Geralt of Rivia is an interesting character, a magic-using swordsman traveling through a world that blends bits of the real world ("Far across the oceGeralt of Rivia is an interesting character, a magic-using swordsman traveling through a world that blends bits of the real world ("Far across the ocean, there are horses with white stripes") with well-known fantasy tales (genies granting three wishes). Unlike many of the peasants telling the tales, Geralt is well-versed in the "science" behind the magic, which he puts to use in his work as mercenary monster-slayer.
This book is a series of vignettes that mainly serve to introduce Geralt and some of the other major characters he interacts with in the world. Interestingly, the events of the first Witcher game actually take place in the future rather than using the book as the script. The exception is his fight with the striga in the CGI cutscene that plays when the game launches, which is animated beat-for-beat from the scene in the book, something you see too often. In the game, this scene is a glimpse of Geralt's past, and many of the other stories in this book are referenced by the game as legends or memories.
I enjoyed reading it, although I do think some of the smoothness of the prose has been quite literally "lost in translation" from Polish. I'm interested enough in what will happen to read the next book, and I'm about to start playing The Witcher 2 game as well....more
Blankets is a beautiful graphic novel well-deserving of the multiple awards it has received. Written with the candor of an infinite conversation, theBlankets is a beautiful graphic novel well-deserving of the multiple awards it has received. Written with the candor of an infinite conversation, the author’s vulnerability gives the reader permission to recall their own feelings about similar experiences. Craig Thompson’s slightly ambiguous storytelling and art styles leave space for readers to linger on the many moments of deep emotion throughout the work. His honest, non-judgemental reflection on his childhood is a poignant reminder of how our past experiences, both remembered and forgotten, have culminated in the person we are in the present. ...more
I thoroughly enjoyed the Scott Pilgrim series so I was excited when my wife got me this for my birthday. Like most graphic novels it reads pretty fastI thoroughly enjoyed the Scott Pilgrim series so I was excited when my wife got me this for my birthday. Like most graphic novels it reads pretty fast, but I savored it so that I'd finish sometime during the school year. It has a similar quirky style to Scott Pilgrim, with even more fourth-wall breaking narration. Content-wise I would say that in Scott Pilgrim, the overarching theme was one of bewilderment as Scott stumbled through life, progressing to a state of some certainty. In Seconds, the theme is one of dissatisfaction, progressing toward a certain amount of contentment. Perhaps because I'm now in my late 20s, it's a theme that speaks very strongly to me; upon finishing I closed the book in a state of quiet thoughtfulness....more
I have now read this book twice as part of assigned texts in various religion classes at my university. Innerweave presents a broad, universal applicaI have now read this book twice as part of assigned texts in various religion classes at my university. Innerweave presents a broad, universal application of the author’s Seventh-Day Adventist Christian perspective to the interaction of spirituality and illness. Major points are lost due to a reliance on contrived portmanteaus to describe poorly-defined abstract concepts: “compathy” (compassion, sympathy, empathy), the titular “innerweave,” and the ridiculous “spiritual⇔faith,” used extensively throughout the book. Whether by ignorance or intention, the author’s neglect of those from other backgrounds and liberal use of vacuous language made it difficult for me to see the his thoughts as relevant outside his limited cultural sphere.
I also took issue with a number of the underlying thoughts. Although well-intended, they seem to have been considered in only one direction: that of a Western Christian pursuing an individual relationship with god. As one example, the third chapter starts from the assumption that humanity was created in the Garden of Eden with a perfect innate sense of how things ought to be, and by disregarding this knowledge brought about its own downfall. Because of this, “researchers today” have observed that the “majority of illnesses suffered by today’s patients result from the effects of their negative thoughts and hurtful emotions.” In the next sentence, the author goes on to state that everything from anxiety to self-pity “break down the functioning...of the body,” causing illness.
These kinds of statements are simultaneously demonstrably false and cognitively harmful. While few would argue that there is no psychosomatic component to illness, the “majority of illnesses suffered by today’s patients” in fact have definitive etiologies. Bacterial or viral infection, spontaneous mutations in oncogenes, inherited genetic factors, and environment are a few of the many sources of illness in the world. Importantly, these and many other illnesses can strike even those with the best of lifestyles, which is why the perspective put forward by this book has the potential to be psychologically damaging.
Starting from the Christian assumptions of perfection, with illness resulting from a loss of perfection that begins with rejection of divine ideals, ties very nicely into the redemption story. Through Christ, one can restore the original perfection, a conscious choice that spreads outward to affect not only one’s body but the surrounding world. This sounds great and can even be encouraging when things are going well, but what about when they are not? If illness results from someone allowing anxiety to cloud their view of heaven, what does that say about them when they are diagnosed with cancer, early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, or even a seasonal flu? Illness is unequivocally not the result of spiritual or mental weakness, it can destroy regardless of faith, lifestyle, and positive attitude. Recognizing this is an important part of coping with illness, for the Christian faithful as well as everybody else.
This is the kind of book that speaks strongly to those who wish to reinforce previously-held beliefs; however, it does not withstand the level of critical scrutiny I would expect from an educational text. A more rigorous approach would provide its readers with a stronger foundation for their existing faith, and potentially give the book more value for those who do not share the author’s perspective. ...more
In Red Queen, developing superpowers has turned humanity into a racist and classist society that separates those who have powers from those who do notIn Red Queen, developing superpowers has turned humanity into a racist and classist society that separates those who have powers from those who do not. There's a female protagonist forged by the streets, authoritarian government, and a nobility that hardly notices the plight of those born without. Think Hunger Games meets X-Men, with the menagerie of somewhat-inconsistent superpowers all brought about by a single genetic mutation (including a power that un-does powers, like that kid in X3: X-Men United). Despite that I think it's a fun read and an interesting premise, since those in power are able to maintain it both through the governmental system and physical superiority....more
This book is an engaging read, both for its 70s and 80s pop culture references and its social commentary. As scifi has since its inception, the book dThis book is an engaging read, both for its 70s and 80s pop culture references and its social commentary. As scifi has since its inception, the book depicts a future that feels particularly possible. In between the puzzles and action sequences only a game can deliver, it explores the search for human connection both on and offline....more
A nod to both the Canterbury Tales and Lovecraft, this is definitely one of my favorite scifi books. Regardless of how the sequel turns out, I think HA nod to both the Canterbury Tales and Lovecraft, this is definitely one of my favorite scifi books. Regardless of how the sequel turns out, I think Hyperion stands on its own as a well-written book, and, like all the best scifi, is powerfully insightful....more