East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Drabble and Double Drabble!

Orson Welles said that

the absence of constraints is the enemy of art

Orson Welles

and I cannot deny he was right. He knew, after all, a thing or two about art and constraints, and he was Orson frelling Welles!

I was reminded of Welles quote this morning, as I got a call for a horror anthology looking for Drabbles and Double Drabbles.
A Drabble is a thing Monthy Python invented for a lark: a novel in 100 words – not one less, no one more. A Double Drabble is, as you can imagine, a novel in 200 words.
And by novel I mean it has to have character development, dialogue, stuff happening, like a proper 500-pages blockbuster.

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The Joseph Cotten Blogathon: Journey Into Fear (1943)

It’s the Joseph Cotten Blogathon, and I am terribly late – we have been talking so much about Hope & Glory that I totally forgot about Joseph Cotten.
And isn’t that what happened to a lot of us?
Cotten was a fine actor, one of Orson Welles’ troupe in the Mercury Theater, and he had a blazing career with many great movies, and fundamental roles – but we don’t remember him anymore.


So thanks to In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood for bringing him back with this blogathon – please point your browser in that direction and check out the many fine articles about Cotten’s extraordinary career.
Then get back here.
We are terribly late, and this is likely to be the late show in the blogathon – and we are going to check out Journey into Fear. Continue reading

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Other People’s Pulp: The Thirty-Nine Steps

buchan-thirty-nine-steps-bookcoverLast week it was the centenary of the first book publication of John Buchan‘s The Thirty-Nine Styeps.
Buchan’s book about a single man – Richard Hannay – on the run from both unknown enemies and the authorities, and trying to solve a mystery in order to save his own life, became the template for a lot of subsequent “thrillers” – a genre which Buchan called “shocker”, and that he contributed in creating, together with Erskine Childres.

If we are to believe Wikipedia (how could we not?), Buchan

described a “shocker” as an adventure where the events in the story are unlikely and the reader is only just able to believe that they really happened.

Sounds pulpy enough, right?
So influential was the book, that most of us today discovered it through one of its movie adaptations – possibly Hitchcock’s from 1935.
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