THE DEDALUS BOOK OF GREEK FANTASY
David Connolly, ed.
Dedalus’s range of European anthologies is eminently collectable, and offers pleasant appetisers of less well known literary cultures. This Greek anthology is a treat: reworkings of classical myths from Andreas Embiricos, a Kafkaesque waking nightmare in Nanos Valaoritis’s story about a man who literally loses his head, and a poignant Borgesian dystopia by Aris Marangopoulos, ‘Nostalgic Clone’. Some of the work is fairly pulpy science-fiction, but part of the charm of these collections is the sheer diversity of styles.
Also try: HP Lovecraft, Weird Tales
MASS MEDIA IN A MASS SOCIETY
In principal, I agree with Hoggart’s broad conclusions about the undesirability of consumer culture and lowest common denominators dictating media production. However, this book is such a litany of Victor Meldrew style gripes, my sympathy was sorely tested. We learn that the BBC has become sloppy, that Classic FM is trite and "there are plenty of bottoms in Top of the Pops". Some of his statistics are so vague as to be meaningless. There are serious problems to be addressed, but this jeremiad contributes nothing.
Also try: Reuben Cohen and Sam Brenton, Shooting
People: Adventures in Reality TV
LINES ON THE LANDSCAPE, CIRCLES FROM THE SKY
This accessible and well-written study of the Neolithic architecture of Orkney is intriguing and informative, even if the over-arching theories are rather speculative. A follower of Eliade’s ‘mythic’ interpretations, the absence of ‘facts’ is supplemented by anthropological evidence from primitive cultures elsewhere, even while the importance of specific places is advanced. The material evidence for changes in the early society is fascinating; the more hypothetical suppositions are provocative.
Also try: David Lewis-Williams, The Mind in the Cave
William Heinemann, 16.99
This volume includes books five and six of the seemingly interminable ‘Baroque Cycle’, a melange of French espionage and colonial misadventure. The archaic style seems more akin to Blackadder than John Barth, the plotting is plodding and the attempts at wit laboured. Its massive length is not matched by depth, and it offers ornamentation rather than complexity. The author biography says that having discovered his "pretty humour for the writing of Romances... he took up the Pen and hath not since laid it down". To which one can only add: Please do.
Try instead: Thomas Pynchon, Mason & Dixon