TeleRead is fortunate enough to be attending the CrimeFest 2018 tenth anniversary international crime fiction convention in Bristol. According to the organizers, CrimeFest is “not only one of the biggest crime fiction events in Europe, but also one of the most popular dates in the international crime fiction calendar.” Participating authors this year include John Banville, Simon Brett, Lee Child (he of the Jack Reacher series), Martina Cole, Jeffery Deaver, Ruth Dudley Edwards, Emma Kavanagh, and many, many more – in fact, over 150, according to CrimeFest.
CrimeFest will take place at the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel on Bristol’s College Green, on May 17th-20th, 2018. As per the usual convention format, the authors, expert witnesses, and other luminaries will be scattered across multiple tracks, tackling themes from “Climate Change: Cold Crimes And Hot Homicides” to “Domestic Malice: When Your Partner Can’t Be Trusted.” For aspiring crime authors, there will be a Pitch an Agent event, The CrimeFest Awards will be presented at the CrimeFest Gala Awards Dinner on Saturday May 19th.
I’m especially looking forward to the “Cold Chills: A Touch of The Supernatural” and “It’s All In The Mind: Psychology, Obsession and Paranoia” panels, but the whole event looks like a jamboree of nefarious and sinister doings. Watch this space for more on-the-spot reporting from CrimeFest 2018 later in the week.
Crimes tales set in Great Britain used to be all the more fascinating because they took place in a society that was so restrained and lacking in violence. Many stories increased that effect by placing murders in small villages or elegant mansions. But given the country’s high crime rates and increasing murder rates, that’s no longer true. Writing about murder in the UK is becoming like writing about the heat in the Sahara.
Equally depressing is the fact that the country’s authorities seem utterly clueless as to the causes and are descending into madness. Soon Brits will be eating with their fingers because their Orwellian government has banned not just knives but also forks and perhaps spoons. About a half-hour spent on a grinder will turn a spoon into a lethal weapon.
What next? Stripping the country of rocks, which make quite handy weapons? How about cutting down all its trees, since their branches can be turned into clubs? Indeed tools such as hammers and screwdrivers, walking sticks (already under a semi-ban), could be added. The list is endless.
A smart author wouldn’t bother with crime fiction set in the UK. He’d focus on dramatizing the country’s growing top-down insanity. He’d put 1984 in a more recent context. One almost everyone could recognize.
And never forget that 1984 is about the rule of Ingsoc (English socialism) and is based on Orwell’s own experience on the fringes of the British left. Believing that 2 + 2 = 5, as Big Brother demands, is no different from forcing people to accept an endless series of sexual identities than now number in the dozens.
I grew up in the madness of racial segregation in the Old South. I’m increasingly ticked off to be forced to live in a society afflicted with a similar madness about sex. I never seem to escape ideological insanity or as Orwell put it, the “smelly little orthodoxies.” Like him, I want to ridicule this madness.