Modesty Blaise, Behemoth adventures, summers, aliens and soccer

Seanchai Library

It’s time to highlight another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s home in Nowhereville, unless otherwise indicated. Note that the schedule below may be subject to change during the week, please refer to the Seanchai Library website for the latest information through the week.

Sunday, June 20th, 13:30: Tea-Time with Modesty Blaise

The Modesty Blaise comic strip made its debut in the London Evening Standard in May 1963, and drew to a close with the Evening Standard in 2001 – although several newspapers which went onto also run the series re-ran it from 2001 through 2018.

Modesty Blaise by Enrique Badía Romero

The strip was created and written by Peter O’Donnell and largely inked by illustrators Jim Holdaway (1963-1970) and Spanish artist Enrique Badía Romero (1970-1978; 1986-end). It follows the adventures of the titular character (and based on a young girl O’Donnell actually met) who  escapes from a displaced person (DP) camp in Greece as the end of World War 2.

Initially becoming the unofficial ward of another refugee, Lob (who calls her “Modesty” and provides her with an education), by 1953 she is leading the criminal enterprise known as The Network. During this time, she meets Willie Garvin, a man who becomes her most trusted ally and friend (but not her lover), and the two work closely together throughout the rest of the strip

After marrying and divorcing (gaining British nationality in the process), and having made her money through The Network, Modesty decides to return to England, with Willie accompanying her. Here, and for the core of the strip, Modesty goes to work for the British Secret Service as a kind of “independent contractor” working of H.M. Government – and she brings Willie in to assist her. During this time they also become embroiled in several adventures of their own.

Now Modesty Blaise comes to Seanchai Library’s Fireside Room with Corwyn Allen, Gloriana Maertens, Elrik Merlin, Kayden Oconnell, and Caledonia Skytower reading The Giggle Wrecker from Pieces of Modesty.

Monday, June 21st 19:00: Behemoth

In 1914, the world is divided into Darwinists and Clankers. The Darwinists have evolved genetics to make animals more useful to humans. The Clankers have built their society on machinery technology.

When the Leviathan, a living whale flying ship, arrives in Constantinople, a city where Clanker culture and Darwinst principles intersect in the most intriguing ways, Dr Barlow and Deryn Sharp deliver their precious cargo to the Sultan as part of a peace-keeping mission, only for things to suddenly take a left turn. Now the only way to save themselves in this hostile, politically-charged city is for Dr Barlow to offer up the thing that matters most: Leviathan itself.

Meanwhile, Prince Aleksandar Ferdinand, the would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne following the murder of his father, escapes from his prison camp and once more goes on the run with his men and the Loris, while Count Volger stays behind to fend-off the pursuit, forcing Alek to take on new responsibilities.

Thus, fate once again sees to it that both Deryn and Aleks must re-evaluate their precarious situations in the world…

Join Gyro Muggins as he returns to Scott Westerfield’s alternate history of Earth.

Tuesday, June 22nd

12:00 Noon: Russell Eponym, Live in the Glen

Music, poetry, and stories.

19:00: What Abigail Did That Summer

It is the summer of 2013 and Abigail Kamara has been left to her own devices. This might, by those who know her, be considered a mistake.

While her cousin, police constable and apprentice wizard Peter Grant, is off in the sticks chasing unicorns Abigail is dealing with her own mystery: teenagers around Hampstead Heath have been going missing but before the police can get fully engaged the teens return home – unharmed but vague about where they’ve been.

Aided only by her new friend Simon, her knowledge that magic is real and a posse of talking foxes that think they’re spies, Abigail must venture into the wilds of Hampstead to discover who is luring the teenagers and more importantly – why?

Join Corwyn Allen as he reads Ben Aaronovitch’s latest novel.

Wednesday, June 23rd, 19:00: Carl Hiaasen’s Skink

A native Floridian, Carl Hiaasen is an American journalist who focuses on political issues (notably corruption, environmental issues and other wrong-doings) within his home state. Starting his career in the 1970s , he became renowned for being exceptionally outspoken – even against his own employers.

Carl Hiaasen. Credit: Joe Rimkus Jr.

During the 1980s, he started writing fiction in his spare time, achieving initial success with three co-authored novels published between 1981 and 1984, as well as writing several non-fiction titles.

In 1987, his second novel, Double Whammy introduced the “trailer park star tenant” and private eye, C.J. Decker, which Hiaasen fondly refers to as “the first (and possibly only) novel ever written about sex, murder and corruption on the professional bass-fishing tour.” Among the cast of characters mixed into Double Whammy is one Clinton Tyree, the one-time governor of Florida, who abandoned his office and now lives as a outdoorsman (and partaker of roadkill cuisine) in the Everglades and the Florida Keys, using the pseudonym Skink.

Skink went on to become a recurring character in a further seven of Hiaasen’s novels to date, with all the books in which he features being gathered together under the general title of SKINK, with several of them being been among the 20+ works of fiction and non-fiction by Hiaasen to appear on the New York Times best-seller list.

Join Kayden Oconnell as he continues a journey with Hiaasen’s characters.

Thursday, June 24th , 19:00: Little Fuzzy

Ktadhn Vesuvino reads the book by H. Beam Piper that spawned a series by him and other science fiction authors about a small, furry species dubbed Fuzzies.

Little Fuzzy charts the discovery of small furry species on the planet Zarathustra and the attempts by humans to determine whether or not they are sentient. If they are, then their planet will be declared a protect aboriginal  world. However, The Company has desires to control the planet and its resources.

Friday, June 25th, 14:30: Terry Pratchett’s Unseen Academicals

Football in Ankh-Morpork is not as we might know it. Rather than being comprised of rules and played within a recognisable ground, it is far more akin to the somewhat violent mob football of medieval Europe.

Not that this is a concern for the elderly, mostly indolent and (some might be tempted to think) somewhat inept old wizards making up the faculty staff at the city’s school of wizardry, the Unseen University. Until, that is, their very handsome annual endowment becomes subject to their playing the game themselves.

Thus, Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully sets out a two-pronged strategy: to ensure the city’s version of football is restructured with proper (and favourable?) rules, and to put team preparations at the university in the hands of the talented candle dribbler, Mr. Nutt and his assistant, Trevor Likely, the son of the city’s most famous (if deceased – did I mention the game can be violent?) player, who are in turn supported by Glenda Sugarbean, who runs the university’s night kitchen and her assistant Juliet Stollop.

Except Mr. Nutt soon discovers he has problems of his own to deal with, and Trevor has promised his Mum he’ll never get involved in the game.  Meanwhile, Glenda has the daily responsibility of baking the Discworld’s best pies, and Juliet is about to find herself whisked towards the heights of fame as a fashion model, thus potentially leaving the team a little short on practical advice…

Join Caledonia Skytower as she presents the 37th novel in the Discworld series, and possibly one of its greatest satirical undetakings encompassing football, academia, traditions, the fashion industry, politics, love, fandom, and which mixes in more serious themes of identity, crab mentality and self-worth.

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