"Who are you?" the minstrel asked. "I am the Golux," said the Golux, proudly, "the only Golux in the world, and not a mere Device."
November 1, 2011 6:14 AM   Subscribe

James Thurber meets Neil Gaiman: The Thirteen Clocks. James Thurber's classic work of dark whimsy, wit and fantasy The Thirteen Clocks [Wiki], narrated by award-winning author Neil Gaiman in this magically animated excerpt.
posted by Fizz (21 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
A great book, but I don't know that the animation adds anything (except celebrity-related visibility). Like a good Hitchcock movie, the thrill of The Thirteen Clocks is in imagining what might be. Where are my guggle and zatch? What does the Todal look like?
posted by underthehat at 6:37 AM on November 1, 2011

The book is called The 13 Clocks.
posted by devnull at 6:51 AM on November 1, 2011

I read this book to my kids a few months ago because I kept hearing how awesome it was. Metrically, it was great. Nice cadence. But I can't say that a single word has stuck with me. The title of this post and references in the first comment to "guggle", "zatch" and "Todal" are completely unfamiliar.

Hopefully I was sleep-reading it and the kids got more out of it than I did...
posted by DU at 7:02 AM on November 1, 2011

I love this book (was a Thurber obessive when I was a child, which probably explains some of the not-getting-on-with-other-children-much thing). And when you put Gaiman and The Thirteen Clocks together, of course he's a fan!
posted by Grangousier at 7:08 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Apparently the Secret Life of Walter Mitty is being adapted, again. Ben Stiller will lead and direct.
posted by Fizz at 7:11 AM on November 1, 2011

I guess I should amend that. I must have liked 13 Clocks pretty well at the time, because I checked out some other Thurber stuff on my own. Although that may be more because I already love Robert Benchley and they are of similar style and milieu.

I think my real problem is having a terrible memory.
posted by DU at 7:17 AM on November 1, 2011

We go to the garrick now and become warbs.
posted by JHarris at 7:43 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you like The 13 Clocks, be sure to read The Wonderful O. Many Moons is also lovely, though more for children (particularly little girls).

A quote from The Wonderful O, for my favorite mefite: "You look like a man with a map!"
posted by ubiquity at 7:47 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

The 13 Clocks was one of my favorite books as a child. I still have the tattered blue-and-yellow hardbound copy that originally belonged to my mom. When I got married I insisted on reading it to my wife and when my son is old enough I will read it to him.

I'm not sure if the art is the same in all editions but I love the style in the one I have (sample).
posted by Doleful Creature at 8:07 AM on November 1, 2011

My favorite quote from "The 13 Clocks"; "We all have faults. Mine is being wicked."

I remember reading this as a kid and being completely enchanted and creeped out by it. Thurber deserves to be re-discovered.
posted by OolooKitty at 9:37 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

I love this: I've never read the tale, but I'm currently going nuts because I want the rest of it, and of course I will have to leave the house and buy a copy. It's not available on line.

For me, having no prior experience with the story, the animation seems perfect.
posted by jrochest at 10:24 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

I loved this book; The White Deer is much in the same line. Interestingly, 13 Clocks and White Deer together are strongly reminiscent of The Last Unicorn....
posted by The otter lady at 10:32 AM on November 1, 2011

The 13 Clocks was and is my all time favorite children's book. I loved the cadence, adore the Golux ("The only Golux in the world, and not a mere device.") I think the illustrations by Marc Simont played an equal role in my fascination with the book. I had an opportunity long ago to purchase the original cover art (it was in a gallery in LA) but I was living paycheck-to-paycheck and already deep in credit card debt. Despite that, not figuring out a way to make that purchase is one of my few regrets in life.
posted by agatha_magatha at 10:44 AM on November 1, 2011

I saw that cover art at that same gallery! and am still sad that I had no money to buy it. The Simont illustrations were fantastic.
posted by OolooKitty at 1:15 PM on November 1, 2011

I dunno, the way they interpreted the story seems somehow anti-Thurber. He old be dark, definitely, but I think I prefer the darkness of The Last Clock, which begins with a clock-eating ogre and ends with aliens musing over the ruins of the dead race of man.
posted by JHarris at 1:52 PM on November 1, 2011

Also, 13 Clocks doesn't contain any shrewish women, like seemingly half his stuff does.
posted by JHarris at 2:21 PM on November 1, 2011

My mostly-defunct blog was/is named after a Todal reference, and I am definitely guilty of reading The 13 Clocks aloud as a relationship litmus test.

"One third of the dogs in town began to bark" is the best line I can think of off the top of my head that hasn't already been said.
posted by Earthtopus at 6:23 PM on November 1, 2011

I also am a huge fan of the book, and probably have read it a hundred times - while we're throwing down quotes who remembers the purple ball with yellow stars bouncing down the stairs "like a naked child saluting priests"?

Kind of didn't like the animation style of this though - it felt jittery and creepy, and what I liked about the Simont illustrations was their warmth and softness.
posted by troublesome at 8:20 PM on November 1, 2011

"I will slit you from your guggle to your zatch!" was long a threat in our family when I was a kid. "Gleeping" ("the Todal gleeps") was another word we would use; "Stop gleeping around the house. Go outside.!"
posted by carping demon at 1:22 AM on November 2, 2011

Inspired by this post, I bought the book and have started reading it to my kids (doing my best Neil Gaiman impression). We're only two chapters in, but so far I'm in love with the story and Thurber's use of language. And the kids seem entranced by it. Thanks for the recommendation!
posted by bstreep at 3:02 PM on November 4, 2011

the illustrations by Marc Simont

Ah! I grew up with the version by Ronald Searle.
posted by Grangousier at 11:12 AM on November 6, 2011

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