Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Classic Science Fiction TV - Crime Traveller

Crime Traveller was a 1997 British science fiction crime drama produced by the BBC, and created & written by Anthony Horowitz, prolific novelist and tv writer (most famous for his Alex Rider children's books and for creating the hit historical drama Foyles War).

Crime Traveller starred Michael French as police detective Jeff Slade, and Chloe Annett as a Holly Turner, a police scientist. Slade discovers that Holly has a working time machine built by her late father, and the two team up to use it to solve crimes. The workings of the time machine were quite clever - it would send someone - Slade - back in time but for a random amount of time, it could be a day or two or it could just be a few minutes. Slade has to use whatever time he is randomly allotted to try and solve the crime at hand, but he must get back to the time machine before the present (i.e. the time he started out) or he gets caught in an infinity loop and is lost forever. This adds quite a bit of edge of the seat drama to each episode - will he get back in time? Though secretly know he always will.

I liked this show because it was a clever concept, and the stories were all rather good. I also liked the problems they had coming up with explanations as to how they solved the crime that didn't involve time travel, to satisfy their boss Grisham, excellently played by Sue Johnston, who starts to get a bit suspicious after a while.

Unfortunately despite getting over 8 million regular viewers, the show was cancelled after one season due to management changes at the BBC. It may seem a little dated now, but is still fun to watch, or re-watch if you were fortunate enough to catch it first time!

Crime Traveller: The Complete Series on Amazon UK

Crime Traveller: Complete Series on

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Patrick Leigh Fermor's final book

Patrick Leigh Fermor is considered by many to be one of the English Language's finest travel writers, and he was a real old school adventurer. In the early 1930/31, aged 18, he upped and left home after deciding to walk from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople... thousands of miles. This involved walking through pre second world war Europe, a contintent with one foot in the past, one in the future. It was a fascinating time, and Leigh Fermor is an excellent chronicler of it, as well as an extremely intelligent, erudite scholar and writer.

Later, during the war he become a war hero, working behind enemy lines in occupied Crete, during which he orchestrated the kidnapping of the German commander of Crete (dramatised in the film 'Ill Met by Moonlight' where Leigh Fermor is played by Dirk Bogarde), and later become a writer.

In 1977 he published an account of the first part of his journey in 'A Time of Gifts', considered one of the best travel books of all time. It is not to everyone's taste but it is well worth checking out. There's more packed into this slim book than in 10 lesser books.  In 1986 he published part two, 'Between the Woods and the Water' finished it with 'To Be Concluded'. However the author went through a long period of writers block and it never quite happened. He died in 2011 aged 96, but now finally, the third and final book of his journey has been published. All the words are his own, it has just benefited from editing and polishing as well as introduction by his biographer Artemis Cooper and acclaimed travel Colin Thubron. I can't wait to read it.

If you want to read more about Patrick Leigh Fermor, check out his obituary, or read the recent article from the Telegraph about his final book including extracts.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Breaking all the rules of blogging

Ask anyone who is anyone in the online world, and they'll tell you that to have a successful blog, you've got to pick a good niche and burrow down. People don't want a mash up blog of this, that & the other. Well I've started lots of blogs over the years, picking a niche related to whatever I'm most into at the time. And you know what? It never works. After a few posts it just sort of peters out. I'm just not that sort of person that sticks on one topic or interest forever. A lot of my interests are kind of related, and most appeal to the same sorts of people but its still going to be a bit of a hodge podge. This is what I'm expecting to write about:

SF & Fantasy
Board Gaming
Science & Tech
Misc other stuff

I wanted to have tabs across the top for each of these areas, with a 'misc' catchall. Unfortunately it appears blogger doesn't do that, at least not easily. So instead once I get going I'm going to have a tag cloud which will link to the different sorts of posts.

I'll also over time be using this blog to pull in other content I've written over the years on other blogs, article sites etc, so the best stuff at least is all in one place.

Am I going to get thousands of people reading? Nope? Am I going to have fun? I hope so!

Edit: Just discovered the 'import/export blog' function, so I've imported some of my recent blogs here. So there's a few posts up already.