Archive for the New York Category

Timeslip Tuesday Review from America

Posted in Book news, New York, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2011 by keithmansfield

Some of my favourite stories include the possibility of time travel. From Hermione’s time turner to Clare Abshire being forever left behind, it’s a theme that can lead to engrossing books. So it was exciting to discover a whole review section of Charlotte’s Library (a book site for kids and teenagers) called Timeslip Tuesdays.

For the weekly feature, Charlotte’s reviewed Johnny Mackintosh and the Spirit of London. As far as I know, it’s the very first US review of Johnny’s books and hope it paves the way for more to come. Having lived in the US (I spent some time growing up in Erie, Pennsylvania) and travelling there often for work, it’s a country I’m especially fond of and I hope New York readers of Johnny Mackintosh: Star Blaze will vouch for the accuracy of Johnny’s escape through the city.

Readers of this blog will know that there was recently a review of Star Blaze from Australia. For an author, it’s an amazing treat to discover people in other countries reading your stories. I’ve also seen reviews from South Africa and heard of people seeing the books on the shelves in Singapore! Sadly, world domination still seems some way off, but it’s good to know that the books are slowly percolating around the globe.

Charlotte’s timeslip review says:

“Lots of action, twists and turns of plot, and a generous dollop of suspense make for a page-turning adventure that is, I think, just the ticket for a sci fi loving upper middle grade reader (and the sort of book an adult reader who’s willing to suspend disbelief and who’s looking for something fun should appreciate as well). The story is told strictly from Johnny’s point of view, so the reader only knows what he does, keeping things very interesting indeed.

“… I’ll be passing this one right over to my ten-year old, and I bet he enjoys it (space ships! computers! aliens! dinosaurs! sinister bad guys!).

“Time travel-wise–the journey of Johnny and Clara back in time leads to interesting sub-plots and intriguing explorations of paradox. It’s a key part of the plot, in a very sci-fi way (as opposed to time-travel for the sake of exploring the past, or for the sake of exploring characters). And as such it works well, adding zest and excitement to a story already full of both.”

For those who want to read more about time travel, take a look at my Science of Johnny Mackintosh page.

10. New York City

Posted in 12 Days of Johnny Mackintosh, Buildings, New York with tags , , , , , , on January 4, 2010 by keithmansfield

“With the last of his strength he stumbled out and saw … exactly how high up he was – in front of the Empire State building”, p. 133

Anyone who knows me will realize it’s a great achievement to have kept myself out of these pictures so far. Sadly it couldn’t last. This is me, taken by me, on top of New York’s Rockefeller Center (the Top of the Rock).

For reason’s that will become clear if you read Johnny Mackintosh: Star Blaze, I’ve spent a fair amount of time writing the book from 70 floors up on the Rockefeller Center’s observation deck. Behind, I expect you’ll recognize the structure behind me. I’m holding up the cover of Johnny Mackintosh and the Spirit of London to compare London’s Gherkin with New York’s Empire State Building.

When in New York I always used to go to the top of the twin towers, often the Windows on the World bar in the North Tower (because you’d get the magnificent views to yourself and whoever you invited) but sometimes the South Tower because that way you’d get out on the roof. There’s something magical about being outside so high up. Even though I share Clara’s terror of heights, I never felt frightened there and the Rockefeller’s the same. Plus it has magnificent all-round views, including out over Central Park, though sadly yesterday’s Chrysler Building is largely blocked off. Another of my favourite New York roofs is the top of the Metropolitan Museum, watching the sunset over the city.

Needless to say, when Johnny’s in the big apple he doesn’t have much time for sightseeing…

9. The Chrysler Building

Posted in 12 Days of Johnny Mackintosh, Buildings, New York with tags , , , , , on January 3, 2010 by keithmansfield

“We’re in the Chrysler Building – Nymac owns the top few floors.” p. 118

My favourite building in London is obviously the Gherkin; in New York it’s the gorgeous Chrysler Building. I took these pictures on my phone when last there in summer 2009. Some action in Johnny Mackintosh: Star Blaze takes place inside the building but, try as I might, I was only able to spend time in the lobby.

To be sure I gave a reasonable description of the upper floors, it was fascinating to read about the building and its construction which briefly led this architectural wonder to become the world’s tallest (overtaking the Eiffel Tower), before its ugly nearby sister took over. The spire on top of the building was constructed in secret inside the main body, and only revealed and added on once a nearby building, also attempting to become the world’s biggest, was completed.

The art deco Chrysler building has beautiful gargoyles and its radiator grill top section. Nowadays, builders rarely leave room for either design or craftsmanship – I can’t fathom how some of London’s skyscrapers are allowed to be put up when their simply steel and glass cuboids. If something’s to dominate a city, it’s got to be worth looking at. As I sit at my desk writing this, I have the lights of the Gherkin in front to the left and those of the newer Bishopsgate tower on the right. Sadly, some very dull buildings are going up in between, but at least they won’t obscure the view.

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