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04-30-03:Jasper Fforde's Postcard Bonanza


Picture Perfect With Jasper Fforde

The lettering below the slot reads "If closed post trilobites through slot in door'.

Above and below you'll find even more reasons to attend a Jasper Fforde signing. Not only is he a consummate showman -- he's very funny, warm and relaxed -- he also has all sort of cool stuff to hand out to his fans. Yes, I'll admit that I didn't even notice the full-color plate in the US edition of his latest, 'Lost in A Good Book'. These eye-popping confections are particularly hilarious. Scroll down for more, including a shot of the Escher-painted Porsche driven by Thursday Next. I'll be posting the interview I did with him in the next couple of days. The fershlugginer CD burner at the station popped out two disks that were unreadable by my computers, so I'm once again thankful for the backup of DAT. You'd think this would get simpler.


"A dodo, possible a Version 2.4, considers the implication of warning signs erected in the fall of 1986."


"Using specialist skills and techniques, our artists attempt to portray the first meeting of Thursday Next and the Cat formerly known as Cheshire."

"A subsidiary of the Mole News and TV empire, this issue of Femole covers the new 'Thursday Next' look that was then fashionable. Miss Next refused to take part in the photo -shoot but kindly lent her car."

04-28-03: Neal Asher vs. Arthur C. Clarke vs. Stanislaw Lem, The "Japanese Stephen King"

Neal Asher vs. Arthur C. Clarke vs. Stanislaw Lem

Cover image for the German release of Neal Asher's 'Gridlinked' ('The Dragon of Samarkand').

The 1970 cover image for Lem's 'Solaris' followed hot on the heels of the release of Clarke's '2001'.

Arthur C. Clarke's '2061: Odyssey Three' cover is starting to seem familiar.

Last week, I posted covers for the German editions of Neal Asher's novels. The cover for the German version of 'Gridlinked' reminded me of the cover for the 1970's version of 'Solaris'. Asher wrote me afterwards to say that he thought those damn monoliths looked awfully familiar. It reminded reader Jonathan Strahan of something as well -- the cover for Arthur C. Clarke's '2061', which is what it in fact turns out to be. Yes, there's clearly a cover art crisis in some parts of the world, and they're recycling like the good Greens they are. I'm going to send Jonathan something, probably a spare 'The Line of Polity'. We'll see and I'll report back. There will be some more very exciting news about Asher later today or early tomorrow. Keep your eyes here for the update.....
The "Japanese Stephen King"

See also the Kitten Hitler web page URL in this article for more mind bending graphics.

When it recently came out on DVD, I snapped up both 'The Ring' and 'Ringu', the original Japanese feature upon which the American feature was based. I really enjoyed them both, and would highly recommend them both to readers who wish to spend a couple of hours not reading. But recently, what I'd really been hoping for -- and not expected -- happened, as a US publisher released a translation of the original novel, written by the man who is called the 'Japanese Stephen King', Koji Suzuki. I was shocked -- shocked, I tell you shocked -- to see that John Clute reviewed this full-on horror novel for, and even more shocked, shocked more, I tell you -- to see that he never even mentioned the utterly arresting cover design. Well, apparently he thinks that there's more to a book than the cover.

It doesn't take a genius to guess that this cover is the work of none other than Chip Kidd, whose 'The Cheese Monkeys' has lent its name to our pug's favorite doggie toy. Kidd's hilarious novel is well worth reading, and once you get the vibe of his design, it jumps out at you. The cover is a clear sheet of mylar with the printing on it over the mind-bending design. And, no, I don't think that Kidd saw the Kitten Hitler site (courtesy Joe McNalley of the Fortean list) before he did the cover, but I think he ought to, you ought to, and especially, your kids ought to, that is if you have kids. And not just chips off the old block.

Beyond the covers, Suzuki's work looks to be fairly significantly different from anything we've seen on screen. There's a postmodern mod feel, some rather unpleasant main characters (in no way reminiscent of the gorgeous gals who kept our eyes on the screen in either 'Ringu' or 'The Ring') and there are two sequels ('Spiral' and 'Loop'), which will no doubt see light and not a bit too soon. I'm not sure whether America needs Japan's Stephen King -- we have one of our own thankyouverymuch -- and I'm not sure whether that's a fair description. As I whittle away the queue, I'll let you know.