About Stoney Durdles

Online Bookseller - Science Fiction - Fantasy - Modern Firsts - Comics - Vintage Paperbacks - Military - Modeling - Transport

Ravi Shankar 7 April 1920- 11 December 2012 RIP

It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of Ravi Shankar, sitar maestro and composer at the age of 92. We saw Ravi Shankar in 2011 at Birmingham Symphony Hall, it was one of the most jaw dropping musical events we have attended – simply brilliant. Ravi, a gentle slightly frail man alternatively caressing and thrashing the sitar with gusto and creating, with his fellow musicians, an all-enveloping sound. We will never forget that evening, and wish to extend our sympathies to those who knew, cared and worked with him, over the years.

Here is an obituary of his life and work.

The clip here is from Sidney, Australia 2011, from the same concert tour that we saw in Birmingham, so gives an slight flavor of the evening that we had.

If you want to listen to more Ravi Shankar playing, I can suggest the albums that he did with the virtuoso violinist Yehudi Menuhin as a great starting point. Shankar wrote the violin parts for Yehudi in the Indian style and the collaboration is a fine example of two masters of their instruments creating something even greater than parts. If you wish to hear a more traditional Indian sound with lazy gentle sitar, or fast climatic sitar do not know what you are looking for then think ragas – you will see on some track listings Afternoon Raga slower gentle piece, or Evening Raga mostly faster – I know, for those who know (Rasikas), that this is overly simplistic, but works for me.

For regualr readers I am very much hoping that the next post on this blog should be SF or book related, rather than an obituary to a someone who has inspired or touched us with their life and work.

Sir Patrick Moore 4 March 1923 – 9 December 2012 RIP

It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of Patrick Moore astronomer, television presenter and writer.  Sir Patrick was an inspiration to many people, and an entertaining presenter to many more. We will miss him from the Sky at Night very much, and wish to extend our sympathies to those who knew, cared and worked with him, over the years.   

Sir Patrick Moore obituary

Patrick Moore: gentleman, astronomer and master of the universe remembered by Brian May




 Well it is a week since we came back from Novacon42 in Nottingham.  We had a great time meeting with old friends and meeting lots of new friends too. 

 The hotel made a great venue for the con, with very good facilities, including Black Sheep ale on tap in the bar!  We were located in the dealer room, which was generally pretty busy.  We had many very interesting conversations with our customers regarding both the books we were selling and general aspects of science fiction and book collecting.  As this was our first con and we are a start-up, it was also good to meet other booksellers such as Andy Richards of Cold Tonnage and Brian from Porcupine Books. I found our conversations to be particularly enlightening with regard to selling at cons.


We spent a couple of frantic hours setting up.  After we had finished we stepped back and admired our work.  It was then that an unexpected, and most surprising, thing hit us…. What great stock we have and how great it looked.  When you sell on the internet, 99% of the time your stock is boxed or shelved, so we had never seen our stock displayed as you would with a bricks and mortar business.  It was a real pleasure to see row upon row of excellent quality books, in terms of both condition and the depth of established authors.


Durdles Books tables at Novacon42

Our tables at Novacon42 with some great books for sale.

Dealer room at Novacon42



During the course of the conference we were introduced to a number of people whom I had wanted to meet for a long time.  We were introduced to Rog Peyton who ran Andromeda Books, a very well -known and respected Science Fiction bookshop in Birmingham.  Over the weekend we spent a lot of time with Rog and very much enjoyed his company, and stories about book selling and fandom.  Rog is on the committee of the Birmingham Science Fiction Group who organised Novacon42. 


We also met artist David Hardy, a man whose work I have admired for a long time.  David produces beautiful space art which has graced the covers of many magazines and book covers, some of which, no doubt, you will have in your own collections.  He has illustrated books by Sir Patrick Moore, and has published a number of books of his art.  Hardyware: The Art of David A Hardy, is an excellent collection of his work. He also compiled and wrote Visions of Space: Artists Journey Through the Cosmos, featuring the art of 72 leading space artists going back to 1874. More recently David has released Aurora: A Child of Two Worlds, a revised updated edition of his first novel.  I recommend that you visit David’s site AstroArt to see his work and marvel.


David was also responsible for one of the highlights at Novacon42; the official launch and premiere of the Road to the Stars DVD.  The film was originally made in 1957 by a Russian film director Pavel Klushantsev, and there has never been an English version until David decided that there should be. He replaced the narration with English captions, and had sound-track mastered using specially-written music by The Light Dreams Music.

We later met the talented guy behind The Light Dreams, Alex Storer. Alex creates electronic music, and cites his influences as Jarre, Mike Oldfield, and Numan amongst others.  If you like soundscapes or electronic music you will enjoy his output.  I have subsequently found out that Alex also runs a John Foxx fan site, called Quiet City .  If like me, you like John Foxx’s music then you’ll get some idea where Alex is on the musical spectrum.  Not only is Alex creative in music, he is also a super artist and a number of his works were displayed in the art room at Novacon. You can listen to his music and see his art at his website http://thelightdream.net/ His John Foxx fan site can also be found here… http://www.quietcity.co.uk/ 

For us, Novacon was a very enjoyable and successful weekend.  As you can see we met some very interesting people, and enjoyed the experience of our first con…  oh yeah,  we also sold some books too!  We must thank the BSFG for their excellent organisation of the con, and also John Peters, for his advice and help over the whole weekend.  We are very much looking forward to being at next year’s conference, roll on November!

Please leave comments if you were at Novacon42 , we would enjoy hearing your experiences….Cheers!


Durdles Books will be at Novacon42 – Nottingham

Durdles Books will be at Novacon42 – Nottingham

We are very pleased to announce that Durdles Books will be at Novacon42, 9th – 11th November 2012 at Park Inn Hotel, Nottingham.

Novacon is the UK’s longest-established regional science fiction convention, held every autumn since 1971, and is organised by the Birmingham Science Fiction Group (BSFG). We have not attended this convention before and are looking forward to meeting with some of our customers and friends.  We will be located in the dealer room, and will have a large stock of Science Fiction and Fantasy books, with a smattering of Modern Firsts and other interesting items for the book collector. 

If you are planning to attend then please do come and see us in the dealer room – we will be delighted to meet you.  If you have not made your plans yet then visit the Novacon web site for further programme and booking details. You may also be interested in visiting the BSFG web site to see their monthly meeting programme here

Image from Novacon42 web site

Hope to see you there!

Cheers Ian

News: More books ….

In the last week we have added a further 50 books to our online inventory.  The newly listed books include a number of good Fantasy hardbacks, including some first editions. There are also some interesting biographical books, for instance about Graham Greene, or a cigar! We also have a nice condition autobiography of Jack Hawkins, the actor, which was published after his death, with the final (upsetting) chapter written by his widow.  Jack Hawkins was a very masculine looking actor who played the stage prior to the war. After the war he starred in films but is mostly known today for his character roles in successful films like The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, Lord Jim, and Oh! What a Lovely War.

I am currently working on a couple of future blog posts featuring a couple of interesting books (one SF the other an artistic puzzle book) that have come to light from our existing stock.  So hope you will check back in the next week, or two to have a look at them.  

We have also being busy sourcing some additional stock, the more interesting of which I shall detail in further post, soon. 

Have a great week, cheers!



We are open! Selling books.

Hi All

I am very happy and proud to announce that Durdles Books is now officially open. 

I really hope that you can get to www.durdlesbooks.com and take a look.  We are in the process of creating our inventory, and so the number of books on the site will increase over the next few weeks.

Please let us know if there are any books you are specifically looking for, we have huge un-inventoried stock.  Also let us know if you have any suggestions or comments about any aspect of the stock or site functionality.

See you soon …




Sad times at Durdles Books

It was with great sadness that we learned of the Death of two great men recently.

Firstly the sad passing of Harry Harrison on 15th August 2012.

As many of you will know Harry was a great author of Science fiction stories, often with big helpings of fast adventure, dangerous planets, and humour. I remember the joy of finding a new Harry Harrison story at second hand book shops when I was a very young man, as I knew that I was about to read an exciting tale.  I read Make Room, Make Room which had a profound impact on me, ensuring that I sought out other authors who wrote about overpopulation. 

Reflecting on this, it now appears that whilst still enjoying the straightforward adventure SF this was a turning point for me to reading a wider range of writers, dealing with the effects of technological and social change. 

We send our condolences to those who loved and knew him.


A full obituary written by Christopher Priest, can be found here


Neil Armstrong passed away on 25th August 2012.


There is little to say about him that has not already being said.  There is no accolade too great to express what he and his fellow crew members achieved in July 1969.  For myself, I have very hazy memories of a lot of people, my family, grandparents and some neighbours, in our living room watching either the actual landing programme or the news of the landing.  Neil Armstrong, not long after returning from the moon, predicted that men would go to Mars in the 1980’s.  At least he lived to hear a commitment from a President towards fulfilling that goal.

A full obituary can be found here

New Stock – Vintage Western Paperbacks

“He had a score to settle with three gunslingers, and all of Texas was too small for them to hide..”

We have a good quantity of vintage western papebacks that we shall be listing soon.  They are generally in fine order and mostly unread. They are all british edtions from Corgi, Gold Medal and Panther, published mid 50’s to 60’s.  So if you collect western paperacks then you will enjoy looking though our stock list at www.durdlesbooks.com

A small random selection…

Small selection of new Western Vintage paperbacks