I don't really know what to say about this book, or that is of its contents. The USA is in many respects a very attractive country with many great quaI don't really know what to say about this book, or that is of its contents. The USA is in many respects a very attractive country with many great qualities. But it seems to me that so many of the good qualities of America are offset by the bad and then some. The image I often get is that the majority of Americans are very proud of their country, the land of opportunity and home of the free, and have an abundance patriotism to the degree of over sweetness to my admittedly dry tastes. It's this image that I find so difficult to reconcile with the America I keep finding in the books I read whether it be books like these that talk about how awfully immigrant and low class workers are treated in the states, how the food is becoming closer to something you would find in an industrial chemical plant (Omnivore's Dilemma), or in other more political works talking about the more shady goings on in American political life (The Shock Doctrine).
It seems to me that the USA is a bit schizophrenic in it's personality. All these great ideals on the surface but underneath lurk a lot of dark things that people don't want to have to think about. I think books like these are a pretty good medicine. At least it means that there are people out there who are willing to at least try to do some housecleaning.
p.s. I'm not Bashing the USA. Like I said I think it's pretty great but it could be a hell of a lot greater....more
Is your child bored? Did his father get locked away in the asylum? Does hanging out with tentacle monsters from the deep sound like fun?
Then do we haveIs your child bored? Did his father get locked away in the asylum? Does hanging out with tentacle monsters from the deep sound like fun?
Then do we have the thing for you. This Christmas we're offering the Black book, otherwise known as the mad Arab's Kitab al-Azif, that's the Necronomicon to you folks, for half price. You heard right! We're offering this one time only deal on the Book of the Dead for half off. Your kid will be summoning Great old ones in no time and if that's not enough he'll have the run of the city of the black abyss, R'lyeh. Who knows, maybe he'll even get to meet the one and only Cthulhu!
Further to this we're including a one time only invocation. If the favorite pet dies that's no big deal just chant the invocation and skippy'l be running around like never before. (H.P.l. Corporation takes no responsibility for furniture ruined by rotten flesh nor for accidental mauling by said pet). Order now or Yog-Sothoth will get you!
Yay for black magic!
-- Now that that's done let's take a look at the graphic novel Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom. In this book we meet little Howie who's father's been locked up in the crazy bin. Mom decides it's a good idea to take Howie to visit dad on Christmas eve but unfortunately the warm family gathering is shattered by dad screaming at his son to 'Destroy the Book!' Back home mom decides to sooth little Howie by giving him an early Christmas present. Lo and behold the book that made dad crazy, The Necronomicon! Apparently mom couldn't find How to be a Serial Killer at the bookstore and went for second best.
Here is where what seems to be a fun and interesting premise starts to crumble. Howie is transported to a magical wonderland which has been cursed with perpetual winter. Oh yeah, this land is called R'yleh (the misspelling of R'lyeh seems to me to be indicative of the rest of the book). From here on we have a bland buddy story, the buddy being an octopus thing with a surly temper but which quickly makes friends with our protagonist, and which then degenerates into a 'you are the chosen one' premise. The author, Bruce Brown, makes an honest attempt to make fun story for the whole family based on the Cthulhu mythos. There are a few problems though with the execution.
First is the writing, especially the dialogue. Brown doesn't make it easy for himself by starting with a quote from Poe.
"Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December, And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor."
Following that you expect top notch writing. Although perhaps adequate for the uninitiated, Lovecraft fans, who undoubtedly will be the ones attracted to read this book, expect high prose from any work that seeks to use Lovecraftian lore to the measure which is done here. Which brings us to the second point, if you're going to base your stuff on the Lovecraft mythos, do it right. The biggest discrepancy is R'lyeh, described by Lovecraft so: "The nightmare corpse-city of R'lyeh…was built in measureless eons behind history by the vast, loathsome shapes that seeped down from the dark stars. There lay great Cthulhu and his hordes, hidden in green slimy vaults." While Brown tries to make R'yleh sound ominous phrases such as "...kingdom described as an unholy marriage of fairy tales and nightmares" simply fail to evoke anything close to Lovecraft's skin-crawling descriptions. Nor does the winterland subsequently shown or the characters that inhabit it seem to have much in common with their inspiration or at least they don't seem to stay true to it. The thing is this whole problem could have been avoided if Brown had chosen to honor Lovecraft in a more subtle way. An example of this is Terry Pratchett's Discworld where in a few of the series books he pays homage to Lovecraft by creating spooky, and funny, creature-monsters while still making them his own creations. Neil Gaiman on the other hand shows in A Study in Emerald (http://www.neilgaiman.com/mediafiles/...) how to use the Cthulhu mythos in a way that is highly original but which stays true to the original source.
Although it may be unfair to use Pratchett and Gaiman as examples it seems to me that the book could have been much better if the author had just allowed himself more time to work on the nooks and crannies of his story. That being said the book does manage to redeem itself a bit in the end which is why it got three stars instead of two.
I should add that book artist is Renzo Podesta and although his penciling can be a bit uneven, though still good, his coloring is excellent. In his use of color and texture he is reminiscent of Dave McKean (cover artist for the Sandman series).
Finally for those of you who have no idea what the hell I'm talking about here is one of the best introductions to the world of Cthulhu that I know of: http://youtu.be/FOHJUrcVdJk ...more
I started watching the series and the decided to check out the books as well. Due the repetitive nature of the dialogue between the series and the booI started watching the series and the decided to check out the books as well. Due the repetitive nature of the dialogue between the series and the book I decided to skip the series for now. I'm enjoying these books, I'm on book three now, but I can't help feeling like I'm reading the equivalent of an endless soap opera. Undoubtedly the bestest soap opera ever made but soap opera like nonetheless. The books seem to be one cliff hanger after an other without any resolving of plots visible on the horizon. I know that this is one of the things that people love about the books but I find that endless plot-threads tie up my interest in continuing. This is most probably due to my very short attention span... and also because I don't like how much of modern entertainment seems to be based on a stimulus-reward approach. Computer games, tv series, and now books seems to be using in ever increasing degrees psychological methods to get you hooked (here's a cool article on the subject http://www.cracked.com/article_18461_...). All that said I really do like these books and I'm not really saying that they compare in degree to tv or, especially, computer games in the above respect.
What I really do like about this series are the characters. Martin has in these series created some of the most interesting and lovable/hate-able characters in recent memory. Highly recommended despite all reservations :) ...more
I'm surprised by the low rating of this book although that may have to do with me listening to it on audio. I can believe that on paper this book mayI'm surprised by the low rating of this book although that may have to do with me listening to it on audio. I can believe that on paper this book may be a bit boring but the audio book is truly a delight. The narrator has a beautiful English accent (despite going through this book I couldn't name it offhand) and can affect all the different accents he talks about. I love all different accents and that alone made this book a lot of fun for me but being a language nerd as well I found all the tidbits about the development of English, its geographical spread and the effects of local languages on it really interesting. That's not to mention some of the hilarious anecdotes the author tells us.
Of course, if you're not a language nerd this book is definitely not for you.
Edit: I thought this video an appropriate companion to the review since it mirrors the attitude of the book.
I've wanted to finish reading the Bible for a long time. I started reading it a long time ago and have perhaps finished about five or six of the manyI've wanted to finish reading the Bible for a long time. I started reading it a long time ago and have perhaps finished about five or six of the many books (i.e. Matthew, John and so on) of the Bible.
I don't really think that it is my place to rate this book but I've decided that I'm going to start going through the books of the Bible and post regular thoughts on what I read here.
For now I'll just leave it here.
1. sept. 2010
I've been reading History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russel and for some history of the development of the Papacy and many other subjects related to Christianity it is a very interesting read....more
If one is interested in improving one's English skills then this is a great book but as regards plot and ideas this book is exceedingly boring.
I thinkIf one is interested in improving one's English skills then this is a great book but as regards plot and ideas this book is exceedingly boring.
I think Ballard's ideas about the psychology of man are very much in line with the time in which the book was written but unfortunately his ideas do not make for an interesting read today. As for the plot it is long winded and doesn't really go anywhere.
His environment is very much enjoyable but does not raise the storytelling out of its drudgery. ...more