Sep 022015


A darling of the Scottish literary scene whose best-known work concerns alcoholism and doomed love affairs, A. L. Kennedy might not appear the most likely candidate to pen BBC Books’ latest Doctor Who novel, The Drosten’s Curse.  But as Kennedy herself said during a wryly humorous talk at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival, it simply represents the latest step in her altogether unpredictable career, and one that she found challenging in new ways.

Kennedy’s reading from The Drosten’s Curse revealed (amongst the carnivorous monsters and sinister hotels) a Douglas Adams-esque humour embedded in the prose, presumably not an accident given her fondness for the Tom Baker era during which Adams served as writer and script editor.  Indeed, the book features the 4th Doctor as played by Baker, an emulation which Kennedy admitted was “a little bit exhausting” to maintain.  The novel was challenging in other ways, too; writing about “goodness” was, she said, rather strange for her, and although the people at the BBC were lovely to work with, there was always a feeling that the corporation was keeping a close eye on any author working with their characters.

Kennedy was insistent that The Drosten’s Curse should be considered a children’s book, albeit one that will bring a touch of nostalgic joy to adults of a certain age.  The story is, she said, very much informed by her younger self’s memories of and frustrations with the television show as it existed in the 1970s, and writing in an emphatically science fictional context also gave her a chance to play with the genre’s capacity for political subtext, rendered subtly but simply enough for children to understand.  While she’s not sure that she’d ever write a ‘franchise’ book again, Kennedy said that, whilst writing the novel, she was continually surprised by the sheer fun of it all.

Aug 292015
"Kurt Vonnegut is my spirit animal": Andrew Smith at the Edinburgh International Book Festival

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Aug 262015
Myth, verse and history: Tim Clare & Colin MacIntyre at the Edinburgh International Book Festival

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Aug 172015
"I'm a servant of the book": David Mitchell at the Edinburgh International Book Festival

David Mitchell admitted to wanting to build “my own Middle Earth” while discussing the shared universe he’s created for his novels on Saturday night at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.  The event had the cautious title of Transports of Fictional Delight, which sounds like a tortured attempt to circumlocute science fictional implications, but as Mitchell himself […]

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We're at the 2015 Edinburgh International Book Festival!

Saturday 15th August sees the start of this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival, the world’s largest public celebration of the written word.  Although the programme’s a little light on geek-friendly works and authors this year, your humble Geekzine will endeavour to bring you reports and reviews of some of the best that the festival has […]

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Haruki Murakami at the Edinburgh Book Festival

Haruki Murakami appeared at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on Saturday 23rd August in a special event to discuss his classic novel, The WInd-Up Bird Chronicle. On Sunday 24th August he appeared in another event, dedicated to his career, and his new book, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. Intrepid Geekzine UK reporter, and […]