Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Good news: There are plans to reprint the Uncle books

An Economist article from December 2005 said:
The “Uncle” stories of J.P. Martin, which focus on the doings of the eponymous hero, an elephant and benevolent dictator, were first published in the 1960s, and still enjoy a cult following. But they are now out of print. Indeed much of the “Uncle” canon is virtually unobtainable. Second-hand copies are snapped up by fanatical devotees and first editions go for hundreds of pounds. 
The slide of Uncle books into obscurity would have surprised some of the original reviewers. The Times Literary Supplement called the books “spellbinding”, the Observer predicted that they could become “a classic in the great English nonsense tradition”, while the Times Educational Supplement likened the books to Alice in Wonderland, a comparison that has been made many times since.
And as I explained when marking 20 years of Lord Bonkers:
I loved the Uncle books by the Revd J.P. Martin when I was a boy and only recently did I notice that their hero, who lived in a castle, had lots of friends and adventures and was given to very public acts of philanthropy, bears a remarkable resemblance to a certain Rutland peer.
The good news is that there are now serious plans to republish the Uncle books. Marcus Gipps writes about them on the project's KickStarter page:
I'm proposing to produce an omnibus edition of all six novels, with very high production standards, for £30 plus postage. I think you'll agree that's a major saving on the current cost of putting together a collection of all six books in tatty ex-library editions.
The book will include all of Quentin Blake's illustrations - the Uncle books were one of his first commissions and his style is an integral part of their overall appeal. It is also possible two buy a two-CD set of the Revd J.P. Martin reading from the books when ordering Marcus's omnibus volume.

You can read more about the project on Marcus's KickStarter page and also use it to make pledges towards funding the project. Me? I shall be buying the book and the CDs.

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