Jonesey's Blog

Jonesey's Blog

The ubiquitous Jonesey

Yes, I'm blogging.

I've decided to start a blog. There are several reasons: the first is that I want to be able to point people to stuff I've written that isn't a play, a sketch, or some ancient piece of roleplay. The second is that, separated for the moment from the Mrs, I find myself (as I'm sure most people do) arranging my thoughts as if I were talking to someone, and I thought it would make sense to actually write it down rather than keep repeating it to myself in my head . Lastly, I just thought it might be kinda fun.

There's no particular theme to the blog, or at least I don't think there is - it'll be about whatever's on my mind at the moment. Sometimes personal, sometimes about books or movies or food or numinous teakettles. I add that last because when I was asked to come up with random words the other day, those were the first two that occurred to me, and I'm sure it must mean something. When I find out what, I'll be sure to say so right here.

Oh, and I should state upfront that , to paraphrase Douglas Afams slightly, if you don't want me to digress you're reading the wrong blog. 

What's on my mind right now is a book I've just read - "HYDE" by Daniel Levine, and it tells the classic Jekyll and Hyde story from Hyde's point of view. Just the sort of thing I like - a new take on a classic story. Not a sequel (incidentally, I have nothing against a good sequel), but a new point of view or something which reveals parts of the story that the original author didn't quite tell us about. Other examples are Jan Needle's "Wildwood", in which we get the working-class viewpoint of the "Wind in the WIllows" story, or Adrian Mitchell's "Man Friday". Or the wonderfully absurd "Other Log of Phileas Fogg" by Philip Farmer, which led to the invention of the Wold Newton universe.. I'd also recommend Christopher Priest's "The Space Machine" which blends the plots of Wells' two classics, "War of the Worlds" and "The Time Machine".

So, would I recommend "Hyde"? I'm not entirely sure. It left me feeling vaguely nauseated, which one might consider a bad thing, but then it is meant to be a disturbing story, and to leave you feeling uneasy. Levine is a pretty good writer, and he comes up with some interesting twists on the story, but at the end of the day I'm not entirely sure I'm glad I read it. I will certainly be looking out for other stuff by the same guy (this is his first novel). The edition I have (Mariner, paperback, US edition) also has the entire original Stevenson story at the back. I'm not sure this was a good idea - surely anyone who is intrigued by the idea of Hyde's POV will already own a copy? I certainly do, in fact I have two, one being a part of my miniature book collection.

However, as I may have mentioned I'm not in the same house as my books right now and I'm a little light on reading matter, so I went on to reread the original at the back of the book. Levine has done a great job of filling the holes in the original plot (I'm not going to go into detail, in case you want to read it for yourself), and indeed digging his own holes in the plot, where he usually disposed of a body or two. But sadly for Levine, it is also immediately obvious how much better Stevenson is as a writer.No surprise, I guess, he was one of the greatest storytellers of all time (he spent the last few years of his life in Samoa, where he was known as "Tusitala", the tale-teller) - but it makes you reevaluate Levine's version, and he loses in that transaction.

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