June 23, 1977 in Doctor Who: Brain Of Morbius novelisation published

Why do so many spaceships crashland on Karn, a bleak, lonely and seemingly deserted planet?

Are they doomed by the mysterious powers of the strange, black-robed Sisterhood, jealously guarding their secret of eternal life? Or does the mad Dr Solon, for some evil purpose of his own, need the bodies of the victims? And more especially, the body of DOCTOR WHO …

Doctor_Who_and_the_Brain_of_MorbiusDoctor Who and the Brain of Morbius was a novelisation, by Terrance Dicks, based on the 1976 television serial The Brain of Morbius.

In 1980, Dicks published a shorter version of this novel, Junior Doctor Who and the Brain of Morbius, aimed at younger readers; it was one of two such experiments.

Find out more at tardis.wikia.com.

June 23, 1966 in literature: Octopussy and The Living Daylights

06-23-1966-Octopussy-1st_EdOctopussy and The Living Daylights (sometimes published as Octopussy) is the fourteenth and final James Bond book written by Ian Fleming in the Bond series. The book is a collection of short stories published posthumously in the United Kingdom by Jonathan Cape on 23 June 1966.

The book originally contained just two stories, “Octopussy” and “The Living Daylights”, with subsequent editions also carrying firstly “The Property of a Lady” and then “007 in New York”. The stories were first published in different publications, with “Octopussy” first serialised in the Daily Express in October 1965. “The Living Daylights” had first appeared in The Sunday Times on 4 February 1962; “The Property of a Lady” was published in November 1963 in a Sotheby’s publication, The Ivory Hammer, whilst “007 in New York” first appeared in the New York Herald Tribune in October 1963.

The two original stories, “Octopussy” and “The Living Daylights”, were both adapted for publication in comic strip format in the Daily Express in 1966–1967. Elements from the stories have also been used in the Eon Productions Bond films. The first, Octopussy, starring Roger Moore as James Bond, was released in 1983 as the thirteenth film in the series and provided the back story for the film Octopussy’s family, while “The Property of a Lady” was more closely adapted for an auction sequence in the film. The Living Daylights, released in 1987, was the fifteenth Bond film produced by Eon and starred Timothy Dalton in his first appearance as Bond. [Wikipedia]

June 10 in literature: ‘Gone With The Wind’

06-10-1936-Gone_With_The_Wind-1st_ed1936: Gone with the Wind is a novel by American writer Margaret Mitchell. The story is set in Clayton County and Atlanta, both in Georgia, during the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era. It depicts the struggles of young Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner, who must use every means at her disposal to claw her way out of poverty following Sherman’s destructive “March to the Sea”. This historical novel features a Bildungsroman or coming-of-age story, with the title taken from a poem written by Ernest Dowson.

Gone with the Wind was popular with American readers from the outset and was the top American fiction bestseller in the year it was published and in 1937. Mitchell received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the book in 1937. It was adapted into a 1939 American film. Gone with the Wind is the only novel by Mitchell published during her lifetime.

Written from the perspective of the slaveholder, Gone with the Wind is Southern plantation fiction. Its portrayal of slavery and African Americans has been considered controversial, especially by succeeding generations, as well as its use of a racial epithet and ethnic slurs common to the period. However, the novel has become a reference point for subsequent writers about the South, both black and white. Scholars at American universities refer to it in their writings, interpret and study it. The novel has been absorbed into American popular culture.

Mitchell used colour symbolism, especially the colours red and green, which frequently are associated with Scarlett O’Hara. Mitchell identified the primary theme as survival. She left the ending speculative for the reader, however. She was often asked what became of her lovers, Rhett and Scarlett. She replied, “For all I know, Rhett may have found someone else who was less difficult.” Two sequels authorized by Mitchell’s estate were published more than a half century later. [Wikipedia]

June 8 in Literature

06-08-1949-1984-1st_Ed1949: Nineteen Eighty-Four, often published as “1984”, is a dystopian novel published by English author George Orwell. The novel is set in Airstrip One (formerly known as Great Britain), a province of the superstate Oceania in a world of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public manipulation. The superstate and its residents are dictated to by a political regime euphemistically named English Socialism, shortened to “Ingsoc” in Newspeak, the government’s invented language. The superstate is under the control of the privileged elite of the Inner Party, a party and government that persecutes individualism and independent thinking as “thoughtcrime”, which is enforced by the “Thought Police”.

The tyranny is ostensibly overseen by Big Brother, the Party leader who enjoys an intense cult of personality, but who may not even exist. The Party “seeks power entirely for its own sake. It is not interested in the good of others; it is interested solely in power.” The protagonist of the novel, Winston Smith, is a member of the Outer Party, who works for the Ministry of Truth (or Minitrue in Newspeak), which is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism. His job is to rewrite past newspaper articles, so that the historical record always supports the party line. The instructions that the workers receive portray the corrections as fixing misquotations and never as what they really are: forgeries and falsifications. A large part of the Ministry also actively destroys all documents that have not been edited and do not contain the revisions; in this way, no proof exists that the government is lying. Smith is a diligent and skillful worker but secretly hates the Party and dreams of rebellion against Big Brother. The heroine of the novel, Julia, is based on Orwell’s second wife, Sonia Orwell.

As literary political fiction and dystopian science-fiction, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a classic novel in content, plot and style. Many of its terms and concepts, such as Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, Room 101, telescreen, 2 + 2 = 5, and memory hole, have entered into common use since its publication. Nineteen Eighty-Four popularised the adjective Orwellian, which describes official deception, secret surveillance, and manipulation of recorded history by a totalitarian or authoritarian state. In 2005, the novel was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. It was awarded a place on both lists of Modern Library 100 Best Novels, reaching number 13 on the editor’s list, and 6 on the readers’ list. In 2003, the novel was listed at number 8 on the BBC’s survey The Big Read. [Wikipedia]

06-08-1987-Misery-1st_Ed1987: Misery is a psychological horror thriller novel by Stephen King. The novel was nominated for the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 1988, and was later made into a Hollywood film and an off-Broadway play of the same name. When King was writing Misery in 1985 he planned the book to be released under the pseudonym Richard Bachman but the identity of the pseudonym was discovered before the release of the book.

The novel focuses on Paul Sheldon, a writer famous for Victorian-era romance novels involving the character of Misery Chastain. One day he is rescued from a car crash by crazed fan Annie Wilkes, who transports him to her house and, once finding out what he has done to Misery in his latest book, forces him to write a new book modifying the story – no matter what it takes. [Wikipedia]

June 3, 1969: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

One Sunday morning, a red-faced caterpillar hatches from an egg, and begins to look for some food. He eats through increasing quantities of fruit on the following five days, one apple on Monday, two pears on Tuesday, three plums on Wednesday, four strawberries on Thursday, and five oranges on Friday, and then, on Saturday, he has an enormous feast. By the end of Saturday, the inevitable happens and he is ill. After recovering from a stomach-ache, he returns to a more sensible diet by eating through a large green leaf before spinning a cocoon in which he remains for the following 2 weeks. Later, the “big fat caterpillar” emerges as a beautiful butterfly with large, gorgeous, multi-coloured wings.

06-03-1969-Very_Hungry_CaterpillarThe Very Hungry Caterpillar is a children’s picture book designed, illustrated and written by Eric Carle, first published by the World Publishing Company this day in 1969, later published by Penguin Putnam. It features a caterpillar who eats its way through a wide variety of foodstuffs before pupating and emerging as a butterfly. The winner of many children’s literature awards and a major graphic design award, it has sold 30 million copies worldwide. It has been described as having sold the equivalent of a copy per minute since its publication. It has been described as “one of the greatest childhood classics of all time.” It was voted the number two children’s picture book in a 2012 survey of School Library Journal readers.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar uses distinctive collage illustrations (Carle’s third book, and a new style at the time), ‘eaten’ holes in the pages and simple text with educational themes – counting, the days of the week, foods, and a butterfly’s life stages. There have been a large number of related books and other products, including educational tools, created in connection to the book. The caterpillar’s diet is fictional rather than scientifically accurate, but the book introduces concepts of Lepidoptera life stages where transformations take place including the ultimate metamorphosis from ‘hungry caterpillar’ to ‘beautiful butterfly’, and it has been endorsed by the Royal Entomological Society. [Wikipedia]

June 1, 1927: The Hardy Boys solve their first mystery

06-01-1927-Hardy_Boys_1st_EdThe Tower Treasure is the first volume in the original The Hardy Boys Mystery Stories. By 1977, the novel had sold 2,132,677 copies, with at an average of 70,000 copies per year between 1973 and 1976. This book is one of the “Original 10”, generally considered by historians and critics of children’s literature to be the best examples of all the Hardy Boys writing.

This book was written for the Stratemeyer Syndicate by Leslie McFarlane in 1927. Between 1959 and 1973 the first 38 volumes were systematically revised as part of a project directed by Harriet S. Adams, Edward Stratemeyer’s daughter. While some volumes only had minor changes, the original version of this book had the plot significantly rewritten in 1959 by Adams.

Frank and Joe Hardy barely avoiding being hit by a speeding driver Later, the driver attempts a ferry boat ticket office robbery and successfully steals a jalopy called Queen from the Hardys’ friend, Chet Morton. It is learned that the thief returned to Chet’s home to steal a tyre, helping Frank and Joe to find Queen abandoned in a public wooded area.

It is reported that there has been a robbery of $40,000 in securities and jewels from the Tower Mansion owned by siblings Hurd and Adelia Applegate. Hurd Applegate is convinced that the Tower’s caretaker, Henry Robinson, is the guilty party. The Hardys are especially concerned by this accusation, because Henry’s son, Perry, is a friend of theirs who will have to quit school to work since his father can no longer get a job as a result of Applegate’s accusation. The only “proof” of Henry Robinson’s guilt is that he was suddenly able to pay off a debt, and refused to reveal where he got the money to do so.

The Hardys suspect that the driver may be involved with the Tower robbery and search the place where The Queen was found. The Hardy Boys and their detective dad, Fenton, go to New York and learn of a criminal named John “Red” Jackley. Jackley is injured in a railroad handcar accident, causing him to be hospitalized. About to die, Jackley confesses that he committed the Tower Mansion robbery and put the loot “in the old tower …” Jackley dies before he is able to explain further. After searches inside and outside of the Tower Mansion, the stolen loot is still not found.

Frank and Joe decide to go to the railroad where Jackley used to work to find more information. The Hardys soon realize that Jackley was referring to an old water tower, not the Tower Mansion. Inside the water tower they find the stolen items, but are locked in the tower by a man calling himself Hobo Johnny. Johnny believes that anything in the tower belongs to him. Frank and Joe break out of the water tower and return the missing securities and jewelry, whereupon they receive the $1,000 reward. Following the revelations and with the stolen loot returned, Hurd re-hires Henry with an increase in salary and Hurd builds the greenhouse that Henry has been wanting. [Wikipedia]

May 10: Doctor Who – The Ark In Space novelisation is published

Doctor_Who_and_the_Ark_in_Space1977: A novelisation of the 1975 Doctor Who adventure The Ark In Space, written by Ian Marter, was published by Target Books. It was subsequently reprinted by Virgin Publishing in 1991 with a new cover. This was Marter’s first novelisation for Target; he would go on to write seven more. Marter had wanted to correct some logical problems he had found in the story. He considered writing in first person from Harry’s point of view, but abandoned this when he realised that many important plot points took place when Harry was not present. Notably, Marter changed the spelling of “Wirrn” to “Wirrrn”. Marter alters the ending so that the travellers leave in the TARDIS.

Read more at http://tardis.wikia.com/

May 9, 1990: Messrs Grumble, Perfect and Cheerful books published

05-09-41_Mr_GrumbleMr. Grumble is the 41st book in the Mr. Men series by Roger Hargreaves. Mr. Grumble is the second grumpiest man in the world after Mr. Grumpy. “Bah!” says Mr. Grumble. He hates laughter, and he hates singing.


05-09-42_Mr_PerfectMr. Perfect is the 42nd book in the Mr. Men series by Roger Hargreaves. Everything about Mr. Perfect is just perfect. He never has a bad day or anything. He gets in trouble by Mr. Uppity and Mr. Grumpy.


05-09-43_Mr_CheerfulMr. Cheerful is the 43rd book in the Mr. Men series and the final one by Roger Hargreaves. Mr. Cheerful is the second happiest man in the world, next to Mr. Happy.

May 5, 1983: Doctor Who – Meglos novelisation published

“Zastor, Leader of the planet Tigella, rules a divided people. Savants and Deons are irrevocably opposed on one crucial issue – the Dodecahedron, mysterious source of all their power.

To the Savants the Dodecahedron is a miracle of science to be studied, observed and used to benefit Tigellan civilisation. To the Deons it is a god and not to be tampered with.

When the power supply begins to fluctuate wildly the whole planet is threatened, but the Tigellans cannot agree how they should deal with the problem.
Zastor welcomes the arrival of the Fourth Doctor and invites him to arbitrate, but the Deons are suspicious of the Time Lord – and perhaps rightly so …”

Doctor_Who_MeglosMeglos was a Target Books novelisation written by Terrance Dicks, based on the 1980 television serial Meglos. [tardis.wikia.com]