Books promoted on the Internet

Bill Pannifer's cursor finds low-budget flicks, Guatemala and a few slang words for `sex'
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Indy Lifestyle Online
The Invitation to a Funeral Tour

The novelist Molly Brown promotes her well-received Restoration thriller, which takes fictional liberties with a cast of real-life characters including Aphra Behn, Lord Rochester and Nell Gwynn. A Gatesian "Where do you want to go today?"(today in this case being some time in the 1660s) leads to a tour of the book's London locations from Greenwich and Islington to the Tower and Tyburn, full of robust 17th-century colour. Any writer knows how much effort must be wasted searching for that one telling detail in the final text. Now, all the surplus background can be accommodated on the Web, resulting in better informed readers and (perhaps) leaner, more finely honed fiction.

Foiled: The Continuing Adventures of a

No-Budget Feature Film

A Manchester-based group of first-time film-makers chronicle the progress of their zero-budget debut feature, in which a pizza delivery man is taken over by space aliens, with transformation effects courtesy of a roll of aluminium foil. Indie auteur Robert Rodriguez offers a good luck message, but the reputed $7,000 cost of his film, El Mariachi, makes him a mogul compared with this lot. Like most neo-B movies, Foiled has its self-reflexive element, a film within the film - Saturday Night Zombies - which the scriptwriters made up in the car on the way to the location, and for which a T-shirt can be purchased. Astonishingly, this is the only place on the site where anyone asks for money. The film's director, Henry Burrows, who like the others involved has a day job and can only shoot at weekends, hopes to finish his flick towards the end of this year.

The Peace Process in Guatemala

Central America's longest-running and perhaps dirtiest war limped to a conclusion on 29 December, with a UN-brokered peace agreement between government and guerrillas. Here's the official text of it, in Spanish and English, introduced by a rather touching animation of a hand sketching the outline of a dove, and illustrated with breathtaking mountain landscapes sublimely untouched by a struggle in progress since 1960. Also on display is the proposal for a commission on human rights violations, which many have accused of letting the army get away with three decades of atrocities. A more critical perspective can be found at The Foundation for Human Rights (

The Pluto Home Page

No relation to Mickey or Donald, this is a planetary page with a mission. Although the solar system is well-represented on the Web, this site is unusually personal and polemical in defence of its subject. For Pluto is undergoing a sort of constitutional crisis: is it a planet at all, or, given its lack of differentiation from other cosmic bric-a-brac, really an overgrown asteroid? "Just because Pluto is small (about the size of the United States) that does not mean we should `demote' it," insists the author, who also includes a wonderfully garish holiday postcard: "Having a far-out time on Pluto, the little planet with the big moon."

The Alternative Dictionaries

The Alternative Dictionaries

More than 3,000 slang expressions in more than 70 languages have here been assembled by a tireless amateur lexicographer from Norway. Entries are submitted by readers, and make no claim to be definitive. But then neither does the OED, and this site is much more fun, though unlikely to be available on CD-Rom in the near future. Languages are indexed in "tree" form according to their linguistic family - Sino-Tibetan or Dravidian, for instance - but the academic tone collapses with the entries themselves and their explicit examples of usage, nearly all of which feature a rather adventurous couple named John and Mary. Emphasis is on the international language of love, which includes "knallen" (German), "kunel" (Armenian), "naiii" (Afrikaans), "jabac" (Belorussian), and "fourrer" (Quebecois); not forgetting, though everyone else has, Esperanto, which offers "fiki" but also "amori" as a nicer alternative. Dr Johnson meets Rabelais at this intriguing siten