James Bow

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James Bow

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Born
in Toronto, ON, Canada
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May 2008

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I was born in downtown Toronto on April 19, 1972 and lived there until my folks moved up to Kitchener in 1991 so I could attend the University of Waterloo. I’ve lived in Kitchener ever since. I’ve been trained as an urban planner, and I’ve worked as a database manager, web designer, circulation manager, administrative assistant, layout designer and office manager. The one consistent thing about my varied academic and professional career has been a love of writing.

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James Bow My ideas come from a number of sources. The oldest file I have in my directory containing all my "Icarus Down" drafts is entitled "World Kite" and it…moreMy ideas come from a number of sources. The oldest file I have in my directory containing all my "Icarus Down" drafts is entitled "World Kite" and it says:

"Last night I dreamed about a boy who built himself a kite to fly around the world. It wasn't a pleasant journey because the people around the world were in distress, fighting each other. But somehow his journey helped enough people to make a difference.

"The boy lived on an isolated village at the top of a huge cliff. His fellow children made fun of him and his wish to fly, until he shocks them all by jumping off the cliff and flying. (Note, even the bullies don't consider throwing him off the cliff. They just want him to go back to the village to be humiliated. They get a little scared when he proposes to jump)"

The boy is Simon, obviously -- a young man who isn't appreciated by the people around him, but finds something deep inside himself which surprises everyone. He doesn't end up flying away. Indeed, he falls. Subsequent drafts of "Icarus Down" wiped away the kite element, and suspended the city halfway down the chasm, rather than being at the edge of the cliff. Two more significant ideas came from other sources.

"Invisible Cities", by Italian author Italo Calvino, is an important book in my life. I read it during my university years and I keep coming back to it. It's a series of imaginary (or are they?) cities described by Marco Polo to Kublai Khan in between Marco's many journeys. One of the cities he describes is Octavia, a city suspended from cables hung between two mountain peaks. Where everything in normal cities builds up, Octavia builds down, hanging from its precarious perch. That gave me the idea of cities suspended halfway down the chasm, and it's one reason why one of those cities on the planet is called Octavia. I only needed to ask the questions: "What are they hiding from if they have to suspend their cities off the ground? And why are they hiding from the sun at the top of the cliffs?"

Diane Wynne Jones "The Merlin Conspiracy" provides the answer to the latter question. I loved her stories of fascinating worlds that people can visit through magical portals, and one stuck in the mind from this book. In this book, Wynne Jones imagined a city that hugged the side of a deep chasm, keeping in the shade from a terrible sun. It was a rigid caste system, and the lower your caste, the higher you were on the chasm, closer to the sun. The "untouchables" lived on the roofs and in the plains above, where the sun produced horrible tumours on their skin.

Couple Octavia and Wynne Jones' world together, and you have the setting for "Icarus Down". Now, I just needed to ask questions: "why were they there? What were they hiding from? Why were they hiding from it?" From that, the story emerged.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
James Bow Mar, thanks for your question, and my apologies for my delay in writing back (Goodreads don't notify me when I receive questions).

Note, anybody…more
Mar, thanks for your question, and my apologies for my delay in writing back (Goodreads don't notify me when I receive questions).

Note, anybody reading this, that spoilers follow.

Simon definitely means Aaron in this context. He suspects that Nathaniel killed Isaac, and has some evidence to that effect. However, he SAW Nathaniel kill Aaron directly (the bloody knife on top of the anchor), so that may have brought that up in Simon's accusation earlier.

He has a lot to say, and not much time to say it in, I think. Does that help?

Edited to add: further to my point, I'd refer you to the early part of the first chapter, bottom of page 2 and top of 3 where Simon says, "...because when I remember it, it still feels like my fault." That may be another reason why Isaac didn't come up top of his mind when he accused Nathaniel.(less)
Average rating: 3.77 · 275 ratings · 89 reviews · 77 distinct works
Icarus Down

3.81 avg rating — 59 ratings — published 2016
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The Unwritten Girl

3.80 avg rating — 51 ratings — published 2006 — 6 editions
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Fathom Five

3.65 avg rating — 37 ratings — published 2007 — 5 editions
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The Young City

3.81 avg rating — 32 ratings — published 2008 — 5 editions
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Lamborghini

3.57 avg rating — 7 ratings — published 2010 — 3 editions
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Canadian Structures and Sus...

2.86 avg rating — 7 ratings — published 2018 — 2 editions
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Space Vehicles

3.75 avg rating — 4 ratings — published 2018 — 2 editions
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Grasslands Inside Out

4.67 avg rating — 3 ratings — published 2014 — 2 editions
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Maker Projects for Kids Who...

3.57 avg rating — 7 ratings — published 2016 — 4 editions
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Gangs

2.80 avg rating — 5 ratings — published 2013 — 2 editions
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Back in 2002, I launched this blog on blogspot to try out this weird new phenomenon known as blogging. I thought this would be fun. I would have a chance to get used to writing about things regularly, build an audience, promote myself and my writing, and generally mature as a writer. For the most part, it worked! I caught the bug, and soon I was posting to my own website, using a blogging progr...

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The Unwritten Girl Fathom Five The Young City
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The Seasonal Read...: This topic has been closed to new comments. * Readerboard - Winter Challenge 2010-2011 6 489 Feb 14, 2011 05:24PM  
Plato
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”
Plato

Italo Calvino
“If you choose to believe me, good. Now I will tell you how Octavia, the spider-web city, is made. There is a precipice between two steep mountains: the city is over the void, bound to the two crests with ropes and chains and catwalks. You walk on the little wooden ties, careful not to set your foot in the open spaces, or you cling to the hempen strands. Below there is nothing for hundreds and hundreds of feet: a few clouds glide past; farther down you can glimpse the chasm's bed.
This is the foundation of the city: a net which serves as passage and as support. All the rest, instead of rising up, is hung below: rope ladders, hammocks, houses made like sacks, clothes hangers, terraces like gondolas, skins of water, gas jets, spits, baskets on strings, dumb-waiters, showers, trapezes and rings for children's games, cable cars, chandeliers, pots with trailing plants.
Suspended over the abyss, the life of Octavia's inhabitants is less uncertain than in other cities. They know the net will only last so long.”
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Italo Calvino
“The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.”
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities




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Savannah James, thank you for the friendship. It is lovely to meet you.
Stay naughty,
Savannah
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