To many Otomo's Akira is the absolute swan song of his career--& they would not be wrong. I would find it hard to argue because I too am in awe ofTo many Otomo's Akira is the absolute swan song of his career--& they would not be wrong. I would find it hard to argue because I too am in awe of it.
But my heart belongs to Domu: A Child's Dream. To me, it is Otomo's true masterpiece. It would be the forerunner to Akira--the "shades of things to come" & a glimpse into the imagination that would one day create a graphic novel epic to rival all others. It is a deeply moving piece of work that has inspired me throughout all my creative impulses when writing comix. It is the graphic novel which makes me look at my scripts & say: "I can do better!"
Domu: A Child's Dream involves one of my favorite plot devices within the genre of science fiction: Psionics!
I love stories of telepathy, pyrokenesis, telekenesis, & all other types of psionic ablilities (& if there is a combination of more than one, all the better!). This graphic novel delivers everything I love about the concept & goes deeper than just a tale of two psionic rivals.
An old man with incredible psionic abilities lives in one of Japan's massive housing projects--gigantic monolithic buildings housing the multitudes who are overpopulating the large island they live on. He is bored, lonely & has a massive maturity problem--he is like a misbehaving little brat who views the world through cruel, bitter eyes. He kills for fun--using his psionics to cause "accidents" which end with the deaths of unsuspecting tenants.
Until a little girl & her parents move into the housing project. She knows what the old man is because she possesses the same abilities & she isn't happy with the homicidal little prick. What follows is a gargantuan psychic war that climaxes into a apocalyptic confrontation that destroys the Stonehenge-like buildings of the housing projects that are always looming up around them like walls of some super-prison. It is a symbolic battle--one between generations (the little old man & the little girl)--& a comment on the country's continuing problem with overpopulation. These factors & the images Otomo's pen creates drives the story to an incredible ending.
It is comix like Otomo's Domu: A Child's Dream that make me want to write comix. It is the type of comic that I would spend many hours trying to find if it were out-of-print. As a matter of fact, it is. So start searching because it is an essential graphic novel you must read & own. If you find two copies, buy them both--it's that good & that important. Now give that second copy to your best friend. They will thank you & will be forever in your debt.
There is no question that this graphic novel is no more than a masterpiece. Anyone--anyone!--who disagrees is a fool!...more
I do think this one of the weakest novels--if not THE weakest!--that I've read in Bradley's Darkover series. Yes, it has a very strong female characteI do think this one of the weakest novels--if not THE weakest!--that I've read in Bradley's Darkover series. Yes, it has a very strong female character &, yes, there is the conflict between the sexes. But nothing really happens within the conflict between men & women, father & daughter or maintaining tradition vs. striving for independence. Nothing happens except a very interesting female character huffs & puffs & broods over life not being fair. Instead of lifting the story, it drags it down into netherworld of boredom.
By no means let this assessment turn you off from this series for I truly enjoy the planet Darkover & will return to it again--Bradley is a great writer. I just think the planet could have done without this addition to the canon. I would suggest a reader start somewhere else....more
This was my first Darkover novel & it is a great place to start. It was what made me continue to read others within the series, but I believe I chThis was my first Darkover novel & it is a great place to start. It was what made me continue to read others within the series, but I believe I chose the wrong ones to continue with (HAWKMISTRESS comes to mind). I would classify these books as "science fantasy" considering the setting of the series is of a lost colony of Earth on the planet Darkover, who have lost their technology thus reverting themselves back to the stone age. Through this plight, they have pretty much established a feudal system--families have Kingdoms & subjects, clans, etc. But what separates this from fantasy is the discovery of "Laran"--the planet mutates the humans, gifting them with specific Psionics. It's the psionics which replace what could be considered "magic" in a fantasy setting. These mind powers run the gamut from telekinesis, telepathy, pyrokinesis, precognition, mentally communing with animals to controlling the weather--plus many others. With the title of the novel being STORMQUEEN, one can ascertain which Laran ability is focused on with the story.
It is a tragic tale & one that becomes a legend within the history of the planet of Darkover itself. It is a legend which is alluded to time & time again within future Darkover novels--the legend of the woman with the most powerful Laran ever to exist on Darkover & how she's kept in a permanent state of comatose so her power will never be unleashed upon the world. The reason she is kept this way is due to the fact she cannot control the power, it could drive her insane & therefore bring about Darkover's destruction.
Do not expect a storybook ending, you will not find one here. I believe this fact is what made me really appreciate the novel even more. It's one of the best novels involving psionics--ever! Bradley is a good writer & I believe this is one of her best. If you want to explore Darkover yourself, I suggest starting with this one....more
Yes. This novel could have benefited from stricter red ink on the manuscript pages from King's editor. &, furthermore, it would have benefited KinYes. This novel could have benefited from stricter red ink on the manuscript pages from King's editor. &, furthermore, it would have benefited King--including the story--if he had written it as a novella instead of a novel.
This is a great plot-line that has been written by King before but is enhanced with the "innocence lost"-theme coursing through the character of Charlie. In some ways, King has hidden within the story that there is no greater crime or horror than stealing away an individual's childhood. How is it "hidden"? Within the borderline stereotypical "fugitive plot" he buries the Charlie's lost childhood theme--allowing it to be pondered by the reader later. & this makes the novel one of King's unsung examples of him developing as a novelist. He is at least attempting to not be the hack he truly is.
Sure, we've seen the "innocence lost" through psionics within King's earlier novels, Carrie & The Shining, but with his third stab at the story-line, even though it has its flaws, I believe Firestarter is the better novel of the three.
I love stories involving psionics (hell, I have a goodreads shelf dedicated to it) & when I first read Firestarter as an excerpt in Omni magazine, I foamed at the mouth to get my hands on a copy of the novel. Being a kid in the fifth or sixth grade at the time, I didn't know who S.King was & nor did I care. He wasn't completely a household name yet but he was about a year or two away from it. Regardless, I didn't know the author's name but the title & the excerpt I had read was enough to sell me on it--Pyrokenesis! I'm so in!
It wasn't until a year later--when it came out in paperback--that I got my hands on a copy. & I read. & read. & read. & found a thrill here. & a way cool action scene there. & a Native American hit man. & another thrill there. & dad who also has some psionics. & a clandestine science organization that has a cool name called "The Shop". & I read. & read. & then: Far out awesome Psionic Showdown with kid, Charlie, laying waste to everything around her--so cool!
Now, with all the "& read" parts I repeatedly wrote in the above paragraph--these are the parts of the novel where King's editor should have gone red-ink-apocalypse on his typed manuscript. It just rambles. & rambles. Only to be punctuated with just barely interesting plot or character development. His best scenes are the ones involving heavy action with Charlie releasing her "curse" (or "gift", depending on how you want to look at it) upon her abusive oppressors. Her "family moments" seem stereotypical & have the feeling of a Cronenberg Scanners scene that was left on the cutting room floor. Nevertheless, when King gets the action rolling, he's back into a groove that makes the story--pardon the pun--burn.
So with all this negativity towards the book, where does the 4-star rating come from? It comes from being a fan a novels involving psionics--there aren't enough of them. & the ones that do exist are not very good ones. Firestarter is one of the better ones--possessing a great concept that if developed properly could have spawned a series surrounding The Shop & the victims of their ultra-secret experiments. This possible series would have been far more interesting than that Dark Tower crap.
With some heavy editing--or a massive re-write if he still wanted it to be a novel--King's Firestarter could've been a hell of a lot better than it is. I'm a total fan of the concept & the execution wasn't completely successful, but it is a stand out novel about psionics....more