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5 February 1987
Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction 
by Brian Aldiss and David Wingrove.
Gollancz, 511 pp., £15, October 1986, 0 575 03942 6
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by Greg Bear.
Gollancz, 504 pp., £10.95, October 1986, 0 575 03861 6
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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Four Parts 
by Douglas Adams.
Heinemann, 590 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 434 00920 2
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Humpty Dumpty in Oakland 
by Philip K. Dick.
Gollancz, 199 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 575 03875 6
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The Watcher 
by Jane Palmer.
Women’s Press, 177 pp., £2.50, September 1986, 0 7043 4038 0
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I, Vampire 
by Jody Scott.
Women’s Press, 206 pp., £2.50, September 1986, 0 7043 4036 4
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... surveyed, it is interesting to see how the Science Fiction currently available matches the theory. Greg Bear’s Eon has everything: a hollow asteroid, visitors from the future, from an alternate future, a giant scientific puzzle, stargates and aliens. Aldiss (who must have seen an advance copy) picks out from all this the book’s ‘genuine ...

Glittering Fiend

Ian Hamilton: John Berryman

9 December 1999
Berryman's Shakespeare 
edited by John Haffenden.
Farrar, Straus, 396 pp., $35, February 1999, 0 374 11205 3
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John Berryman’s Personal Library: A Catalogue 
by Richard Kelly.
Lang, 433 pp., £39, March 1999, 0 8204 3998 3
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... another code-system that indicates which books carry annotations. Tides marked with a ‘C’ bear ‘direct commentary by Berryman on the book’s content’; books marked ‘W’ have ‘written comments by Berryman on his own life and work’; an ‘I’ signifies underlinings, marginal squiggles and checkmarks, endpapers ...

The Day a God Rode In

Claire Hall: Meetings with their Gods

20 February 2020
The Realness of Things Past: Ancient Greece and Ontological History 
by Greg Anderson.
Oxford, 336 pp., £55, September 2018, 978 0 19 088664 6
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... the time – and notes that not only was she dressed in full armour but was ‘instructed of the bearing in which she might best beseem her part’ (according to Macaulay’s inimitable translation). As Pisistratus and Phye trundled through the fields of Attica, the Athenians fell over themselves to pay their respects. Herodotus notes that Pisistratus was ...

Whalers v. Sealers

Nicholas Guyatt: Rebellion on the Tryal

19 March 2015
Empire of Necessity: The Untold History of a Slave Rebellion in the Age of Liberty 
by Greg Grandin.
Oneworld, 360 pp., £25, May 2014, 978 1 78074 410 0
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... slave ship that had been captured off the coast of West Africa by a French privateer. Greg Grandin, whose new book recovers the Tryal rebellion and its literary afterlives, likes the image of a French Jacobin ship towing an English slave vessel towards the Spanish-American frontier. These ‘floating contradictions of the Age of ...


Tom Vanderbilt: The View from Above

31 March 2005
... looking out of the window. ‘A century ago, nobody on Earth could have hoped to see this view,’ Greg Dicum says in Window Seat, his field-guide to the American Great Below, ‘and yet it’s yours – free – with every flight you take.’1 Perhaps the problem is legibility. ‘If you know what to look for,’ Dicum writes, ‘gazing out an airplane window ...

The Whole Bustle

Siobhan Kilfeather

9 January 1992
The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing 
edited by Seamus Deane.
Field Day Publications/Faber, 4044 pp., £150, November 1991, 0 946755 20 5
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... too difficult has been left out. It seems insensitive to conclude the whole anthology with Greg Delanty, someone whose work is in the very early stages of development. Other sections were not bound to chronology and the poetry might have concluded with writing better able to bear the weight of the centuries. It is ...

Flitting About

Thomas Jones: Alan Furst

14 December 2006
The Foreign Correspondent 
by Alan Furst.
Weidenfeld, 278 pp., £12.99, November 2006, 0 297 84829 1
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... decent heroes to get himself into trouble by doing the wrong thing out of naive good intentions is Greg Nilsen in Passage of Arms (1959), a middle-aged American businessman who agrees to help run guns into Indonesia to supply anti-Communist rebels. Ambler’s protagonists age at more or less the rate he does; his novels are all set at the time in which they ...


David Bromwich: The Establishment President

13 May 2010
... vindication will come at the ballot-box in November. The results of off-year elections seem to bear out that hope. On 3 November last year, Bob McDonnell, a Republican, was elected governor of Virginia; on 19 January, a Republican who describes himself as independent, Scott Brown, won Ted Kennedy’s senate seat in Massachusetts. The scale of these ...
7 June 2001
... ostensibly to take in the architecture but actually to look at him, whereas others in the congregation dispensed with such polite circumspection and just stared. Unwelcome enough in any circumstances, this scrutiny was not at all what Treacher had had in mind when he had come into the church fully half an hour before the service was due to start, a ...

The Shoreham Gang

Seamus Perry: Samuel Palmer

5 April 2012
Mysterious Wisdom: The Life and Work of Samuel Palmer 
by Rachel Campbell-Johnston.
Bloomsbury, 382 pp., £25, June 2011, 978 0 7475 9587 8
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... A bearded patriarch, possibly in Elizabethan dress, rests on his elbow, stretched out on a snug little hillock in the middle of a wedge-shaped field of corn. He is leaning against some sort of natural cushion, and it’s possible he is asleep, though he has a large book open in front of him so perhaps it’s just that his eyes are cast down to scrutinise its pages ...
19 March 2020
... further, over reporting on Ireland, industrial relations and the aftermath of the oil shock. Greg Dyke, when he was director-general, used it often, usually attributing it to Wheldon, most startlingly in his evidence to the Hutton Inquiry concerning Andrew Gilligan’s reporting on the Today programme of the Blair government’s ‘sexed-up’ Iraq ...

The Shock of the Pretty

James Meek: Seventy Hours with Don Draper

8 April 2015
... and control, fornicate and impregnate promiscuously, sometimes violently; the women seek mates, bear children, tend the hearth and defer to the men. In the context of Sterling Cooper, as the 1960s begin, women have a limited number of possible roles. They may be wives at home; servants, specifically secretaries and typists in the workplace; single women ...

What are we telling the nation?

David Edgar: Thoughts about the BBC

7 July 2005
Uncertain Vision: Birt, Dyke and the Reinvention of the BBC 
by Georgina Born.
Vintage, 352 pp., £10.99, August 2005, 0 09 942893 8
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Building Public Value: Renewing the BBC for a Digital World 
BBC, 135 pp.Show More
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... was self-imposed. But as Georgina Born makes clear in her definitive analysis of the John Birt and Greg Dyke eras, the consistent impetus came from government. It’s no surprise that Margaret Thatcher wanted to take on the BBC – if anything, the surprise is how long it took her. (In her first term, Thatcher’s main concern was with BBC coverage of Northern ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan

7 June 2018
... sheets and began climbing down. But after a few feet it became obvious that his daughter could not bear it – she was too frightened and was crying – and so Talabi shinned his way back up to the flat. At that moment, as he was trying to calm his daughter down, a group of firefighters came into his flat. They had four neighbours with them, including Zainab ...

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