Robot Girlis an Afrofuturistic version ofBernard Beckett's Genesis for children, populated with a black cast of characters. Genesis is one of my allRobot Girl is an Afrofuturistic version of Bernard Beckett's Genesis for children, populated with a black cast of characters. Genesis is one of my all-time favourite books. It inverts expectations and examines what it means to be human and the value of emotions.
The cover is what drew me in. It's rare to see black characters in sci-fi novels. Knowing it was written by Malorie Blackman was the cherry on top.
*Robot Girl is a dyslexia friendly book first published in Sensational Cyber Stories (1997)....more
Apparently this is aLike with Le Duc de L'Omelette, I needed a translation, and not from French this time. Once again the Examiner saved my bacon.
Apparently this is a spoof of Zillah; a tale of the Holy City (1828) set in Jerusalem 6,000 years ago when animal sacrifices were in vogue. I haven't read Zillah and my knowledge of this Biblical time and place is virtually non-existent, so I had no idea what the clan names meant or their significance. As a modern reader, when it came to Pharisees, Israelites, Ammonites, Philistines - I pretty much drew a blank, and I didn't particularly feel like researching them for what is, essentially, a nonsensical short story about a handful of Israelites guessing the species of animal they've purchased to be sacrificed. (Spoiler: It turns out to be an 'unclean' pig so they throw it back over the wall.) But back in 1832, when A Tale of Jerusalem was published - at the very beginning of Poe's writing career - a few more readers had probably come across the source material. A little context would've been appreciated. On the other hand, considering the quality of writing, I very much doubt it would've inspired me to increase my rating.
Again, as a writer, don't assume your audience is as educated as yourself, and reception of your work may be partially based on whether it stands the test of time....more
Do you read French? No? Google Translate to the rescue! But even then this short story is confusing. I read it twice in hardcopy format and online. ToDo you read French? No? Google Translate to the rescue! But even then this short story is confusing. I read it twice in hardcopy format and online. To fully understand what happens I had to resort to Google where I found the clearest explanation from the Examiner.
Basically a self-absorbed dandy Duke chokes on an olive and dies. In Hell with the Devil he's asked to strip. Offended he demands a fencing duel to win back his life. Since the Devil doesn't know how, they play cards. Our dandy Duke wins, though if he had to be in hell, he wouldn't mind being the Devil.
My guess is Poe didn't like superficial dandies if he's sending them straight to Hell.
Le Duc de L'Omelette is the second tale Poe wrote, in 1832, two months after Metzengerstein - another tale for which I had to resort to Google for help.
Poe's early work certainly isn't his best.
Lesson: Never assume your audience is as educated as you.
Earl is a permanent patient at a hospital since he was injured in the attack which saw Earl's wife raped and killed. His injury has caused permanent brain damage meaning he's unable to convert short-term into long-term memories. Earl remembers everything before the damage, but nothing after, so his memory is only ten minutes long.
You can't have a normal life anymore. You must know that. How can you have a girlfriend if you can't remember her name? Can't have kids, not unless you want them to grow up with a dad who doesn't recognize them. Sure as hell can't hold down a job. Not too many professions out there that value forgetfulness. Prostitution, maybe. Politics, of course.
No. Your life is over. You're a dead man. The only thing the doctors are hoping to do is teach you to be less of a burden to the orderlies. And they'll probably never let you go home, wherever that would be.
So the question is not "to be or not to be," because you aren't. The question is whether you want to do something about it. Whether revenge matters to you.
It does to most people. For a few weeks, they plot, they scheme, they take measures to get even. But the passage of time is all it takes to erode that initial impulse. Time is theft, isn't that what they say? And time eventually convinces most of us that forgiveness is a virtue. Conveniently, cowardice and forgiveness look identical at a certain distance. Time steals your nerve.
No doubt Memento Mori is interesting and insightful. A man with no memory has nothing to lose. Punishment for taking revenge on his wife's killer is going to be meaningless to him, although I'm not sure it's realistic for Earl to actually achieve this goal with a ten-minute memory even with the notes tattooed on his body to remind him of what he needs to do.
Jonathan Nolan's narration of Memento Mori is also available for free on YouTube....more
Metzengerstein is Poe’s first published short story, and it was not good. Seven pages of confusing, and almost nonsensical, Hatfields and McCoys tale of two feuding families.
Why give it two stars instead of one? Wikipedia. Yeah, I shouldn’t have to resort to another source in order to understand the story, but I identified the important pieces but didn’t know how to put them together. Once I did, it all made sense.
Vengeance was had on the young head of the Metzengerstein by a manifestation of the dead Berlifitzing patriarch in the form of a demonic horse, who had previously resided (and moved) inside a tapestry. That kind of reminded me of the film adaption of Roald Dahl's The Witches with girl living inside the painting.
Anyway, had this story been written more clearly, it would've been an awesome Halloween read. I loved the imagery of the horse's gothic triumph at the end.
Be warned, Gaiman doesn't really rework Hansel andHaving liked The Sleeper and the Spindle, I assumed I'd enjoy another reworked fairy tale by him.
Be warned, Gaiman doesn't really rework Hansel and Gretel like he did with Sleeping Beauty, he just enlarges on it, adding minor changes along the way. Oddly I enjoyed this story more than any other by Gaiman, which probably tells you more about how much I like, or dislike, his work than anything else.
Lorenzo Mattotti's illustrations feel inappropriate for a children's book, in my opinion. They're 95% black brushstrokes with tiny bits of white. Since the cover of The Sleeper and the Spindlefeatured gold on the cover in addition to black and white, which were all present in the illustrations within, I assumed the green on Hansel & Gretel's cover would feature in the illustrations here as well. I was wrong. These are just black and white. Perhaps the illustrator was aiming for gothic, but when I can't even tell what a couple of them are supposed to be representing, there's a problem.
However, there's a random illustration which doesn't match the narrative. Only after reading the last two pages, which detail the source of the Grimm tale and a few paragraphs describing the original work, did I realise what had happened. Apparently a duck helped the duo cross the river in the original version and this is depicted in one of the illustrations. But Gaiman doesn't include the duck in his retelling. Did Hansel & Gretel even go through an editing stage?
Grimms' Hansel and Gretel was published in 1812. Twelve year old Dorothea Wild, known as Dortchen, was the source of the tale. She later became Mrs Wilhelm Grimm in 1825.
A hundred years before the Brothers Grimm, French author and fairy-tale collector Charles Perrault recorded "Le Petit Poucet," or "Hop-o'-My-Thumb." Hop-o'-My-Thumb, the smallest and cleverest of seven brothers, is also born to woodcutters who put the children out due to famine. Like Hansel, he uses trails of pebbles then breadcrumbs to find his way. The brothers stumble upon the house of an ogre who vows to kill and eat them, but Hop-o'-My-Thumb tricks him into slitting his daughters' throats instead (by swapping their caps). By the end of the story, "Hop-o'-My-Thumb." ends up with the ogre's money.
An Italian tale, "Nennillo and Nennella" is also similar. Then there's Russia's Baba Yaga who promises no to eat the children if they can complete impossible tasks. Kindness to the animals sees them help the children in completing the tasks in order to escape. Baba Yaga may have been inspired by in part by Cupid and Psyche's story in The Golden Ass written almost 2,000 years ago.
I want to award Gaiman's retelling a high rating, but it's not Gaiman's story. He hasn't made it his own like he did by adding a feminist twist to Sleeping Beauty. Sure, it's been reworded, and feels smoother and more eloquent for it, but there isn't any one thing I can definitively point to that sets it apart from the original. For me, the sometimes inarticulate illustrations detracted from the reading experience, as I sat there trying to figure out what exactly I was looking at. I felt they were incongruous and would've been better placed in art book or a gallery wall where I could've appreciated them more.