Friday 6 February 2009

Homo technologicus

Have you ever tried digging into old folders on your computer? I don’t keep much paper around me, but I find that I discard very little of my electronic productions. The result is that, when I am in the mood, I can spend hours reading old letters, projects, short stories, interviews, translations, poems, fragments, blurbs, proposals, reports, ideas and other intellectual residua – not just mine, but also from other people. It’s fascinating, but also scary.

Tonight, I came across a letter I wrote to Warwick Collins in late 2004, after reading the second draft of a novel he had just written, The Sonnets. Four people had read the book: three liked it (including me) and one didn’t. I might have published the book, but then the following year I left Hesperus and lost touch with Warwick. I was glad when I heard that Scott Pack at the Friday Project had picked up his work. And I am delighted to see that The Sonnets has finally been published, and that a paperback is coming out in May this year. Good luck to both author and publisher.

I also stumbled into a translation of a comic-strip version of Dante’s Inferno I did with my colleague Mark Balfour when I worked at Grant and Cutler, the foreign-language bookseller. That was over ten years ago. Wooosh. I remember we even gave a paper up in York about this translation – and I duly found copy of it. I am still in touch with the Italian illustrator, Marcello Toninelli (who also scripted many stories of Zagor, one of the superhero comics I collected as a child). Who knows, I might even publish this comics version of the Inferno one day.

Now back to my cyber-crawl.


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