My first blog, These Islands, was five years old last month. Though it’s not exactly my first blog — I had a couple of false starts which are best not mentioned here. In any case, this anniversary seems a good time to consider why I still blog.
Listening to an episode of Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time radio programme recently, I learned that the first person to postulate the existence of black holes was not, as I’d always assumed, some twentieth-century genius like Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking, but an eighteenth-century scientist called John Michell.
In a burst of short story production last year, I wrote five tales in quick succession. At the back of my mind was the notion that when I had twelve stories I was satisfied with, I could publish a collection.
In January 897, the corpse of Pope Formosus was disinterred from the tomb it had occupied for nine months, re-clad in its papal vestments, and brought to the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome to stand trial.
I wrote a post about Arnold Bennett’s book, How To Become an Author, a few months ago, As I said then, Bennett, though little read nowadays, was one of the most commercially successful authors of his time.
Blake Crouch’s 2016 novel Dark Matter is a page-turner, no doubt about it. It’s the first novel I’ve read that uses the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics as a plot device. This is a tricky matter to handle in fiction.
I re-read Jorge Luis Borges’ short story ‘Emma Zunz’ last week. It’s a tale of revenge and I went back to it because I was writing my own tale of revenge.