2004-3/March 1, 2004
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R100 MODEL / MONTREAL 2005
A TRAIN THROUGH A TOWN LIKE ALICE
The Ghan received an enthusiastic send-off. This is a journey like no other. It begins a few kilometres from the Southern Ocean and ends in the tropics. In between the track carves through sandy coastal scrubland, the desert salt lakes and into the green suburbs of Alice Springs before arriving in the lush tropics.
The railroad linking the central desert town of Alice Springs to Adelaide was completed in 1929. The stretch north to Darwin was finished last September.
Editor's Comment: Some suggest that we Australians rarely finish what we started. I can now reveal that we were just having a 75-year tea break between building the first and the second sections.
SHUTIST'S COMMON TRAITS
PS - I recently discovered my British roots while doing some genealogy work. You mentioned flogging or execution (of the Doom Virus makers). I would offer the flogging followed by an execution!
DID SHUTE EVER MEET ERIC HISCOCK ?
Another of my favorite authors, Eric Hiscock, seems to be the source for details of the disastrous sea voyage of John and Joanna Dermott in "Trustee from the Toolroom."
Eric Hiscock was an avid sailor from Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, near where Nevil Shute kept his yacht. He and his wife Susan sailed around the world in 1953-1955 and wrote an excellent book about the trip. Does anyone have any correspondence between the two authors ?
Most of us who like the writing of Nevil Shute would also like "Around the World in Wanderer III" by Eric Hiscock. He was some twenty years younger than Shute and seems to have much the same belief in the value of work and the patience to see it done right. He had the same interest in the lives of people in remote regions of the world.
The disastrous voyage of the cutter Shearwater in "Trustee from the Toolroom" has many parallels with Chapter 9 of Eric Hiscock's "Around the World . . . " Both start across the Pacific in a sailing yacht after a long wait for permission to call at the Galapagos for water. Both encounter a tropical hurricane in the South Pacific. Both trailed a sea anchor from the stern to keep the ship's stern into the great waves of the hurricane. Both suffered a failure of the sea anchor. Both married couples were people of great courage.
Any fan of Nevil Shute will be likely to enjoy the books of Eric Hiscock, especially "Around the World . . ."
Editor's comment: At the moment I have heard of no communication between Shute and Hiscock but we have very few resources regarding Shute's correspondence. We do know that in 1959 Shute wrote a foreword to Miles and Beryl Smeeton's story of their yachts repeated capsizing and dismasting. Shute claimed that this story was the main inspiration for Trustee From The Toolroom. Shute may well have used some of Hiscocks experiences as inspiration as he clearly had a good memory and collected facts and events and experiences for future use. Shute was an experienced yachtsman. Eric Hiscock was born in 1908 in Southhampton. He bought his first boat in 1934. In 1941 he married and his wife, Susan, thereafter crewed for him. In later years they were based in New Zealand. Eric Hiscock died in 1986.
MARAZAN - GEOGRAPHICAL REALITY
I have a 1" OS map (number 203) which includes details of the Scilly Isles, and though there is a "White Island" in the northernmost part of the islands, there doesn't appear to be a "Pendruan Island" as mentioned and as drawn in the book, nor does the layout correspond. I guess NSN used poetic (? writer's) licence.
If you go to the following address:-
you will find the Scilly Isles as above. Incidentally, there is a v. small hamlet called "Marazanvose" which is just off the A30 about 7 miles south of Newquay in Cornwall.
Editor's Comment: If you compare the map of Marazan Sound in the book Marazan to the real map you will see that not only has Shute added the Island Pendruan, but he has also moved either White Island or The Eastern Isles which are now adjacent to Marazan. In reality they are separated by St Martins.
ON THE BEACH SOUNDTRACK
DUSTJACKETS AND COPIES
My introduction to the works of Nevil Shute was in 1972 or 1973, when I was 13/14 years old. ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission) television showed a dramatisation of "The Far Country". I think it was a serial, but I cannot recall any of the names of the actors who appeared in it. After seeing the program, I borrowed the book from my school library; it was the first Nevil Shute book that I ever read. I wonder if there are any other Australian readers who can recall this film.
On another note, I have been upgrading my Nevil Shute collection from
paperback to hardback in the last year or so, mainly from second hand
bookshops. I now have a complete hardback set, but some are missing their
dust jackets. I am seeking the assistance of another collector (I am in
Melbourne, Australia) who could supply a facsimile of the missing jackets,
either a quality color copy or a scan. The jackets I am looking for are for
the following titles (all Heinemann editions, unless noted):
In the process of collecting, I have managed to get some duplicates, that I
am happy to pass on to others. All are in good order. The first four
titles listed came to me without jackets, but now have facsimile jackets.
The copy jackets are good quality color photocopies that look almost as good
as the originals. The other two titles have original jackets in very good
condition. The titles are:
WEBSITE DISCUSSION BOARD FEATURES AMY AND GUJAR
Martin Dryden writes that he thought Brenda Marshall is one of Shute's best characters, combining emotional depth with the appeal of Amy Johnson in her flying suit. (if you don't have a holtlink go to http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/on-line/amy-johnson/page1.asp to see Amy in her flying suit)
Martin said that for him Brenda's doomed love and its inevitable conclusion never fail to give the heart-strings a tug.
Richard Laven contributes a significant account that reveals that many of Round The Bend's characters seem to have been based on real people, including one of my favourites Gujar Singh the bearded Sikh bank clerk
AMY JOHNSON AND BRENDA MARSHALL
I am an avid reader of the novels of Nevil Shute. He has written about 24 books and one of my favorites is "Trustee From The Toolroom". It is the story of a simple, innocent man who sets out on a seemingly impossible mission - because for him, it is the right thing to do.
In another Shute book, "Ruined City" a complex, sophisticated man also sets out on a seemingly impossible task and decides to do the "wrong thing" - because for him, it is the right thing to do.
The first book I have read many times, however, it was the rereading of the second book that brought to the surface a thought about grace. In both books each man chose to pursue a certain course of action. This is the operation of free will. And, as in "real life", the company of characters in the both novels either applauded or decried the free will choices made by each man - taking unto themselves decisions which seemed to impact the "fate" of each man. Ultimately, however, the fate of each man, as well as the consequences of their actions, was "in the hands of the universe". And for each man - regardless of the correctness of their decisions as judged by man - the universe operated with equitable grace.
Dan Telfair replied: Glad you enjoyed the rereading of Ruined City. I consider it to be the first of his "mature author" books. It contained a lot of Nevil's personal philosophy and no small part of it was based on his own life and efforts. Many of the things he did to keep Airspeed afloat during the pre-war years were models for the actions of Henry Warren. Unlike Mr. Warren, Nevil avoided going to jail for some of his technical transgressions, but it was probably a close thing.
THE REAL DR SCOTT ?
My father had a Cambridge honours degree in physics and chemistry. He then qualified as a solicitor and went into the family firm. He joined the army in 1914, but was seconded to the RAE. He first acted as an "observer" but then he became the administrator of a section including the old balloon shed. The section appears to have had about 40 staff. After the war (I was born 1918 and christened RAE) he left and returned to law.
My father never talked much about this. But I found amongst his papers a published (by the ministry) paper on the effect of pressure at "High Mach Numbers".
The correct title of the paper is very similar to the title of the paper that Nevil Shute's character is to read. I can remember my father telling me that "boffins" could be very eccentric. Thus my father was an "outsider" who came and went from the RAE and was rather similar to Nevil Shute's character.
Editor's Comment: It seems possible that Shute may have met or heard about Rae Cullimore's father if Mr Cullimore senior was still at the RAE when Shute was working on R100 in the mid 1920s. Alternatively Shute may have heard of Mr Cullimore if he visited the RAE as a result of his work with Airspeed in the 1930s and the DMWD in the 1940s.
John Anderson has written this response:
Denis Scott's paper was entitled "Performance analysis of aircraft flying at high Mach Numbers" - close to the title of the paper found by Mr. Cullimore.
SHUTE SHORTAGE IN GERMANY
I'm running a site myself, focussed on the life and works of German writer Hubert Fichte, so I know there's always a lot of stuff to do. Nevil Shute ... well, I'm 31 and I can well remember having read "On The Beach" for the first time, as a result of having seen the Stanley Kramer movie on tv (that's the general pattern, isn't it?). I guess the name Nevil Shute won't ring a bell amongst my friends, but this movie will somehow, still. I read the novel again some months ago, then I came to Alice, and now I'm reading "In The Wet", probably the best Shute I know by now. Parts of Shute's writing might be considered as old fashioned, but anyway, he delivers great descriptions and characters, no doubt, and what makes him a great and interesting writer is exactly this. And here's some additional report: when I was thirteen or so (so this is some eighteen years since), you could easily get two of Shute's novels in all the bookstores - that was "On The Beach" and "A Town Like Alice", published by Rowohlt as Das letzte Ufer and Eine Stadt wie Alice. There have been other translations published by smaller publishers, without much success. In fact, today you can't get hold of one of them, they're out of print for years. The English school editions are the only Shute books you can get now (maybe they are abridged, it's likely but I don't know exactly), and sure, they are not attractive for a great number of readers. So much the better to have your site as a source of information for further reading! From time to time I'll drop by, for news on your site, while checking out other Nevil Shute novels. Kindest regards and greetings from Germany.
VAL BIRO - SHUTE COVER DESIGNER / BOMBER CRASH MYSTERY
Val Biro may be attending the April 17th launch of John Stanley' book about the real mystery behind the crash of the German bomber at Exbury House that inspired "Requiem For a Wren" / "The Breaking Wave". More details about John Stanley's book will be in the next newsletter.
THE WHAT ???
Editor's Comment: CSIRO stands for Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.
Many long hours of further research on the internet and in libraries has revealed that it is an Organization of the Commonwealth's that Researches in the areas of Science and Industry.
UK 2004 ANNOUNCED
WEBSITE - GENERAL UPDATE
Carolyn Ramm has written us a facinating character profile of Noel Strachan. Perhaps one of the most underrated of Nevil Shutes characters, click on http://www.nevilshute.org/Chars/NoelStrachan.php Richard Michalak has let his imagination go wild with an regular old-fashioned dishmop! Check it out at http://www.nevilshute.org/Misc/rm021104.php The local Gatherings section has been updated to include more details of UK and USA local meetings, click on http://www.nevilshute.org/gatherings.php The Favourite books scorecard now has 124 entries. If you would like to vote for your favourite top three Nevil Shute books, click on http://www.nevilshute.org/Reviews/favbooks.php
WEBSITE - NSN DISCUSSION BOARD
The registration process has also been amended to enable you to upload a photograph of yourself.
Check out my profile for an example! If you have already registered, you might like to check out these new features. If you have any comments about the discussion board, or would like to make suggestions for improvement, please feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com
WEBSITE - TRANSLATIONS PAGE
BACKUP NEEDED FOR SECRETARY/TREASURER
The Secretary/Treasurer duties do not require a great deal of technical expertise, as the system is up and running, and has been in satisfactory operation for a number of years now. Dan's idea for a backup would be to have someone with whom to share correspondence, reports, etc., so that person would have a familiarity with Foundation workings, and could take over in the event of an emergency or when and if Dan decides to step down. There are no strict criteria for applicants. Since the Foundation is incorporated in the US, it would be better, though not essential, that the applicant reside in the US. Also, applicants should be available for the foreseeable future as trainee/backups, and to assume the duties of Secretary/Treasurer should the need arise.
Shutists who may be interested in furthering their involvement in the Foundation in this manner should contact Dan directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EDITORIAL My editorial this month was going to be my absolutely brilliant new essay called Nevil Shute and The Dishmop. As it is now available on the website at: http://www.nevilshute.org/Misc/rm021104.php I won't bore you by repeating it here. For those with little life experience of dishmops, a vivid and exciting photo of a dishmop is in the website photo album at: http://www.nevilshute.org/PhotoLine/PLD-1941-1950/pl-1941-1950-06.php
That completes this month's newsletter.
All the best from AUTFOD
Dear All, I just realised that I forgot to credit the text in the following item that was in the newsletter. Simon Alan kindly passed the BBC article to me but I lost the credit in compiling the newsletter. As a point of honour, and to avoid arrest and torture, I am crediting it now.
It was from a BBC news item at:
All the best,
Nevil Shute Norway Foundation
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