Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Newsletter dated March 2012

Letters to the Editor

From Philip Nixon

Nevil Shute Weekend in Maidenhead on 19/20 May 2012

Saturday 19 May

Meet up in Maidenhead at a hotel (TBA) before taking a trip to West Ealing to visit Nevil Shute's birthplace. We are looking to insert in to the schedule a visit to the Maidenhead Heritage Centre that day. This is a small museum and is the official museum for the Air Transport Auxiliary

Later, that evening, we will have a dinner together in Maidenhead. For those unfamiliar with Maidenhead, it is a town on the river Thames in Royal Berkshire, situated west of London and approximately 25 minutes drive from Heathrow airport.

Sunday 20th May

Spend the day at White Waltham aerodrome, scene of the UK HQ of the Royal Flight in In The Wet. Our room is "The Snug", in which we will have on-topic presentations. We are also arranging a guided visit to the hangars. Refreshments & buffet lunch will be provided.

The costs of the museum visit and day at White Waltham is yet to be finalised but early indications are that a budget of £30 per head is likely. We are hoping to avoid hiring coaches, if enough of us are prepared to share seats in our own vehicles.

Speakers have yet to be confirmed and volunteers to present a talk are welcome to get in touch with me (Phil).

From Alison Jenner

Kathryn Parker, who came to Seattle from Portland, Oregon sent me this link to the Goodreads book site, where it is the Nevil Shute page:=

She said, "It's a great site both for author profiles to advertise their books and fans to recommend it to friends and discussion groups. You can also swap books and review books for the general public to read. The site also offers a place where you can list any books you have and list ones you'd like to have and swap books with other people. At the bottom of the profile you can see topics where Nevil Shute has been mentioned. (An author's profile can put up books in contests. Usually 1 to 15 copies of the book are offered up in a contest to goodreads members. It's a great way to promote if there is any money in the budget as the competition for free books is fierce. The author can pick the winners at random or based on their quality and quantity of books they've reviewed)

From Chris & Penny Morton

TAS2013 is a goer. The date is tentativelhy set for the third week of October. We are planning some interesting excursions and activities. It is not too early for intending participants to start their planning. The island state Down Under Down Under has a lot to offer, so if possible plan some extra time.

Watch future newsletters for further developements.

Send questionss or comments to Chris and Penny,

From>Tony Woodward

I was pleased to see Simon Allen's reference to Kindle. I was given one for Christmas and I am loving it. I have none of NSN's novels on Kindle yet because I already have them all in print format, but I can see that this is the way of the future. Not all of NSN's novels are available on Kindle as far as I can see, but at least some of them are, and I suspect that this number will grow. The only trouble is in convincing the new generation of e-book readers that any book of any value was ever published before the year 2005 !

I have already downloaded onto my Kindle the complete works of Thomas Hardy, Daniel Defoe, E. Nesbit, H. Rider Haggard, and Jane Austen, along with many other singles including Nicholas Montsarrat. Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins and George Eliot are to follow. From which you may conclude that I am a strong advocate of the old saw "Whenever a new book is published, I read an old one." But Amazon wants real money for downloading Shute novels and since I already have them all in print copies these are not high on my list. Most of the books I've downloaded are in the public domain and cost nothing. I'm going for Caroline Graham next because I haven't got all her novels and she is one of the unsung crime novelists who hasn't had her due. Her very few books are far better than the prolific TV series Midsomer Murders which has been spawned out of them.

There are some downsides to reading a book on Kindle. There are no page numbers, just the % completion bar at the bottom of the page, and this takes a bit of getting used to, as well as trusting the fact that Kindle will really remember the page you were on last time you logged off. The formatting in some books is terrible - for instance new chapter headings at the bottom of a page followed by nothing. And the silly typos caused by the use of OCR technology with no proofreading - "rim" for "run" as a typical instance (I have seen far worse but I can't find them right now).

In case you think I am faint hearted, I thoroughly recommend Kindle though. As my hairdresser put it "I don't have to fill my suitcase with books for a month in the Caribbean. I just have to pack my Kindle and that takes up very little space." I am not a spokesman for Kindle, indeed it has serious flaws, not the least of which is that many of the books I want are not currently available on Kindle. But it is the best available right now so I endorse it. And for NSN readers, at my last check about 50% of his books are available on it. Amazon doesn't make it very easy to find out what is actually available as a Kindle download as opposed to other formats but I think I determined this about a month ago. I would like to hear other members' views about this new way of accessing NSN books, and indeed other authors too.

A propos of John W Cooper's comments about the "Dambusters" I too saw that NOVA program about the bombing of the Ruhr dams, and the attempt to reproduce the bouncing bomb. It was fascinating, and indeed "The Dambusters" with the famous Eric Coates march as a soundtrack was one of my favorite movies when I was a teenager in England in the 1950's, and an RAF junkie and grammar school air cadet. I find it rather interesting and slightly amusing that although the Sorpe dam was mentioned as one of the three targets, the movie never mentioned it again - because this was the one failure and the raid didn't manage to breach it.

To your correspondent Tommy Ray the multiple vote sounds absolutely brilliant to me - I certainly wouldn't qualify for many of them but to have even one more vote than a convicted murderer would be fine for me ! I love the novel "In The Wet" - one of my top five picks. But did this idea ever get anywhere ? And where did NSN get the idea from in the first place ? This needs explanation, and I would love to hear more from anyone who knows.

From Tom Leitch

Saw the email re Amazon books and the question of Nook books. Barnes and Noble does have many of them in epub format. Most are 12 dollars US a few more. The ones I saw are: A Town Like Alice, On the Beach, Pied Piper, Trustee from the Toolroom, Most Secret, In the Wet, Slide Rule, Pastoral, Ordeal, Rainbow and the Rose, Round the Bend, Beyond the Black Stump, The Breaking Wave, Mysterious Aviator, Landfall, The Far Country, Kindling, Marazan, No Highway, An Old Captivity, Lonely Road, The Chequer Board, and Stephan Morris.

One further note. If you do get a Kindle book or a Nook book or some other format and need it converted, a program available as freeware (and free download) is Hamster. It will convert most e-books between formats and is available from Another somewhat more complicated convertor that is also free is Calibre

From Dan Telfair

Tommy -

The multiple vote idea has resurfaced from time-to-time with conservatives thinking it is a great idea and liberals condemning it as an elitist ploy to trample the common man. I am all in favor of multiple voting, but without the complexities of education, foreign travel, family values, religious affiliation, etc.

My approach:

Those who do not pay a minimum in federal income taxes, say $1,000 per year, would not have a vote in federal elections. For those who do pay $1,000 or more in federal income taxes, each additional $1,000 per year, would earn an additional vote. A person who paid $100,000 a year in federal income taxes, would have 100 votes in federal elections.

Those with large incomes, but who dodge federal taxes through various exemptions, etc., would not have any more votes than someone who earned much less but paid the same amount in taxes.

This follows the basic, tried-and-true, distribution of power in just about all corporate entities. Those who invest more in the organization, have a greater voice in organization matters.

One thing is sure, if we had a multiple voting system as described, our politicians could no longer buy the votes of non-contributors with money extorted from contributors.

This is not a new idea. To my knowledge, it first surfaced in a fictional "article" by Mark Twain. See "The Curious Republic of Gondour". The same basic idea was postulated by Robert Heinlein in his juvenile fiction novel Starship Troopers, in which residents had to serve in order to earn the right to vote, hold public office, etc. No one earned the right to vote by virtue of being born in the right place.


Dan Telfair, Founder

The Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

PS: As you probably know, our founding fathers only granted voting power to land owners - those who paid taxes. They never envisioned non-contributors having a voice in running the country.

From John Anderson


On Saturday 14th October 1950 the Irish Times ran an article with the heading "Big List of Banned Books". The article said "Last night's Iris Oifigiul (the official Irish Government publication) contained a list of 68 books which have been banned by the Censorship of Publications Board, mostly, it was stated, because they were indecent or obscene." Included in the list was "A Town Like Alice" which had recently been published. This prompted the following letter to the paper:-

Sir, What can be the reason for Nevile Shute's novel "A Town Like Alice" appearing amongst the disgraced books ? Having read "Pied Piper", "Pastoral" and "No Highway"I read with eagerness Shute's latest work, and was not disappointed. Can it be that the queer title has raised suspicion ? To my mind, it is a most wholesome and interesting story.

Yours, etc.,

T. W. E. Drury,

Dublin, October, 17th, 1950.

The banning of the book was picked up by a Melbourne paper, The Argus, which wrote on 21st November

"The Eire Government has banned the sale of Nevil Shute's novel about Australia, "A Town Like Alice." The London publishers say that they cannot understand the reason for the ban and have lodged an appeal against it." One can only assume that it was Jean & Joe's Green Island "encounter" that offended the Censorship Board. At the time the ban made it illegal to buy, sell or distribute the book in the Republic of Ireland. Presumably the ban was subsequently lifted and it is now perfectly legal to buy A Town Like Alice in that country!

From Laura Schneider

  1. To the US Library:-Patrice from California sent the following note along with a new copy of Ruined City: -- "Just a tangible Thank You from our Book Club for all the books the Foundation has loaned us over the years ?"

  2. On Saturday 24 March the New Jersey Nevil Shute Book Society is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Everyone is welcome. Over the years, the group has expanded to include members in Eastern Pennyslvania and New York City, with satellite members in Washington, DC and Boston. Two original Book Society members and their spouses, who joined shortly thereafter, are in our group. We also boast several members who are regular participants at the Nevil Shute Biennial International Conferences, as well as a few conference Presenters/Speakers. For details, please contact

From Alison Jenner

Would you like to join a new South Wales book group, meeting quarterly, reading and discussing the works of Nevil Shute ?

Books include A Town Like Alice (BBC Top 100), Round the Bend, On the Beach, Trustee from the Toolroom

If so, email me

First meeting suggested for Saturday 20th April, 2012 at a Swansea/M4 corridor location (to be confirmed; depends upon where the most readers come from)

Suggested topic:-In The Wet in print and available from local/online bookshops and libraries

As it's Diamond Jubilee year: 60th anniversary of writing - 2012, 60th anniversary of publication - 2013

""Warning: contains themes still controversial !"


2012 Here in Holland started warm, than it got really cold (by Dutch standards). I even went ice-skating for the first time in about 30 years, on a big, totally frozen lake. Great fun. As I write this, it is half past 8 in the evening and it is still 9°C (49°F) outside.

I hope that you will enjoy reading this newsletter as much as I enjoyed putting it together. See you all next month.