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RE: The Christopher Brookmyre appreciation thread

 
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RE: The Christopher Brookmyre appreciation thread - 1/10/2009 12:56:12 PM   
HailTheDude


Posts: 134
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Aberdeen
Big fan of Brookmyre. Been reading the books in no particular order for many years now and have loved the ones i have read.
One fine day...
Quite Ugly
Boiling a frog
A big boy did it and ran away
Its not the end of the world
A tale etched in blood...
Sacred art of...

Have now ordered unsinkable rubber ducks and snowballs chance....
Will probably then go through the Parlabane ones i haven't yet read.

toss up between its not the end of the world and one fine day for my favourite but all have been worth the read

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(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 31
RE: The Christopher Brookmyre appreciation thread - 8/10/2009 4:59:20 PM   
Blunderbuss


Posts: 522
Joined: 7/10/2005
From: Like the truth...out there
Long time Brookmyre fan from the first the day I picked up 'Quite Ugly One Morning' sometime in the mid-90's.  Particularly loved the Parlabane novels but my favourites are 'One Fine Day In The Middle Of The Night' and the underrated 'All Fun & Games Until...'

IMO however, 'Pandaemonium' marks a low point for the author.  To use the Scots vernacular its 'pish'; a retread of 'Be My Enemy' with a bit of 'Hard Black Pencil' mixed in, it lacks laughs and the satire is leaden.  For the first time with a Brookmyre novel I struggled to finish it.

In fact the author has been going through a bit of a weak patch of late.  His last book of any real merit was 'Unsinkable Rubber Ducks' and even that wasn't up to the high standard of his earlier works.  'A Snow Ball's Chance In Hell' was just one long rant about celebrity culture and the media in search of both laughs and a compelling plot and 'Pandaemonium' is an excuse to bash the Catholic Church/Organised Religion dressed up as a very weak (and again unfunny) sci-fi horror story.

All of which is a shame because I know from experience that Brookmyre can do so much better...


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Post #: 32
RE: The Christopher Brookmyre appreciation thread - 8/10/2009 5:07:50 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54671
Joined: 1/10/2005
Not to disagree with your opinion on the story, but I do disagree with how you portray his take on religion in the book. Where Boiling a Frog was one long, angry (and very funny) excoriation of religion (particularly the Catholic church in Scotland), he actually thinks about 'why' people are involved with it here and what they get out of it. Yes, you could just stick to the other side of the story and the lies and cover-up. But the school side - the discussions with the kids, the attempt to understand how his friend became a priest. Yes - he still tends to the crutch argument and hopes to win it. But he covers it with a great deal more balance than I'd have expected. Even down to the one girl not so much questioning her faith but the impact of her faith and how she acts within it.

I think

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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(in reply to Blunderbuss)
Post #: 33
RE: The Christopher Brookmyre appreciation thread - 9/10/2009 12:42:42 PM   
Blunderbuss


Posts: 522
Joined: 7/10/2005
From: Like the truth...out there
elab, I'd agree with you that Pandaemonium is a subtler critique of religion than Boiling A Frog (coincidentally the only Parlabane novel I didn't really care for) and I would have no problem with Brookmyre choosing religion as his primary target if his critique was wrapped up in a more satisfying package. 

The problem for me was that the author seemed to be more interested in making his points than crafting an emotionally satisfying story.  Brookmyre's best books mix great characters, comedy & action with satire and social commentary so that no one element overrides the others and the result feels like a cohesive whole.  With Pandaemonium it felt like he wanted to say various things about religion and he slapped together a poorly paced 'cut-and-shut' of a story from bits of some of his previous books in order to do so, fogetting along the way to inject any real humour.  The only fresh thing about the book was the Sci-Fi slant but even that felt poorly conceived, nabbing the best bits of various John Carpenter movies and Cameron's Aliens but lacking internal logic or a feel for tension and pacing.


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Post #: 34
RE: The Christopher Brookmyre appreciation thread - 9/10/2009 1:03:18 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54671
Joined: 1/10/2005
It is quite Carpenter, isn't it?

I think it is a little unfair to suggest a cut/paste job for the teenagers side of things. I think parts are easily as well written as Hard Black Pencil (which I think contains his best writing generally - the poignancy of that little kid being tagged for life as a thief by mistake was heartbreaking - I was reminded of it again the other day when there was some academic survery saying that is exactly what often happens) - it really captured, for me, the feel of being a teenager and the voice felt authentic. I guess the fact he'd have been one at broadly the same time as me contributed to that.

Boiling a Frog? Recognising the characters made it for me - the catholic hierarchy, the ex-Record editor. The anger I felt put down on the page (at the time I had some work links to the Parliament and I was fairly convinced by the presentation!)

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Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to Blunderbuss)
Post #: 35
RE: The Christopher Brookmyre appreciation thread - 9/10/2009 4:20:31 PM   
jcthefirst


Posts: 4430
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: Bangor
I currently have Boling a Frog.

I'm guessing y'all will recommend.

Is he anything like Colin Bateman?

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Post #: 36
RE: The Christopher Brookmyre appreciation thread - 9/10/2009 4:29:06 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54671
Joined: 1/10/2005
The humour bears some similiarity although I think Brookmyre is better. The key difference is the specific subjects Brookmyre is riffing on - so a lot of his humour is angrier (and quite brilliant at times).

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Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to jcthefirst)
Post #: 37
RE: The Christopher Brookmyre appreciation thread - 9/10/2009 4:29:56 PM   
Blunderbuss


Posts: 522
Joined: 7/10/2005
From: Like the truth...out there
quote:

ORIGINAL: jcthefirst

I currently have Boling a Frog.

I'm guessing y'all will recommend.

Is he anything like Colin Bateman?


Not so much.   Their writing styles and choices of subject matter and locales are very different.


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Post #: 38
RE: The Christopher Brookmyre appreciation thread - 7/3/2010 9:31:40 AM   
KennyM


Posts: 2816
Joined: 7/4/2006
I knew there was a brookmyre thread on here somewhere!

I've just started reading him in the past few months....started with "A Big Boy Did it and Ran Away" and been hooked since....just bought "Boiling a Frog" and "Snowball in Hell" from Amazon....really enjoying his books. I've just finished "A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil" which I thought was really good.

Much love for Brookmyre!!

(in reply to Blunderbuss)
Post #: 39
RE: The Christopher Brookmyre appreciation thread - 11/3/2010 1:27:38 PM   
Chief


Posts: 7779
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Banshee
I've just read, and can recommend, Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks, very good.

I've also read Hard Backed & Sacred Art. Going to head over to Ebay just now to pick up some others.

(in reply to HailTheDude)
Post #: 40
RE: The Christopher Brookmyre appreciation thread - 16/3/2010 4:05:46 PM   
Chief


Posts: 7779
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Banshee
Just started Snowball in Hell.

(in reply to HailTheDude)
Post #: 41
RE: The Christopher Brookmyre appreciation thread - 22/9/2011 9:09:03 AM   
elab49


Posts: 54671
Joined: 1/10/2005
Slightly different - Brookmyre is hosting a radio show for comedy/authors starting with Alexei Sayle

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b014rybd

tomorrow, and no doubt available on listen again shortly thereafter

_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to Chief)
Post #: 42
RE: The Christopher Brookmyre appreciation thread - 22/9/2011 4:44:05 PM   
big dawg


Posts: 700
Joined: 29/4/2010
From: the house on the rock
Read an interview with him talking about that and his new book. Apparently a change in tone...not as much of the gallows humour that runs through his novels, and a change in name (on the front cover at least)...plain old Chris Brookmyre now. Never got round to reading Pandemonium and Not the End of the World has been sitting half finished beside my bed for ages now.

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(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 43
RE: The Christopher Brookmyre appreciation thread - 22/9/2011 5:05:14 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54671
Joined: 1/10/2005
It is different - it's a straighter crime story, although not straight enough to be dull in any way. And there is one rant from an older cop about crimefighting in Glasgow that'd fit in just fine in any of the other books.

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Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to big dawg)
Post #: 44
RE: The Christopher Brookmyre appreciation thread - 30/9/2011 9:25:37 AM   
Chief


Posts: 7779
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Banshee
It was still good, but I prefer the more comedic edge of his other books.

Just finished Not the End of the World while I was on holiday.

(in reply to HailTheDude)
Post #: 45
The Christopher Brookmyre pissed off at thread - 15/6/2012 2:16:57 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54671
Joined: 1/10/2005
Apologies if I've picked this up wrong, but am I right in reading that 'new' Brookmyre book Jaggy Splinters is only available on Kindle? If so, fuck 'im. Granted it seems slightly connish as most of the short stories are available for free, but there seem to be a couple new.

But still - why would an author who has a fanbase of people who've been buying his physical books for a decade and a half ignore the fact not everyone reads bloody e-books?


_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to Chief)
Post #: 46
RE: The Christopher Brookmyre pissed off at thread - 28/6/2012 2:21:07 PM   
Professor Moriarty

 

Posts: 10469
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: the waters of Casablanca

quote:

ORIGINAL: elab49

Apologies if I've picked this up wrong, but am I right in reading that 'new' Brookmyre book Jaggy Splinters is only available on Kindle? If so, fuck 'im. Granted it seems slightly connish as most of the short stories are available for free, but there seem to be a couple new.

But still - why would an author who has a fanbase of people who've been buying his physical books for a decade and a half ignore the fact not everyone reads bloody e-books?


For money

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 47
RE: The Christopher Brookmyre pissed off at thread - 28/6/2012 2:46:13 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54671
Joined: 1/10/2005
Sadly, yes. I've been looking at the follow-up to Where the Bodies are Buried and thinking 'I don't want to sodding buy you now' 

I bought Sam Vimes jr's Book of Poo instead


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Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to Professor Moriarty)
Post #: 48
RE: The Christopher Brookmyre appreciation thread - 28/6/2012 4:15:00 PM   
Chief


Posts: 7779
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Banshee
I wasn't that keen on WtBaB anyway. Get back to the funny stuff and I'll start buying again.

(in reply to HailTheDude)
Post #: 49
RE: The Christopher Brookmyre appreciation thread - 14/3/2013 4:29:06 PM   
Chief


Posts: 7779
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Banshee
Anyone read Bedlam yet?

I really want to but 9.50 for a Kindle copy is ridiculous.

(in reply to HailTheDude)
Post #: 50
RE: The Christopher Brookmyre appreciation thread - 16/3/2013 8:46:19 AM   
big dawg


Posts: 700
Joined: 29/4/2010
From: the house on the rock
Quite liked Where the Bodies Are Buried... currently listening to When the Devil Drives on audiobook. Taking ages though as I only listen at night and it normally puts me to sleep!

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I can believe things that are true and I can believe things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not

Gamertag - SqualorVic

(in reply to Chief)
Post #: 51
RE: The Christopher Brookmyre appreciation thread - 7/4/2013 7:26:40 PM   
Professor Moriarty

 

Posts: 10469
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: the waters of Casablanca
I read When the Devil Drives last week. Its not a bad book, it passed a few hours lying on the beach when I was on holiday, but its a long way from good and played second fiddle to being sat in the sun. I can't help but feel that a fresh humerous voice of the 90s has now become a quite pedestrian author who's struggled to find a clear direction to his works in the last 5 years or so.

WtDD suffers from a mess of trying to write the story from the aspects of two main characters, an approach you start to suspect may have been done to throw the reader off the scent that the story really isn't that good.

In Brookmyre's first book it was evident that certain pieces were written so the author could throw in an observation and they jarred with the story telling, but you forgave him that early in his career as he struggled to find a voice. Now his polemics are equally at odds the narrative flow and just have you scratching your head.

You start to wonder if the author is now so set that a good editor isn't allowed to have their proper input, or whether the publishing house are equally complicit in wanting to take money from an established reader base that they don't care what goes between the covers as long as it has Brookmyre on the front.

(in reply to big dawg)
Post #: 52
RE: The Christopher Brookmyre appreciation thread - 11/4/2013 1:15:09 PM   
Chief


Posts: 7779
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Banshee
quote:

ORIGINAL: Professor Moriarty

I read When the Devil Drives last week. Its not a bad book, it passed a few hours lying on the beach when I was on holiday, but its a long way from good and played second fiddle to being sat in the sun. I can't help but feel that a fresh humerous voice of the 90s has now become a quite pedestrian author who's struggled to find a clear direction to his works in the last 5 years or so.


I think he's trying to be two different authors now. He drops the -topher when he's got his serious author hat on, that's the impression I got when I read Where the Bodies are Buried.

I've still to read Bedlam and When the Devil Drives. If Bedlam is good and funny and the other is not, it'll prove the theory. I think.

(in reply to Professor Moriarty)
Post #: 53
RE: The Christopher Brookmyre appreciation thread - 11/4/2013 1:22:43 PM   
Professor Moriarty

 

Posts: 10469
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: the waters of Casablanca

quote:

ORIGINAL: Chief

quote:

ORIGINAL: Professor Moriarty

I read When the Devil Drives last week. Its not a bad book, it passed a few hours lying on the beach when I was on holiday, but its a long way from good and played second fiddle to being sat in the sun. I can't help but feel that a fresh humerous voice of the 90s has now become a quite pedestrian author who's struggled to find a clear direction to his works in the last 5 years or so.


I think he's trying to be two different authors now. He drops the -topher when he's got his serious author hat on, that's the impression I got when I read Where the Bodies are Buried.

I've still to read Bedlam and When the Devil Drives. If Bedlam is good and funny and the other is not, it'll prove the theory. I think.


Right, that's probably the best reasoning I've heard, though to be very honest I've not really looked into it. Sadly from the limited reading I've done, it seems to work less well than say Bachman for King or the insertion of an M. for Banks.

I don't want to put you off, WtDD would make (imo) a quite reasonable Sunday evening drama almost of the old school, but my reading of it holds that imo its a very pedestrian book that an author the level that Brookmyre should have attained should have kept in the loft for a rainy day.

(in reply to Chief)
Post #: 54
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