Beneath the earth are older things than perhaps we understand: as old as the ground in which they live, and part of it. Every so often, when the time is right, the Nyol, Net-Net, Pot-Koorok and Bitarr appear again above the earth to visit the world that once was their's [sic] alone.I remember being captivated by this book when the BBC featured it on Jackanory in (checks internet) November 1973, read by Dinsdale Landen. It is about the adventures of three children, Benny Golightly and Rupert and Selina Potter, discovering that the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney have a lot more going on than you might think. An extract from the middle:
Just at this time Benny, Rupert and Selina were coming slowly towards the kiosk in the Gardens to meet Mr Ernest Hawke. They had all changed from school clothes into old jeans, as they had been told, and they were all nervous; even Rupert, now that the time had come. Selina stayed behind the two boys, but close behind.My favourite scene is where the unpleasant politician character gets his come-uppance.
They could see Mr Hawke, with a portable movie camera and a bag, his strange eyes watching everything. He looked round and found their three pairs of eyes examining him, giving nothing away. They did not speak; he could see that they were waaiting to listen. He spoke briskly.
'Ice-cream or chocolate?'
There was a flicker in each pair of eyes. They all said, 'Ice-cream.'
The first sentence of An Older Kind of Magic should have been:
I'll aim (pious promises, I know) to run on roughly a 48-hour time period for lines, and a 24-hour cycle for votes. In other words, the deadline for submission of first lines will be 6pm Central European, 5pm British/Irish, noon east coast and 9 am west coast US on Monday, with voting by the same time on Tuesday; and I will aim to post the blurb and extract of the second book tomorrow, for a first lines post on Tuesday and voting by Wednesday. So we should just about finish before I disappear off for a business trip tomorrow week...