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[personal profile] chatringer
Just finished re-reading The Ballet Family Again by Jean Estoril. A minor character is Tarn Marlow, the not very nice brief girlfriend of the son of the family. I was just wondering if she could be the unpleasant cousin Nicola mentions at the start of Autumn Term?
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I have just discovered, randomly, this blog, with an 8-part read-along of Autumn Term.  Don't know if anybody else has come across it, but it seems worth a read.
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I wondered if anyone else had read the school stories of Evelyn Smith, writing in the 1920s and someone Forest remembered reading though not one of her favourites? Lovely characterisation. They're republished and on kindle at the moment for £4 or so each. Seven Sisters at Queen Anne's has a few striking turns of phrase and themes which recur in Autumn Term; stern head, for example, leaving girls feeling 'bruised' and telling one that 'The prefect system has had a long and successful record at Q Anne's, X, and I should be sorry if it were to be spoiled, particularly sorry if it were to be spoiled when you were head girl...';large family,youngest sibling with trailing stockings, and a hugely successful play for those excluded from school event written up hastily in exercise books. Things which stuck in the mind, perhaps!
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(or, have your mods gone entirely round the bend? The answer, very probably)

As [ profile] scarletlobster recently reminded me, seven years ago [ profile] thewhiteowl and I were amusing ourselves by writing versions of the Marlows books in LOLCAT dialogue. (We never actually sourced any pictures of cats because it would have been too much work, and anyway, can you imagine the wars about whether Miss Ferguson should be a Scottish Fold or a foxy-looking ginger?)

As the fandom has been going through a renaissance due to [ profile] lilliburlero and associates' great work on the readthroughs, I thought I'd link to the posts again so that people who missed them the first time round can share in the silliness.

Autumn Term, The Marlows And The Traitor, The Ready-Made Family, The Attic Term

Run Away Home

The Thuggery Affair

Falconer's Lure, End Of Term, The Cricket Term, Peter's Room


Jun. 29th, 2014 12:57 pm
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I have put my first fanfic onto my journal. I may have lowered the bar sufficiently for others to try too!

Where Giles was going in Port Wade

Hope you enjoy it and I look forward to reading more from others.
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Chapter 16: A Question of elocution )

Chapter 17: The Prince and the Pauper )

Chapter 18: Marie Puts Her Foot in It )

Chapter 19: Holidays Begin Tomorrow )

ET, FIN. Have at it!

Thanks to everyone who’s participated so generously in the discussion of this first book in the series. It’s been rather a success, I think, though it would be vulgar beyond measure to actually say so without reservation, so I’ll make some nervously sardonic deprecatory gesture instead, you ghastly lot of windbags: racking up a total of some 230-odd comments so far. I’ve enjoyed it trimmensely, and unlike the Prince and the Pauper it really was a community effort, so thank you all very much for your generous, illuminating and inspired contributions.

We’ll be moving on to The Marlows and the Traitor next week; I’ll put up the first discussion post for that next Friday. It’s rare and expensive compared to Autumn Term, but if you haven’t a copy, [ profile] coughingbear and [ profile] nzraya can help: just send either of them a pm.

Thanks again, looking forward to more!
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Chapter 8: A Court of Honour )

Chapter 9: Half term )

Chapter 10: Kitchen and Jumble )

Another rather epic post. I'm sure there's lots I've missed nonetheless, do feel free to raise topics in the comments.
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Thanks to everybody who commented in the first discussion post. It's been a roaring success, generating over 70 comments at the last count and still rumbling gently on.

These are longish chapters by the standard of the book overall, so I'm going to split the discussion between a couple of posts.

Chapter 6: A New Patrol )

Chapter 7: A First Class Hike )

As ever, these represent only a few of the things I'm interested in; do feel free to raise topics in the comments.
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I'm just going to plunge in straight away with some suggestions for things you might like to discuss, but do feel free to raise topics and questions in the comments.  If you don't have an LJ and you're commenting anonymously, please sign your comments.

Chapter 1: A Knife with Sixteen Blades )

Chapter 2: 'A Fine of Five Pounds...' )

Chapter 3: A Form Examination )

Chapter 4: Tim Bags a Desk-- )

Chapter 5: --And Nicola Loses It )

This has already been rather an epic post: so I think I'll leave it there. I'm sure there's much I've missed, so do feel free to suggest other topics for discussion in the comments. Looking forward to all your thoughts! Do feel free to link to other blog posts or fic that you think might be of interest, too.

Note: Comments contain spoilers for other books in the series.
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I'm delighted by the level of interest in a Marlows series readthrough and discussion.  Given the number of people who want to participate, I thought it might be best to host it here at [ profile] trennels rather than on my personal journal.  I'll link to the discussion in a public post on my personal journal each week, with comments closed so the discussion doesn't get broken up.

Please do feel free to publicise the readthrough in your journals, in comms or on other sites where you think there might be interest.

You don't need an lj or any other social media account to participate, but in line with [ profile] trennels posting policy, could you please sign any comment you make with a name or pseudonym.  Multiple anon. comments obviously get confusing.  If people end up posting with the same name or pseud--well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

There's no obligation to comment on every post--on the other hand, the more discussion the better, so please do feel free to comment whenever you're moved to.

My feeling is that it would be best to read the twentieth-century set books in publication order, followed by the two historical novels. Thus:

Autumn Term
The Marlows and the Traitor
Falconer's Lure
End of Term
Peter's Room
The Thuggery Affair

The Ready Made Family
The Cricket Term
The Attic Term
Run Away Home

The Player's Boy
The Players and the Rebels

Many of these novels are difficult and costly to obtain.  If you don't have a particular novel then please send me a private message and I'll put you in touch with someone who can make one available for you. If you haven't got an lj, please comment below, with [Title] Request in the subject line.

We'll move at a relatively leisurely pace, perhaps between 3-5 chapters (Forest's chapters are quite short)  a week, which will mean we'll read through each novel in about a month.  If that turns out to be too slow, we can always speed up; easier I think than slowing down.  That will mean the readthrough will stretch into 2015, but for those of you interested in fanfic, I hope there'll be some traction for the Yuletide fanfic exchange.

Autumn Term is quite easy to obtain, and I imagine that most people have a copy, or they wouldn't be here at all.  Just in case, though:
Buy it here on
Here is Addall, a price-comparison site for second-hand books: there are usually lots of second-hand copies of Autumn Term available for low prices.

I'll post each Friday, inviting discussion on the named chapters, beginning on 23rd May 2014.  That'll give people the weekend to start a discussion, though of course you're free to comment whenever you like.

Autumn Term reading schedule

23rd May: Chapters 1-5
30th May: Chapters 6-10
6th June: Chapters 11-15
13th June: Chapters 16-19

Here is a wonderful blogpost on Autumn Term. Do feel free to make blog or fic recommendations during the course of the discussion.

Is this agreeable to everyone?  Please do feel free to make comments, suggestions, or ask questions below.
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I'm thinking of organising a chapter-by-chapter readthrough discussion of the Marlows series on my LJ (mostly flocked, but the discussion posts will be public). I'm hoping to begin in a couple of weeks time with Autumn Term, and take a relatively leisurely pace, maybe a book or so a month, so for most of the books three-five (short) chapters a week? For the later, out-of-print, more difficult-to-obtain books I hope to find a distribution system of some kind for those who wish to participate.  Anybody interested / got any suggestions?
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Have just been reading End of Term and was struck by how vicious  Tim is to Nicola and how much it is not really ever explained why.  What has gone wrong since Autumn Term when Tim and Nicola seemed as good if not better friends to Tim and Lawrie?  I can see what Lawrie gets out of the relationship but what's in it for Tim? And what is going on in those conversations when Lawrie says she must talk to Tim - is Tim just nodding and sympathising and agreeing how awful Nicola is? if so, it doesn't sound much like the Tim we see the rest of the time...I am confused.
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This is a follow up from something in the previous thread about Autumn Term, but I thought it might be clearer in its own topic.  What exactly was the role of Third Remove and then Middle Remove?  Were they classes that pupils were in for a short period of time in order to get special coaching and then move up, or were they in any way like the bottom stream in a comprehensive school, where some people stayed all the way through school?  There doesn't seem to be a Lower Fifth Remove so what happened then? Did you have to leave school if you weren't up to the A or B  forms by that point?  In fact we never hear about a Second or First Remove either (although we don't hear much about 'the juniors' anyway so that maybe is not surprising).   Was anyone at a school, or knows of a school, which had Remove classes (and why were they called Removes?!).
It's interesting too that Third Remove is considered too delicate for netball, or indeed anything very interesting - that implies either that it was a 'catch up' class for those who had had one of those mysterious long term illnesses girls seemed to get in the early 20th century (or at least in early 20th century children's books) or that it was for those who actually had physical ailments which stopped them being able to do the full amount of school work (although who knows what that might be?).  Nowadays you might think that the bottom stream in a school would be encouraged to do things like netball and drama in the hope that they would develop their non-academic talents!
Anyway, this has always puzzled me since I was a child reading AF and I'd love to hear what others think/know. 
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I've just been re-reading Autumn Term, which I haven't done for ages, and don't do nearly so often as the others.  Somehow Nicola (in particular, the others to an extent)  just doesn't totally seem in character for me there.  I know she's always busy and energetic, but somehow the fidgeting, never sitting still, can't settle to read a book, not wanting to be contemplative, etc doesn't sound like her really, nor the physical fighting with Pomona, or the running away to Port Wade and trying to be bad.  I could have seen her thinking through her dilemmas, and deciding somehow what was the honourable thing to do about the desks or something, but just fighting about it feels a bit strange.  (Not to mention wondering just how she escaped for many hours at a time, when later in the series, dashing out to find a phone box or other errands is so impossible for several of the girls!).  I know she's young in this book, and I know that the events of the Marlows and the Traitors would have had a big effect on her and made her grow up a lot by the next books.  And maybe that's all it is.  But somehow, I can't stop sort of 'discounting' Autumn Term as a bit of a trial book, where the characters weren't really decided on, not intended to be a series, and I tend to see the series actually beginning, with the real characters as I see them for most of the series, in Falconer's Lure.  (Not that the characters don't change after that, but just that to me, it feels somewhat more consistent).  Certainly there are many grains of those characters in Autumn Term, and many things that are perfectly consistent, but there are some things that still don't really ring true with me, and that there is more of a difference between that book and the rest, than between the others.  (On the other hand, some of the school-based characters, such as Tim, do seem to be proper characters from Autumn Term on, and seem to develop more consistently).

Does anyone else feel that the series really gets going somewhere else other than the beginning?

(And I do love Autumn Term, too, for not being the classic school story, for the interesting characters, for the play, for the true-to-life description of Guides, and loads of other reasons).
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I read all the four school Marlow books as a child and absolutely loved them, read them 100s of times etc.  Now I have rediscovered them and realised only for the first time that there were others - I just thought that all the references to the holidays and falcons etc were things which happened 'off-stage', as it were.  So I acquired a version of the GGB Thuggery Affair, but found it really hard going and nothing like as good as the school books.  In fact I gave up once altogether, and then came back to it and managed to finish but wasn't hugely impressed..  I have also acquired The Ready Made Family which I enjoyed much more, but still, not as much as the school books. 
Given that it requires a fair amount of time and money to acquire the rarer Marlow books, it is really worth the struggle? Or are the school books the most popular for a reason?  What do you think - does anyone actually prefer the non-school books?   I don't want to spend a lot of effort on them only to wish that I'd kept to the school books and kept my memories of AF as good as they were!

And also what do you think of the historical ones? Are they as good, and do they connect to the later Marlows in any way apart from the characters being called Marlowe?
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Maybe it's time to talk about Tim Keith.  Don't think there have been previous threads about her.  

I was recently struck by a bit in the otherwise not especially informative Marlows and their Maker about the creation of Tim.  Apparently AF was writing Autumn Term without her, and her friend (GB Stern) said why shouldn't the twins make use of being the head girls sisters, and how she had always wanted to read a school story with a headmistress's niece who did take full advantage - and hey, presto, the character was born.  AF completely rewrote the book.  And AF commented that she never really felt that Tim was one of "her" characters as a result.

Reading Autumn Term and End of Term, especially as a child, I never liked Tim.  She could be so intensely, bitingly hateful to people (mainly Nicola).   But rereading the early Marlow stories recently as an adult - Falconer's Lure and Marlows and the Traitor - I have been rather off put by the feel of the books, the undiluted establishment-y feel of the naval/gentry Marlows, and I wonder if what I am missing is Tim's presence, which adds that subversive voice?  Without her, Autumn Term would be a very different book, and a lot duller.  Then again, I prefer Cricket Term of the school stories, where Tim has moved somewhat to the sidelines - been tamed, almost.  I'm not sure AF knows quite what to do with her, from that point.  Will she become head girl?  What will happen to her?

Any Tim haters/fans out there?  What do you think?
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If I actually post this in the correct community, it would be a start wouldn't it? *sigh*

I have a really quick query, basically how old is Giles in RAH?

I think his age is mentioned in Autumn Term so I could work it out, but I've lent my copy to someone.

Thanks - it's bugging me :D
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(Mods- I hope this is OK, if not please delete)

I've just been decluttering my book shelves, and I have a duplicate of Autumn Term. It's a scruffy falling apart copy of the 1977 Puffin edition, but if anybody would like it as a reading copy, let me know, as it's going free to a good home...
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Let's hope this works. I have finally remembered my user name, but it's taken me ages to remember how to post a new message instead of a comment...

Anyway, I've always wondered what the various Marlow siblings were like as children, and a comment in the thread below about prequels made me think about it even more. I find the twins different in Autumn Term than pretty much everywhere else, somehow very much younger (Nick jumping out of the train, etc). And I'd be curious about how much all the others changed as they grew up, too. It would be easiest to write a prequel with them all much as they are now - Ann being very good, Rowan still supremely confident, Kay very academic, but I think that would be losing something. Was Rowan as insecure as Nick sometimes is about her capabilities? Was Ann always so at peace with helping everyone, or did she sometimes resent it more as a child? Was Karen ever silly? How did Ginty's bomb shelter experience change her? Was she always pretty, and did she notice as a child, or is some of her shallowness later on a result of that? What was Lawrie like before she realised she was supremely good at acting? (and indeed, was that actually known before the play in Autumn Term? It seemed like it was really sort of discovered then - was Nick always seen as the one who was best at everything before then?) Did Peter hide his fears just as well as a child? (I guess we get some clues in Falconer's Lure, that Patrick at least knew some of them. Come to that, we also hear a little about Nick as a child in that one too, wanting to trail after the boys), and a million other similar questions... So, what do you think all the characters were like as children??


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