Book Review

2001-6/December 1, 2001


Any recipient not wishing to receive this newsletter should reply with the word REMOVE in either the subject line or the text.

The NSN Foundation does not send e-mail with attachments. Any e-mail purported to be from The Nevil Shute Norway Foundation or from that contains an attachment, should be immediately discarded without opening the attachment. To avoid sending attachments, newsletters are sent as e-mail text. Because of the limitations of some servers, the newsletter may be truncated. Should that occur, the entire text of all newsletters may be found on the NSN Foundation web site.


Happy holiday season.

Winter has come to the Land of Enchantment. Yesterday morning, when it was time to take the dog for his morning stroll, it was 14 degrees Fahrenheit/-10 degrees Celsius. The mountains are snow-covered, and even the desert seems to be preparing for Christmas.

Due to the number of holiday cards to be written, present shopping to be done, decorating, and other chores of the season, this month's newsletter will be a bit briefer than usual. However, we still have a considerable number of interesting letters from our readers.


Jack Calaway, our webmeister, continues to work his magic. Those of you who have checked out the site lately will have noticed the newly added SEARCH function. With this addition, it is possible to type in any word or phrase, and be led directly to each document on the site containing that reference. Jack tells me that the hands-down winner for most popular word/phrase since the search function was implemented is On The Beach.

The site averaged over 1,500 hits per day in November, with over 300 requests for separate pages per day. Site hits came from 39 countries, including a fair number of former East European countries where it was not possible to own a personal computer a few years ago. Como cambio el mundo!


We have added an new section to the Bibliography/Book Review page, which we have called Related Books. The first, contributed by Andy Burgess, is an in-depth review of The Secret War, by Gerald Pawle. Wife Zia has agreed to furnish a review of Flight of Fancy, by James Riddell. Other possibilities include Airspeed, The Millionth Chance, and The Airmen Who Would Not Die. Any volunteers or added suggestions?


No new character analyses this month. Since no one else has opted for him, I am staking claim to one of my favorite characters - Keith Stewart, The Trustee from the Toolroom. Assuming I don't get lost in the holiday rush, Mr. Stewart will appear on the web site some time in December.


Another great suggestion from our webmeister: We are going to add a Favorite Books section to the Bibliography/Book Review Page. This has often been an introductory topic for new Shutists, so we thought we would formalize it.

Beginning December 1, 2001, and continuing indefinitely thereafter, readers can vote for their favorite three NSN books, by simply writing a note to your's truly with the books listed by order of preference. Voters will be limited to one vote each, but each vote should include first, second and third favorites. We will keep a file of votes, just in case anyone attempts to implement the multiple vote system from ITW. If at any point, anyone wishes to reconsider his or her vote, a new vote will be accepted, and the previous vote from that Shutist will be deleted from the tally.

For those who are math inclined, we will score the votes as five points for each first place vote, three points for each second place vote, and one point for each third place vote. Points will be totalled, and divided by the total number of votes cast, thus providing a weighted average response for each book.

Please do let us know your favorites, and check in occasionally to see how they fare compared to other NSN novels.


How about a section on favorite NSN quotes? Anyone interested?


The pot has not yet begun to boil, but there is a definite simmer. Steph Gallagher in the UK, has tentatively agreed to take over the reins. There are already several volunteers in Australia, the UK and the US, who are offering to help.

I will try to refrain from making pronouncements reference the pending gathering and will instead provide a platform from which Steph and her volunteers can discuss plans and seek input for UK2003. Anyone interested in helping or sharing ideas should write the newsletter, and he or she will be placed in contact with Steph and her growing crew.


We frequently receive letters asking for information related to Nevil Shute and his work. We usually try to provide at least a short answer. However, we encourage all readers to address these questions, either directly to the writer, or through Letters to the Editor. This month's crop is mainly from the UK.

From Cheryl Butler in the UK:

When I was younger I was a great fan of Nevil Shute and read many of his books whilst still at school, he had connections with this area which gave an added interest. Now I am all grown up and am responsible for the development of Arts and Tourism for Eastleigh (Or the Hamble Valley as we call it in tourism) We are currently researching putting together a leaflet which will look at the borough's literary connections (Jane Austen was known to have picniced at Netley Abbery!) and Mr Shute is on my hit list. He worked in the aviation industry in Hamble and the airport (eastleigh - now Southampton International featured in at least one of his novels, also I believe What Ever Happened to the Corbetts also has local connections. With the passage of time the plots and locations of the novels have become a bit vague for me and much as I would like to curl up with all 24 for the greater good of Eastleigh Borough, I don't think I will get away with it. So I don't know if anyone can point me in the right direction with regard to the novels which do have links (Eastleigh, Hamble, Bishopstoke) - we would like to do our bit to promote NS and help raise his profile - I am also responsible for a cinema which is part of our arts centre so maybe at some point we could do a NS festival and screen some of the movies, have some talks and discussion etc - do you think it would be popular? Thanking you for your assistance.

Cheryl Butler Head of Arts & Tourism Eastleigh Borough Council

We wrote Cheryl and also put her in touch with Richard Michalak, our official NSN historical geographer. Please feel free to contact her directly with your thoughts/suggestions

From in the US:


Read with interest that the film of LR cannot be loaned out because the British are afraid we'll show it to an undesirable or something.

In my humble opinion this strikes me as sort of silly. Seeing the numbers of how many there are of us now representing the NS Foundation, couldn't we band together and bombard whoever it was that made this decision and swear that we never, never would let the eyes of unbelievers gaze on the film?

At this point in time, as much as I'd like to meet you all, I wouldn't go to NM to see a private viewing of The Last Supper with the original cast! Couldn't we do something to let members see the film?

In the meantime, best to you both and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Allan Buttrick

Because this is a sore subject raised by a number of Shutists, our reply to Allan is provided below.

Dear Allan:

A bit of history surrounding Lonely Road:

We began searching for the film eight or ten years ago. After a good bit of effort, we finally located the only known copy, in the archives of the British Film Institute (BFI) - a quasi-official government agency dedicated to the preservation of English films. Then we began a three year effort to obtain a copy of the film.

Our efforts were unsuccessful due to the fact that the BFI considers it their duty to protect both the film and the copyrights thereto. In the UK, unlike in the US, film copyrights apparently exist forever. Unless you can obtain permission from ALL copyright holders to a film, they will not release it. Also, you must demonstrate that the permission is endorsed by all copyright holders, and it is up to the person requesting the film to prove that all copyright holders have given their permission. Neither the BFI, nor anyone else, really knows who all the copyright holders might be, so it is an exercise in futility.

That remained the state of affairs until a year ago, when a fellow Shutist in the UK enlisted the help of a Member of Parliament. With the assistance of the MP, the BFI agreed to release a copy of the film to the NSN Foundation, but with the strict admonition that we were responsible for ensuring that there would be no further copying or possible commercial use of the film.

The fact is, if we loan a copy of the video to anyone, we cannot preclude that person from duplicating it. Once an unauthorized copy is floating around, there is no way the Foundation can ensure that it is not further copied and distributed. In fact, that is exactly what did happen with Landfall. We were given a copy of Landfall with the same understanding. Being generally trusting sorts, we shared the film with a number of fellow Shutists. Within a year, there were copies of the film for sale over the Internet.

Until and unless the BFI releases us from our guarantee that there will be no unauthorized duplication or sale of Lonely Road, we are obligated to restrict viewing to those circumstances under which we retain control of the video.

We have already alienated more than one close friend/fellow Shutist by refusing to loan them a copy for their personal use.

Sorry, but that's the way it goes.

Regards from TLOE,


From in the UK:

I have to express my delight at your website about one of my favourite authors. I had no idea until I found it that there were so many enthusiasts about this wonderful man. I am gradually catching up on your newsletters and will keep in touch. Thank you for managing this so well.

David Dawson-Taylor

From in Texas, generally conceded to be a part of the US:

Thanks so much for providing the web site and newsletter. I would like to subscribe to both my work e-mail and home.

I will at a later date check out some books from your library. I've searched libraries and bookstores all over Central Texas and have read most of his books.

Thank you again.

Randy Custard

From in the UK:

Nevil Shute has been my favourite author for over thirty years, so I was very pleased to discover your excellent website. I enjoyed reading about your 1999 and 2001 Gatherings, and your Biography of Nevil Shute (since I knew little more than he had written in Slide Rule). I particularly enjoy reading your growing list of Characters, and the What's New is very useful.

I was surprised to find that Nevil Shute books are known and popular in the United States. I had not expected many people outside Britain and Australia to have heard of him!

I have sometimes wondered what places (roads, buildings, etc) may have been named in honour of Nevil Shute. I know of just two, in Portsmouth, England, both on or near the site of Portsmouth aerodrome (which no longer exists) where his company Airspeed Limited was located (as described in Slide Rule). One is Norway Road, presumably in honour of NSN the engineer / entrepreneur, and the other is Nevil Shute Road, presumably in honour of NS the author. I have also noticed a Shutehaven (or Shute Harbour) in Queensland, Australia, but I do not know if this has any connection with NS. Perhaps readers of your newsletter may know of any other places named after NS and could share the information?

David Ede

From in the UK:

I am a freelance journalist and I am researching a story into Mr Shute. I was intrigued to see the foot note at the end of his book What Happened to the Corbetts - "To the people of Southampton" As I have lived in Southampton all my life I wondered if I could get in touch with someone in his family - or friends who might be able to tell me about Mr Shutes attachment with the city

I have a copy of Slide Rule which I am reading but I wondered if there is anyone who can perhaps tell me how Mr Shute talked about Southampton.

I write mainly travel and human interest stories and have had many pieces published in the Daily and Sunday Express

I look forward to hearing from you

Tina Ediss

We forwarded Ms. Ediss' letter to Heather mayfield and Shirley Norway for their comments. Please feel free to respond to her directly.

From in Tasmania:

Nevil Shute movie adaptations:

I don't know that NSN would be simpatico with the modern film-going audience. In fact some of his ideas about honor, responsibility and loyalty might arouse actual distaste in some people!

Speaking for myself, I would rather NSN stay on the printed page than be the subject of a "modernised" and "updated" film version.

By the way, did you know that one science-fiction writer (name forgotten) said he thought NO HIGHWAY was the only decent cinema representation of a working scientist.

Greetings from Tasmania,


From in the UK:

I have just come across your marvellous web site and I must just write to congratulate you on providing such comprehensive information. I thought I was alone in appreciating NSN - I've certainly never come across anyone else who admitted to being a fan!

I am fortunate enough to live in Hampshire - I was actually born in Portsmouth (and currently work there as well) so I particularly enjoy those novels set in the town. I amuse myself by trying to guess which road he was thinking of when he made Mona's family in 'Landfall' live there.

I have also lived in Morden and I never read 'Round the Bend' without envisaging Morden underground station with the red London buses right outside - the same buses that I used to catch from there to school in Wimbledon every morning.

Of course the site of Airspeed - and indeed Portsmouth airfield itself - became an industrial estate many years ago. However, we still have 'Airspeed Road', 'Norway Road' and 'Nevil Shute Road' to remind us of the great man - although how many people in Portsmouth now know who he was is debatable!

I have managed to collect all his novels in hardback over the years - mostly by haunting second-hand bookshops wherever I go. I'm now trying to get them all with dust jackets - a task that will probably keep me amused for many years yet. I really loved the section showing all the dust jackets it was most interesting to see the different interpretations of the stories.

Keep up the good work,

Gill Shott
Hampshire, England.

That is it for now folks. Keep those cards and letters coming.

Regards from TLOE&E (The Land of Enchantment and Extraterrestrials),


Nevil Shute Norway