Mostly very good. Krugman's claim at the front of the book that he intends to make it more readable to the wider non-economic savvy public doesn't reaMostly very good. Krugman's claim at the front of the book that he intends to make it more readable to the wider non-economic savvy public doesn't really hold up by the end sadly. There are many head-scratching paragraphs that I had to read multiple times to properly understand. Economics to me is like most sciences, I'm sorry, but no matter what people say, they are the sort of subjects that can never be fully accessible to the average Joe. The very nature of their subject requires jargon, near impenetrable concepts and a hefty dose of a good Maths background to properly appreciate.
Still, Krugman is better than most, and has some very funny turns of phrases here and there. His baby co-op metaphor at the beginning of the book for the way the housing market was treated by banks was particular inspired, and an excellent way to clarify the complex clusteruck of CDOs, sub-prime mortgages, derivatives and others that lead to the crash.
Overall, his analysis is one I agree with. Unregulated banking, along with their wanton stupidity and their ever increasing, never ending demand for more money (that all capitalists share alike) led to the collapse. Not, as the pernicious, worthless, dishonest little scum in the UK Conservative Party have managed to suggest, because of Labour's spending (A ludicrous claim. How does a spending deficit cause a banking collapse?)
Krugman provides a clear, insightful, hugely detailed outline of how things went wrong, and subsequently gives an informative plan for a global recovery. Sadly, the book, being published in 2009, now seems a disappointingly lost cry, as his plans for a worldwide economic recovery (V.Keynesian spending and growth increases) have not been pursued. In actuality, we have the perverse situation in which a neo-liberal free market capitalist failure is trying to be resuscitated with a neo-liberal, free-market capitalist solution. In continental Europe it's been an absolute disaster, with mass unemployment and huge political and economic unrest stemming as a result of it. In the UK it would seem to be on the surface doing much better (high employment, low inflation etc.) which is a shallow cover for a deeply flaky recovery, with jobs being self-employed, very low paid until very recently, on zero-hour contracts, and with no chance of it being a long-term secure recovery. It may well be shown to be made of sand when the winds of another economic judder (which under neo-liberal free-capitalism is almost certain) possibly putting people’s lives at risk again.
Also, the wider and more crucial point to make is that austerity, if not an economic red herring based on shaky and ill-founded principles (the report George Osbourne used to justify his austerity plans were subsequently proven to be dogshit, which numerous data errors in it), has utterly failed on a moral level. It is an absolute obscenity to humanity.
It has produced a destroyed NHS health care system, which (as Noam Chomsky has so astutely identified) is a classic case of stealth privatisation, where you defund something to the point of collapse, look at the numerous failings, let the media go "look! See! Public services don't work!” and then usher in for the private vultures to come and feast on it.
The benefit social security system has ripped to pieces, with the mass majority of people who need benefits to, you know, live, being cruelly stripped off it, leaving them starving and reduced to poverty because of the fanatical determination of the Conservatives to stamp out the minuscule crime of benefit fraud (which counts for something like 3.0% of benefit spending). Disabled people have suffered even worse through the social cleansing programmes, being chucked out of their wheelchairs in order to be shunted back to work, and sometimes actually killing themselves out of despair. For the youth of today, they have seen public education struggle, their EMA cut, and higher tuition fees.
For women, lack of money into the police force they are failing to record 800,000 crimes a year, including one in four sex offences in the UK. Also, 74% of austerity money grabbing has come from women's pockets, with women now being the majority of low-paid workers. Women are left caring for both small children and the elderly as their childcare services are cut. Funding for refuges and rape crisis centres has also been cut.
At local levels, councils have essentially become a pointless club where councillors and local MPs meet to sit around twiddling their funds, as local government money have been so slashed it has left services such as local NHS hospitals in dreadful states, and libraries constantly under threat of closure, and with little to no power left to them.
I could go on. There is a litany of abuses and abominations committed under the guise of a rational "technocrat" way of dealing with the economy. It is of course, not technocratic, but deeply ideological. The right wing have always hated the concept of the state. They've always hated social democracy. They've always hated the idea of helping the poor and protecting the weak. They've always sneered and spat on the concept of a society worthy of being called one, where the poor, the working, women, ethnic and racial minorities, the disabled and the young are treated equally and with fairness and decency. They've harboured these hatreds since the end of WW2, but put on a brave face and pretended to go along with the enormous social and economic changes produced after WW2. Thanks economic crash, it has given the Right the chance to utterly and finally destroy the state, and drag us all back to their utopia of the 1930s reborn. Their decades long plan to get rid of all that “universal suffrage bullshit” (in the words of fanatical Right-winger and hack blogger Paul Staines) is nearly complete.
I feel glad that people like Paul Krugman are around to constantly poke holes and demonstrate the lies and idiocy surrounding right-wing neo-liberal thinking. I only wish more people had listened to him. The three stars is because although very detailed, and containing a vast knowledge of economic catastrophes of roughly the past 30 years, it’s still quite dry. It acts more like a textbook sometimes than a work of political theory (which is probably what it was meant to roughly be :/). But it is still very erudite, and a great educational tool for understanding the mess we're in now.
In conclusion, when reading Krugman's account of the myriad of economic recessions and crashes from the 80s onwards, finally ending in its tragic crescendo with the 2008/09 crash, never before have Marx's words about how under the constant insatiability of capitalism "All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned" seemed so apt. ...more
Great overview. Gregor has given a detailed overview on Hitler's deranged and constant stream of nonsense that he wrote in his two shit-piles of booksGreat overview. Gregor has given a detailed overview on Hitler's deranged and constant stream of nonsense that he wrote in his two shit-piles of books (if Mein Kampf wasn't bad enough, turns out there was a Second Book unpublished until 2006). Hitler's main preoccupations are (surprise, surprise) the Jews, of which he paradoxically can blame for both the destructive materialist tendencies of industrialised capitalism, which destroys the 'purity' of the good honest German, and also 'Judeo-Bolshevism', in which communism supposedly tries to steal the workers away from their blood-and-soil roots by deluding into believing in human equality and a unification of class overleaping racial and national lines (which of course is basically treason to Hitler). Why? 'Cus the Jews are always trying to good old White European Aryan culture and society, as he repeatedly refers to Jews as, amongst others, 'the plague of nations', 'a disease', 'tuberculosis', 'parasites', 'poison', a 'foreign virus' and a 'noxious bacillus'.
This of course leads into Hitler's belief in medical terminology being fit enough to describe countries and nations, with Germany being the 'body', the fight for racial 'struggle' as the equivalent of the body fighting anti-bodies, and obviously the Jews being the damaging viruses to the body.
The book also covers Hitler's obsession with lebesnuram, and the need for 'living space' for the burgeoning children of Germany (that mothers were encouraged to constantly have) and his views of the disabled (hint, hint, he isn't very keen on them either, for similar reasons as the Jews).
The best sections are Gregor taking to pieces Hitler's thinking and writing style. So for instance, an excerpt in which Hitler states this:
If a really vigorous people believes that it cannot conquer another with peaceful economic means, or if an economically weaker people does not wish to let itself be killed by an economically stronger one, as its ability to feed itself it slowly cut off, then in both cases the mist of peaceful economic phraseology will be suddenly torn apart and war, that is the continuation of politics by other means, steps into its place. (2B, 22-3)
Reading this hopelessly unstructured string of clauses on can picture Hitler standing, peering over the shoulders of his hapless scribe, forming sentences as ideas come into his head and inserting sub-clauses as the thoughts and associations randomly strike him. There is an unmistakeably 'stream of consciousness' quality to the writing, which does not appear to have undergone even the most basic editing, let alone anything like rigorous polishing. It also contains an almost impossibly clumsy mixed metaphor - what is the 'the mist of peaceful economic phraseology'? And how does one tear mist apart? (pg. 7)
Good stuff! And also very accurate.
The main point in reading Hitler would be too discover if Hitler's dribblings are proof of further intentions. Gregor states Mein Kampf in particular is also partly an attempt to wheedle his way in as the new leader for the German far-right. But as to whether what he did in power from 1933-1945 can be seen here in his little books, is doubtful at best. It would be stupid to suggest, as someone like Lucy Dawodowitz does, that Hitler could have planned everything that went on in the war as far back as the writings of Mein Kampf, I doubt anyone, unless they were a James Bond villain, could be assured enough that their masterplan would work out great for nearly 10 years without any sudden contextual changes in the world affecting their decisions whatsoever.
But it does not mean we should ignore it outright. Gregor logically concludes that if Hitler did define the world into medicinal terms, then this metaphor "translate(d)...back into the human world of politics...becomes chillingly clear" in what he meant when he said vague statements like "poison is countered only by an antidote" (MK 306)".
On the whole, as to the question of “should you read Hitler?” The answer is probably not. 600+ pages of the writings of a man, who these days would be probably some drunk ranting on a street corner on a cardboard box, about the “Jews” and the “communists” and all his wacky theories on race, history and how-the-world-works based on these, is not very desirable. Instead, this book is a much better substitute, being short and swift, but detailed enough to give you enough insight into Hitler’s thinking, while still, with Gregor’s commentary, anchoring you back into reality. ...more
For starters, it’s a little weird having a play titled Julius Caesar but only featuring him a handful of times, and then killing him off mid-way throuFor starters, it’s a little weird having a play titled Julius Caesar but only featuring him a handful of times, and then killing him off mid-way through. It would be a bit like calling Macbeth “Kind Duncan”.
Speaking of Macbeth, I also wonder if Shakespeare pinched some of the plot for it. It’s not to say that the two are literally the same, as there are numerous differences in tone, plot, and message behind each one. But never the less, we have:
•Conspiring to murder legitimate ruler after a civil war (Julius Caesar, Duncan) – tick! •Bizarre events occur after murder of legitimate ruler (Casca’s descriptions of a flaming slave and a shrieking owl/ the Old Man and Ross’ descriptions of owls killing hawks and horses eating each other) – tick! •Friends of murdered ruler rise up against the murders and overrule them (Mark Anthony/ MacDuff) – tick! •Murderer of leader sees ghostly vision of person he has murdered (Brutus sees Caesar/ Macbeth sees Banquo) – tick! •Some vaguely supernatural element (Caesar’s obsession with prophecies, wives preconditions of death/ witches prophecies)
Again, a lot of these are tenuous, and have widely different contexts surrounding them, but I couldn’t hope but notice them.
One of the most joyous things about Shakespeare (there are many) is that due to the staggering influence he has had on Western popular culture and the English language itself, is that so many lines and quotes, most I knew long before I ever read any Shakespeare, read before you, giving you a pleasant surprise! For instance:
"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars/ But in ourselves...” (1.2, 140-41)
“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears” (3.2. before 70)
And, lastly, brilliantly:
“Cry Havoc, and let slip the dogs of war” (3.1, 273)
It was very fun for some reason discovering famous phrases pop out of you.
It’s also interesting trying to work out the characters of this play. Who’s the tragic hero? Who’s the villain? Did Caesar deserve to die? Are their growing signs of a paranoid mentality in him (his suggested reliance on supernatural omens indicating a bit of a fanatical side to him?)
Were the conspirator’s plans justified for this reason? What proof did they have to murder him?
Is Brutus the most “noblest Roman of them (5.5, 68)”, or an idiot with not much reason to fear Caesar other than an unfounded fear of “ambition”? On the other hand, he dies sympathetically, and admits as much when he kills himself that “I kill’d not thee with half so good a will (5.5, 51)”, demonstrating some degree of self-reflection, and describes how “As Caesar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoce at it; as he was valiant, I honour him; but as he was ambitious, I slew him (3.2 24-26)” and that “not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more 21-22”, meaning he had to place his overwhelming fears of dictatorship over personal love, which is a pretty dreadful position to be in. So did Shakespeare want us to view him as a justified martyr, or just a tragic fool?
Similarly, is Cassius the bad guy? He is described in the little character list at the front of my edition of the play as “fanatical” suggesting his villain status. But he doesn't really demonstrate fanaticism in the play. He feels grief and sorrow when Brutus is angry at him “O ye gods, ye gods, must I endure all this? (4.3, 41) and does go out in a blaze of glory, meaning he has some dignity. But then again, maybe Anthony’s claim that “All the conspirators, save only he (Brutus)/ Did that they did in envy of Great Caesar (5.5, 69-70)” was true, and that he, along with the others, were simply petty morons who were undone by their own callous misgivings?
Mark Anthony is also a suspicious character. He could be genuinely professing grief over his friend Caesar. But is he just using public grief (that he stirs up) as a means of gaining power over Rome himself? After all, after saying all the wonderful things that Caesar wanted to give to the public, he then starts almost momentarily trying to strip away at it: “we shall determine/How to cut off some charge in legacies (4.1, 9-10)”, meaning that the value Caesar apparently held were clearly not ones he did. So is he a justified hero avenging an unjust death? Or a scheming Machiavelli who sees a power gap and goes for it. Compared to Brutus, who often seemed genuinely caring and reasoned in his actions, he almost comes off more of a demagogue.
I feel Gary Wills summed it up very well when he said that:
“It is a drama famous for the difficulty of deciding which role to emphasise. The characters rotate around each other like the plates of a Calder mobile. Touch one and it affects the position of all the others. Raise one, another sinks. But they keep coming back into a precarious balance.”
It is a technique that has worn well, with it being apparent in contemporary TV dramas such as The Wire or Game of Thrones. Shakespeare forces us to confront some uncomfortable problems, primarily being “Who do we root for?” “Who should we sympathise with?”, and “What does it say of a society where everyone is capable of being corrupt?”
But this here is why Shakespeare is so brilliant. He refuses (as he does in many of his other plays) to stick rigidly to any set of conventions. He writes comedies that turn into tragedies, and comedies that turn into tragedies (The Winter's Tale, Troilus and Cressida etc.) He writes plays where the villain is arguably more sympathetic to the hero (The Merchant of Venice, although this is controversial), and, as demonstrated here, he manages to convey the enormous subtlety and nuance of human nature and morality, and that the desire for power tends to corrupt all, from all sides. And to top it off, he conveys it all with such majesty, poetry and beauty it makes your heart ache.
And of course, me being a student of history (meaning = I had a quick check on Wikipedia just a few minutes ago), I know that in the end, Rome stopped becoming a Republic after this, and the aforementioned Wiki article states that: “The result unforeseen by the assassins was that Caesar's death precipitated the end of the Roman Republic.”
So in the end, all the assassins failed in their only task. Brutus killed his friend for nothing. And all that we can be assured about is the cycle of petty, internecine civil war will continue indefinitely (it should be noted of course, that there was one before the play started, there is one during the play, and according to Wiki, there were about 3 other civil wars after this). It would be interesting to read Anthony and Cleopatra after this, considering it’s essentially a sequel, and it would be interesting to see if Shakespeare keeps up the same style of characters from this, or just starts anew.
So in the end, maybe Rome is the tragic character? Doomed to constant political infighting that only hastens its own demise. Shakespeare was so clever, and had such a wry and cynical outlook on things; I wouldn't be surprised if he knew the true nature of wars, both civil and eternal over the “hollow crown” as he earlier called it. And that the endless coups, revolutions and counter coups and revolutions were simply a revolving door for the power hungry to change their masks, but not their practices. ...more
Some good stuff in here, but alot of them are unbelievably dense and penetrating to read. It's almost as if some of the writers were consciously tryinSome good stuff in here, but alot of them are unbelievably dense and penetrating to read. It's almost as if some of the writers were consciously trying to make themselves sound like the worst kind of arty-farty pretentious intellectual, using all manner of unbelievably obtuse and complicated language to make his/her point. Alot of the time you sit there and dribble at what you've just read.
+ Dialogue in this book is fantastic. Some really funny and smart lines:
Kipling: "What are you a Doctor of?" The Doctor: "This and that. ThatThoughts:
+ Dialogue in this book is fantastic. Some really funny and smart lines:
Kipling: "What are you a Doctor of?" The Doctor: "This and that. That and this. Mostly that."
The Doctor: He peered at Ross. "Ah, you must be the mad scientist, I assume"".
The Doctor: 'When have I ever let you down?' Sarah: 'Too many times.' The Doctor: 'That was in the past. And we've definitely passed through those times.'
+ Also of note is Peel's characterisation of the Doctor and Sarah Jane, which he gets to a tee. The brilliant chemistry between them two during Baker's early years is captured extremely well in this book, and the humour between them as well.
+ I think the ideas of this book are brilliant. The images of shark-like seals, mer-children, and monstrous hounds make for some great visual imagery for your head, giving it a really unique feel Also, the plot of animal-hybridisation using an alien substance is particularly interesting and disturbing.
+ The additions of Kipling and Conan Doyle are a nice touch. Not really needed, and the story would have worked fine even if they weren't there, but it's good that Peel manages to ground the story to some sense of reality.
- Have to say though, although most of the characters involved are expertly written, some of the characterisation is a tad weak. The villains particular suffer abit from this. Percival Ross falls into the "mad scientists will create a new world for his creations" cliché, and Breckenridge falls into "oh-so polite magnificent bastard" type villain. Although these are small and hardly dent the overall quality of the book, they are slightly disappointing.
+ Period setting is used well, and the book does actually use it to good use. Talk of the progress of industrial technology, as well as using on the tropes of Gothic horror (hound on the moors, which is implied to be the inspiration to Doyle's Hound of the Baskervilles).
Overall, this book is a "good yarn" as my dad used to say, but nothing more than that. It's hardly the most intellectual, challenging or ground-breaking Doctor Who book ever written, but it works on it's own as a neat little, exciting romp. ...more
There's such alot of good stuff in this book. It acts in a way similar to Who Killed Kennedy? did, in that it gives someThis was stonking good fun. :)
There's such alot of good stuff in this book. It acts in a way similar to Who Killed Kennedy? did, in that it gives some background to events that occurred in season 7, and substantially explores the shadowy C19 organisation that was introduced in that book. And even if it's not Gary Russell's creation, lots of elements he adds to it are inspired. The Pale Man with the scar is a wonderfully nasty character, and visually striking to boot. He's also been enhanced with cyber-technology (in a similar way to Tobias Vaughn, complete even with a scene in which the Pale Man's chest is filled with smoking bullet holes) with gives us some really cool moments of him denting a bottle of glass, and smashing another bottle so hard together that instead of smashing it, he compresses it into tiny little bits. Along with him is the blond man (who is thoroughly repugnant) and the Irish Twins, a deliciously creepy couple, who do everything in perfect unison (as they've been injected with Nestene blood, turning into semi-Autons. Also cool).
As you may have gathered, the idea of a shadowy organisation working behind the scenes, as people referred to as just the "x man" positively oozes X-Files. By no means is this a bad thing, and in fact I think only adds to the appeal of this story to me, and also gives a whole new added depth to the UNIT stories.
There's also features like the Vault, a large secret base underneath the Cheviot Hills, where the blunderings of former stories are used for experiments. Really, this is where the fan boy jizzum starts spilling. Throughout that section, I was like "ooh! WOTAN!" and !ooh! Mars Space Probes!". I love it when Doctor Who manages to wrap up its own continuity into a more organic whole, (something which the 90s books did particularly well), and this book does it incredibly well. It was also one of the reasons I really liked Who Killed Kennedy?, of which this book is quite similar, and it justs makes for a much more satisfying reading experience to have a sense of all the Doctor Who stories being a real, functioning world, with elements from previous stories having effects on later ones (as it would in the real world).
There's also a secondary story of the Sea-Devil/Silurian hybrids. As this review points out, there's no real point for them being Silurians, but I'm more than glad their in there. It makes for a really interesting addition to the story, and Russell anyway does manage to flash out their culture and society much more, making them a far more worthwhile addition than simply a stock monster fill.
Russell also develops the characters much better than they were presented in the show. Season 7 has to be one of the coldest, bleakest and darkest seasons in the show's history (which by no means is a bad thing, as is actually my reason for it being my favourite Jon Pertwee season), and one of the reasons for this is how unpersonal the characters are. We don't really learn anything of either the Brigadear of Liz's lives, so this book is able to really open them up properly.
The Brig's story is tragic in this book. It's heartbreaking to see the slowly crumbling and decaying relationship he has with his wife ...more
The recurring quote I noticed when I was looking at the review page at the words "the supreme American noveOriginal review (3 stars): Full review here
The recurring quote I noticed when I was looking at the review page at the words "the supreme American novel" or something to that affect. And I can't honestly see why, I my opinion John Steinbeck's work is would be more fitting to that title. For although this isn't a truly awful book, It's not a particularly good one either.
My first and biggest gripe is how much "faffing" about there is. Huge quantities of the book are taken up by the characters simply sitting around normally a table and talking. I mean there's nothing wrong with dialogue but their not even talking about important stuff. If it talking to progress the plot then perhaps I'd be alright with it but it not! They just go on and on about the most boring, banal and trivial stuff. There's even one occasion when the main character list all the people who went to Gatsby's party. Why? What purpose did this have? It's not like that was setting up anything later in the book, so what was the fucking point? And it goes on for a good two pages as well. An utter waste.
The plot takes ages too get into. Well what little actual "plot" there is. The majority of the book nothing particularly important and interesting happens. There's a small bit of friction in the middle-ish of the book where two of the main characters have an argument but then that just dies away. And then finally at the end there's some drama with a car crash but by that time the books practically over.
But It's not all terrible. Fitzgerald may have been shit at plot development but I will give him that certainly had a way with words. Every so often when he's describing a person or a place there are lines here and there that are really beautifully put. Subtle little lines that manage to convey so much about the character and his emotions and feelings in such short sentences. Some writers would have probably rambled on about every minute detail of that character (cough, cough, Herman Merville, cough!) But here Fitzgerald manages to construct wonderful flowing images that register perfectly with your brain.
So all in all, not the great American novel and not really a great novel full stop. I suggest you should pick it up only if you are really interested in essentially completing the "Western canon" of classics.
(EDIT 30/01/14: This review was written 2 years ago. Since then I've grown up abit. Weirdly seeing the Baz Luhrmann film made me think it was the best thing ever, even though I specifically remember not enjoying the book. But I've developed abit more of an appreciation for this book, and am currently re-reading it. I intend to do a new review after I have read it again, and I should be alot more positive. To me, this comes over as the review of a stupid, arrogant child who doesn't know jack and can't understand the subtleties of the book. So with any luck my review shall greatly improve after I've re-read it :).
New Review 13/02/14: You know? This is actually really quite good. So it seems two years and the benefit of some maturity can change a book round. Perhaps one day I'll re-read Brighton Rock...oh god.
Firstly, I would agree with my older review about Fitztgerald's writing, I at least got that right. FItzgerald has one of the most masterly uses of the English language I've ever come across. Beautiful, stunning, descriptions and phrases are used. The whole book has a strangely melodic, flowing quality to it, like a river of words gently and naturally flowing from a waterfall (ooh, look at that, clever simile}. Looking at other writers, like John Steinback or Cormac McCarthy, they have a savage, very blunt way of writing. But Fitzgerald has this wonderfully idiosyncratic way of writing, which I think can only be ascribed to him. For instance, let's look at a small example, in the way Tom Buchanan is described:
"Not even the effeminate swank of his riding clothes could hide the enormous power of that body - he seemed to fill those glistening boots until he strianed the top lacing, and you could see a great pack of muscle shifting when his shoulder moved under his thin coat. It was a body of enormous leverage - a cruel body"
Cruel? Who uses cruel to describe a body? Well, Fitzgerald does. Would most writers think of personifying muscles? I don't think so. But Fitzgerald does, and its the perfect way to describe it. Its an unusual way of describing it, but as a description, we get it instantly. Cruel. Of course its cruel! We know it means
My English lecturer said it was quite poetic, and that its a shame Fitzgerald never wrote any poetry, and I agree. Most of what he writes is very near poetry. ...more
Okay, really, I'm finishing this. I know normally my book OCD makes me only complete a book until I HAVE READ EVERY LAST PAGE...but really, It's gettiOkay, really, I'm finishing this. I know normally my book OCD makes me only complete a book until I HAVE READ EVERY LAST PAGE...but really, It's getting embarrassing to have this still on "currently reading" when it's a really thin book.
So, this is not as good as the first one. I'm starting to think that maybe the graphic novel genre is not for me. Increasingly I'm finding they are just not value for money, in that normally I'll read a graphic novel of this size in a couple of hours, and then, woof! That's £9 gone. It was like that with the The Manhattan Projects (which was still awesome cool crazy fun mind you), and it was the same for this. It moved so quickly I just found there wasn't any time for me to really get invested in what was going on. I didn't really care about what happened to the characters, or the situation, and I don't know why. It's not like these are new characters or anything (I read this first book and found that very enjoyable), but, when I finished it my overall thoughts were "Meh. Whatver". Which is annoying. But hey, maybe that's a fault of my own. Probably. But anyway, let's move on to the real problem I have this with book.
The New Traveller's Almanac. Dear christ almighty impaled on a BBQ stick, the New Traveller's Almanac. This has to be one of the most dry, boring, long winded and seemingly unending pieces of prose I've read yet. I really just could not bring myself to slog through this any longer. It is interesting, and it's great to see the world of the LOEG fleshed out so much, but FUCK ME it is not fun to read. As much as I tried to imagine the places, and the whole world as one sweeping epic adventure ala Game of Thrones (which is what has happened to me after watching both seasons 1 and 2 and becoming obsessed. I've started trying to see everything I find dull to read as a Game of Thrones story with lots of political intrigue and machinations, in an attempt to make it more interesting. This often helps when reading particularly dry bits of my History textbook), but try as I might, I just could not get my mind to take an iota of interest in the words that were scrolling down my eyeballs.
I really do not think ordinary prose like in a ordinary book does not works in the graphic novel format, with Black Dossier suffering from this as well. Cramming text that normally would be going straight along from left to right on an A3 piece of paper, and squeezing it into 3 separate paragraphs on one single A4 page is an eye-raping exercise.
I should however commend Kevin O'Neil's fantastic artwork, which is just as superb as previously. Whether it be the sweeping red plains of Mars, or the images of people being burnt alive in a fiery green haze by the Martian ray guns, or the red weed enveloping the whole of the Thames, there are some truly staggering pieces of work in here. That's one of the bonuses of graphic novels, even in a comic with the shittest of plotlines, the artwork would be considered masterpieces if viewed separately.
So all in all, disappointing. I'm starting to worry my unadulterated love for Moore may be fading with age (although I still think Watchmen is brilliant, and V for Vendetta has its moments), and that maybe it was a phase of uber-pretentious, very arrogant youth (I say, as a 17-year old. Yeah because I'm so much older and wiser now, aren't I? :/). This would be a shame, as I still find the man himself very intelligent, thought provoking, and hilarious, and From Hell, the last of his major-ish works of me yet to read, does looks gorgeous and very profound. So it would be a shame if I become completely disengaged in someone I used to love. ...more
Katy Manning does a good job recreating the voices of the characters, particularly those of Jon Pertwee and the Brigadier (the bit when theyThoughts:
Katy Manning does a good job recreating the voices of the characters, particularly those of Jon Pertwee and the Brigadier (the bit when they are arguing in the Doctor's lab is spot on). Her own voice however is quite obviously noticeable older an huskier than when it was in the 70s, which makes listening to her as "young Joe" a bit odd. But other than that she does an excellent job.
Some of it's genuinely a bit creepy, which the repeated "mamas" that occur occasionally throughout the first part being very eerie.
The idea of a backwards universe in which our past is their future is a really clever and intriguing one (even if it is kinda sorta ripped off from a Red Dwarf episode, but ah well), and along with elements like the weird blue-glowing, eyeless dogs and HannaH's soul being trapped inside a doll, it makes for a very visually rich (ironic considering it's an audio) and pleasingly surreal story.
The plot is...confusing, let's say. I normally like to egotistically pride myself on "getting" stories that most people find mind-boggling (in most media, not just Doctor Who). But really, towards the end, I have no idea what's going on. So they sort of transport into the backwards universe, and then see themsleves going back out of a room, and then they try and get to UNIT headquarters, and the Doctor jumps through a crack in time, and then they end up back into the museum office, where they were at the beginning...and then...uhhh... :S
I think in some ways this story suffers being an audio, as I found many times it was hard to visualise dogs running backwards through a wall (how do you do that?) or an un-explosion (an explosion that falls back on itself after having exploded, but then explodes outward again anyway. But if this was a backwards world, why would it then explode outward having just imploded inward, as everything is meant to go backwards, apparently apart from this though?). Perhaps if I actually saw it there happening, I would find it easier to understand.
So, not the best, but still with some very strong and commendable moments that make this story very enjoyable. ...more