It’s me again – back with a quest post for Titan Books latest blog tour for Daniel Godfrey’s ‘The Synapse Sequence’. Hoping to put up a book review sometime in the future but things are getting a little busy, so Titan have kindly supplied me with a guest post from Godfrey himself. I hope that you all enjoy, and the synopsis for the novel can be found at the bottom of the post (it’s a good book, pick it up!).
Five Books That Made Me
I think it’s probably true that the books we read as children stay with us the longest. In this blog post, I’ve picked out five books that I read prior to leaving secondary school – and which have had the greatest impact on my reading life.
The Rightful King of Ramir, Sheila K. McCullagh: This is the oldest book on the list, and is part of the Buccaneer series which I tore through whilst at primary school. The story involves a boy, Nicholas Strange, who owned a painting of a ship that could transport him to Ramir – a place full of pirates and Buccaneers. Yes, a portal fantasy very much from the Narnia playbook (though for a younger audience). I thought they were great!
Star Wars Annual: Okay, at first, this may appear to be a strange choice. My copy of the annual is battered (torn and some pages ruined by crayon!) and acquired by my parents for me second hand. But this book has had the biggest impact on my writing. Because somewhere in my attic is a little school book in which I used the annual’s comic strip panels to pen the scenes as if writing a novelisation. “If you strike me down,” old Ben said calmly*, as his lightsabre clashed with Vader’s. “I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine!”
The Hardy Boys, Franklin W Dixon: Okay, let’s start with the fact that Franklin W. Dixon is a pseudonym for a whole host of ghostwriters! I was gobsmacked when I found this out, and yet it undoubtedly made sense given the number of books written. Frank and Joe Hardy solved mysteries (assisted – and often hindered – by their best friend Chet) in a way common to Nancy Drew. I had a good collection, amused and attracted by the American locations and names (Chet, Biff, Fenton etc). My sister also read them and, being older, also had access to the Hardy Boys Casefiles which were aimed at older readers. The emotional trauma of me reading about Joe Hardy’s girlfriend (Iola) being murdered in Dead on Target….no. No! I’m sorry, but it is still too much. 😦
Heir to the Empire, Timothy Zahn: I put a lot of thought into whether to include two Star Wars books, but there’s no getting round the fact that they had the biggest impact on my young reading. I think Zahn’s book brilliantly evokes the original trilogy whilst introducing a range of new characters. Much of the book has now been superseded by the prequel and sequel trilogy of course but – whilst I very much enjoyed The Force Awakens – I think an Empire fighting back from near ruin would have been a more interesting backdrop than how the First Order has been portrayed as a near pinnacle-Empire replica (and would also have moved the series on a bit from what we’d seen before).
From Russia with Love, Ian Fleming: The most ‘adult’ book on the list. My dad owned a collection of James Bond paperbacks – which I found as a teenager to be very different to the Roger Moore incarnation that was then being regularly repeated on the television. Nowhere to be found was the raised eyebrow, or the (groaning) gags. This was a Bond who you could believe could actually kill people, and who was being put in grave peril. My favourite of the lot was From Russia with Love (also my favourite Bond film) featuring the villainous Rosa Klebb! Danger, excitement and foreign locations – it took me a world away from the Yorkshire coast.
‘In a future London, humans are watched over by AIs and served by bots. But now that justice and jobs are meted out by algorithm, inequality blooms, and protest is brutally silenced. Anna Glover may be the most hated woman in the troubled city – the media’s scapegoat for an unpopular war. Now she hides from the public eye, investigating neglected cases by using the mind-invading technology of the synapse sequencer to enter witnesses’ memories.
When a PI brings her a new high-stales case, Anna sees a chance for atonement. But soon she is drawn into a plot that threatens to upend her hard-won anonymity and put everyone in danger – even those she hopes to save.’