University Challenge (March 2017)

It was with some surprise that I was alerted to a question on the BBC's University Challenge that cited my book on Volapük. Gratifyingly, none of the students involved knew the correct answer. For those of you appreciative of murky and grainy pirated footage, watch here on YouTube To avoid the humiliation of not knowing any answers to any questions, jump to around 14mins 30secs to start watching...

Extracts from some reviews...

The Scotsman, 19th August 2006 click here to read the entire review...
'Just like An Abridged History, all this is backed up by credible geography, a good knowledge of railway history and even tramway history for 1891, so once the reader buys the central narrative character, Mr Justice the organ-tuner, his increasingly baffling adventures roll out with a Volapük lesson every few pages to keep the attention sharp. The whole book is a joke: the advertisements at the end are a joke: the translations are a joke. It's a long joke, but on balance it works.'

Scotland on Sunday, 27th August 2006 click here to read the entire review...
'It is difficult to conceive of the ambition Drummond brings to this novel. The book is framed with a traditional mystery, complete with body parts, a swooning maid and a mysterious message. Language is a great subject for Drummond as he is clearly a master of it, so much so that he spends his time on creating new ways to fool, beguile and wow readers. This is a lively book, sparkling with wit and ideas, but it is also no-mean commentary on an era...'

The Independent, 1st September 2006 click here to read the entire review...
'As a wildly comic and surreal satire of every pedantry going, it could scarcely be bettered. The main theme of this delirious fantasy is the obsessional attraction of systems and procedures, and the zeal of their proponents. This is a hugely inventive second novel: don't miss its appendices and, as with Abridged History, the closing advertisements. There's only one word for his achievement: Baf?!'

Sunday Herald, 10th September 2006 click here to read the entire review...
'The campaign for a universal language may sound a dry subject. Not so in Andrew Drummond's A Handbook of Volapük, a cornucopia of wit, fantasy and idiosyncrasy. Interspersed with lessons in Volapük, their content cunningly tied into the crazy plot, this seriously comic novel is one of a kind...P?f?dik!'

TimesOnline, 29th September 2006 click here to read the entire review...
'Drummond`s writing happily bears comparison with [Alasdair] Gray's brand of Gothic fantasy... The novel is a send-up of academic squabbling, bureaucratic faffing and intellectual egotism...'

The Melbourne Age 25 November 2006:
'...This mercilessly funny novel...A Handbook of Volapuk is an entertaining comic ride into a most peculiar linguistic curiosity.'

Amazon Customer review, July 2006: click here to read the entire review...
'This is a very entertaining historical novel with several scenes that made me laugh out loud... [The hero's] conflicts with the proponents of other constructed languages are hilarious and will seem startlingly familiar to anyone who has been involved in this milieu.'

Another Amazon Customer review, August 2006: click here to read the entire review...
'The structure of the book, with the preface and postscript by the phrenologist who discovered Mr. Justice's papers and edited them for publication, and the main section with Mr. Justice's narrative of his travels interspersed with lessons in Volapük (more or less integrated into the narrative, in amusing ways) is very satisfying'

Blog review (The Celestial Weasel), 30 November 2006: click here to read the entire review...
'...a fine book... It is one of those books that one is pleased has been done well because clearly once it has been done no-one can ever do it again... adding Urquhart to the novel is a stroke of genius...'

Esperanto USA (Bulletin of the Esperanto League for North America), Autumn 2006:
...The lessons...are generally as funny as the rest of the story; which is to say, very funny indeed...What more could you ask for?...' Click here to read the entire review (which is here reproduced with thanks)...click here to read the entire review...

And yet another Amazon Customer review, February 2007: click here to read the entire review...
'Andrew Drummond, in his first novel An Abridged History and in this latest offering, is in process of creating a unique style of writing that keeps his readers on their toes. He displays a fertile imagination in constructing his plots, thoroughly backed up with research in order to accurately depict historical context...In addition to enjoying a good read, you can even learn the basics of this universal language, which may stand you in good stead should it ever catch on.'


...discussions...

Textualities, October 2006 click here to read the entire article...
'Hannah Adcock explores the facts and fictions of the quest for a perfect language in her review of books by Andrew Drummond and Umberto Eco...'

Some International Language dust-ups...
Russ's blog...click here to read it...


...and interviews...

I was interviewed, by email, by Jim Henry of the Esperanto movement in the USA - click here to read the interview. click here to read the interview...