of a shelf of occult stories (s)he has never read, a typical reader would suddenly be struck with the urge to wonder if there were happened to be any authors who wrote thirty years ago, who might be just as good. Similarly, when buying music, most people begin listening to the top 30, and later gravitate to a few artists or a particular genre... Only a rare few start seeking "root music".

The only way this might be countered is if a TV or movie producer suddenly got hold of a DW title and decided it would make a great movie! For example, a good director could do all sorts of things with "Strange Conflict", which in many ways has the same point to make as Gibson's "Cyberpunk" novels or "The Matrix".

At this point my imagination runs riot. Imagine a remake of "The Devil Rides Out" with Johnny Depp as Simon Aron, Kate Beckinsale as Mary-Lou, Colin Firth as Richard, maybe Rafe Fiennes as Le Duc, and John Malkovitch as Mocota? Promote the movie carefully with some made up leaks about ghosts being seen on the set, and a few sensationalist magazine articles about how DW wrote the book to counter a very real threat of interest in Satanism among the young, maybe even a hint that the whole shebang was based in a real-life incident. Film it with the rough chavanistic edges knocked off the dialogue (not that they are that bad in DRO anyway) and computerised special effects (Imagine the "sack like thing" or Fleur with a blue face)... Hey, the thing even has a phallus in it, to add some naughty street-cred! Within a year the entire DW series would be in reprint, kids would be wearing t-shirts with pentacles on them, they'd be "De Richleau lives" badges, peach silk pyjamas (as worn by Marie-Lou in the pentacle) would be de-rigeur female nightwear, "Talisman of Set" key-rings would be on every set of keys, hell, McDonalds might even be selling Rex Van Ryn dolls! And then, when interest is at its height, they could follow up with "Strange Conflict", advertising it as a novel about struggle against evil in a virtual world, "Ka of Gifford Hillary" with the titillating scene of Giff spying on the young lady in the toilet...

Ah - talk about a pipe dream (or cigar and brandy dream). Still, my hype apart, I think my initial point might have some validity. Over to you, British film industry!


>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.

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Post by Alan » Sun 30 Jul, 2006 11:29:13

I tried to access this tale through the link provided but, to my dissapointment, I got an "unauthorised to view this page" message. I strongly suspect that this is because my IE is set up to repel spyware, and in fact the firewall did detect the site trying to load a cookie of some kind onto my HD.

Any chance of the story appearing elsewhere? Gregory Pendennis apart, I rather miss that site, which I always enjoyed!

>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!

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Post by Bob Rothwell » Mon 31 Jul, 2006 02:37:05

Alan wrote:I tried to access this tale through the link provided but, to my dissapointment, I got an "unauthorised to view this page" message. I strongly suspect that this is because my IE is set up to repel spyware, and in fact the firewall did detect the site trying to load a cookie of some kind onto my HD.
That site now only allows members. If you 'join', there should be no problem.

Purely for your edification, cookies are also present here. They are not counted as spyware and are only used to recognise you, 'remember' your log-in details and let you know which messages you haven't read. If you never see the new postings appearing in bold with a 'brown' button and if your log-in details are never 'remembered', then you have your browser or other programme set to block cookies.

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Post by Alan » Fri 4 Aug, 2006 08:03:38

In your debt for the advice, oh Chevalier! I'll race along there now and have a look.

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Post by maisonvivante » Wed 1 Nov, 2006 21:09:03

Fascinating discussion, guys. I mentioned in my introduction that I wouldn't care for a little editing of Wheatley's novels to make them more PC (horror of horrors, but I'm a realist, I guess). That may sound blasphemous to some, I know, but it was done with Christie and has served her novels quite well. Of course, the original texts will always be available for those that want them, but I just want to get him back into print! I wouldn't approve a huge overhaul of the texts though. I'm talking about maybe some small, subtle edits here and there.

I'm interested in those that found the novels quaint by today's standards. I disagree. I find gratuitous sex, violence, etc. quaint as it has become the easy standard to fall back on. Wheatley's restraint gives his books more suspense, in my opinion.

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Bob Rothwell
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Post by Bob Rothwell » Wed 1 Nov, 2006 21:38:32

maisonvivante wrote:Wheatley's restraint gives his books more suspense, in my opinion.
I doubt that was DW's design - more likely the restraining hand of his agent/publisher!

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Post by maisonvivante » Thu 2 Nov, 2006 03:43:21

Bob Rothwell wrote:
maisonvivante wrote:Wheatley's restraint gives his books more suspense, in my opinion.
I doubt that was DW's design - more likely the restraining hand of his agent/publisher!
Interesting. But even still, I can't imagine him doing things without taste or being overtly crude and vulgar.

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Post by Bob Rothwell » Thu 2 Nov, 2006 15:21:31

maisonvivante wrote:..., I can't imagine him doing things without taste or being overtly crude and vulgar.
Very true, but I still prefer his choice of title for Evil In A Mask: Enter The Nymphomaniac!

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Post by gloomysundae » Sun 5 Nov, 2006 09:03:04

Alan wrote:I tried to access this tale through the link provided but, to my dissapointment, I got an "unauthorised to view this page" message. I strongly suspect that this is because my IE is set up to repel spyware, and in fact the firewall did detect the site trying to load a cookie of some kind onto my HD.
Sorry Alan - I've only just seen this. As Bob mentioned, we had to close the board to non-members due to the phenomenal amount of spam being posted on there. If you've not yet seen The Horror Of Bodmin Moor, let me know - I'm sure Franklin would be happy to send you a copy.

As to the decline of Dennis, I think it may have something to do with publishers being unwilling to publish huge quantities of anything other than Victoria Beckham's fashion tips, cookery books, autobiographies by "personalities", Harry Potter and tried-and-trusted best-sellers of NOW. There's a place for all of these, of course, but unless somebody gets around to making your FX-laden, blockbuster remake of The Devil Rides Out, I think we'll be hunting for his work in second hand bookshops for some time.

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Post by Alan » Mon 13 Nov, 2006 10:04:28

Gloomster (if I may call you that) I'd love to see a copy if your friend Franklin can be persuaded. :D

Thanks
Alan

email is alansmith23NOSPAM@ihug.com.au

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