Enhanced Travel Books

When I journeyed across Africa in the tracks of the elusive storm leopard, I thought it would be useful to bring along a camcorder. I chose a Sony miniDV (DCR-TRV20E) which at the time offered the best combination of compact size, lens quality and secure digital storage. It proved a fantastic friend which never let me down. I used it to film action, landscape and wildlife, to capture dialogue, to record my thoughts, to copy information from posters and signboards, and even as my travelling therapist. In the end I took about 24 hours of video on the journey.

The recent combination of snow and short days here in Scotland prompted me to think about a new use for all this footage – a video diary to enhance the text of The Storm Leopard. I’ve started with a short film about the capture of a lioness in Etosha as part of a conservation research programme. It can be accessed from my website Wild Nature With Martyn.

I am quite conservative about books as I believe in the fundamental power of the written word – how it can inform and kindle our imaginations. Books also have a physical presence which reflects the care that has been invested by author and publisher. I guess we all have our favourite books which may depend on their content, layout, illustrations and cover, and perhaps also on who owned them previously or who gave them to us. Yet there is a new niche opening beyond the conventional book: one that combines powerful writing with potent imagery and sound. A good example can be found in the multimedia publications by Enhanced Editions. Travel writing lends itself naturally to this evolved form of novel.

About Martyn Murray

Martyn is a writer, sailor and conservationist. His first book, The Storm Leopard, is a journey across Africa and into the heart of the environmental crisis. His second book, Origin of Species: Bite-Sized, contains the essence of Charles Darwin's greatest work - his theory of evolution by natural selection - in a text that is 15% the length of the original. His third book, Beyond the Hebrides, is the story of a sea voyage in an old leaking boat beginning in an Irish creek and ending on the remote islands of St Kilda in the west of Scotland. It is a tale of romance and adventure which arises from one man's exploration of practical ways to keep personal freedom alive in today’s demanding society. Visit Martyn's website at www.martynmurray.com. Martyn was born and brought up in Ayrshire, Scotland and now lives in North Berwick. He went to school in Perthshire, and studied at the Universities of Edinburgh, Zimbabwe, Malaya and Cambridge for degrees in Zoology with field research into: shelduck along the Scottish coast; impala in the Zambezi Valley; wild figs and figwasps in the Malaysian forests; and wildebeest migration in the Serengeti. This work was underpinned by theoretical investigations into competition, conflict and social behaviour. Martyn is a consultant in biodiversity and natural resources management.
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