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Obit: Russell Hoban, author (1925-2011)

Desert Dancer 14 Dec 11 - 10:44 AM
Kevin Sheils 14 Dec 11 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,matt milton 14 Dec 11 - 11:24 AM
Desert Dancer 14 Dec 11 - 11:35 AM
Kevin Sheils 14 Dec 11 - 11:45 AM
Ged Fox 14 Dec 11 - 02:22 PM
Phil Edwards 14 Dec 11 - 03:45 PM
Desert Dancer 14 Dec 11 - 04:46 PM
Jack Campin 14 Dec 11 - 04:56 PM
Dave MacKenzie 14 Dec 11 - 07:44 PM
Desert Dancer 15 Dec 11 - 12:35 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 15 Dec 11 - 12:44 PM
Phil Edwards 15 Dec 11 - 03:13 PM
GUEST,John Foxen 17 Dec 11 - 11:39 AM
Edthefolkie 18 Dec 11 - 09:34 AM
Sandra in Sydney 18 Dec 11 - 10:45 AM
GUEST,leeneia 19 Dec 11 - 10:03 AM
Dave MacKenzie 24 Jan 12 - 01:46 PM
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Subject: Obit: Russell Hoban, author (1925-2011)
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 14 Dec 11 - 10:44 AM

Russell Hoban, author (with his former wife, Lillian Hoban) of the Frances the badger series and Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas children's books, and later, science fiction, has died at age 86.

I loved the Frances books when I was young. She was a strong personality, and her parents were clever in lovingly dealing with her. Plus she made up little songs!

I came on Emmet Otter when my son was small and I was collecting kid's books that involved music (especially cute animals and folk music). That book was made into a TV special by Jim Henson & Co., with music by Paul Williams.

I've read about his science fiction, but haven't tried any yet. He moved to the U.K., where these books were written, and I have a feeling they're better known over there.

Russell Hoban, cult author, dies aged 86, obituary in the Guardian (U.K.), which is subtitled "Author of post-apocalyptic classic Riddley Walker as well as numerous children's books described himself as 'an addict to writing'".

wikipedia entry

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Obit: Russell Hoban, author (1925-2011)
From: Kevin Sheils
Date: 14 Dec 11 - 10:47 AM

I have only read and enjoyed his SF book Ridley Walker, a great book but maybe not an easy read. I keep planning to read more, sadly it can take news like this to trigger that plan.

As he himself suggested in the final quote of the obit.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Russell Hoban, author (1925-2011)
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 14 Dec 11 - 11:24 AM

Yeah, Riddley Walker is great.

Jon Boden spoke about it briefly in his Radio 4 audio essay about post-apocalyptic literature.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Russell Hoban, author (1925-2011)
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 14 Dec 11 - 11:35 AM

matt, I think that's where I first heard of it.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Obit: Russell Hoban, author (1925-2011)
From: Kevin Sheils
Date: 14 Dec 11 - 11:45 AM

Wonderful verses in it. All I can recall are first two lines

Horny Boy rang Widders Bell
Stole his Father's ham as well


The rest is also full of references to places in Kent where it's set, great fun working them out. Loaned my copy to a friend from the area about 4 years ago, I think he's still fighting his way through it.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Russell Hoban, author (1925-2011)
From: Ged Fox
Date: 14 Dec 11 - 02:22 PM

So Russell Hoban has gone beyond the Last Visible Dog


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Subject: RE: Obit: Russell Hoban, author (1925-2011)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 14 Dec 11 - 03:45 PM

It's worth looking at his bibliography. I was 13 (and Hoban was 48) when his first book for adults (The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz) came out in 1973. I loved it to pieces - both that and his next four books, up to Pilgermann in 1983, but the Lion especially. (When I got my copy of Riddley Walker signed, I asked him to inscribe it with 'Lion is'.)

Hoban's novels got more spiritual and vatic as they went on - a less sympathetic characterisation might be 'vague and self-important'. (There's a line in Pilgermann to the effect that the will of God is that everything that is possible should indeed be possible. That's either very profound or... it isn't.) After Pilgermann there was a four-year gap before the Medusa Frequency, which somehow I never got round to, and a nine-year gap after that; I haven't read any of his 'late' works (10 (!) novels written in Hoban's 70s and 80s, published between 1996 and 2010). I understand that some of them are relatively straight science fiction, and that some of them include a lot of sex. The first five - The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz, Kleinzeit, Turtle Diary, Riddley Walker, Pilgermann - aren't and don't, and they're wonderful.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Russell Hoban, author (1925-2011)
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 14 Dec 11 - 04:46 PM

Russell Hoban: dedicated to strangeness, obituary in the Telegraph.

I guess the Frances books were in the U.S., SF in the U.K. Two different careers.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Obit: Russell Hoban, author (1925-2011)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Dec 11 - 04:56 PM

I read Kleinzeit when it first came out in paperback, at a time when I had a string of unrelated illnesses and hospitalizations to deal with. It has to be the funniest book about being in that state ever written. You don't often see copies these days, but I buy every charity shop copy I can find so I can give them away to people who need them.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Russell Hoban, author (1925-2011)
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 14 Dec 11 - 07:44 PM

I was just about to start 'Her Name Was Lola' when I saw that he'd gone. I think I've read all his previous adult books (and enjoyed every one) plus a few of his childrens'. A very inventive writer. He'll be missed.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Russell Hoban, author (1925-2011)
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 15 Dec 11 - 12:35 PM

Russell Hoban, 'Frances' Author, Dies at 86, obituary in the New York Times. My theory is upheld.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Obit: Russell Hoban, author (1925-2011)
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 15 Dec 11 - 12:44 PM

The children's books have been steady sellers in the UK too, though they've never been huge.

There must be a heck of a lot of band names to be mined out of "Riddley Walker".


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Subject: RE: Obit: Russell Hoban, author (1925-2011)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 15 Dec 11 - 03:13 PM

I agree with Jack on Kleinzeit, except to say that perfectly healthy hypochondriacs will get a lot out of it too. There's a gag that he uses two or three times where a doctor asks K. about some perfectly innocuous symptom (When you pee, does it sometimes come out in two streams?), and then says something vaguely ominous when he says "Yes, but isn't that normal?". ("Normal, yes - that's the spirit!")

I can't think of any bands named out of Riddley Walker, though. I'm not sure, but I suspect its the speling puts peepl off - I could imagine any number of bands / albums / etc called "Little Shining Man", "Widow's Bell" or whatever, but using the actual spellings would make too strong a link back to the book.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Russell Hoban, author (1925-2011)
From: GUEST,John Foxen
Date: 17 Dec 11 - 11:39 AM

Sad to see only one oblique reference so far to The Mouse And His Child. A wonderful book for children and adults. It reminds me that I must make sure my granddaughter has a copy.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Russell Hoban, author (1925-2011)
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 18 Dec 11 - 09:34 AM

Absolutely John, I read "The Mouse and His Child" to my kids twenty years ago, nicked the book afterwards and read it again to myself! That book is right up there with the very best. Sorry, not good at literary criticism....

Riddley Walker is marvellous. It always depresses me though - all human achievement reduced to little scraps of misunderstood folklore. I can never work out how Riddley gets it all written down either, maybe he's just telling it over the camp fire.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Russell Hoban, author (1925-2011)
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 18 Dec 11 - 10:45 AM

I also love & own "The Mouse & His Child". I've found it, dusted it off & will start reading it tomorrow.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Obit: Russell Hoban, author (1925-2011)
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 10:03 AM

I enjoyed Frances the badger, who didn't want to play with her little sister.

"When little kids play hide and seek, they hide so parts of them are sticking out."


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Subject: RE: Obit: Russell Hoban, author (1925-2011)
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 01:46 PM

In 'Her Name was Lola', he mentions four Lola songs, but I can only think of three (and he only specifies three in the book: 'Copocabana', the Kinks' song, and the one from 'The Blue Angel'). Anybody have any ideas as to the fourth?


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