Invisible’s got an excellent, tense plot, shifting between the two main characters, with a good number of surprises along the way. Poulson always has great, strong women characters, with real lives and feelings . . .  I liked the fact that the depictions of violence and injury were realistic without being over-detailed or gloating . . . It was a pleasure to find a book that did the excitement, the jeopardy and the thrills without putting off this reader . . .  a very good read for anyone.’


State of the Art

imagesA week or two ago I wanted to track down a short story. I thought it was probably by a writer called Margaret Irwin. I remembered what it was about, but I wasn’t sure of the title. Quarter of an hour later I was reading it on my ebook reader. I’d found the writer on Wikipedia, identified the story and the collection it was in, and bought it.

My daughter’s generation take all this absolutely for granted, but to me it still seems little short of miraculous. I think back to the early 1980s when I was writing my Ph.d thesis on Arthurian legend in fine and applied art 1840-1920. I wrote to every museum and art gallery in the UK. Now I expect their collections are all on-line and I could have done all that research in a day or two. As for actually writing it, I had a Smith Corona electric typewriter – just like the one in the picture. It was absolutely state of the art and I cherished it. You didn’t have to mess about with Typex. You could put in a correction tape. Magic! I typed many drafts of my thesis on it. The final draft was typed by a professional typist. It was a year or two after that that I bought my first computer – an Amstrad.

To track down that Margaret Irwin short story, I would have had to leave the house and go to a library, and a large one at that,  preferably a copyright library such as the British Library. To own a copy, I would probably have had to trawl the second-hand book shops (and would no doubt have found other books that I didn’t know I wanted until I saw them). Now nothing need go out of print any more and previously out-of-print books are having a new life as ebooks. But, still, I think I’ll always enjoy a rummage in a second-hand book shop.


  1. Naomi
    February 3, 2015

    Did you enjoy the story? What is it about?
    I appreciate convenience of technology and love “real” books too. Many of my friends take strong sides but I see the advantages of both e- and print books.
    It’s great to able to read on the phone while waiting for the bus or train or even on the supermarket checkout line. At the same time there’s nothing so wonderful as paper and print and no worries about an iPad’s diminishing battery.

    • Christine Poulson
      February 4, 2015

      The story’s called ‘The Earlier Service’ and is a tale of the supernatural. It’s well written – and not too scary. I agree about print books. I couldn’t do without them, but it’s good to have both.


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