‘The Cartoon Cat and Hammer Test’

Here is another excerpt from Volume II in the Falcon Boy series, The Brothers Revoltable Travelling Circus and Other Crazy Fun with Special Guests.

Ch. 49 ‘The Cartoon Cat and Hammer Test’

Another possibility here is to take the Cat and Hammer Test as a guide to how we should treat any potential violence that may or may not be lurking ahead of us in the books we read (and write). Concerned sociologists from around the world recently assembled in a small conference centre on a busy bypass south of Panic Town for a three day debate about the history and use of violence in children’s cartoons or, as the keynote paper given by the world-renowned authority on this and many other subjects, Professor Emeritus Tern Perforate was called,

‘Understanding Digital and Analog Animated Mixed Media Spaces for Imaginative and Other Reactions from Past, Present and Future Visual Limited Responders.’

Now, and especially knowing the special relationship that our very own Wes Gordy of the Interesting Twins has always had with violent behaviour, I am delighted that this conference did not take place in an episode of the original Pearly Stockwell and the Interesting Twins Wonder Detective Comic Book Super Series for I fear that Wes would have taken Professor Tern Perforate to task simply for daring to read the title of his presentation out loud. As it happens the conference hall was picketed by a small group of the charmingly-titled and in no way sinister-sounding No More Thinking Forum and Professor Tern Perforate was hit on the nose by a paper aeroplane as he waited to be introduced to the assembled audience.

Though he was somewhat stunned Professor Perforate did have the wherewithal to unfold the paper aeroplane to discover the slogan ‘No More Thinking’ cut out from old newspapers and glued to the page – a process which, by the way, would surely have required far more thought than a simple scrawl from a felt-tip pen.

Nevertheless, and central to our main narrative concern regarding the threat of violence in books, Professor Perforate’s key argument was simply that if a cartoon cat is hit by a cartoon hammer and the cat’s head goes flat as a result then the violence inherent in hitting the cartoon cat with a cartoon hammer is probably acceptable due to the impossibility of the whole scenario but with some very notable exceptions that the learned Professor would be delighted to share with the audience but only on the understanding that they signed up to a year-long series of online lectures on this and many other matters.

Volume I in the Falcon Boy series is available in paperback below.

The Brothers Revoltable Travelling Circus


When circuses some to town they often come with all kinds of hoo-hah and opportunities for adventure. I hope that the arrival of this particular circus will keep up this tradition. As you will have seen from reading the poster this circus is not necessarily like any circus you might have ever seen before. This was a deliberate decision on my part as I wanted to offer you all something slightly different from the circus-adventure norm.

In fact, to give you a real sense of what is coming to Panic Town and to allow you to decide whether or not you want to continue reading, here is a list of the things that will not be coming to town with the Brothers Revoltable Travelling Circus:

Intelligent primates that wear cute clothes but are actually capable of taking part in any investigations initiated by children who are forced by circumstances beyond their control to spend the Summer with a mysterious relative who actually is a circus ringmaster;

Lonely elephants cruelly separated by hunters from their family and longing to return;

Troubled clowns who harbor deep, tragic secrets and paint on their smiles with greasepaint as they die a little more inside with each performance;

Strongmen conspiring with trapeze artists to defraud vulnerable but highly talented performers out of small fortunes;

Teenage runaways who have fallen out with their parents or guardians and who have now been adopted by a new ‘family’ as they perform odd jobs for board and lodging;

Tragic, tempestuous and tangled love stories between the beautiful young contortionist who has never known true love before and the shy boy who sells the tickets and then sweeps up after each performance. Each thinking that the other is out of their league.

Nor will there be any murders, hidden treasure, troublesome reptiles, stampeding horses, seals clapping, tornadoes destroying enormous tents, or groups campaigning about any alleged cruelty to animals, performing or otherwise.

If you want to read more about Panic Town and the things that go on there then click here.

The Brothers Revoltable Travelling Circus and Other Crazy Fun with Special Guests


As my About.me indicates – as does any other profile I have recently updated – I am currently working on Volumes II and III of Falcon Boy: A Fairly Hopeless Hero. Volume II is tentatively titled The Brothers Revoltable Travelling Circus and Other Crazy Fun with Special Guests and tells the tale of what happens when an evil circus owner comes to Panic Town intent on much harm and mischief.

I am currently 13,000 words into the second draft and already I can see new possibilities for Falcon Boy and his sidekick Bewilder Bird as they struggle once again to establish their relevance to a world that doesn’t really need them. The challenge is to make sure the two superheroes stay central to the story even though neither of them are really capable of being the kind of agents for change that they wish they were.

All worlds, narrative or otherwise, change all of the time and the world of Falcon Boy is no exception. I will keep you updated as the project develops.

In the meantime you can gain a better understanding of Falcon Boy and his world here. You can also follow him on Twitter here.