I was talking on Twitter to a bunch of awesome bloggers – one of whom was a boy. We were talking about how few male bloggers there are. And so I thought: Why not create a feature specifically designed to get boys into blogging – and reading? And so Book Addicted Boys was born!
The Waking World is a post apocalyptic tale based on the legend of Merlin and Arthur, packed with action, mystery and adventure. It is the debut fantasy novel by talented new author Tom Huddleston.
Five Reasons Why Books Are Better Than Films Or Computer Games
It’s so easy these days to just switch on the TV, or fire up the Playstation, and settle back for a couple of hours. It’s fun, too! But there are experiences you can get from a book which you can’t get anywhere else, places you can go which no film or game can take you.
You might walk out of a sci-fi or fantasy film feeling like you’ve seen something truly spectacular: an alien planet, an epic landscape, an army on the march. But really, you’ve only seen the bits of that world that the director and his special effects team had the time and the budget to show. In a book, there are no budgets, no time constraints, and the only limits are the writer’s – and the reader’s – imagination. In Mervyn Peake’s Titus trilogy, for instance, the huge, half-ruined castle of Gormenghast seems to grow with every page as the characters explore each crumbling tower, each winding stair, each cobwebbed room. The castle could never exist in the real world – it’s too huge, too complex, too strange – so attempts to film the books always fall flat. The only place it can exist is in the reader’s mind.
I really enjoyed Peter Jackson’s films of ‘The Lord of the Rings’, but there’s no way you could cram all the historical scope of JRR Tolkein’s books into three films, however long they were. When you read the books, you’re not just following Frodo and Sam as they journey to Mordor, you’re also learning about how this world came into being, the history and languages of elves, dwarves and men, the battles they fought and the great heroes who emerged. This adds so much to the book – it makes it feel as though the landscape the characters are travelling through is ancient and full of stories, and completely real. And that makes our own heroes’ task feel even more impossible and terrifying: if those legendary warriors couldn’t defeat Sauron, how are two little Hobbits supposed to manage it?
In a computer game, you don’t need to get into the character’s head – the character is you. But haven’t you ever wanted to live someone else’s life for a little while, to see what they see and feel what they feel? A book is the only place where such a thing is truly possible, provided the writer knows what they’re doing. In Rosemary Sutcliffe’s ‘The Eagle of the Ninth’ we’re invited into the head of a Roman Centurion marooned behind Hadrian’s Wall and pursued by savage Celtic tribes. Here we are, centuries in the past, in a world we barely recognise, and our only guide is this tough soldier, lost in the wilderness – and yet we relate to him completely, we trust his choices, we feel his hurts, and we’re with him every step of his journey.
Length of Stories
This is one area where movies and TV are finally starting to catch up to books – it would have been impossible to imagine an 8-part film series like ‘Harry Potter’ being made even 20 years ago. But still, books have the edge: just think of Richmal Crompton’s William stories, for instance, which fill around 40 books, or the Sherlock Holmes tales, of which there are well over 50. My own favourites, the King Arthur legends, seem to go on forever, with tales of this knight or that, all of them packed with adventure and dastardly deeds – and new writers are coming up with more of them all the time. If you find a character you love, you just want to know more and more about them, to share more and more of their experiences, and that’s something that can only really happen in books.
One Person’s Story
A computer game isn’t the vision of one person, there’s a huge team working for years to design every baddie and map out every landscape. Even films, which often claim to be ‘made’ by one director, are actually a massive group effort: you have scriptwriters, designers, cameramen, sound recordists, composers, editors and actors bringing a little bit of themselves to the finished work. And that’s a great thing: the collaborative process can make for a really exciting piece of work which no one person would’ve been able to produce on their own. But a book is the product of one mind, one vision, which gives it a focus which those other artforms can often lack. This one person ‘scripts’ every scene, ‘plays’ every part, ‘shoots’ everything the reader sees. This is their world, and they’re inviting you inside. Also, it means there’s only one place to send your questions or complaints to!
Thank you so much for this post, Tom - and for being my first Book Addicted Boys author!! :D
Hope you all enjoyed Tom's post! And don't forget to follow Tom on Twitter, and check out his books on Goodreads! :D
And keep up to date with MonthOfGuests on Twitter using #MonthOfGuests2013! And stop by tomorrow for a brilliant post by the amazing Joss Stirling!!
Tom Huddleston is an author, musician and journalist currently employed on the film desk at Time Out London. Though he grew up in North Yorkshire - where his debut novel, The Waking World, takes place - he currently resides in Stoke Newington in East London. He intends to continue writing fiction, and has already begun a sequel to The Waking World.