Category Archives: reading

Reader Blogging – Eric Tomlinson (EHHoward)

(If you feel like adding to the blog, cut out the questions and include them along with your answers in an email to blogspot at shudalandia dot co dot uk)

First up is myself, Eric (Oz) Tomlinson. Computer consultant, Programmer, Author and self confessed geek.

What was the first piece of fiction to transport you to another world?

Harry Harrison, stainless steel rat. I was intrigued by the silliness of some of it and the cleverness of being able to invent advanced technologies that don’t exist, even in the embryonic stages.


Favourite Author?

CS Lewis. From the Narnia books, to the deeper theology. The Screwtape Letters is simply amazing.

Guilty pleasure author?

Kim Harrison – The Hollows. Rachel Morgan and the rest. All of the volumes. Loved it, but never wanted my hardcore fantasy buddies to know I’d read such a thing. Love/ Kisses/ Vampires … get real.

What genre(s) do you read?

Nothing that comes close to reality. Fantasy and Sci Fi. Some of the vampires and demons series. I enjoyed the mix of demons and steam punk of Cassandra Clare.

What would induce a flinging tantrum sending a book across the room?

Utterly impossible technology. Simple facts not checked. Referring to a shotgun as a rifle kind of thing.

Best book ever – in your humble opinion

Lord Of The Rings

Worst book ever – in your humble opinion

The Player of Games: I know lots of people love it, but Iian M Banks Culture series. I just can’t get near it. The viewpoint shifts jar too much. (Of course everybody hates 50 shades don’t they? – Never got past about the 30th page, never made it to the sex.)

Which fictional location would you visit?

Narnia, Cair Paravel

Which fictional characters would be at your dinner party?

Gandalf, Belgarath, Polgara, Stella (From Amara series – I love her!), Boromir

Which Authors would be at a dinner party?

CS Lewis, Oscar Wilde, Terry Pratchett, Virginia Wolfe, Kim Harrision

Ereader or real book?

EReader every time. Can’t understand why people won’t switch. I had my first Kindle when they had a keyboard on the bottom, I’m currently using a paperwhite, which I love.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

Born in 56, in Manchester England, I’ve just turned 60.

I consider myself one of the luckiest people as far as I love the job I do and people pay me to enjoy every working day.

Been married twice, have three children and up to date seven grandchildren.

I love walking the paths of the ancient Greeks. To tread the beaches of Ithaca, or walk up to the acropolis where Homer might have strolled will reduce me to tears.

I’d love my stories to be able to join the body of fantasy people feel is worth recommending to friends. I want my stories to be read and enjoyed.

Credentials – Part 1

What creates the credentials to start writing?

Many authors always loved words and books from an early age. That wasn’t the case for me. I hated everything to do with school and teacher-led learning.

Throughout my education, I didn’t encounter a single book I enjoyed reading. I struggled through the Lord of the Rings, because everybody else raved about it. I completed it, but didn’t immediately sink into the world. That came much later.

p100Leaving school as soon as I could, I was in employment at 16. Rapid career shifts placed me working for the adding machine company – Burroughs, just at the point where they were making the move to electronic computing.

I certainly attribute my steampunk/ gearwheel tendencies to fixing mechanical adding machines. I had one client, a Jewish accountant company who possessed a black cased, manual adding machine they said it had come over from America in the war.

I loved that machine. I visited it to polish the case. (The new ones were grey crinkle covered steel, or worse, plastic.)  The black enamel would polish to a shine you could see your face in.

The keyboard had deeply inlaid keys worn smooth with use. Inside the case I lavished love with an oil bottle and a cloth so that it gleamed.

Of course, I shouldn’t have been giving so much attention to a single machine, I should have been out in the rain on the streets of Manchester with my tool bag, but what the heck. I don’t take full responsibility for the collapse of Burroughs. I was just a minor cog.

Ray, an older engineer, invited me around to dinner. I was stunned to see how many books he had on the shelf. He selected Harry Harrison, Stainless Steel Rat and suggested I tried it. He wouldn’t lend me his copy. Yes, he was one of those kind of readers.

I owned my 65p copy for over forty years. Where my beloved books went is another story entirely.

At the age of 23 I started on the track of light science fiction. I became one of those readers who is reluctant to lend a book out. I developed a hate for any who might consider putting a coffee mug ring on a cover.