Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Frankenstein Rewrite

In my original posting of Frankenstein I didn't go into enough depth about why I chose that book's original rating of 4/10, so I want to go back and do that now.

Now, the Monster is a literal representation of a monster. He was pieced together by Dr. Frankenstein and kind of left to his own ends as far as development as a character. His dangerous obsession with knowledge and how much he indeed lacks it strips him to the viewers eyes of any humanity he may have gained from his outer shell and vaguely human like mannerisms. The monster realizes that it was never his choice be to become this hideous thing, and all he wants it to be accepted and seen for something other than what he now represents, fear and horror. Humans take this for granted, and the majority of the time people are based around their outer appearances rather that what is inside. If someone's first visual impression of you is bad, then they stay away from you, and if everyone stays away from you, then inevitably you are more than likely to reflect that upon yourself and become what people see. This is the whole idea behind the monster.

Thought this aspect of the book is very deep and well thought out, I found myself not relating to the book. Potentially because I like how I am perceived and how people see me the majority of the time, I have little experience as to how the monster feels. The 4/10 is for my lack of understanding the character, which leads me to not understand his choices being made when be decides to murder others in hopes for his own gain. The story seemed to far fetched and everything was explained for you, though in a nice, intellectual way. I still felt like I was being lead through the book without a real connection to anything because I didn't discover anything for myself. I imagine it is more of a reader error than anything as to my feelings about this book.

Seventh Voyage

I read the seventh voyage on a whim, not really thinking to hard on what story of the week I was going to read. Actually after finishing the story my head was spinning and I felt really bewildered, but in a good way! The time paradox got my head in a loop of the crazy possibilities of this story and how well it used the time paradox to make the story flow literally into itself then back out again.

My brain still heats thinking back to this story. The time paradox has been a secret nerd fawning ground for a long time, and is one of my personal favorites to talk about. Rather not talk about because clearly then no progress is made because all you would be talking about is the same event over and over and how that doing different things would potentially change or unchange a situation.

I love this story because of the connections it makes you think of, and how frustrating it would be having gone through the experience of this situation with the main character to have none of the space station men believe you. My mind just screams at the paradox's you could create or what would happen if...questions. The story works well because by naming the character after the days it helps you follow what is going on while doubling back on itself and having the same goal, to fix the ship!

Overall a 7/10 because I think more could have been added to the story and it could have possibly been resolved better at the end.

Blood Child

Blood Child freaked me out soooo much. I'm so glad that we read it though and it was especially fun to talk about it in class. The parallel's between the male view of a woman's body and feminism, and all of the crazy links that could be made with that story are incredible. It actually made me laugh to think about how the author just really didn't like buds and this was her interpretation of that, but how readers could take it as far as saying it's a reverse of the male and female role, that ACTUALLY isn't that big of a jump.

The group I was in had a great discussion about what we would do if we were in the boys situation and if that would be acceptable to us, as well as our views of human babies and if we felt the same way. Three of the four of us interestingly felt that having a human baby growing inside of us would be not much different than having the larva of the alien race grow inside of us. Granted one seems a lot more painful and horrible than the other. We all agreed that it would be unbearable to be a 'host' to this alien species.

I found myself drawing what I thought the aliens would look like, and when showing my group oddly enough Cassidy's mental image and mine were very similar but Emily and Miranda's were different. Cassidy and myself pictured them as graceful, snake like beings with a scorpion tail where Emily and Miranda pictured them as something like a large slug or worm. It makes me wonder even though I have this 'prettier' version of the aliens in my head, how would appearances affect my reaction to them? If they looked the same as humans would there be any real difference? It was more the idea of something foreign and ugly thing feeding off of my body that I didn't like. Babies are genetically combined to be an embodiment of the parents so combined so that wouldn't be near as bad as having a blood drinking slug in me.

Pitted against survival I think a lot of races would do whatever it takes to continue their species. If humans could no longer breed and artificial insemination was the only way we could possibly do it, then I think that the human race would become a lot more like a breeding farm where resources (like the humans) would be coveted. I really do like that side of the story where parallels can be made and it wouldn't be that different from a possible future to what earth may be eventually facing.

I give this story a 9/10 for horrible creepiness and thought provoking questions.

Johnny Mnemonic

This short story was my first introduction into Cyber Punk. Johnny Mnemonic was not at all what I expected. I had always imagined Cyber Punk to be really similar to Steam Punk, which I had only seen cosplays and re enactment pictures of. The idea of this, futuristic realm which robots and guns, mixed with this victorian era stylistic mash up is absolutely beautiful, that is not at all what I got out of Johnny Mnemonic. The Story was choppy and hard to follow. Having no introduction into this genre I found it hard to picture a lot of the scenes and what it would be like for these characters. So much of the story was about killing and this 'dog eat dog' way of life. How the woman brutally injured her so called 'lover' so thoughtlessly was maybe what this genre was about, but it was jolting and unexpected compared to this seamless gentlemen's victorian space pirate picture I had.

Though it was unexpected I did like the idea of body modifications like the dog people of the under part of the city. This really relates to the book Babel 17 with how the people in that book world would also modify the aesthetics of their body for personal preference, all of the under city folk did the same. I'm not sure why it was col to choose dog bangs rather than say feline features, which I guess must just be a personal preference for me to imagine in my head, but that is how I would imagine myself, I guess.

Overall it isn't fair to the story to judge it so harshly but I still did find it very hard to follow and so many new ideas were being introduced that I ended up wanting to stop reading because I had become so lost. The cool parts of the story were lost in my failing to visualize how that would look and picture it in a city with the other main characters and how the clothes would look and the buildings. Everything just didn't add up.

Though I still really love the idea of cyber punk now that I have a better understanding of it, this particular story didn't resonate anything with me. 2/10

Twilight Series

Twilight....need I say more?

I found the hilarity of the topic being brought up in class absolutely gleeful because I love to hear the banter of good vs bad aspects of this book. I had read the first book before anyone had really heard of Twilight by Stephanie Meyer so it was rather annoying to see this influx of fan girl love bombs on her work. I love the fantasy side of books, the werewolves and vampires, I think the lore behind each is equally fascinating. After reading this book, a small group of theater friends and I got together and the subject of this book came up. I was so rapped with fascination at their totally differing reaction to the book than myself.

This group of girls had to much to say about the book. Their view was that it was really a book about total romanticism and devotion of two people from differing backgrounds in modern society, it just happens that one is a vampire. They found it enthralling that Edward had to battle with his constant urge to devour Bella, and how Bella was so trusting. That everlasting bond between the two and how their love could conquer anything that stood in their way, including mortality. They never focused on the shinny vampire sparkling in the sun bit, but only on the promise of how romantic it would be if you had a dark angel guardian who watched over you at night. All of Stephanie's intended views of what Edward and Bella should be and should represent were in this conversation and I loves how there readers chose to see Edward and every aspect of the book, how they wanted it to be.

Then college started, and I got wind of how there was a huge Edward and Bella fan craze of hate towards them. I didn't understand at first why there was such animosity towards the story, until I heard the "haters" side of the debate, and agreed there were a lot of loop wholes and stereo types that Stephanie broke, which I guess upset so many people. But the point is, if there hadn't been a pre judged view of what vampire's SHOULD be there wouldn't be this huge debate over her book. It is popular for a reason, these two 'magical' boys are fighting over an every day average girl, wouldn't every girl want to be in Bella's position?

I have such strong opinions about this book and I love hearing the debate for either side because it just means that there are other people passionate about this book as well. The idea of two sexy, powerful men with alluring qualities and cute quarks battling it out over this new girl in town who is completely average is somehow what every girl has dreamed of in one way or another.

I give this book a 10/10 because of it's huge popularity and my own personal fascination with the book.

Journey to the Center of the Earth - movie

I watched the movie Journey to the Center of the Earth with Brendan Fraser actually only being interested in watching the movie after remembering my trip to Japan where I went to Tokyo Disney and went on a ride called Journey to the Center of the Earth. I had read and heard things prior to this movie, mainly about it being really cheesy and horrible....and I'm sad to say that they were right.

The movie opens with a man being chased by a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Later in the development of the story you realize that this opening scene was supposed to be scary and horrible for the character who id being chased, but all I could do was bust out laughing at the hilarity of this sight of a man running away from this giant T-Rex. It could be because of my scud sense of humor but I really felt no remorse later in the story when you find out that the character, who was the main characters brother, was in fact dead.

The story was interesting and the science behind it was kind of neat to think about. There have been many other "center of the earth" movies and stories that I have seen, but none of them evolved a prehistoric shell being inside the earth. The logic fail for me was the pure science of the beginning, and then a total crashing of logic for when they are inside the earth. Random bits of knowledge are thrown in but, the fact is that the closer to the center of the earth they would get the hotter it would be.....logically speaking. They would be cooked alive and that drives me insane to think about this fanciful tail of this story not factoring that in....

Granted it was for a young audience originally in 3D and many the book that it was based off of would be better and more a more mature audience.

I give this movie a 3/10 for logic fails and totally playing towards the "look what we can do" visuals rather than making the viewer attached to the characters and feel for the story.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I live with you

Reading for the week "I live with you" by Carol Emshwiller. Holy crazyness! I had no idea what to expect after delving into the realms of Cyberpunk the week before. I had no expectations for this short story. I really don't know what "Divers Position Science" meant. It now seems pretty obvious though, the idea of it, but not the actual story and how it used this 'omnipresences' or differing perspective of voice.

The story was actually very intriguing. I had never before read a story, that I can recall, where there was a "ghostly" or undefinable character. All through out the story I kept on trying to place her, or fit her in to a character or define WHAT she could possibly be. I determined it was a fictional alter ego based on the fact that the main character, though she knew she was there, didn't actually know what to do or how to change things, so this other character stepped in and changed her life.

I'm so captivated by the whole idea that another part of you, for this is how I am choosing to take this other presence, could start to take over parts of your life, until you become this other person, or roles become reversed. I have always wonder what it would be like to be a different person, or to show another side of myself. It got me thinking more on the means of imaginary friends and how they are a non physical representation of a part of ourselves. This story really seems like the wilder side of this boring, drab woman is coming out to play in some experience or revelation she had in a department store, where her other side followed her home.

The story really got kind of fuzzy for me around where the alter character follows a man home and breaks into his place to see what his home was like. I was (or whatever reason thinking back now the whole story didn't really have any clarity) confused how the alter ego could do this, or why she would do this. I guess it just stuck out in my mind as some taboo that rather than change the life of the main character, she intrudes on someone else's life.

Even towards the end where the two woman become one, I still had so many questions, and that is part of the reason why I loved this short story so much. It allowed me to make my own assumptions about who this woman was and who her alter self was, but then the man in the story freaks out and runs away? That totally threw me off of the story, and I was actually sad when the alter ego left.

Overall a 5/10 for lack of progression and questions unanswered. A little more clarity would have been appreciated, if only explaining why the man left.

Friday, March 5, 2010


This week I watched the movie Coraline by Henry Selick. I had never even remotely heard of the story before, only that it was highly recommended to go and watch the movie from my little sister, so I did. What I was really surprised by was that the whole movie really had a Tim Burton feel to it, which I really connected to because I love his other films such as The Corpse Bride and The Nightmare Before Christmas. I wasn't surprised in a bad way though, going into see the movie I had little to no expectations of what it would be like. Besides the stunning visuals when watching the movie the whole way through, the story line that unraveled felt really advanced to me. Advanced in the term that though I should this would be a cute animated movie the horror of realizing that this movie was actually kind of scary, and how the younger audience whom I thought this movie was geared towards would be frightened senseless, or at least I know I would have been at a young age.

The other mother and other father world world was a genius idea to play towards, especially for children. Everyone dreams of another, better, word that they could explore and "rule" over, which was clearly shown how Coraline's other parents catered to her and actually paid attention to her. I really connected with the beginning of the film with how Coraline was feeling in that sense that she wanted to explore and find something better than this new, yet old and broken down house because I had found myself in a very similar situation when I was about her age. The part where, after Coraline's first introduction to her 'other' parents, after they put her to bed, Coraline talks to her friends in the photograph. At that scene I almost wanted to cry, because that is exactly what I dreamed of when I was in her position, in a new home and far away from her best friends.

I stopped questioning all of the 'other' characters and why they had button eyes at all after their first introduction. But when the creepyness started happening in the ‘other’ world and Colraline was trapped, I couldn’t help but question the directors choise only because it WAS really scary, or I imagin it would be for children.

The movie overall held a lot of personal parallels for me so I really connected to it. I LOVED the visuals and development of the plot, and of course I loved how Coraline out smarted the ‘other mother’.

Overall movie wise 8/10 for really nice visuals and story.

The Golden Compass

This was kind of a weird scenario for me. I had watched the movie previously so thus was comparing everything I read to the original movie. For me, I definitely prefer the book to most movies. Now, in this case, possibly because I had watched the movie and knew what was going to happen, the book really didn't seem that interesting. I found myself really disliking Lyra and her immature ways. I know that she is supposed to be young and curious but I found myself thinking too much about her as doing things just to be annoying (like switching the coins to the skulls in the cellars of the Jordan Collage.) and less about her as a heroic main character. In contrast though I absolutely love the world that they live in. I love the idea of Daemons and how they live outside of your body in a representational animal. Pan is actually one of the favorite characters, because he is like Lyra's continence and he knows what should be done and the rules that should be followed. This annoys me even more with Lyra when she swats him out of the way most times in favor of doing things for her own gain.

The story-line mind you was also interesting. I really liked the idea of dust and alternate universes, such as the one we live in. The alethiomer that was also used in the book. I can't wait to see how she uses it in the second the third book to solve the mysteries of her universe actually.

The similarities throughout the book and the movie was really significant. Aside from the appearance of Ms. Coulter and how she goes about luring children away from their homes or care takers, it pretty much was bang on similar, or at least close enough. I really did like the movie don't get me wrong, but I found because I knew what was going to happen when it was a breeze to get through but also dragged on in certain parts. The characters I visualized were all the ones from the movie and how they interacted (such as the party Ms. Coulter put on) were pretty much the same.

I really did like the movie better, and I hope people don't hold that against me. I have talked to a few people already who had read the book first and by FAR like the book better. Though I find it interesting that they have the same view I do as to the dislike they have for the annoying, mischievous Lyra. The book itself wasn't a bad read, but I can't wait to get into book two and even three to find out what happens, and from the books point of view, not the movie. =)

I give this book a 6/10 only because I really really love the idea, but I think when they made the movie they cut a lot of stuff out and that WORKS for the book because the stuff they cut out really wasn't necessary. The movie held my attention better than the book, though I really liked them both.

The Heroic Journey!!


This week was by far my favorite read! I loved all of the books listed in their own way. I chose to read the Hobbit because it is a personal favorite of mine and i hadn't read it in a long time. I didn't get a chance to read the illustrated version which I have seen before but haven't ever had a chance to take any real time for. To be honest I would have liked to read the Lord of the Rings series of which I have book two and three at my house, but have never had a chance to read them because I never got around to buying the first book. I have heard though that there is a lot of needless detail in them so some parts can be rather laborious to try and read.

When re reading the Hobbit I had to much fun not only re living the tale but to have my friends read it at the same time and be able to talk about it at lunch and so on was really fun. I love Middle Earth especially the elves and their beautiful city. My favorite part of the book was nearing the end when Bilbo had to sneak through Smaug's lair. I really liked how the room was described and the beauty you can just imagine little Bilbo tip-toeing around this HUGE room with his giant red dragon and piles of gold and jewels. As a game designer it was really fun to imagine that scene and how it would be rendered.

In fact I have the game The Hobbit for Playstation 2. It was really silly but also really fun to play, though had little resemblance to the book besides the major key points. It was really fun to play originally and I loved the same scene, of Bilbo in Smaug's lair. You had to tip-toe around the piles of gold without stepping on them to get to Smaug. It was actually really entertaining. The game was made for a younger audience I think so I breezed through it. Someday I hope to also play the Lord of the Rings games, though as far as I know they are online games and you have to pay to play so maybe scratch that idea...

I absolutely LOVE the Hobbit and give it a 10/10 for being a childhood favorite and overall masterpiece of fiction.

Japanese Horror

This week I chose to read several of the short stories from the Kwaidan short stories. These stories reminded me of when I was little, I liked to collect ghost story books. My family and I would travel around on our boat during the summers, so we would visit a lot of interesting ports. I would read a lot of different ghost stories, but in all of the stories I had read none of them had this "Japanese" feel. It was really fun to read something new that had that same "ghost story" feel yet with a new traditional twist.

Mind you there stories were weird. Because they were so different from anything I was previously used to. The first story in the book of Kwaidan was the most peculiar thing I had read in a long time. I really like the idea of humans interacting with spirits or the spirit world though. In man of the Ghost stories I had previously read it was how the ghostly world was vengeful or trying to break free, oh human interactions with this unknown, menacing force. In these stories the spirits or ghosts have a mind of their own, and do things that "Traditional" ghosts would not do. I always got the impression that ghosts had a one track mind, kind of like an invisible zombie, where it had one goal (no other thoughts of feelings) and that was it. Where as the Japanese stories, though the spirits might be vengeful, they have their own agenda and have a mind of their own. Ghosts can be curious as well as helpful, also they don't have to represent past dead people, they can represent spirits as well.

I really like the Japanese stories actually, thought they are really silly, I guess for their young audience (which typical ghost stories are told too) would find them scary. And they instill life lessons just like American ghost stories do. Though because the cultures are so different I find myself being a little judgmental and skeptical of some of these lessons. Take the story of the blind man who had his ears ripped off. I presume the story is trying to tell young folks not to wonder off with ghosts? But for the majority of people they have eyes and can see, thus you would notice if the person who approaches you is ghostly fire being, or a strange person none the less. I guess it would lean more towards don't wonder off with strange people. Though having eyes to help guild you and such would be a major benefactor in this situation.

I give there Kwaidan Stories a 5/10 because for what they are intended I find them rather silly.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Interview with a Vampire

Previously I had seen the movie Interview with a Vampire which I absolutely loved, so it was really fun to get to read the book as well. I found the movie to be very true to the book in a lot of ways, especially the trauma that Louis went through.

With all of the vampire hype about with Twilight I was glad that we got to read a "tride and true" vampire book as opposed to the sparkly "lion fell in love with the lamb" version. Though it's not outright published as a romance nobel, I think every vampire novel has some semblance of sexuality portrayed in it. When Lestat punctures Louis' neck starting the process of him becoming a vampire, that whole scene is very sexual. Though pushing that aspect a side I really loved the parts of the book where Lestat teaches Louis how to "hunt" in essence. I have read a great many vampire books, including the Vampire Encyclopedia which was a great read. It's more of a dictionary of sorts about vampires. It tells about their customs an habits, which in Anne Rices' Interview with a Vampire a lot of those similarities can be seen.

When Claudia joins Lestat and Louis the three travel Europe in search of other Vampires. My favorite part of the book, and also one of the saddest was when Claudia has her freak out about not being able to age. I loved her passion and really to think about the position she was in, and if I was in that same limbo how I would feel. I concluded that I probably would have reached the same freak out that she had. To not be able to age, stuck in a child's body yet having the mind of an adult, would be horrible. My second favorite part of the book what when Claudia and Madeleine are trapped in the stone whole by Armand and wait till midday when the sun shines over them, turning them to ash. That scene really made me cry because Claudia really wasn't a bad person, and Madeleine had nothing to do with it and had just been turned into a vampire.

Overall I would give this book a 7/10 for really creative story and interest, though it's not my favorite, it had many good parts to it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies

Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies...need I say more? It was great to finally read the book, though I guess I expected a lot more out of it than I got. Jane Austin's original Pride and Prejudice was a glimpse into the realm of gentry ladies and how this one family worked in relation to having three daughters. Other than that, it was really rather boring. I read through it all just waiting for it to get better but it never happened! Besides Jane Austin's original work there were the occasional slap of zombies in there by Seth Grahame-Smith it was still the same book.

Granted I had never read Jane Austin's original work before so in contrast it was good from an educational point of view to read it. I am much more of a fantasy type of person so reading this "historical" type of book of "back in the day..." type scenarios was a little too fruitless for me. Especially of the interaction between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. THAT was just silly. It boggled my mind the horrible interactions between the two of their horrible people skills. It reminded me of a poorly written Romeo and Juliet. Having the zmbie parts slapped in their only made the book all the more outrageous. I don't mean funny ha ha outrageous I mean I really want to stop reading because this is shameful to zombies AND love stories everywhere.

They never really refereed to zombies as zombies until the very end which I kind of appreciated. It was never explained what happened to them or how they got that way, or even how zombification spread. Having that kind of open endedness to the story actually didn't leave as many loopholes as I thought it would.

Overall I really didn't like this book. I detest how the zombie parts were just thrown in there with a lot of blood and gore. There was no sympathy for people who got eaten by the zombies really either, or prevention of zombies from just entering a home. I mean really who stands by a large glass window when there are zombies outside wanting to eat you? Easy target? I think so. The whole martial arts aspect just made my jaw drop. Split between laughter and annoyance I'm still not sure how I feel. The dreary love story, zombies, martial arts....2/10 I just am not a big fan of this book what so ever.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mary Shelley —Frankenstein

Hummm, Frankenstein. Personally (sorry Mrs. Shelley) but it definitely was not my favorite book. I had seen the movie prior to reading the book, so I knew the general outline. Although the book was a indeed different from the movie, it still didn't hold my attention. The strife and inner turmoil that was the Monster was easy to read into and predict. It seemed like the solution was obvious for Frankenstein but yet he chose not to ease the monsters suffering, and watched as those around him were killed my his creation. You would think he would have created some kind of fail safe or something!

Overall this book, for me personally, wasn't the greatest. I understood the plot devises and narration of different perspectives but, still the book dragged on. I would give this book a 4/10 for my personal lack of interest, though it was revolutionary for its time.