The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Ship Of Fools

Yesterday saw the release of another Jonny Morris audio adventure, featuring investigators of the infernal Jago & Litefoot in The Flying Frenchmen, the first in their ninth series of adventures. You can order it by clicking a series of links, starting with this one.

Obviously to tell you all about it would be to give away all the surprises. But I will say this. It is to Christopher Priest and parallel universes what The Theatre of Dreams was to Philip K Dick and virtual reality. ‘Entirely unrelated to’ being one potential answer.

One of the fun challenges about writing adventures set in Victorian times is the research. I mentioned a short while ago how incredibly helpful it was of Charles Dickens to make such detailed sketches of his time (under the guise of Boz). I should also give credit to the site The Victorian Dictionary, which I’ve had bookmarked ever since I wrote The Haunting of Thomas Brewster. It’s an invaluable  resource, particularly as it’s about documents written about Victorian life at the time so you’re leapfrogging a bunch of middle-men and cutting straight to primary sources.

Of course, Jago & Litefoot isn’t really set in the ‘real’ Victorian times, it’s set in the fogbound London of Sherlock Holmes and his ilk, a Victorian London of the imagination created in films during the twentieth century. I highly recommend Matthew Sweet’s Inventing the Victorians for anyone interested in what the 19th century was really like, and how it became mythologized. You can see the same thing happening with films now, creating a certain version of the 60s, all false eyelashes and mini metros and top hats, the 70s, all migraine-inducing wallpaper and everything being a murky greeny-brown, of the 80s, where everything, even run-down mining villages, are wildly colourful (particularly favouring salmon pink, the official colour of the 1980s).

The same applies with Jago & Litefoot, it’s set in a mythological, almost dateless version of the 19th century. Although we do specify that the stories are set in the 1890s, they don’t take place in the real 1890s, they’re more set in a sort of 1850-1900 version of the past (following the precedent of The Talons of Weng-Chiang). In reality the 1850s were as different from the 1900s as the 1960s are from today; Dickens’ London was very different from Doyle’s – but in the Victorian London of the imagination, the Artful Dodger walks the same alleys as the Baker Street Runners.

Anyway, new box set, four brand-new adventures performed by the fantastic Trevor Baxter and Christopher Benjamin, buy it now.

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