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Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London series

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  • Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London series

    Has anybody read any of these books? Fantasy detective stuff with a London policeman mixed up in haunted murder mysteries, already a comic and there seems to be some talk about a film or series ... If that hasn't happened already?

    Anyway - if you have, is there anything you'd ask the writer? I have to kind of 'support' him on a Q and A with students, and if it sputters and stops at any point I'd really like to have a couple of questions to ask. Apart from "How brilliant is it to make a living like this?"

    Thing is, I've read none of his work and by Tuesday may just have managed one book. Any ideas would be welcome.


  • #2
    Which rivers of London does he cover (apart from the Thames)?
    There are quite a few that flow into the Thames, some well hidden like the Fleet



    • #3
      Huge fan - nicely toned, with some great touches. Need to get the graphic novels and novellas when I can afford it.

      Ok - a couple of questions.

      Will there be spinoff prequels? The history of the Folly itself (And the school), and of course the international dimensions (The Soviet Night Witches, the German organisation that's coming up, plus the US) would all be interssting. And of course that means Peter and Nightingale could travel! If anyone has every read Fiends of the Eastern Front, you can see where the Night Witches could go, and the US organisation could easily have a storyline not dissimilar to Newman's Witch Hunt short story. And what about the French?

      How does he do his research? There is a lot of London lore, plus some nice research on the mythology of rivers, etc. Where to start? I remember going on a London ghost tour years ago, and the bloke that did it (And he was really good) said that he started with the London Encyclopedia (which is huge, but is excellent), and went on from there. And is it tough not to get in too many injokes - I have spotted a fair number, but do you have to be careful, lest it gets in the way?

      There was a rumour of a TV series - any more info? Or would radio be a better place to start - more atmosphere, and a chance to get it right. A bad version would be the worst thing of all.

      Any chance of vampires being featured - they were briefly in the first one, but then that was it. And any other creatures - nymphs have been featured, as have fairies, but there is a world out there.

      And will he be doing any other series? He wrote some great stuff for the Dr Who novels, so anything else, but original to him? And how does fan fiction and feedback have an impact on what he writes? Does he particularly write to have a political point ( Mother Thames is black), or is it just what he fancies?

      Steve - Follypedia has a full list (The Folly website seems to have vanished), but you have Tyburn, Beverly Brook (now Grants girlfriend), Mama Thames and other Genisus Loci, including Mrs Canal!


      • #4
        Briliant Bonekicker! As I haven't read any of his works this is all way beyond me but I can beat it into a simpler shape when I ask him. You've made the books sound even better. Personally (and without having read the works, as I said) I'd be quite happy not to have any vampires turning up anywhere any more. Or werewolves. I'd rather spend my time with wraiths and dark spectres and cold maidens and shades ... Besides, don't vampires and werewolves spend most of their time in American high schools these days?

        Thanks again. Superb stuff.


        • #5
          His books are actually very engaging, and easy to read. Vampires only pop up once, apart from the female 'jazz vampires.

          If you want darker 'magical London's, then Strosser has written a series some years ago, but that's nearer HP Lovecraft, although with some humour. And his fellow Who writer, Cartmel, has written a book about a police squad looking at child murder, ancient witches, etc. Kind of between the two.

          Vampires can always be reimagined - personally I would really like film versions of Newmans Anno Dracula series, and magical stuff works well on radio. 'Pilgrim' has been great on radio (could there be a TV series?), and I can see Grant working very well on radio - Dirk Maggs did a fantastic job on Salems Lot years back.


          • #6
            Now here's a thing. I think I may have been on an Art course with him in 1981. The name sounded very familiar and the biog details on Wiki seem to match up. Ask him if he's got colour-blindness (I forget the proper technical term). We were on an ILEA course on landscape painting, held in a house in Essex. A bunch of sixth-formers all being taught by a bloke in an eye-patch. I went to a few parties with him. We moved in the same circles for a while. Small world.

            Or he isn't the same bloke at all... and I've made an embarrassing fool of myself, again.


            • #7
              I shall ask him, StoneAgeMan. It'll make a nice break between the long silences after "So - what are your books about, then?" and "So - are there many rivers in London?"

              Actually, I'll have finished "Rivers of Blood" by then, so I'll at least have one to ask about,


              • #8
                Bonekicker! He laughed when I asked about prequels. Maybe it's the first time he's heard the idea. His research started on Wikipedia, he claimed "Probably the same page you were on" (this was in answer to my question about researching the rivers, during which I mentioned I'd had to look on Wiki to see how many there were in London. He says the series has been 'optioned' by a TV company, which he refers to as Schroedinger's company because he can never know if there is a TV series or isn't. He mentioned that Doc Brown wanted to play Peter Grant (and does play him in the Rivers of London rap he does on Youtube) - he would be perfect, I think. Also mentioned the idea of ven changing some characters' backgrounds in order to fit in with actors he's like to see in it - obviously thinks a lot about it. He mentioned that fan fiction didn't exist as a thing when he was growing up, but he used to di a kind of variant by rewriting (in his head) pretty much all the fantasy novels he read.

                Only about 3 of the students he was talking to had read any of the books, and when he mentioned Dr Who, only one had seen it ... "Tough crowd" he muttered at one point.

                It was fun, though.

                And Stoneageman: he read your post and said "Yeah! That's me!". So there you are. I don't know your name, so I couldn't tell him to get in touch, but yes, he did that ILEA course.

                Thanks for all the help.


                • #9
                  Thanks for the feedback - a tough crowd indeed when the audience havnt actually read the books you've written....

                  As far as the TV series, it sounds like he is in Development Hell, which is apparently pretty much standard when your a writer and someone wants to make a TV series.

                  Perhaps 'origin stories' sounds better than prequals - its sounds posher! And its sounds like you had fun!


                  • #10
                    Hope you had fun. I looked him up on Wiki and he comes from a family of interesting people (Dad and two brothers each have their own Wiki page, for quite different areas of achievement). That does sound like a tough audience, it seems like you managed to keep it afloat!


                    • #11
                      Thanks, Stonageman. Yes, it was fun. I had so many questions I didn't ask.