sugoll (sugoll) wrote,

Return of the Hero

Also on BBC4. My telly guide said, "One-off documentary exploring the reinvention of the adventure book in the 21st Century." This had me thinking of the book equivalent of, say, Raiders and The Mummy. However, the opening ten seconds made it clear that they were talking about Books For Boys. (Because, apparently, girls don't like that kind of thing. And besides, girls are yucky, etc.)


It mainly focused on books like Horowitz's Alex Rider series, Charlie Higson's Young Bond books, McNab's collaborations (the co-author never gets a mention, though the camera does linger on the covers quite a bit), and a couple of others of which I hadn't heard. Lots of clips of boys reading from the books, or commenting on them, and much footage from Stormbreaker, etc.

I liked the point that Rowling had woken up publishers to the money potential of the juvenile market. I was fascinated by the comments on what publishers will allow in their kids books, and what they won't (and I've made a note of it for one of the Redemption book-thread panels).

I did feel, though, that as well as the huge generalisation whereby they cut out the girls entirely (there was one shot of a girl reading one of them), they also cut out a lot of what was going on in the sixties and seventies in boys' reading material: comics (Marvel, DC, 2000AD) and comic books (which were, broadly speaking, war-based - I personally read a lot of Commando - and which I think reflects the experiences of the generation writing them at the time). As far as the programme was concerned, nothing happened in Boys fiction between Edwardian times and Harry Potter. They also kept solidly to the adventure genre, with one author hesitantly wondering whether a shape-shifting shaman edges his book towards (whisper it) Fantasy.

Interesting, but flawed.
Tags: books, tv
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