Friday, 30 March 2012

Something for the weekend

Metamaus- Art Spiegelman

First published in 1986 Maus is widely acknowledged as one of the great pieces of holocaust literature, winning among other awards the Pulitzer Prize and the Eisner Award.

For the 25th anniversary of its publication Spiegelman has produced Metamaus. Within its pages Spiegelman explains what drove him to tell his fathers story, why he chose to use mice and cats to represent the Jews and Nazis and how he felt a medium such as comic books could confront atrocity in unique way. The book is filled with never seen before sketches, rough drafts and even the photos that Spiegelman used as reference for his drawings.

Also included is a DVD which includes incredibly moving interviews with Spiegelmans father and other holocaust survivors.

Metamaus is essential reading for anybody who has read Maus or is interested in the way that fiction can address atrocities such as the holocaust.

Buy it here


Friday, 23 March 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Released in cinemas nationwide today, Sarah Davison, Children's Buyer here at Blackwells Charing Cross Road, gives us a review of the books that lead Gary Ross to direct what is anticipated to be a hugely successful movie, The Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games Trilogy
With the film already on general release this week, you may have caught some of the hype surrounding The Hunger Games by now. The books are dark, fast paced and have huge appeal and not a trace of paranormal romance about them, explaining why they have managed to generate a legion of fans young and old to rival Twilight audiences. This dystopian sci-fi teen thriller trilogy does what all good dystopian fiction should do, it holds a mirror up to reality, reflecting a sinister future North America in which an authoritarian government controls their people through poverty, fear, materialism and reality TV.  

Katniss Everdeen is the central character we follow, living in Panem, what was once North America, she and her family are from one the poorest districts of this futuristic world. Forced to hunt illegally for family’s survival, Katniss is established from the outset as a survivor, willing to risk herself for her family. When her younger sister is called upon to take part in the yearly Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers without hesitation to fight to the death with the tributes from other districts.

As the books continue, Suzanne Collins develops the world of Panem along with its government and inhabitants. It’s a vivid and often violent book that contains disturbing images, so it’s probably not suitable for younger teenagers, but for older teenagers and adults it’s an enjoyable and engaging series that opens up questions about rebellion, personal freedom and self-sacrifice. 

Be sure to head on in to the store down here on Charing Cross Road to pick up all three books now. Being part of our extensive 3 4 2 offer, whether you have seen the film or not, you would be mad not to take these home with you.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Travels with my sofa.

Travels with My Sofa. Or, Some Musings of a Bedside Navigator

By Neil Grosvenor our Languages buyer here at Blackwell's Charing Cross Road

Who doesn’t read books? Well, plenty of people, by choice. Does this mean they never escape their everyday reality? Never see the world through different eyes? Never travel to a different time or place? Probably not as film, TV and music are universally available/inescapable to take you somewhere else. Sound and images are fed into us but it is only with a book that you are the explorer, and the alternative realities you create, the places you go, the impressions you absorb are unique to you. You can travel the world over and history through from your sofa, lose yourself and retrace your steps. I’m one such armchair traveller (though I increasingly reserve my bed for my special favourites, usually history and travel relate: most recently Frank Jacob’s ‘Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities’). I might never travel to Mongolia or be an epicurean in ancient Greece, feel the hopeless resignation of a dispossessed peasant or the fear of a 19 year old GI in Vietnam but through books I can imagine, I can dream.

Who doesn’t like books? Well, plenty of people. I’ve yet to enter a house without recorded music of some sort but I’ve been in more than enough (in pre-digital days) with nary a hint of a squashed paperback or inherited set of Dickens book club hardbacks bought from a weekend supplement. In such cases the benefit of the doubt has been given: you’re just hiding them aren’t you..?

Indeed, growing up my own parents only possessed three books that I can recall: a David Niven autobiography, ‘The Moon’s a Balloon; a lurid plantation-set pot boiler; and ‘Linda Goodman’s Star Signs’. And the two former were neighbourly lendings if I’m not mistaken. Luckily I had my own books and a kindly set of relations to indulge my status as the ‘bookish’ one in the family.

The first book I owned to hint at other worlds and places came, I think from the junior school book club: every month a newsletter came round and for 25p a trade paperback could be yours. It was a German children’s story about a lonely spook haunting a castle attacked by a Swedish general during the Great Northern War, ‘The Little Ghost’ by Ottfried Preussler. (Preussler does have an English-language entry on Wikipedia but I’ve yet to venture on line to search out an old copy for nostalgia’s sake). Certainly this was the first book that saw the old familiar wallpaper of my bedroom fade and somewhere older and magical appear in its stead as I read. I guess I can also blame it for the fact I ended up doing Scandinavian Studies and German at university.

Later on for all the wrong adolescent reasons I read Lawrence’s ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’. What stunned me was not the ‘notorious’ sections but the harrowing portrayal of loneliness, a psychological eye-opener that blew away my perception of the people of that period, indeed of any past period, as stiff, emotionally stunted figures in black and white. A similar emotion caught me at university while reading Ernst Toller’s play ‘Hinkemann’: the desperation of an unemployed man in Weimar Germany during the Depression screamed out from the pages of the tiny Reklam edition paperback.

There is no reason why the best travel reportage and historical writing can’t produce the same breathtaking escapism, the same ‘put down the book and think ‘my god..’ moment’ as fiction, drama and poetry, the same sense of the walls melting away around you. And certainly I think writers and publishers today are alive to the call as George Orwell or Patrick Leigh Fermor, for example, were in the 1930s. (I’m thinking of the latter’s beautiful, bittersweet lament for a land and time vanished: ‘Between the Woods & the Water’). As indeed many were before.

One of the most telling pieces in Nicholas Ostler’s ‘Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World’ is a description of the problems facing the translators as Pizarro’s conquistadors encounter the doomed Inca Atahuallpa. How does one translate concepts (a book, divine right, god-emperor) that are simply alien to the other, and for which there are no words? How much can language divide us, and how much are our words moulded by our culture?

Comedy, tragedy and the surreal abound in the tales of people and places as they do in the best plays: the Republic of Carpatho-Ukraine is born and dies on the same day in 1939 in Norman Davies’ ‘Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe; islands such as Kerguelen, Tristan da Cunha and Rapa Nui/Easter Island, with their tales of shipwrecked servants, vanished tribes and would-be kings lie beautiful and isolated on the pages of Judith Schalansky’s ‘Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I have Never Visited & Never Will’ – the escapist daydreams of an East German teenager hauntingly typeset and illustrated to award-winning effect.

Who doesn’t dream? Well, nobody I hope.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Gothic YA – A Starter Reading List – The Book Smugglers

New from Blackwell’s! Are you pining for more Young Adult books? Do you adore Gothic novels? You can now have both for the price of one!

Seriously now – being the Gothic lovers that we are, we’re immensely happy to contribute to the upcoming Gothic Evening at Blackwell’s.

The traditional idea of the Gothic novel conjures up images of foreboding manors, ghostly encounters, desolate landscapes, with a dash of dark romance. But Gothic lit - that is, fiction that blends elements of horror and romanticism (the artistic movement that glorified in strong emotion) - need not be so traditional. Today, YA authors are excelling at reinterpreting some of the elements of Gothic literature for new audiences. 

Here's a list of some recent Gothic YA novels that we’ve recently read, loved and highly recommend:

1. Dreaming of Amelia (or The Ghosts of Ashbury High) by Jaclyn Moriarty
A bunch of students at an Australian school are given an assignment for their English class – and the topic is Gothic Fiction. Their task is to write a personal memoir incorporating classic Gothic elements and the result is a brilliant epistolary novel about very contemporary issues that reads just like a traditional Gothic novel (or at least like what these student think a traditional Gothic novel should be). This book is terminally clever. You know, Gothically speaking.

2. Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell 
Iris is a 14 year old whose summer holiday in a small town in Louisiana turns spooky as she is haunted by the ghost of a boy who disappeared years ago. This is a prime example of a Southern Gothic novel and it is one that fully explores the subgenre’s main characteristics: it relies on the supernatural side of the story to move the plot along while simultaneously providing relevant, contemporary social commentary.

3. The Monstrumologist series by Rick Yancey
This series follows the exploits of Dr. Pellinore Warthrope and his ward-cum-apprentice Will Henry as they confront the very real existence of monsters and the darkness within. The Monstrumologist books are a more traditional example of masterfully written and truly terrifying Gothic fiction, in the vein of Shelley and Stoker.

4. Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement Moore
We both like to think of Texas Gothic as a modern Scooby Doo type of Gothic YA mystery. Starring a family of witches against a southwestern backdrop, Texas Gothic is pure FUN. 

5. The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestley 
We needed to include at least one Victorian haunted manor story on here, right? And The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestly is a perfect example, featuring the spectral ghost of a murder most foul and the one young man who can set things right.

Ana Grilo and Thea James are two completely obsessed, sad, sick addicts when it comes to books. Faced with threats and cynicism from our significant others and because of the massive amounts of time and money we spend on books, we resorted to getting them delivered to our offices and then smuggling them into our homes (in huge handbags) to avoid detection. 
With The Book Smugglers we found a perfect outlet for our obsession! Reviews, recommendations, and other ponderings are our specialty. You can also follow us on Twitter.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

A Sense of Place – Simon Bestwick

One of the key things about Gothic literature: the setting is a character.  That isn’t exclusive to Gothic literature, of course.  You could say that setting’s always a character- we’re all, to a lesser or greater extent, products of our environment.

But in Gothic literature, the setting is an active force- a castle, traditionally, dominating the landscape both visually and psychologically.  From The Castle of Otranto to Shirley Jackson’s Hill House (and beyond,) it’s a nightmare place; inside its walls, the rules are very different from outside.  Ghosts may walk and terrible things may prowl the shadows, but often the worst danger is from the living, as the house works on individual flaws and weak spots to cause or threaten insanity, violence and self-destruction.

These days, you’ll be hard put to find a castle that isn’t run as a tourist attraction.  But the haunted castles are still there; it’s just a case of knowing where to look for them.

Some, like Thomas Ligotti and the late Brian McNaughton, blend horror with fantasy to invent new worlds.  Others follow in the footsteps of Algernon Blackwood or Arthur Machen, and find those dark other worlds hidden in the substance of the everyday.

Brad Anderson’s film Session 9 is set in the Danvers Hospital, Massachusetts, a real-life abandoned lunatic asylum. Generations of patients- for genuine mental illness, or for their sexuality, unwed motherhood, pre-marital intercourse, or just being different- lived and died in such places across the Western world.  Many were buried in the hospital grounds; others survived only to be released, ageing and confused, into a world they couldn’t recognise.  Treatments and attitudes ranged from the compassionate to the appalling; tales of abuse, exploitation and dehumanisation abound.

Wasted lives, burned out, their grief on the walls like soot.   Urban explorers have captured the now-disused asylums’ empty corridors and silent rooms in all their bleak glory.  Viewing such images, it’s hard not to think that if there were ghosts, they’d be here.  And they might not welcome visitors.  Or worse, they might.

If you’re looking for present-day Britain’s haunted castles, here they are.

Or were.  Most of the asylums are now demolished. Severalls, Cane Hill, West Park, High Royds, Hellingly… even Danvers has been converted into apartments.  Still, a few may remain, tucked away in quiet corners- out of sight, out of mind, as they were always meant to be.  They’ll serve for a time yet, while the smart writers, the trailblazers look further afield- to abandoned towerblocks and council estates, perhaps- in search of new places where the shadows can make their home.

In the meantime, let me invite you to visit Ash Fell, the First World War veterans’ hospital that plays a central role in The Faceless. Not exactly a lunatic asylum, although there’s some resemblance - some of its inmates were scarred in body, rather than mind.  But it’s a bad place alright, filled with years of unimaginable suffering.  You enter at your peril.


Born in Wolverhampton, Simon Bestwick escaped to the wilds of Lancashire aged two, where he remains.  He is the author of two novels - Tide of Souls and the just-released The Faceless, the collections A Hazy Shade of Winter  (just re-released as an ebook) and Pictures of The Dark, and a chapbook, Angels of the Silences. When not writing, he tries in vain to have a life and catch up on his sleep. He blogs at

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The Gothic Weather – Steve Rasnic Tem

I think an important aspect of the Gothic we rarely capture (and I include myself) is its transient nature. The Gothic is like the weather—we can feel it coming, the electricity in the air, and we can witness the way it begins to change the quality of the light of our once sunny day, the clouds edging with gray, the shadows racing, and then we’re in the midst of it, the cold and the damp creeping into our clothes and transforming our skin, and we're terrified by its darkness and ferocity. But then it passes, and we find ourselves in a more temperate, perhaps more optimistic environment, where we can better appreciate the differences, where we can understand that, as overwhelming as it was, it was but a piece of a much larger and more complex world.

Or perhaps the Gothic is the ruined, disturbed landscape we have to pass through on our way to our final destination, and we’re forced to spend one night within its borders. Choose your favorite metaphor.

My point is that with some perspective this condition can be seen as transitory. We don’t spend our entire lives there, and I believe the Gothic can be fully appreciated only in context, and in contrast to what comes before and after. Spend all your time there if you like, but I think if you do you may miss its true significance.

I believe that in the Gothic we have two threads of authorial perspective coming together: horror and the weird, both evolving out of our mortal condition and our realization that ultimately we must die. Our fear of this reality drives the horror of it, and the absurdity that we are mortal when we have such strong immortal aspirations drives our sense of the weird, that somehow the impossible can be true. The horror of life terrifies and makes us despair, while our sense of the weird makes us feel such strangeness that we’re just as likely to react with black humor or even delight as with terror to where this experience takes us.

In my new novel,  Deadfall Hotel, (out in May from Solaris Books) I’ve tried to create the ultimate haunted resort, a place where our nightmares go, where the dead pause to rest between worlds, a place where our fears can walk about freely and elaborate themselves into fanciful phantasmagoria. It is a locale where the impossible is bound to happen. And yet it is also a funhouse, a setting enabling us to see the humor of our situation from a relatively safe vantage point, and still be thrilled by what we witness.

But it is also a stage where real life occurs, where a single father must make decisions about the well-being of a daughter developing into womanhood, where grief must be addressed and healing attempted, where mistakes are inevitably made and lessons imperfectly learned. And for me, it became a vehicle in which I could explore the roots of fear and society’s fascination with all things horrific.

It is also pay-by-the-night lodging where, after our visit has completed, we can drive away, to experience it again in memory, and quietly contemplate our limited stay.


Steve Rasnic Tem's 300 plus short stories have appeared in such publications as Asimov's, Black Static, Interzone, and Stephen Jones' Best New Horror. He is a past winner of the British Fantasy and World Fantasy awards. His new novel, Deadfall Hotel, will be published by Solaris Books in May of 2012. In this Edward Gorey-esque, Mervyn Peak-esque novel a widower takes the job of manager at a remote hotel where the guests are not quite like you and me, accompanied by his daughter and the ghost of his wife--"a literary exploration of the roots of horror in the collective unconscious." New Pulp Press will be bringing out a collection of his noir short stories, Ugly Behavior, in August of 2012.

Visit the Tem home on the web at

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Southern Gothic – James Pearson

Southern Gothic, it is like a barely tangible dark essence. A flavour that is subtle yet distinct. A spice that you can’t quite put your finger on but adds the zest to the gumbo.

Trying to define Southern Gothic as a genre is damn near impossible. Referring to it as an ingredient or undercurrent is far easier. You can sense the vibe as opposed to out-and-out acknowledging that you are consuming a Southern Gothic-stamped product. All part of the mystery and joy I say!

My first memorable brush with that Southern Gothic spice was as a kid reading the Classics Illustrated version of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The sequence where Tom and Becky are on the run from Injun Joe in the dark labyrinth of caves always stuck with me. Considering that Twain was essentially writing a kid’s book, he definitely tapped into some extremely dark places. Shadows, bats, homicidal maniacs and yes…Murder. They all played a vital part in the otherwise innocent world that Tom Sawyer and Huck inhabited. The sun twinkled and sparkled off of the beautiful surface of the grand Mississippi whilst underneath twisted and squirmed a barely hidden grey undertow of menace and mystery. The essence of Southern Gothic.

And boy did that essence lend itself to the medium of sequential art.

Having been an avid and rabid “funny books” reader for the past thirty years, I have been a big fan of Southern Gothic flavoured comics. There is something about the snaking swamp tendrils and its inbred inhabitants that is at once repulsive and alluring. Maybe it is the juxtaposition of those primal elements set against the civilised culture of the Southern Gent and Lady sipping tea on the porch of their plantation in all their finery that strikes a chord.

Artists like Bernie Wrightson and Mike Ploog captured that spice in visual terms just perfectly. Get your hands on an old copy of DC’s Swamp Thing and see what I mean. Alan Moore’s scripts for later Swamp Thing stories further complicated matters by adding a psychedelic twist to proceedings. A good session reading Moore’s Eighties run on Swamp Thing should be a mandatory rite of passage for any aspiring comic book writer/illustrator.

As far as I am concerned Swamp Thing will always be the benchmark of Southern Gothic in comics, but there are some pretty notable more recent efforts. One example that comes to mind is Steve Niles’ atmospheric and excellent Freaks of the Heartland. Captures the mood and the balance between innocence and menace just right. Niles is a clever fellow, he even manages to inject a Southern Gothic twist into his frigid Alaska-set vampire epic 30 Days of Night. He just can’t help himself. That flavour has permeated itself in comics since the early days (have a nosey at some of the old EC Comics horror books to get a taste) and it stands testament to the strength of the ingredient that it still infuses itself onto the comic racks to this very day.

So where does Bayou Arcana fit in?

From all the press surrounding the project (unexpected but very welcome!), one would see this as the comics’ industry’s attempt at rebalancing a gender inequality that has existed for waaaay too long… and that is a big element at play here. Bayou Arcana was designed as a platform to showcase some of that underutilised talent, although that’s not to forget the excellent writing team behind the stories!

However, first and foremost, Bayou Arcana is an exercise in Southern Gothic. Magic swamps, Louisiana Gentry, renegade slaves, bayou princesses, nasty inbreds, voodoo, and One-Eyed Raccoons all feature. What I set out to do with Bayou Arcana was create a unique and brand-new universe for a bunch of writers and artists to play around in and expand (further volumes and spin-offs are already in the works!). It was never a conscious decision to set that playground in a Southern Gothic world. It just happened that way. The story of a group of escaped slaves finding shelter and a new life within a magical swamp that serves as their guardian from the evils of the outside world seemed like a great starting point to let loose all those talented bods involved on. And those talented bods have more than lived up to expectations.

What was unexpected, and maybe this has something to do with the mix of the creative teams, is that they have plumbed another Southern Gothic vein, one I haven’t spoken of yet. An element as vital and essential as all the dark things…

More specifically: doomed romance.
Oh yes…In amongst all the gators, snakes, demons and gore there will be heartfelt tears.
And lots of them.

I am really looking forwards to our night celebrating the realms of Southern Gothic at Blackwell’s on the 8th of March. Can’t wait actually. Not only is it an opportunity to do the usual plugging of one’s book; it is an opportunity to explore and share a love of a literary flavour and spice that rarely gets the recognition or attention it deserves!

See all you Swamp Things on the night!

Jimmy Pearson


Bayou Arcana: Songs of Loss and Redemption is released this May from Markosia.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Something for the Weekend

Woman in Black - Susan Hill

This weeks Something for the weekend has of course been influenced by our up & coming Gothic evening in conjunction with the kitschies, Thursday 8th of March! Don't forget. Did you see us in the Stylist? Who are you to argue with the Stylist? Right we'll see you here then.

The Woman in Black has been all over the news thanks to the new film version starring Daniel Radcliffe. A good film it is to, it made me jump a lot & that is what it is supposed to do. Plus it has a lovely sinister Victorian feel to it, it's genuinely creepy and it's a Hammer film! It's so nice to see that name back. Add some good performances from Radcliffe, Janet McTeer & the chubby scouse one from 'Goodnight Sweetheart' & you've got a good night out. But is the book better - of course it is!

The novel (unlike the film) begins with Arthur Kipps telling his tale of woe to his new family at Christmas. The tale itself centres around a job of work Mr Kipps had to do many years ago. He has to go to  a spooky old house in the middle of nowhere to sort through the papers of the recently deceased owner. The locals unsubtly try & dissuade Kipps from having anything to do with the house but 'Scooby Doo' like he goes anyway. Sadly Kipp's actions have terrible consequences, but I'll leave you to discover those yourself.

Not a long book it still unwinds at a pleasantly leisurely pace & allows you to luxuriate in it's cosy olde language & manners before the jolts kick in. The lonely house, the eerie moor, the reticent villagers - these are classic staples in the traditional ghost story, but this book has much more to offer. For example the devastating reason for the hauntings is revealed piecemeal alongside Kipps visitations. A book for a cold night in front of a big fire with a bigger mug of cocoa - don't read it on the train on a gloomy night.

Buy it here


Thursday, 1 March 2012

The Gothic in Teen Fiction – Esther Saxey

There's a Gothic boom in teen fiction. Black covers. One word titles - Shiver, Linger, Fallen, Silence - like the results of a morbid game of Boggle.

I love the genre – but can you write Gothic fiction today with a clean conscience? It's rooted in fears of the outsider who challenges our identity, and this fear is expressed in deeply dodgy ways: often, it's innocent women being threatened by sinister sexual foreigners. Dracula is a perfect example. (Vampires are also dangerously dual-gendered and queer, having a mouth that both sucks and pokes.) The foundational teen Gothic – Stephenie Meyer's Twilight – uses this age-old tradition, of the appealing menace of sex. It's thrilling! But wrong! The vampire hero struggles with his desires to kiss the heroine and/or rip her head off.

So how can you rethink teen Gothic, so that it doesn't demonise sex, or insult everyone south of Calais?

You could change one of the Gothic's traditions. For example, A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray ditches the swooning girl of the Gothics for a brilliant fierce heroine. But writers who change one negative tradition often end up leaning heavily on the others. Bray's novel, set in Victorian England, uses India as a sinister, snake-eating counterpoint continent. So the sexual politics of the Gothic get tidied up, but race-based desire and revulsion still prop up the plot - not an ideal solution.

Another strategy is adopting a villain of whom you actually disapprove. But the Gothic often makes its villains highly glamorous. Without that tug of fascination and identification, combined with repulsion, it wouldn't be half as dangerous, and it wouldn't be Gothic – it would be simple horror. So Dracula is powerful and magnetically attractive, before he gets the chop. 

Some Teen Noir gets round the problem by using only the props of the genre: vampires are everywhere, but they behave like mortal moody dudes or cool kids (see Alex Duval's Vampire Beach series, set in Malibu). Plots are often simple romances or detective stories.

There's another strategy I find more interesting: showing the horrors of normality. The excellent Pretties by Scott Westerfeld and Delirium by Lauren Oliver are both set in conformist societies. The heroines intend to take a pill, or have an operation, that will make them a full and happy citizen. But more and more flaws appear in the plan, and in the society. The heroine begins to think heretical thoughts, of avoiding the pill or the op. But it's their route to adulthood, and they've longed for it for years.

The novels thus explore the tango between attraction and repulsion without using supernatural trappings – they're less obviously Gothic, but they rely on an old Gothic dynamic.

This approach has its own tradition: David Lynch's Blue Velvet with a white picket fence and a severed ear. Jeanette Winterson's short story “Newton”, where a town with freakishly neat routines tries to recruit the protagonist. Or Stepford Wives, in which suburban housewives are so happy that something must be wrong.

Kid's fiction also deals with conformist societies, but in a less conflicted way; the child protagonists hate the rules, fight the system or escape it, and save their society (see The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau or The Wind Singer by William Nicholson). But teen fiction, by contrast, gives more attention to the seductions of conformity, and that's what makes it Gothic. 

I think it's a particularly appealing plot for adolescents. Teens don't want to feel completely alone, but they're also struggling to create themselves as individuals.

But the struggle to be oneself, and the temptation of becoming something else – something worse – doesn't vanish with age. I still find the Gothic thrilling. And recent Gothic fiction is a refreshingly long way away from beheading a contagious Transylvanian polygamist.


Esther Saxey's interests include the supernatural and the queer and how one gets confused with the other. Likes novels by Goths, novels about Goths and novels in the Gothic tradition.