Thanks for having me. By way of introduction, here's an edited version of the e-mail I sent Charles to prove I wasn't a bot:
I don’t know precisely how ‘serious’ my interest in Wheatley is, but I read him extensively in my teens, during the 1960s – at my parents’ suggestion, surprisingly enough. I enjoyed the black magic and the Gregory Sallust stories most, and his historical pieces least, but I read a lot of the other books as well, including a sci-fi about Mars and another thing about Atlantis, both of whose titles I’ve now forgotten. I got them all from the local library.
I’ve always been in two minds about Wheatley. Even as a teenager, I recognised that he was a very clunky stylist. I also realised that a lot of the black magic stuff was sexploitation trash, though that was a large part of its appeal to me aged fourteen or so. It was probably only when I saw the film of The Devil Rides Out in my early twenties that I realised how well-plotted the story is. (I’ve since reread the book and that holds up well too — much better, in fact, than The Ka Of Gifford Hilary or The Haunting of Toby Jug.) I was also impressed by Wheatley’s ideas. I remember a long disquisition from the Martian book, which argued for a certain set of properties being necessary for intelligent alien life, only to reverse itself in the ‘reveal’ when the aliens turned out to be insects. That’s the kind of thing that’s stuck in my mind. It’s clever. So I think it’s possible to forgive Wheatley both his style and his reactionary politics.
In some ways, Wheatley reminds me of Kipling. Both are currently unfashionable and both held objectionable political views, BUT both were also extraordinarily good at constructing stories. Of course, Kipling was by far the better stylist and story teller, but Wheatley still stays in my mind, as I said.
Anyway, I’ve applied to join your forum in order to explore my attraction to Wheatley’s writing further. I hope that’s enough to demonstrate my ‘seriousness’.
Here's where you can tell us about yourself
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I enjoyed...his historical pieces least
Ha! Couldn't agree with you more.
Wheatley reminds me of Kipling. Both are currently unfashionable and both held objectionable political views
Anti-collectivism, a love of country, a belief in Judeo-Christian civilisation? Personally, I find little in DW's views to object to.
But I digress. What I meant to say was: Hi Jimmy. A pleasure to meet you and a very warm welcome to the board!