#WillieShakers May 31st 2017

Later, I may well start taking votes but for now the power is mine, all mine!! Perhaps I won't give it up and keep this nice and autocratic...Anyway, a #willieshaker is not an amusingly shaped piece of table furniture for salt & pepper but someone who I believe embodies what #willieshakeswednesday is all about, a true literary artist and poweful influence and contributor in the written world, giants upon whose shoulders we strive to stand!

Mr Neil Gaiman; author of such fine works as The Sandman Series, Neverwhere (seriously underrated, by the way, the book and the mini-series), Stardust (Robert deNiro in makeup and a dress, come on!!), Coraline & American Gods as well as numerous shorts and poetrical works. In my opinion both an extremely humble and unassuming man, a great fatherhis childrenand one of the very best writers out there. American Gods remains top of my favourites list, followed closely by Anansi Boys. Neil has a talent for creating a character like few I have seen, for allowing one to get under that persona's skin and be them. His dark fantasy and occasionally disturbing imagination (wouldn't want to bump into it in a dark alleyway at night) make him compulsive reading. I do admit to not being a fan of the graphic novel, therefore avoiding quite a significant part of Neil's opus but one day I may....American Gods is now a Starz mini series which I have yet to have American TV channels to watch it on (not *cough*download *cough*)...Ian McShane as Mr Wednesday, oh yes!

As subtle a segway as ever you will find! I present you with the late, great, unequalled, inesteemable Sir Terry Pratchett O.B.E.!!! Taken from us much too soon by Alzheimers disease, Sir Terry remains my favourite author of all time (sorry Neil but i know you won't mind). Creator of the incredible Diskworld series which blends great humour, satire, fantasy and social/political commentary with great story telling and true emotion in a way no-one can ever equal I feel. His characters are real and easy to love, hate, loath or burst into snorts of laughter (never read one of his books in a public place!) about, his situations real, to those of us who have read all of his over THIRTY books (including the Truckers & Johnny series), he has created characters we can love and relate to, people we almost imagine we know...they have become archetypes; who does not know a Nanny Ogg, a Sam Vimes, a Dwarf feminist, a Nobby Nobbs? Who is not secretly dreading Death will one day drop by for tea & biscuits? Oh my segway? See above, the true masterpiece of collaboration which is Good Omens; Neil's dark fantasy, twisted characters and acerbic humour combined with Sir terry's characterisation, oddball witches and witch finders and loveable humour! Read it now if you have yet to do so...NOW!!!

"Will Self is a disturbed young man who should probably get professional help as soon as possible" I am sure someone with a beard, or perhaps not said one day. How things have changed though eh? Will is now neither young, nor did he get that help apparently, ah well he's a cracking writer though, no denying it! The first book of Will's which I read was his very inventive Planet of the Apes homage and social commentary Great Apes. Today's world turned on it's head by being a actual Planet of the Apes, not a post apocalyptic wasteland like in the movies but a parallel world of what ifs. His writing is slick and his humour dark and dry, his characters pop and make you want to know more. His disturbed nature peeks through every once in a while when we happen upon chimp orgies and mental breakdowns but then, learning tends to be uncomfortable and Will can truly take one outside of their comfort zone! That's what makes Will so great, he can really get in touch with our squirm factors and play with them in front of us until we either throw up or laugh! Few there are who can manipulate their reader's emotions and feelings so well!

Join us next week for the latest batch of #WillieShakers, on the next #willieshakeswednesday as we seek to honour and explore the best influences in the literary world today. If you have anyone you really think should be in here, let me know; I'll be happy to take a look and twll you what I think. We need this to be a movement, previous joking aside, not a one man band!!

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