Among the other sub-themes are villains and the Gay Novel, wittily characterised as featuring personae who are not much more than body-parts with names. Popular novels appear briefly in the form of not only quality stuff like Sherlock Holmes and so great a writer as Wodehouse, but also of James Bond. Here Faulks has a story of his own to tell relating to the sequel he wrote. I can't say I'm interested, but he has every right to be. Significantly absent is `science fiction', and perhaps I can tie that in with one of his more interesting reflections, on plotless novels. Taking the genre by itself, John W Campbell Jr was asked where it fitted in English literature, and he replied that as it covered everything from the primal egg to the heat-death of the universe this was an odd question. Where is Olaf Stapledon in all these 10 discs? This is a monstrous omission, because here is a dark visionary with a colossal creative imagination whose greatest novels have no characters, whether or not you say they have plots. I don't call him science fiction, but Brian Aldiss does, and rightly traces his influence on Arthur C Clarke, whose Childhood's End has one of the most terrific plots ever conceived.
It should make a great quarry for Eng Lit essays, but it verges on futility.
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