Archive for February, 2012

A new version of Gulliver’s Travels was serialised on Radio 4 recently, with Arthur Darvill – AKA Rory Williams from Dr Who – putting in a strong and convincing performance in the central role. Episode two and three are still currently sitting on the BBC’s iPlayer, but will soon be consigned to the ether until their re-run. It’s a dark and uncompromising version, and must have been the seed that grew a whole tendril of satirical recollection. From Swift to Simon in one small jump and from there – via the weird conduit of Wallace Shawn – to Southland Tales and Justin Timberlake’s nihilistic musical number. Here be dragons indeed.

Just watching the hype unfold around the upcoming John Cater movie from Disney (, and remembering the series of Mars books I owned in the late 1970s. The iconic cover art was by Michael Whelan – you can view an example in the “retrospective” section on his intricately constructed website – I’ve also picked up an omnibus of the first five Mars books by Edgar Rice Burroughs from Wilder Publications. The binding is unwieldy – almost unreadable unless you’re sitting at a table – and the edit is sketchy at times, but it does bring all these books together in one place. Bouncing through them again, almost as if under the influence of only 38% Earth normal gravity, it’s pleasant to find the romp still highly enjoyable after all this time.