Sunday, December 29, 1996

Testimony: The Magical Mystery Muse

by John Hammink, North Karelia, Finland (Dec. 29, 1996)
(Originally published at the

It was one of those long, hot, boring summers after elementary school. Having just refused another neighborhood baseball game, the book, lying torn and dusty in a cool corner of the basement, caught my eye. Crumbling pages, tattered, a little moldy, like Uncle Jonathan's copies of the John L. Stoddard lectures. I picked up the book and began perusing Edward Gorey's creepy cover art. "...the year was 1948..." I found myself suddenly plunged into a tale of a boy like myself: traveling to a new town to live with an uncle whom he'd never met, the boy himself shy, geeky and unable to keep new friends. The poker game in the front parlor with Mrs. Zimmerman had me as full of anticipation just after I walked in the front door of that humongous house. I was as anxious to explore the rest of the novel as Lewis was to explore the mansion. I related to the downsides of Lewis's life as well---the boredom with most of his peers, rejection by the hooting, hollering athletic boys, Tarby and his associated foolishness and popularity. (And who can forget the scene where Lewis goes to Tarby's nuclear-family zoo of a house!)

Wednesday, April 3, 1996

Saturday, February 24, 1996

Testimony: The Boy, the Book, and the Magician

by Jonathan Abucejo (Feb. 24, 1996)
(Originally published at the

Sounds like the name of a new novel coming out by John Bellairs, doesn't it? The title has all the classic Bellairs elements: a grouping of three items; one being an object (usually magical in origin) and another a supernatural being of some sort (recall The Mummy, the Will, and the Crypt or The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring). However, the title refers to myself. I was (and many ways, still am) that "boy"; the "book" happened to be The House With the Clock in Its Walls; and the "magician" was a master storyteller, spawning adventures akin to a wizard casting a fantastic, arcane spell... yes, the magician was John Bellairs.

Friday, February 9, 1996

Testimony: The Magic of John Bellairs

by Brad Strickland (Feb. 9, 1996)
(Originally published at the
Several centuries (or so) ago, in a country whose name doesn't matter, there was a tall, skinny, straggly-bearded old wizard named Prospero, and not the one you're thinking of, either."

John Bellairs' wonderful opening to his unique, funny, scary fantasy novel The Face in the Frost captivated me immediately the first time I read it, back in the early seventies. As the plot unfolds, Roger Bacon joins Prospero (Bacon is on the lam from a magical mistake in England that left all the beaches littered with broken glass). Just in time, too, for an old nemesis of Prospero's, a magician who studied under Michael Scott with him, has mastered a deadly magic that threatens to engulf all the world. . . .

Monday, January 29, 1996

An Announcement from Brad Strickland

Brad Strickland, writing at the Compleat Bellairs:
The entire run of Bellairs books for younger readers has been optioned by a film production company. It's a long way from optioning to actual production, but the dramatizations will probably come out in the same order as the original books, roughly speaking; although I do suspect that the six Lewis/Rose Rita stories may be the first set, then the Johnny Dixon [series], and then the Anthony Mondays. Keep your fingers crossed that the adaptors won't make these too childish or silly! I'll keep you posted as I learn more. Right now, I don't even know the name of the production company that has optioned the books.

CompleatBellairs: More Brad Strickland Commentary

by Brad Strickland (Jan. 29, 1996)
(Originally published at the

Friday, January 26, 1996