Awww. The final chapter, that shows the fight for power in Mr. Parkhill's English for Beginners's class in the Adult Preparatory Night School escalatiAwww. The final chapter, that shows the fight for power in Mr. Parkhill's English for Beginners's class in the Adult Preparatory Night School escalating, ends with such a sweet letter to his learned hero. Mr. H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N, your character doesn't disappoint, ever. ...more
"What about our human rights,' demanded Carl, who'd gathered a small deputation of kids within minutes. 'There is a WAR ON,' said Crewman Devlin, shor"What about our human rights,' demanded Carl, who'd gathered a small deputation of kids within minutes. 'There is a WAR ON,' said Crewman Devlin, shortly. I wondered if this meant grown-ups actually listen to you when there wasn't a war on, because somehow I was sceptical." Teccc - my reading partner - is unquestionably right: The book loses some of its naughty snappiness and sarcasm as it proceeds and it gets more and more predictable after the small, nerdy gang of kids and their maniacally cheerful, robotic goldfish tutor flee the kiddie cadet academy on Mars in a stolen spaceship in order to find adult help or a way back home to earth. Also, the characters - both human and alien - reminded me often of those in "The True Meaning of Smekday".
Still, I enjoyed the story and its messages well enough. As "Smekday" does, it encourages the reader to have a look at the enemy's position/reasons/lack of other options/history, it stresses that there are always people who flourish because of war - career-wise, money-wise or morality-wise (meaning actions which are cautiously sanctioned or meticulously dissected angle by angle in a well-functioning society are overlooked or hastily permitted in war, because survival as a whole is at stake and long-term problems or ethical qualms suddenly play a secondary role to immediate results), and it certainly devises not to give up at any seemingly hopeless point of any endeavor.
The ending wrapped up everything pretty nicely while pointing out that in most disputes compromises have to be tolerated and that the notion to be able to return a society or a country to what it was "before"/in good old times/at a certain point is always unrealistic/undoable. Change happens. I can imagine reading the sequel at some point. Yes, definitely. Goldfish, bring it on!...more
This "novel", which is completely devoid of the written word, shows - in painstaking detail - a typical work day (including the sleepless night hat foThis "novel", which is completely devoid of the written word, shows - in painstaking detail - a typical work day (including the sleepless night hat follows) of a nameless single, male office guy in China.
We see him having digestion problems, fixing his breakfast (popcorn and milk, after the toast burns to ash, because an Amazon delivery distracts him), commuting to work, reading and answering a lot of private mail, searching the web for a mate, going for coffee, going for lunch, doing a presentation, reading the news (on CNN), having a romantic date, caring for a sick friend and spending a long night with strange dreams and classic video games.
Although the chapters only consist of emoticons, pictograms, logos and punctuation marks, you soon get a firm grip on the hero's character, his preferences, his quirks, his faults. It's a really, really fascinating thing to experience.
This is a sample page somebody uploaded to Pinterest: