For some time now I`ve been posting my recent interview with Sexton Blake author Mark Hodder on this blog in instalments.
Parts 1 - 3 apppeared on 8, 15 and 19 October respectively so now it must be time for Part Four !
Q) From comments you`ve posted online* I would think you have a very different worldview to that of Blake, yet you clearly have an enduring fascination with his world. Why do you think that is ?
A) Yep. There you have Blake upholding the superiority of the British Empire and British principles and British character...and here you have me putting the boot in at every opportunity.
Here`s the truth. When you look at propaganda it tells you more about what it`s seeking to defeat than what it`s striving to support. It`s that old truism of psychology : listen to how people insult others, for it reveals what they`re most deeply afraid of.
Blakes` world is intriguing to me because, in the early years, it is so crammed with self-confidence : this is right, that is wrong, end of story. That unquestioning attitude then gets a kick in the teeth with the First World War , and we have this sudden explosion of super-criminals most of whom can be read as physically or psychologically damaged, or as people who can no longer understand how they fit into society.
The Second World War knocks the Blake world even harder. Now the adventures are suddenly about ordinary people effected by crime, as if all the big world-spanning ideas and conflicts have been relocated to the average persons` kitchen. Aristocracy becomes an irrelevance. And on into the `50s and `60s , during which time Blake hardly represents anything but himself, in a manner that often feels rather empty and soulless.
So for me, the Blake saga, from beginning to end, is a historical document, but rather than examining history from on high, as historians tend to do, it observes it from pavement level and so gives a far better feel for how the world was.
That concludes Part Four of my interview with Mark Hodder, author of The Silent Thunder Caper and one of the contributors to the short story collection Zenith Lives. Both titles can be acquired from publisher Obverse Books at http://obversebooks.co.uk .
Part Five will be along soon, so watch this space !
* "The capitalist system, in divorcing itself from social responsibility, has so undermined itself that people are now waking up and fighting back." Mark Hodder - `More Thoughts on Steampunk` - Mark Hodder Presents, 27 Feb 2012 ( http://markhodder.blogspot.co.uk ).