Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Newsletter January 2017

Letters to the Editor

FROM John Anderson

The Year in Review.

Shute-related activities continued throughout the year. A significant event was the formal opening of Shute Drive in Langwarrin by the Mayor of Frankston with Nancy Anderson representing the Foundation. I took part in an ABC radio Overnights broadcast with Trevor Chappell with a number of callers phoning in with questions and comments about Nevil Shute.
The UK reunion weekend took place on the Isle of Wight in early May. This included a visit to Yarmouth, whose harbour Shute knew well and which features in a number of his books. It was a great weekend with sunny weather and an opportunity to catch up and get an update on the latest research.
Shute book groups continue to thrive both in the USA and UK. The Dartmouth chapter in New Hampshire has met on the first Saturday of every month this year, with lively discussions of the books in sequence ending with their 5-hour marathon viewing of the 1981 A Town Like Alice.

The Tri-State chapter has met several times also this year.
In the UK we met at the Yorkshire Air Museum in March for a discussion of An Old Captivity and followed this with a well-attended September meeting at the Queen's Hotel Southsea (venue for the 2003 Shute Conference) when we discussed Landfall. We rounded off the year with a meeting north of Bristol to discuss Pied Piper.

The Shutists group on Facebook continues to thrive as does the Twitter feed.
I hope we can look forward to a biennial Conference in the USA next year. The location will most likely be in the New Hampshire Upper Valley region. Further details on dates and venue should be available early in the New Year.

Meanwhile I wish all newsletter readers a happy and healthy 2017!

FROM Philip Nixon

The next meeting of the Nevil Shute Book Club UK will be held on Saturday 25th February 2017 to discuss Pastoral. Details regarding location will be announced in due course.

FROM Art Cornell 

Here are the minutes of our December meeting. As you can see, we are having a good time with Shute.

“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.”  ~Neil deGrasse Tyson

The Cape Cod Nevil Shute Chapter met on December 11 at  Larry and Judie Rachman's home in Falmouth.   As they live on an airstrip it is so appropriate for Shute people to meet there, wonder what Shute would have thought of this group, am sure he would have approved, always awesome to be at their home and hanger!!.   Those attending were Larry and Judie, Art and Joan, Judie Novak, Howard Steiffert and Sally Rossetti. As always we had excellent food, Judie had made pulled pork in her slow cooker, was perfect, a real treat for us all.    

We had read The Chequer Board, for some of us a "many time" reread.   We all greatly admire this novel and are happy to reread.  Art always tells us that it is his favorite.  Shute uses his skills intricately in this writing. There is one main hero and other minor characters, all very compelling.  The action takes place in several very different locations and is connected skillfully by the author.  A review on the foundation page tells us that in this book  Shute shows his intentions to write future novels that will address the topics of bigotry, injustice, and intolerance, all part of the very well constructed novel Chequer Board, and we know that he does continue with these themes.   Some of us felt that the book's last chapter is some of his best writing.  We admired the final line   when  Mr. Turner is asked by his doctor "Well, Mr. Turner, what have you been doing since I saw you last?"

Our next meeting will be at Judi Novak's home in Brewster.  We will reread another favorite The Pied Piper. The meeting will be on April 9 at 12:30, menu to be decided! 

Secretary,    Sally Rossetti


FROM Tom Wenham

"The Daily Telegraph of 5th November published the obituary of graphic artist Martin Aitchison, responsible for drawing many of the strips in comics such as Eagle, but best known as the illustrator of the Ladybird series of Peter and Jane books.  At 96 years of age he would have been a contemporary of Val Biro, the illustrator of many of the covers of Shute's novels, and who members of the Book Group were fortunate to meet at the group meeting in Petersfield a while ago. 

Aitchison's obituary records an interesting Shute connection of sorts.   During the war Aitchison worked for Vickers at Weybridge providing top-secret diagrams and artwork for various Barnes-Wallis projects including the bouncing bomb.   Aitchison's father, Professor Leslie Aitchison, was a pioneer in aeronautical alloys and worked on the R100 where he would have worked alongside both Barnes Wallis and Shute, especially Shute whose work as a stress engineer would have involved close contact with the metallurgists.   It seems most likely that, through his relationship with Barnes Wallis, Professor Leslie was able to arrange a place for his son at Vickers.

It is interesting to speculate whether Shute, had he not taken the plunge into full-time authorship, would have moved to Vickers and continued his work as a stress engineer firstly on wartime projects and then on the dramatic advances in aeronautical design that took place post-war." 


FROM W. Mills Dyer

I purchased one of these DVDs a year or so ago. Turned out to be just a pirated copy of the VHS tape. My VHS tape plays better on my old Panasonic VHS Player into a Panasonic plasma TV than using my OPPO Disc player to play the pirated DVD. I would be surprised if this offer is anything different.

At the 2005 Gathering, one of the speakers was either the director or producer of the Miniseries, and he had no idea what happened to the original film.  I don’t think any Shutist has ever determined where the film is (if it still exists). I sent an Email to The Criterion Collection several years ago recommending that they try to find the film and produce a quality DVD or Blu-Ray from it -  I did not get any response.


FROM Joy Ramsay

Hello again everybody! Sorry I took up so much space in the last Newsletter. I am a new member and KEEN!! (Not young, but KEEN!) In this newsletter, I would like to ask a question which has probably been answered before. But here goes:- Is there an unknown fate factor (NS has his supernatural ideas, which I don’t totally go along with, BUT…) in the fact that the Titanic was advertised as a SUPER ship…(I know the Olympic sailed on and did not have any problems), or that the huge airships R38 and R101 (MASSIVE constructions) were similarly thought of (and R100 was not promoted in such a big way). Also the ill-fated HUGE catamaran of Team Philips in 2000 which was skippered by a hero of mine Pete Goss did not come up to expectations and was clearly too big to survive in an accident. Just wondering if ‘more is less’ really. And life in the fast lane ends in a crash! Any thoughts?

Also as a little PS… Re: In The Wet….what actually happened to Steve/David? I’ve never understood. Did the newborn David just grow up and go through all the events in the book, and just go to Kenya and fly back to Rosemary?  Or if not…  what was Rosemary doing when Stevie was a drunk and living in the Outback? Or was she just waiting for him to come home? But she would have been either dead or very old….Answers please….! I know the Aboriginal Dreamtime could be involved here, and I would go along with that, having known a quadroon (in Australia) with strange mind-power, who saved all 4 of us from a very nasty situation by insisting that we leave the pub we were in and go back home (we were supposed to be there for 2 hours ), and 30 minutes later a lunatic came in and started shooting.

He didn’t know why he said we had to go. But we did. So NS knew what he was writing about! And there are many things we don’t know/ understand that NS wrote about, and who are we to condemn?




A very Happy New Year to you all. May it be a year of happiness.

This morning, as we woke up, everything outside was white. Unfortunately it all has melted away already.

See you all next month.