So I didn't read all of this. Not NEARLY. But what quotes I did get came in handy for an essay in which I needed some postmodern theory to be applicab...moreSo I didn't read all of this. Not NEARLY. But what quotes I did get came in handy for an essay in which I needed some postmodern theory to be applicable to the pomo theatre scene. Thus, I've decided to be nice and give Thiele the benefit of the doubt. I really would read all of it if I had time right now. It seems an admirably accessible work for those who share of my (lack of) political expertise.(less)
Another review I just saw (almost totally unrelated ... oh well) reminded me I should give this five stars. I have loved C&H for years. One of my...moreAnother review I just saw (almost totally unrelated ... oh well) reminded me I should give this five stars. I have loved C&H for years. One of my greatest disgusts with generally-sad newspaper comics is that Calvin and Hobbes are not there.
Chronicling the practically endless exploits of fine young Calvin, his stuffed (?!) tiger Hobbes, and occasionally others: Calvin's wartorn parents (especially his fabulously sardonic dad), the ever-sappy neighbourhood kid Susie, and long-suffering teacher Miss Wormwood. I can't properly describe these comics. Seriously, just go try them. Or retry them. Alternately wry, uproariously funny and heartwarming, they will capture the heart of anyone who's ever had – anyone who's ever been a child. Watterson's illustrations and his dialogues are equally brilliant. There is not one strip that won't have you smiling, at the very least. The very stuff to read when you're at all pressed by negative feelings. Laughter is good for the soul, as hereby proven.
However. One minor cautionary note, potential readers:
Calvin is a freaky kid. Damn realistic, though - nicely caricatured but realistic, hence artistic. Did I mention sadistic? (Apologies.) Reminds me of myself, not too far beyond his age. If he'd owned Barbie dolls, he would totally have played out his unconscious fascination with violence and its emotional ramifications through WWIII pseudo-Holocaust Barbie games.
One of my current book-related sorrows is that I left my copy of this collection at home when I came to university. I just had to pick and choose. This is coming back with me next time I travel home, though.
"Set in the near future, eXistenZ depict a society in which gaming designers are worshipped as superstars and players can ac...moreFor those who don't know:
"Set in the near future, eXistenZ depict a society in which gaming designers are worshipped as superstars and players can actually enter inside the games.. The name of the game is eXistenZ – a technology so advanced that it uses biology to transport players into gaming experiences beyond the bounds of virtual reality. eXistenZ taps so deeply into players' fears and desires that it blurs the boundaries between reality and escapism." [from the inleaf and back cover]
Two point five stars from me, but that rounds up. I am rating this based on its quality as a stand-alone, that is, without considering that it's based on a film. eXistenZ: A Graphic Novel wears a more-or-less obscuring veil of surreality the whole way through, and while I don't consider that necessarily bad style for a graphic novel, it was rather hard to read. I managed to follow the action (not sure if I'd call it a plot, and the departure from that is admirable) only on what felt to me a basic level. Try as I did to determine what was going on, I was not always able to connect the relation of two side-by-side frames when they were split by a totally unwarned-of saccade from one scene to another. Fine in a movie; confusing in a book.
The artwork here demands mention, and adulation. Scoffield takes the graphic novel through his illustrations to a level of realism I've never encountered in a graphic novel. It's very movie-like which, I gather, is the aim. And it's undeniably gorgeous. Gorgeous, as well as appropriate. It evokes the shadowy world of 'virtual?... or... reality?' with almost chilling efficiency; we can't make out everything that's happening, and we're not sure if the characters inside the frames can, either. Again, though, I have to say that the close-ups and the extreme shading in many frames are frustrating to me. You're in a world with quite a few objects foreign to our own: bioports, Pink-fones, Game Pods and so on. There is a handy glossary of these in the beginning. But in the course of the story, I find myself needing to jump a few frames ahead to learn what exactly an earlier frame depicts, and that took away from my own enjoyment.
Altogether, this is one of those rare times when you need the movie as a starting place to enjoy the literary version. I have not seen Cronenberg's film, and I know I would have found this to be a far richer reading experience if I had. (less)
I found you by chance, my darling, on one of those voracious raids I make on Chapters when lucky enough to get near a city with one. I was thinking ne...moreI found you by chance, my darling, on one of those voracious raids I make on Chapters when lucky enough to get near a city with one. I was thinking nervously of starting university in a few months, altogether doubtful of my worthiness to pursue an English degree, and this caught my eye. I knew nothing, or at least believed I did – or was afraid to believe in my grasp of anything at all. I decided it was high time I Took an Interest In Literary Theory. (My, my, aren't we a gung-ho little English major?) So I picked you up, slim volume that you are, and read you over a series of happy, early-morning book-with-coffee sessions. I kept notes while I read through you, silly notes of what was truly a mind-stretching lecture so valuably committed to paper. Immature as I was, you shaped me and deserve the truth, wonderful little book. This tribute cannot be enough, but here is a selection of what I was thinking about you.
"I am thus far hooked. I've read the first chapter through twice, and comprehended that much more for the extra reading. This is, hopefully, just what I need to reaffirm and elaborately develop my knowledge of how important literature... truly is to humankind, individual and social. It makes so much sense. 'The motive for metaphor ... is a desire to associate, and finally to identify, the human mind with that goes on outside it....' Yes, I know he's right, because I've experienced it. I am familiar with, amorous for that sense of connection with the entire world..." - - - - "It's such a basic statement, yet such a broad one... we use the imagination to create joy, and joy is created chiefly through the use of imagination (is basically what Frye is saying.... Note to self: look up D.H. Lawrence [after admiring an excerpt from "Song of a Man Who Has Come Through"].
"This is helping me find new ways to view life and literature in their primary relation to each other... I've always had this sense that most of the 'great' stories are hopeless ones, and that if I lived a blessed and optimistic life, it seemed less and les likely that I could become a 'person of literature.' But how could I bear to live in a world of no happy endings at all – of sad, inevitable pattern? "Now I'm beginning to see, perhaps, another way. We write of our dark times, and of the hope that we may rise above them to be happy again.... the cycle Frye mentions is still happening, "of how man once lived in a golden age .. how that world is lost, and how we may some day be able to get it back again." -- - - "Funny how the stories a child invents are imaginary, while from a writer the same creations are deemed imaginative. Of course, when you think about it, the latter implies far more intention. If a child's games or tales hold symbolic elements that are also within literary convention ... The writer designs, specifically for the purpose of – what? Well, I guess that's what I'm reading this for.... Ah, and now he's connecting religion, science, politics –>allegories –>literature. Trés passionant, à moi. - - - - "So now I've got a good deal ahead of me. Yay. My ultimate goal? To decipherFinnegan's Wake. Without help. And right now? To read the Bible. Kind of makes me feel a tad nauseous. ... so I see that before I go for Paradise Lost I need to have a thorough understanding of the Bible and classic mythology. Damn, will I ever get to read these things? (I expect the same would go for The Iliad and The Odyssey ... god, don't know if I can even spell that....)"
- - - - - - -
"How can this talk have been given in 1962? It's today, it's me, it's us.
"I'm breathing fast and my brain fears to think as fast as it wants to; the dangers of hyperspeed are formidable. Yet I cannot wait to start reading this book again.
"It has everything I need right now, all that I've needed for months and cried about, literally and internally, for countless hours. The answers are here, for me: I hold them in this slim volume that was written forty-seven years ago and I could cry once again, with gratitude and relief and the transformative power of new-discovered insight.
"I know where I went wrong, and why (or most of why ... we are, after all, complex beings – but I can see now what [names of several counsellors] and myself never saw before). I know what's been unproductive over my months of struggling with spirit and mind. And I am beginning to know what to do next.