pressure in their personal and professional lives, so think This Life in a straitjacket.
82. Inspector Rebus (Scottish, to be confirmed) While the chattering classes namedrop Welsh, Warner and Legge, Scotland’s doyen of detective fiction Ian Rankin has steadily become one of the country’s top-selling authors. The adventures of his Inspector Rebus character are being adapted into a series of feature length episodes starring John Hannah. This might just teach Taggart and McCal/um a thing or two.
83. The Gold Coast Showman (Channel 4, to be confirmed) lrvine Welsh has written a two-part drama about the life of Arthur Wharton, Britain’s first black footballer, whose grandparents were Scottish, and who played for Preston Northend in the late 18005. The screenplay is an adaptation of Phil Vassily’s book The First Black Footballer, for which Welsh had previously written a foreword.
84. Dreamcast (Sega, date to be confirmed) The European launch date for Sega’s new 128-bit 'superconsole’ is still undecided, but you can expect to see it in the shops at any time from September onwards, priced around £150. The most promising looking launch titles are Virtua Fighter 3TB and Sonic Adventure.
85. Pokemon (Nintendo, spring) This game, already a cultural phenomenon in Japan, is simply going to rule when it's released for Gameboy Color. You collect baby monsters called things like Pikachu, train them up, then pit them against each other.
86. Prince Naseem Boxing (Codemasters, spring) Boxing's brightest star has agreed to lend his name and image to this new beat 'em up for PlayStation and PC which will feature over 100 indivrdual fighters. Endorsed games are often disappointing, but Codemasters’ triumph wrth Colin McRae Rally suggests that this could pack a punch.
87. Silent Hill (Konami, June) Not just a Resident Evil clone, Konami’s pant-filling PlayStation horror game promises to be more of a subtly disturbing experience, featuring zombie nurses and crazy homicidal infants. This seems certain to be frighteningly brilliant.
88. PlayStation 2 (Sony, date to be confirmed) Sony are keeping quret about their new console, but look for a Japanese release around September. Film-quality graphics are rumoured.
This may well be the year when Salman Rushdie confirms once and for all that he is his generation's most important British writer. His new and eleventh novel, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, is his first work since the lifting (more or less) of the Fatwa imposed upon him following Islamic outrage over the publication of The Satanic Verses.
Here, Rushdie covers many of his familiar concerns - comedy, passion and culture of both high and low varieties; East meeting West; remaking of myth (this time Orpheus) - all set to a backdrop of the tragedy of a famous singer who is lost to the world under the rubble of an earthquake. While
her lover attempts to retrieve her through the power of music, the whole sorry story is told through the eyes of a lifetime companion of the pair.
The year also marks the end of a six-year task of getting Rushdie’s masterpiece on TV. Having scooped the Booker of Bookers for Midnight’s Children in 1993, the BBC took on the job of getting the author's epic screenplay on the box, despite the hindrance of the Sri Lankan authorities and the loss of a number of producers and directors.
While Salman Rushdie continues to be a hassle to the powers-that-be, he will remain an inspiration to all his contemporaries.
PREVIEW OF 1999
I The Ground Beneath Her Feet is published by Cape in April at f 18; Midnight's Children screenplay is published by Vintage, also in April, priced £7.99.
(Doubleday, ll Mar) Dr. Greer returns to the i subject of feminism, 30 years on from the
89. Jimmy Boyle: Hero Of The Underworld (Serpent's Tail, 4 Feb) The acclaimed fictional debut from the sculptor, playwright and ex- Barlinnie inmate is grim, comic and unexpectedly surreal in turns.
90. Ian Rankin: Dead Souls (Orion, 18 Feb) Rebus returns with a case of missing persons and vigilantism, further complicated by a convicted killer who decides to track the inspector down.
91. James Fllroy: Crime Wave (Century, 18 Feb) From crime’s finest living scribe comes writings published in American 60, including two novellas and a collection of non-fiction essays. 92. Steve Martin: Pure Drivel (Viking, Feb) An elegant, subversive, literary and very funny collection of musings on films, self-help, writer’s block and the confessional from America's second funniest comic actor.
93. Ali Smith: Other Stories And Other Stories (Granta, l I Mar) The follow-up to Like is a collection of stories about love and loss and the distances we keep between ourselves and others.
94. Germaine Greer: The Whole Woman
ground—breaking The Female Eunuc'h. Just don’t expect a foreword from Suzanne Moore.
95. Andrew O'Hagan: Our Fathers (Faber, Mar) The long-awaited debut novel from the writer of The Missing is a darkly porgnant tale of pride, faith, identity, the demise of the old Left, tower- blocks and booze.
96. A.I.. Kennedy: Everything You Need (Cape, Jun) The third novel from one of the country’s highest—rated writers is an examination of human frailty shot through with bitter comedy.
97. Laura Hird: Untitled (Rebel Inc, Sep) The Hirdster brings her black and twrsted humour to bear upon her first novel about a Gorgie family.
98. The Canongate Pocket Bible Series (Canongate, autumn) The sequel to the biggest publishing story of ’98 sees Bono, Ruth Rendell, Peter Ackroyd and Alasdair Gray among those contributing introductions to individual books of The Bible.
99. Helen Fielding: The Sequel To Bridget Jones's Diary (Picador, autumn/wrnter) Love or loathe her, y0u can't ignore the pulling power of the flaky, chain-smoking, Chardoimay—obsessed singleton.
As we approach the millennium and bug-out with decadent fin de siecle fever, video gamers need a new breed of hero. Clean-living, well-spoken girls with a degree in archaeology are all very well, but the era demands a more fallible idol. An idol who smokes.
Solid Snake, the character you
play in Konami's Metal Gear Solid, is a special agent who tackles a nuked-up terrorist organisation armed only with a pair of binoculars and a packet of tabs. If Lara Croft was Pammy Anderson meets Indiana Jones, then Snake is surely James Bond crossed with the Marlboro Man.
Metal Gear Solid is a third- person adventure for
PlayStation a la Resident Evil, but the emphasis is on stealth rather than blasting. In 'lnfiltration Mode', you must stay out of the sight-lines of guards, killing them by sneaking up from behind.
Metal Gear Solid is an
incredibly atmospheric playing experience, with more in common with film than most video games. More Seven than Sonic, this could well be the game of 1999. As far as Snake's concerned, it's smokin’. (Peter
You've even got to hide the Ross) I Metal Gear Solid is published by Konami in February.
7»-2l Jan 1999 THE llST 23