Gawd, my readers must be thinking. It sounds like a high school composition, like What I did on my Christmas Break. And it may do but it’s important for you guys to understand where my passion for SPELLSINGER came from. It’s not something that happened yesterday. And if you think I’m some suit in LaLa land that’s been pitched a book to make a movie then you’d better read on.
About 23 years ago I was in my local library in Ipswich Queensland and was starting to expand my reading horizons by looking at more adult fiction.
I had discovered Don Pendleton and his one man war against the Mafia Mack Bolan when I was about 14 but that was as far as I had gone.
My parents were into Wilbur Smith and James Clavell but I just couldn’t relate to them. Their writing did not resonate with me.
At 16, It took me 15 attempts to read Shogun. And to my developing adolescent mind ,God it was boring.
I’d tried reading Lord of the Rings but the language did not connect with me. I found it stifling but I liked the fantasy elements. I’m not a scholar and I don’t pretend to be. I like being entertained when I read. I much preferred Alice in Wonderland, The Phantom Tollbooth and The Narnia series by CS Lewis. I loved to escape into other worlds and completely immerse myself these fantasies.
From an early age I preferred non fiction accounts because I could relate more to real stories than the stories that adults tried to tell to each other.
I have had copies of The Great Escape and Colditz Castle since I was 10. After I read the Wooden horse my brother and I started to dig a tunnel under the house which was discovered by my father when he stood on the entrance and promptly sunk up to his navel. Mum reckons you could hear him screaming down the street. Poor bastard was a Vietnam vet and probably thought there were pungi sticks waiting at the bottom.
Forward wind back to the library and I’m looking at the Adult Fiction section and I see a book called SPELLSINGER. I liked the title immediately and picked it up to have a look but the cover tells me nothing.
So I turn to the back and start reading.
Here’s this stoned Uni Student brought to this world that’s totally under threat from a strange alien source. I read quickly and as Jon Tom arrived at Clothahumps for the first time, I was hooked.
It was brilliant like a dark adult Alice in Wonderland without the old English and with quirky Characters that spoke right at you through the pages. I loved the vividness of the world and like my favourite children’s books it connected me with the fantasy immediately and I hadn’t even arrived at the Spellsinging!
It was the only book I borrowed that day. And by the end of the week I’d read it twice!
Now at the time I was 17 going on 18. I loved Rock Music and lived in what I feel was the best time for music since the 60’s. The 80’s! ACDC, Bon Jovi, The Choir Boys, Van Halen, Def Leopard, Iron Maiden Wasp, I liked all of them, much to the chagrin of my mates who could not believe that I liked The Cure as well.
The Spellsinging and Flor and Talea (Ie Girls and Rock and Roll)Really resonated. I liked both.
I was a huge fan of Minder (UK TV Series) and Mudge reminded me of Terry with a bit of Arthur mixed in. I loved the little fuzzball. His deviousness made me laugh. I have an Uncle that’s a bit like Mudge. He’s a stand up guy and always looking for a way to make a quid. When I was 9 we met my Uncle outside a topless bar where he gave a dog that I had for the next 25 years (Chihuahua’s live forever. They must have inspired the ever ready bunny)
The Spellsinging was another thing entirely. Thank You Alan. You introduced me to Jimi Hendrix. My folks were more into The Beatles, The Stones, Deep Purple, Cliff Richard and Fleetwood Mac and Pink Floyd. By the 80’s The Beach Boys had done Kokomo and I think that might have just come out because a lot of their classics were being played on the radio as well. Mind you like the Stones, The Beach Boys Music was also used in countless adds as well. So the music even though it was before my time, was universal. It was timeless in a way because it still stands up, even today. Have a look at The Beach Boys. They are reuniting (How peacefully I have no idea) after 50 years. I watched Mick Jagger dance and entertain for 2 hours and he’s over 60! Amazing man and better than a lot of people younger than him too.
The coolest thing was that Jon Tom made the music into magic. It was this spiritual connection with his music that I liked and the Gneechees and the fact that he had no idea what the results were going to be!
Action, Music, Strong Females, A Devious Otter, Magic and a Socialist Dragon in this amazing wonderlandscape. You cannot ask for more.
To my delight, The Hour at the Gate was like a roller coaster ride which I did not want to get off!
In a few short months I read all of the books at the time and followed Jon Tom and Mudge’s adventures with interest.
My favourite book in the entire series is The Day of the Dissonance. I love all of the Aussie Elements ACDC, The huge demonic Kangaroo, The Koala landlady. But I love the story and especially the irony of the Aspirin and Jon Tom surfing on Roseroar!
So there you have it. Now I have been reading this series every year sometimes twice a year for most of my life over the past 23 years and yet I find something new in it every time I read. The experience is awesome. I can’t think of another fictional book that has had this much effect on my life. Other than the non fictional account of The Great Escape which I devoted Four years of my life to to make a documentary, only to be pipped at the post, SPELLSINGER is the only fictional work that I am truly passionate about.
That’s why I like SPELLSINGER.
Now tell me, what is it about SPELLSINGER that you really like?