Returning readers may notice a difference in the masthead of this blog. I’m now calling it Great War Fiction Plus.

The reason is simple. I started the blog back in 2006, when I was just beginning my Ph.D. research. For many years, Great War material was almost all I read. I’m still interested in the War, obviously, but I think about other things, too.

That is why posts on the blog have been sparser of late. I read and research other subjects, but unless there’s at least a tangential connection with the War, I don’t usually mention them here. Which I’m beginning to think is a pity.

The blog has a faithful following of readers. Not quite so many as during the centenary years, but still a very respectable number. And among those readers are the invaluable ones who tell me when I’ve got something wrong. To you, especial thanks.

The Great War material will still be there for googlers wanting to find it, but I’ll be branching out more into other subjects – mostly to do with literature of the 1900-1930 era, but I won’t hold myself back if I’ve got something to say about earlier or later literature, or about the representation of other wars, or – anything else, really. For instance, I’ll be writing in the next few days about Tom Stoppard’s brilliant new play, Leopoldstadt, and comparing his representation of early twentieth-century Vienna with those of others. I’m looking to be doing quite a bit of research on Kipling and Arnold Bennett during the next few months, so look out for quite a bit of material of them, too.

But if something thought-provoking about the war comes my way, I certainly shan’t neglect to include it.

Anyway this is just to warn you that after fourteen years, I thought it was time for some small changes. But I promise you that they won’t be too drastic.


  1. Tom Deveson
    Posted February 20, 2020 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    I’m looking forward to all of this!

  2. Connie Ruzich
    Posted February 21, 2020 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    Looking forward to the new ideas and future posts!

  3. Andrew Brown
    Posted February 21, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoy your blog so am looking forward to reading anything else that you have to say.

    Posted February 21, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Dear George Simmers,

    Thanks for this update. I’m an intermittent but devoted reader of your posts, and anything you want to do to develop your body of work is fine with me.

    Best wishes,

    Keiren Phelan

  5. Posted February 22, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    All good.

    I bet this will lure you back to First World War fiction, though: Sexton Blake and the Great War. Three stories from The Union Jack, out in April with a couple of other compilations. Curious reading, as the editor discusses with Sexton Blake why certain ‘redactions’ have been made to the original stories.

    • Posted February 22, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for telling me about this. I shall definitely order a copy. Did you know that some copies of the Union Jack are available for download at ?

      It’s a shame about the redactions – to remove racial stereotypes, I suppose. Bowdlerised texts are not nearly so useful to the reader who wants to understand the text in relation to its time.

      • Posted February 23, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        I didn’t know about the Union Jack online; thanks.

        Spot on about the redactions.

      • Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        The silliest redaction I’ve come across is in a fifties reprint of Biggles. The original stories were in Popular Flying magazine – not a boys’ paper, though it doubtless had boy readers. In one story Biggles and Wilkinson compete to destroy a balloon, with a dozen bottles of whisky as the prize. In the fifties, with the purity and health of young readers in mind, the publishers changed this to a dozen bottles of lemonade.
        Most Bowdlerisation looks silly a few decades down the line.

  6. Steve Paradis
    Posted February 25, 2020 at 5:03 am | Permalink

    The truly great events cast long shadows before and after their passing. One of the great short stories in that shadow is “Big Two-Hearted River”, in which not a word is said about war.

  7. Posted February 27, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I am delighted to discover your website. Thank you for making such vital and interesting material available. I am currently researching and writing ‘War Artist’, the story of William Orpen (1878-1931) WW 1 official war artist – his time at the front from Aprol 1917 to war end and then he painted the 3 Peace portraits.

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