Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I love how the stories within this genre kind of have a puzzle-solving element with trying to figure out who's AI and who's not. It's like you're not sure who's a human being and who's not, and I think that really attributes to the whole "we're totally screwed" atmosphere. That's why typically the protagonist is the only person with any sense of hope in the whole Dystopian world. Gibson's stories really inspire me, and I'd look forward to reading more of them in lieu of working on my own stories.
Friday, March 5, 2010
I’ve always been a huge fan of Japanese culture in general, and Japanese Horror is no exception. Japanese horror differs from American horror in a number of ways. For one thing, its based more on psychological fear, as opposed to a gory slasher flick. It also has its roots in spirituality, which typically stem from some history behind the story.
Most elements of J-horror are composed of helplessness and depression. Typically the context of the environment is very dull and dreary. I think that part of that is attributed to Japan’s high technological standards. Sociological standards seem to be asphyxiated on this world of technology, that people often forget about the importance of their lives. They become so lost and stop caring to the point of near suicide. In fact, most of the “mosters” of Japanese Horror are typically associated with a tragic death of a woman or child. There aren’t usually rich luscious environments in J-horror either; mostly very gray dull mundane cities. All of this helps contribute to the psychological atmosphere of the subject matter. A lot of Japanese horror movies really exemplify this: The Ring, The Grudge, Pulse, and many others that have grown in popularity over the years.
I started reading Kwaidon for the J-horror assignment, and have yet to finish it. But so far, I’ve enjoyed it, and noticed some differences between it and typical modern Japanese horror. For one thing the context is described more through visual imagery, as well as the situations being based off of ancient Japanese folklore. I believe that’s mostly because these stories have been around since before Japan’s modern technological society started to influence its literature.
I’ll have more to say about this one when I finish reading it.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
It didn’t dawn on me that Neil Gaiman was the original author of the Coraline novel until we watched the movie in class. I never realized that he had such expansive list of his works for not just his own novels, but also for film and television. The story is told very well, in a rather dreamy manner. I loved the movie when I originally saw it, and the transitions between worlds. (It makes sense that Coraline’s parents were writers, since he based all the characters off his own life.)
Neil Gaiman is a rather intriguing fellow. I agree with what he says about children’s fiction really being the best. Honestly, I started reading Anansi Boys and thought it was okay. I mean, the story seems like an interesting concept, and it’s introduced in a cunning way. Oh this apathetic guy named Fat Charlie leads a rather mundane life, until one day he figures out of his father’s passing in an unusual and embarrassing manner. Not that that was really any different from how he was embarrassed by his father while growing up. He also figures out that he has a long lost twin brother named Spider, who can only be summoned by asking an arachnid. Spider is the exact opposite of his brother, charming, witty. Fat Charlie’s life is therefore changed and has to adjust with all these changes. Oh by the way, did I mention his brother takes his fiancé away from him, as well as other facets of his life? The story is an interesting idea, but I find Gaiman’s children’s fiction to be so much more intriguing. I do enjoy the way he writes, as it is easy to get into. I really want to get his Graveyard Book, as well as read the original Coraline book.
Gaiman is definitely a traditional storyteller in the act of telling a mythical folktale without explaining how things happened. I’d like to see Mirrormask too, but apparently the actor that was casted to be the protagonist is older than the character calls for. She’s an older teen, when really a pre-teen should’ve been casted for the part. I’m definitely looking forward to checking out more of Neil Gaiman’s work, as well as others within the genre.
Phillip Pullman’s spiritual novel of education is becoming quite the delightful read. Stories of children growing up in double worlds of reality and fantasy are a personal favorite of mine. They’re similar to stories that I’d like to create.
It invokes a lot of underlying themes based off of religious references that spark my interest. The fact that each child has another spiritual being that they’re attached to in another realm, and how it translates as them being innocent until they grow up is really intriguing.
It exemplifies a lot of religious themes, albeit transcribed in a different manner from Pullman’s point of view. Even though the majority of religions look at Adam and Eve taking the fruit from the tree as the origin of sin, it seems more like Pullman’s point of view is that of humans first being exposed to the truth of wisdom. It’s as if even though he doesn’t side with religion, he still points out that mankind has the choice between sinning and not once he realizes knowledge of what sin is. And that knowledge of difference between sin and not is what makes us human. It’s a rather interesting opposition to make.
The main character Lyra still has her own decisions to make. When Lord Aston wants to remove her spirit animal so that she may not grow up into a tainted adult, she chooses to escape. Also when she gains the ability to use the compass (althieometer?) because she’s acquired enough Dust, it’s as if it symbolizes her growing knowledge of the adult world and how she can apply it to situations that help her. Also towards the end when Lord Aston jumps into the portal asking her to follow. She chooses not too. Lyra does not follow this symbolized Satan because she makes the right decision for herself.
The way Pullman presents themes within The Golden Compass is the part that intrigues me the most. I really thoroughly enjoyed this story.
The story can be defined as escapist literature. You’ve escaped from the jail of your life into a fantasy adventure. Tolkien really builds the whole world of middle-earth. It’s not linear, it goes in a direction and then its like “oh that reminds me of …” It’s really reminiscent of ancient folktales in it’s storytelling.
The thing with the Hobbit over other medieval fantasy is its really cunning an intelligent. Because Bilbo is a hobbit, a small humanlike creature that’s the size of a child even though he’s a middle-aged man, he results to outsmarting his enemies with wit as opposed to having an epic battle. He can’t physically defend himself the best, but he tricks Gollum by asking him the question about the ring. Gollum goes crazy looking for his ring, and Bilbo asks him if he can guess what’s in his pocket. Gollum guesses incorrectly, and Bilbo slips on the ring and vanishes out of sight.
The Hobbit has always been a tale that I’ve most enjoyed, as well as any of Tolkien’s other middle-earth stories.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Anne Rice’s vampires differ from that of the traditional Dracula. For one thing they’re immune to the whole garlic, holy water, stake in the heart kind of stuff. Also, instead of turning victims into fellow vampires upon biting them, victims are transformed when they feed upon a vampire’s blood. Now the story takes off as a young boy is interviewing Louis, who’s been a vampire for over 200 years. Louis’s character is portrayed as a teenager or young adult when he’s affected by life at the beginning of his told story.
Louis’s life is on its last rope. He’s pretty much at rock bottom when Lestat discovers him. Lestat takes advantage of Louis’s weakness and turns him into a vampire. He then shows Louis the way of life as a vampire as they prey upon unsuspecting victims that are both male and female. One thing that occurred to me while perusing through this story, although it’s not exactly mentioned, is that there is a sense of a bisexual dominance/recessive relationship between Lestat and Louis within this story. In a way it feels kind of like Anne Rice paved a pathway to making female pornography more popular, kind of like how it is in more modern culture today, particularly with Yaoi in Japan. It feels like Louis is trapped in this awful sort of relationship with Lestat in which he’s now forced to live forever as a vampire. Its not until he meets up with the old world vampires that he has his chance to leave. The story also sparks a lot of other interesting concepts, like Claudia for instance, who is pretty much like a child to Louis. She’s stuck as an immortal child, so that even though her mind matured to adulthood, her body never did. Also the Old world vampires are more like savages. They’ve been used to feeding on the living for so long, they’ve lost any sense of their human minds. Louis and Claudia tried to dispose of Lestat and failed. Its not really until after Lestat comes back to extract his revenge by killing Claudia that Louis is really fueled to get rid of Lestat. Also at the end of the story the interviewer, being the young naïve boy that he is, doesn’t realize any of the tragedy behind Louis’s woeful tales. Instead he thinks it’d be cool to be a vampire for the immortality and power. Louis angered at the boy’s ignorance, turns him into a vampire and flees. At that point the story ends with the interviewer wanting to seek out Lestat as well. In a way, this is kind of like a commentary about how people don’t realize the consequences of things as youth. They don’t tend to think things through, but rather learn the hard way because they do things that they think are cool.
Even though the whole male dominance relationship part of this book kind of creeped me out, I still think it provided some interesting points with the concept of being an immortal child and the mindless old world vampires.
Monday, January 25, 2010
The story introduces the characters in what I’d assume is the same way they are brought about in the original story. I get the impression that it’s a very traditional early 19th century England. Even the way they first start talking about the “unmentionables” feels like it actually fits into the text. When I first saw “unmentionables” I felt like I wasn’t sure what it was they were talking about. And I feel like, that’s how it would be talked about in the early 1800’s because the word “zombie” wasn’t even added to the English dictionary until much later. These extra characters actually seem to fit quite well into the story. However when they start calling them “zombies” and describing their specific martial arts techniques, that’s when it starts getting ridiculous. There are certain snippets of the story like that where it makes sense up to a point, and then after that it’s kind of ridiculous. The first time a ninja actually showed up into the story I thought, “Wait, did that actually just happen?” It was kind of strange to see all these random Japanese elements of ninjas and karate fighting styles integrated into old English culture. It was at the point I realized, “Well, I can see why it’s described as a mash-up.” In a way, it kind of reminds me of the same satirical format you’d see in an Onion News Network article. They present it in a way that makes it sound believable, yet there are so many ridiculous things added to it which is what makes it so hilarious.
‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ was entertaining to say the least, and I feel that this book is one to keep for years to come. I’ve also researched the book and found information regarding it being turned into a movie. It’s rumored to be in pre-production now with directing by David O. Russell and Elizabeth Bennet being played by Natalie Portman. I have to wonder if they’ll keep the satirical format without ruining it.