Homework (again)

Re: Homework (again)

Postby Inactive User 149 » 12 Dec 2013, 10:53

I think the scandal is that anyone has actually published an unfinished book which the original executors of WEJ's estate thought was too poor to be finished. I cannot see the point in publishing a "fake" book. I think the prices of the later, rarer but poorer Biggles books are a scandal in themselves. If you compare the writing, characterisation and quality of plot of some of the later books to the wonderful earlier books they are not worth face value let alone inflated prices. When I recently bought a cheap paperback version of Sees Too Much I was very pleasantly surprised by it and I thought it made a good end to the series. I was particularly pleased that Biggles was very concerned when Ginger was being held captive and also Bertie was excellent in the book.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Dover Patrol » 18 Dec 2013, 06:06

I wonder whether the prices of some of the Norman Wright editions will be affected by his imminent retirement? It's sad to think that 'Flies East' will be the last in the series. :( Somehow a fitting finale though.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Simon Templar » 18 Dec 2013, 11:38

Jenny Rob wrote:I cannot see the point in publishing a "fake" book. I think the prices of the later, rarer but poorer Biggles books are a scandal in themselves. If

well, you've just answered your own question there! the point of publishing it is so you can sell it at a bit of a lower price than the scandalously expensive ones that are genuine NW editions. every biggles fan would want to own the last ever biggles book, so some of them will buy a 'fake' copy as it isa bit cheaper but still has the same words.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby James » 18 Dec 2013, 11:39

Dover Patrol wrote:I wonder whether the prices of some of the Norman Wright editions will be affected by his imminent retirement? It's sad to think that 'Flies East' will be the last in the series. :( Somehow a fitting finale though.

I wasn't aware of this, that makes me sad but he's certainly earned it. I wonder if someone could be persuaded to take up the mantle and continue the series.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby SaintedAunt » 18 Dec 2013, 13:30

James wrote:
Dover Patrol wrote:I wonder whether the prices of some of the Norman Wright editions will be affected by his imminent retirement? It's sad to think that 'Flies East' will be the last in the series. :( Somehow a fitting finale though.

I wasn't aware of this, that makes me sad but he's certainly earned it. I wonder if someone could be persuaded to take up the mantle and continue the series.

Nor was I, and it is sad. However, as I understand it, his original reason for publishing the books he did was to make up a shortfall in supply, in that he published books that were either scarce in hardback version, like some of the later books, or impossible, like Homework and the uncollected stories. He has done all these now, so I suppose it is a logical reason for stopping as, presumably, he doesn't want to reproduce every single book WE wrote.
I'd just say a big thank you for a set of books well produced and with some beautiful jackets :thanks: Norman.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Sizzling Sausages » 18 Dec 2013, 21:32

Yes this is indeed sad news. Norman's done an immeasurable service to the Biggles world.
Is he going to make an official announcement? I found one passing mention on the YABS site but there's nothing on Norman's own page.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Dover Patrol » 19 Dec 2013, 01:52

I read it on the YABS site as well. I presume it's correct but I haven't heard anything 'officially'. I could understand why he'd be calling time but it would still be a great shame. Has anyone heard anything more than what is on the YABS site?
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Spitfire666 » 19 Dec 2013, 17:09

James wrote:I wasn't aware of this, that makes me sad but he's certainly earned it. I wonder if someone could be persuaded to take up the mantle and continue the series.

Norman has only just decided, and has not announced it yet, although his thoughts on his retirement from the field will appear in the next issue of "Biggles Flies Again".
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Sizzling Sausages » 20 Dec 2013, 13:21

Norman has indeed prepared an article for BFA which sets things out in full. In the meantime, though, he's very kindly sent me this short piece to post here by way of clarification until then - many thanks, Norman!

In 2011, A.P. Watt Ltd the agents for the WE Johns Estate informed me that they had been approached by another publisher who was interested in bringing Biggles books out in hardback format. A.P. Watt Ltd further informed me that they were quite prepared for me to continue as publisher of hardback editions if I increased the number of titles a year I published and substantially increased my print runs. I told them that I was not prepared to do this for a number of reasons: the constraints of being a one man business, storage problems, hassle of selling via bookshops/Amazon etc. BUT, most importantly, because it would change the nature of what I was producing: a quality book for the collector. Another big consideration in my decision was that, for a couple of reasons, I was considering retiring soon anyway and this seemed to be a good time to end the series that had, after all, been running for 20 years. A.P. Watt Ltd. very kindly granted me a contract to publish 'Biggles Flies East', the final WW1 adventure that I had not published, and a book that I considered would be a high note on which to end the series. The other publisher who had wanted to bring out the hardbacks seem to have hit a glitch as their books have not materialised, although I know at the time (late 2011) they were keen as they emailed me to check when my edition of 'The Camels are Coming' would be out of print so that they could proceed with their edition. Shortly after this the W E Johns Estate changed literary agents.

I'm afraid I don't look at forums on the internet but *** asked me for this short piece to explain why the series was ending. I would, however, like to offer my sincere thanks to all the collectors, throughout the world, who have supported the series and who, in many instances, have become good friends through our mutual interest in the writings of W.E. Johns. Sincerely, Norman Wright.


******
So there we have it, and I'm looking forward to seeing the whole article in BFA. It's sad to see them end but I think we can all be extremely grateful for Norman's efforts over the years.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Inactive User 149 » 20 Dec 2013, 13:34

Yes he has worked very hard for the collectors market. I wonder what happened to the other publishers and why the WEJ estate changed agents? I think one question is just how popular would the Biggles books be now? The Red Fox paperbacks have been in print for a long time and they are very good although they do not have any illustrations. There seem to be a lot more Biggles books available to buy now mostly WWI and WWII. I do not really think a lot of the Air Police books would be popular today - some of the later ones seemed very tame even in the 1960s. I know the WWI books will be very popular next year but most of them are available now anyway.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Fairblue » 20 Dec 2013, 16:32

Sizzling Sausages wrote:Norman has indeed prepared an article for BFA which sets things out in full. In the meantime, though, he's very kindly sent me this short piece to post here by way of clarification until then - many thanks, Norman!

[b] In 2011, A.P. Watt Ltd the agents for the WE Johns Estate informed me that they had been approached by another publisher who was interested in bringing Biggles books out in hardback format....etc.
******
So there we have it, and I'm looking forward to seeing the whole article in BFA. It's sad to see them end but I think we can all be extremely grateful for Norman's efforts over the years.

Many thanks for this, SS. Norman Wright has certainly done a sterling job. It will be interesting to see, though, just how Biggles will fare within the next few years. Certianly he appears to have survived the PC madness, for which I think we have Red Fox to thank for that.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby OzBiggles1963 » 20 Dec 2013, 16:34

My how the years pass! The 1st Norman Wright publication, coincidentally the 1st full novel published by "William Earle" in 1922 [Mossyface], was released in 1994 & has pride of place in my bookshelf. I cannot believe it is 20 yrs next year since it's long overdue re-publication! [I bought this book through the BFA long before I had heard of, or participated in, the World Wide Web, lol]. Thankyou so much Norman for bringing these long forgotten & hard to get titles back into circulation!

It is the centenary of the beginning of WW1 in 2014, so Biggles is indeed very relevant again for those interested in history & aviation etc.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Inactive User 149 » 20 Dec 2013, 16:41

Yes indeed - I think most of the WWI books are available now in one form or another. Any new readers will really struggle with WWI continuity. It is virtually impossible to put the short stories into running order particularly with some being published in a slightly altered form in more than one book. I do wish the lemonade could turn back into whiskey for a new generation of readers. ;)
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby SaintedAunt » 20 Dec 2013, 20:08

Sizzling Sausages wrote:Norman has indeed prepared an article for BFA which sets things out in full. In the meantime, though, he's very kindly sent me this short piece to post here by way of clarification until then - many thanks, Norman!

I had held back from publishing Norman's explanation on the forum, as I didn't want to put it out ahead of his piece for BFA magazine. But he obviously doesn't mind it being made public as he has sent this out for general consumption. At least there is now no doubt, which is always better than rumours.

It seems sensible to stop now that he has published all the harder to get WEJ hardbacks and all the WWI Biggles stories in their original form. All the other books are easy to come by in hardback version. Probably the biggest market for Biggles books in future will be as e-books? Many (most?) of the Red Fox editions are available as Kindle editions.

I am sure agents come and go. They are only enablers after all. Commercial agencies who try to ensure that the lucky inheritors of the copyright get their money… When does the WEJ copyright expire? I am sure somebody said on another thread.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Fairblue » 20 Dec 2013, 20:59

SaintedAunt wrote:
I am sure agents come and go. They are only enablers after all. Commercial agencies who try to ensure that the lucky inheritors of the copyright get their money… When does the WEJ copyright expire? I am sure somebody said on another thread.
2038, SA 70 years after the author's death. ST was bemoaning the fact that he would be nearly 40 then :shock:
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby SaintedAunt » 20 Dec 2013, 23:14

Fairblue wrote:
SaintedAunt wrote:When does the WEJ copyright expire?
2038, SA 70 years after the author's death. ST was bemoaning the fact that he would be nearly 40 then :shock:

Well at least he should still be alive… :lol:
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Sizzling Sausages » 22 Dec 2013, 02:25

Just returning to Norman, I'd like to note that when I was doing some work of my own on some Biggles material, his help and generosity went far beyond anything I had any right to expect. He really is a true gentleman.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby SaintedAunt » 07 Feb 2014, 10:46

Homework is on UK ebay at £59.99 :!:
Only one bid so far but 6 days to go...
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Fairblue » 07 Feb 2014, 12:09

SaintedAunt wrote:Homework is on UK ebay at £59.99 :!:
Only one bid so far but 6 days to go...

Yes, early days yet. It will be interesting to see what it goes for. :D
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby OzBiggles1963 » 07 Feb 2014, 13:33

Fairblue wrote:
SaintedAunt wrote:Homework is on UK ebay at £59.99 :!:
Only one bid so far but 6 days to go...

Yes, early days yet. It will be interesting to see what it goes for. :D


Not worth it really imho, not as a stand alone story anyway. I can't remember, but I think there are only 3 or chapters sadly??
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Inactive User 149 » 07 Feb 2014, 13:40

I have not read it but it sounds very strange. Minnie seems to have all WEJ's favourite traits rolled into one French/American Indian etc. Creeping around with a foreign accent perhaps :lol:
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby OzBiggles1963 » 07 Feb 2014, 13:49

Jenny Rob wrote:I have not read it but it sounds very strange. Minnie seems to have all WEJ's favourite traits rolled into one French/American Indian etc. Creeping around with a foreign accent perhaps :lol:


Is "Minnie" the character WEJ introduces to us in Homework as the new protege or member of the Air Police team? [I thought he was Indian Indian??] lol
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby SaintedAunt » 07 Feb 2014, 13:53

OzBiggles1963 wrote:Is "Minnie" the character WEJ introduces to us in Homework as the new protege or member of the Air Police team? [I thought he was Indian Indian??] lol

Minnie is half American Indian and half Scottish (from memory). He is introduced as a potential new member of the Air Police, following Raymond's conversation with Biggles about retirement. Contrary to what certain 'experts' have written, nowhere does WEJ say Minnie is going to take over Biggles' job!
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby OzBiggles1963 » 07 Feb 2014, 13:55

SaintedAunt wrote:
OzBiggles1963 wrote:Is "Minnie" the character WEJ introduces to us in Homework as the new protege or member of the Air Police team? [I thought he was Indian Indian??] lol

Minnie is half American Indian and half Scottish (from memory). He is introduced as a potential new member of the Air Police, following Raymond's conversation with Biggles about retirement. Contrary to what certain 'experts' have written, nowhere does WEJ say Minnie is going to take over Biggles' job!


I must dig it out & re-check, I thought he was Indian in reference to Biggles' early childhood beginnings.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Inactive User 149 » 07 Feb 2014, 13:57

I thought he was American Indian as WEJ was so obsessed with Indians being able to creep up on people.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby OzBiggles1963 » 07 Feb 2014, 14:01

Jenny Rob wrote:I thought he was American Indian as WEJ was so obsessed with Indians being able to creep up on people.


OK...hold that thought, my bookcase is 6 feet away! I should really check, but the glass of red wine in my hand is holding me back. :wink:
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby SaintedAunt » 07 Feb 2014, 14:05

He was Canadian Indian! I was close but not correct :lol: and the proportions might not have been 50-50 as I think it was just one of his ancestors.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Inactive User 149 » 07 Feb 2014, 14:12

That is where I must have got the French connection from French Canadian Indian - wow - not ginger haired then :lol:
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby OzBiggles1963 » 07 Feb 2014, 14:19

Right...you are 100% correct! Alexander Gordon Mackay [who speaks with a soft highland accent, explains to the team where his 'dark complexion' comes from, after Biggles says he thought he had spent some time in the tropics. Chapter 2, page 29, he says:"I have to thank my great, great grandfather for that". He then explains on the following pages that his great, great grandfather [General Wolfe who commanded a Scottish regiment in the Canadian war] married a "Red Indian girl".
They've been working together for so long that each seems to know by a sort of telepathy when another is in trouble. One never seems to get them together. Get one & the others come after him. To give the devil his due they make a formidable team.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Inactive User 149 » 07 Feb 2014, 14:20

What Canadian War?
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