The Thriller’s Rise to Dominance

Posted: August 3, 2011 in notes

Folkestone, Kent some time around 1905. 

‘Bertie, where have you been. I hope you haven’t been with one of your fancy women.’ ‘No Jane of course not ,I’ve……’ ‘You’ve been using that machine can’t leave Time Travel alone, you should get some therapy from that nice Doctor Conan Doyle or Dr Freud.’ ‘My dear you are talking tosh, bloody machine played up again. I was trying to go to the 2012 London Olympics, and the stupid jolly thing thing deposited me down in 2011.’

‘What was it like, dear.’ ‘Bloody awful…they are all balmy on the crumpet, some jolly fool had written an article complaining about the rise of the thriller; and by the way I’ve got to write to Mr Bell and tell him his telephonic devices are being hacked.’ “Hacked?’ ‘Yes my dear, messages are being intercepted by  some toerags from the News of the World, which is apparently run in 2011 by some colonial wallah. Lots of newspaper johnnies have got the chuck, after being summoned down the chokey.’ 

‘Lets go into the snuggery and you tell me all about these thrillers…what are they?’ ‘Exciting books, my dear, detective yarns, spy stories, mysteries, apparently they are all the rage in 2011. They even translate exciting books written in foreign languages.’ ‘What is the man complaining about?’ ‘Well I think he wants people to stop reading the exciting stuff and read boring books, because it is better for them.’

‘I understand that, because nice Mr Childers wrote The Riddle of the Sands a couple of years ago, and now everyone is worried about the Hun.’ ‘Yes, and Dr Conan Doyle stopped writing those Sherlock Holmes stories for a while because they were just too popular.’ ‘If I can get stop the old Time Machine going all blotto on me and get back to 2011 can I bring that blighter back for dinner one night?’ ‘No, Bertie you can’t…look at your bookshelves, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Charles Dickens, Conan Doyle, Erskine Childers, Wilkie Collins, Sir John Barrow, Sir Walter Scott, H. Rider Haggard, Joseph Conrad, Emma Orczy, Bram Stoker, Rudyard Kipling, Jules Verne. If the poor man thinks that exciting books and mysteries are rising to dominance in 2011, he will get a bit of a shock with your library.’ 

‘I suppose you are right I don’t want him cheeking me, and calling me a moron.’ ‘What is a moron, Bertie.’ ‘A josser, a juggins.’ ‘What a rude fellow we don’t want him in our time. Some fizz and a finnan haddie for dinner, Bertie.’ ‘Top hole, my dear.’

A somewhat less than academic and very frivolous riposte to the problem of the thriller genre taking over book sales in 2011, with the deepest apologies to H.G. Wells, and his wife Amy Catherine “Jane” Wells, and thanks to Edwardian Promenade for their glossary of slang, although at my age I have  to admit we used some Edwardian words at school. 

  1. Norman – Oh, this is absolutely wonderful! Well done you! This is priceless :-). Thank you for writing this. It gave me a much-needed laugh and is a brilliant, brilliant response.

  2. Time… sorry, priceless defence of good literature 😀

  3. Philip says:

    You’re on form today, Norman. This is absolutely crackerjack, top-hole, of the first water, and straight out of the top drawer. Congrats on a tricky piece of work perfectly executed.

  4. Splendid! And I have just tweeted the link…

  5. I love it, old chap!

  6. Norman says:

    Thanks very much to all.
    I am reading John Lawton’s superb A Little White Death at the moment, and it feels like I am in a time machine because it is set in 1963. 1963, when I was young….deep sigh.
    More on that book later.

  7. Maxine says:

    Great post, Norman. Hope the non-morons get it 😉

  8. Barbara says:

    Marvelous, Norman! Perhaps G. K. Chesterton should drop in and bring a copy of his Defence of Penny Dreadfuls.

  9. Norman says:

    Rhian, I am wallowing in nostalgia back in 1963, when we all had Dansette record players. If only I had known then what I know now I might have enjoyed the 1960s more, but then youth is wasted on the young.
    Thanks Maxine it does seem to be a popular post.
    Thanks Barbara, it just shows you things never change. I think the Venerable Bede complained about the behaviour of young people.

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