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Last night was quiet and raining outside. Curled up in bed with cats and books. What could be better?
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I'm a link thief today! Stole this one from Triggur.

Downloadable forms of many classic 'learn to draw' type books.

http://processjunkie.blogspot.com/2007/09/best-figure-drawing-books-ever.html
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When we were in Portland last week, I of course went to the major attraction in Portland AKA Powell's Books. I was pretty well-behaved. I only purchased two books. One of them is a field guide to the trees, the other, Little Nemo: 1904-1915

If you're not familiar with Winsor McCay, please look him up. A decade before Disney or even Felix, he was making amazing cell animation. In fact, perhaps the closest thing I understand to a Holy Relic is a cell from "The Sinking of the Lusitania" at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco.

McCay was also a simply brilliant artist. Little Nemo in Slumberland is artistically one of the most amazing comics ever made. [livejournal.com profile] shatterstripes had a copy of this book when she was living with me, and I got to read about half of it before she moved away. I've been searching for a copy since. There are other Nemo in Slumberland books out. If I had the space and could afford it, I'd buy the 24"x36" $125 each books of Nemo in their full original format, but I can't, so this book is a good compromise as it better fits my space and was far less pricey.

I spent a few evenings curled up with it while I was in Portland but haven't had a chance to since returning home. Tonight though, I'm looking forward to an evening curled up with a cat, some hot tea, and a stack of books. In addition to Nemo, I think I'm going to revisit some Edward Gorey and Chas Addams. With the economy the way it is, I've been thinking that Addams would be topical and even more enjoyable. :)

I really should plan more time-out evenings to read and enjoy beautiful things.

Siasl

Jul. 25th, 2008 04:02 pm
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Perhaps I'm getting older, or perhaps reading on a chapter every day or so keeps the rage from building up. Whatever the case, though I've been quite tempted at several points, I haven't YET thrown Stranger in a strange land against the wall yet although it has quite grated on me at several points.

I think the only part I've found interesting thus far was Jubal Hershaw's views on religion. Man, I'm slow to catch on. His view is word-for-word almost absolutely identical to mine. The whole spiel about all religions being equally likely or unlikely and that it'd be a pretty lousy sort of God who'd prefer one over the other and the universe being so big that God probably doesn't care if you do X, Y, or Z. Even the bit about how he'd rather spend eternity in Hell than kiss up to an abusive God. It's almost verbatim from my head. Uncanny.

Curious. I thought this was a popular book and yet I've never really seen that POV expressed anywhere outside of me or this book. Surely other people have thought of this. I'm surprised it isn't widely accepted as the only sensible answer to anyone who's ever thought at length on the subject of religion. The question isn't whether or not God/Gods/magic exist but the value/credibility of religion.

The really positive thing about reading this is that, I came to it independently. Sure, lots of people have contributed to me fitting it all together and offered little pieces, but the result I reached was something I found for myself. Not something dictated by my parents, church, country, or social network.

No two groups (to my knowledge) have ever independently developed the same religion. Particularly not in abstract terms. Stories about the moon and the sun as gods may be somewhat common in many of them but you'd find a lot of devils in the details and their requirements and customs would have some radical differences. Even groups like jews, muslims, and christians all share the same root religion but have sharp divisions between them, and subdivisions of those religions are nearly as bitterly divided.

Oddly enough though, I also share the view of Mike, the Man from Mars. I am God. You are God, the trees and the wind are God. Not in the sense that I can raise a mountain with the wave of a finger, but more that we're all a part of everything. Even inanimate objects exist and that's something incredibly awesome and magical when you consider the vast emptiness of space. We're something unfathomably complex and amazing. sub-atomic particles structured just so to form atoms. Atoms linked together in just the right way to form different compounds, those compounds interacting and exchanging with other compounds. Those chemical exchanges and compounds sometimes forming what we call life in the form of cells and their myriad sub components. In us, those cells form organs which all work together to make an animal and somehow just the right firing of chemistry, electrons, and environment has produced us. Creatures that can move beyond their base needs and create. We're making the next level of complexity right now. We have been since the dawn of man. Fashioning crude tools and refining them more and more. Eventually creating machines which will one day become to us, what we are to cells, and in those machines, entire new universes are and will be born. We ARE the wheels within wheels within wheels. We are God.

Want to know the secret of the universe? Why everything exists and where it all came from? Want to know the mind of God? It's simple... BECAUSE. That's it. It exists because it does. What else would the universe do if it didn't exist? All the rules and everything else, gravity and all that are necessary to making this because function. There could be and most likely are an infinite other number of universes (either parallel or serial) with completely different sets of rules. There's at least 7 billion on this planet alone. All your dreams, ideas, and emotions, creating their own infinite expanses with their own sets of rules. Every story that is written, every song, every painting is a world of its own.

Think about it. What's the end goal of science? Isn't it always at the very end to build better universes? Some people think they can do that through war, others through inspiration and exploration but we're all still going. All dreaming of a better world. Some of us may only dream of a comfy chair and a decent nap while others have grander dreams but we're all basically searching for the same thing, be we astrophysicists, computer programmers, evangelists, artists, writers, parents, alcoholics, heroine addicts, dogs, cats, insects, even plants. Everything is God. Everything is an isolate universe infinite unto itself. As thinking creatures, we can chose to be either, both, neither, or some complex and varied combination of all of them.

Recently, someone called me a bodhisattvas. (After looking it up) I think I could nearly accept that label though I think I would say that from my current vantage: On the road to enlightenment, the only destination is the journey and the only truth is none. (In other words, I'm no smarter than anyone else and no closer to 'the truth')

Story time

Mar. 19th, 2008 02:19 pm
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Nice day out today but I didn't feel like drawing so I sat and read for a bit, since I'd recently put Vonnegut's Welcome to the Monkey House back in my bag.

I read about half of the stories in it last summer, then took it out for some reason. It's kind of a summer-reading book, I suppose.

Anyhow. Today I read the short, The Foster Portfolio and I must say it's my favourite bit in the book so far. I think most of my friends would really enjoy this particular tale. I know I did. I can only hope that a lot of the people out there who are like Foster also not Foster.
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You know. I always feel like I should be doing more to piss off the religious right but... I have to say, it's going to be hard for me to match J. K. Rowlings on that front. I mean.. There was already all the magic stuff but now apparently she's outed Dumbledore. Awesome!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7053982.stm
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*sigh* I know this isn't an issue of being 'smart' but it often feels like it is and it's something that really bothers me.

I really REALLY wish I read faster. I read constantly. If you include the internet and looking at code, the vast majority of what I do in a day is reading.

But I read REALLY antagonistically slow. Most of my friends can zip through a short novel in 2 or 3 hours. For me it's more like 10-15. Even more frustrating is that most of those friends have much better retention of what they read than I do. Often I can't even remember the names of the characters after I'm done reading a story and I am left with only a vague outline of the plot.

Reading fast might not make one smart but retention surely counts for something and imagine how much smarter I could be if I could read at that speed. I can only imagine the joy of being able to burn through 5 books in the time it currently takes me to get through 1.

*sigh* So many books. So little time. How frustrating it is to be crippled in this particular way. I don't suppose anyone else has faced a similar problem and found some method for solution.

Infection

Apr. 19th, 2007 08:06 pm
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Eeeew... Alien invasion ... in your body. Compelling but graphic.

The voice acting is terrible but the story is decent (if more than a little squicky)

I'm on the 8th of 20-someodd.

http://infection.podshow.com/

Stagnation

Apr. 10th, 2007 10:55 am
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Ugh... I just read an obit. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070408/ap_en_ot/obit_hart John Hart, creator of BC and Wizard of Id died.

This makes me sad but not because he was a great artist or anything. Indeed, I don't think either of those strips has been tolerable since the early 80s and it may be only that in the early 80s I was merely young enough to just enjoy reading for the sake of reading and not for it's content.

At any rate, why this makes me sad is that his family plans for the strips to live on. Using the huge archive of his work they have stored from the past fifty years, they can continually re-edit and recaption and splice together old panels and keep the strip alive. Zombies that will continue to devour the heart of the comics page for centuries to come. Worse, made by committee to appeal to their largest possible fan base.

Peanuts, Dennis the Menace, and many others are the same way. Undead corpses reaching out with their withered hands to suck every penny they can find from the american public.

What a sad country I live in. What a sad world I live in. Nothing is new, nothing is original. It's all just corporate logos remixed and resold again and again. How does mainstream america put up with itself?

0th Fandom

Apr. 10th, 2007 10:27 am
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Decided my schedule presently doesn't allow for me to read full-length novels but I would like to be reading something. So I went and browsed the used bookstore a couple weeks ago for anthologies. The boxes piled with back issues of Analog and Galaxy were indeed tempting but I suspect I can buy collections off eBay for less than buying them individually at the bookstore.

Anyhow... There's a question of where to start. So much to read. No way of knowing upfront if it will be good or terrible. Then, spying a book, I realized the answer was obvious. Start at the beginning.

The book I selected was Before the Golden Age of Science Fiction: Anthology of the 1930s edited by Isaac Asimov. As an added bonus, Asimov talks in-depth about his early childhood. I envy that the school system back then would let students move at their own pace. What a boon that must have been. On the other hand, his parents were as contemptuous of sci-fi and fantasy as mine were. Of course, he was also a bit of a cocky prick, but we already knew that. Still. It's neat having the stories put in the context of where he was in his life and what was going on in the world around him at that time.

The book itself is pretty bad. Early 70's hardcover. Very cheap paper with ragged edges and the binding is coming apart but it was cheap and for a fun read, worth the price.

One final point of interest: I went over to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asimov to see what it had to say about Asimov and see if their biography compared well with the autobiography in this book (regrettably, their version is nowhere near as good) and I saw this:

Asimov died on April 6, 1992. He was survived by his second wife, Janet, and his children from his first marriage. Ten years after his death, Janet Asimov's edition of Asimov's autobiography, It's Been a Good Life, revealed that his death was caused by AIDS

... That makes me angry and sad in a number of ways. I don't think he was the sort of person who would have chosen to hide that but his wife and doctor kept it a secret for ten years.

Anyhow. All in all, I still miss Dr. Asimov, even if he was rather full of himself at times.

Bookworm

Sep. 10th, 2006 02:53 pm
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I've been on quite the reading kick the past few days so I thought I'd take a moment to quick-review the books I'd read.

Home Bodies, Drawn and Quartered, Es war Einmal..., Favourite Haunts, and Creature Comforts
All of these books are by Charles (Chas) Addams, cartoonist for the New Yorker, and creator of the Addams Family. They're fun gallows humour, however I learned an unfortunate lesson in purchasing these books. While there's not a great deal of difference in price between paper and hard covers in books from the sixties, sold on Amazon used books, there is a huge difference in printing. The hardcover books are 8.5x11" whereas the paperbacks are pocket fiction sized. Addams' work suffers from the smaller print but not too much. The first 3 books I listed were in the small format, and Es war Einmal is actually in german, but I was able to muddle through it with the pictures and a little help from google languages tools when I needed it. Of the five, I think Favourite Haunts is my favourite among them.

Amphigorey and Amphigorey Too
Collections of works by Edward Gorey. I'd only seen a few things from Gorey before though he's quite popular among my friends. I enjoyed both of these books quite a lot. Where Addams has sort of a robust gallows humour, Gorey is more quiet, wistful, thoughtful, and decidedly twisted. Also, his pen work is to die for. I'll be spending the next week cross-hatching everything just because it inspires me. Two things that struck me in his work that I hadn't noticed before. The first was that every drawing need not be perfect to look really good as a whole. I knew this, of course, but knowing it and seeing it are different things. The second observation, far less meaningful, is that I get the feeling that his artwork at least in part inspired Mobieus. Something about the space and the stroke seems to resonate between them.

Something At My Window Scratching
I like Roman Dirge quite a lot and this book was at the second-hand shop for only a couple of dollars, so I picked it up. Sadly, read so soon after Addams and Gorey, I can't give this book a fair review. It just doesn't measure up. Gorey and Addams both have great composition and to be fair, I don't think this was Dirge's best work. On the other hand, it was quite enjoyable to read it aloud with a friend, and the part with finding the piggies at the end did make the book more fun.

V for Vendetta (graphic novel)
[livejournal.com profile] prickvixen kindly leant me this book from her library since I'd enjoyed the movie so much. The book was alright but I confess I did feel that parts of it probably felt rather dated before they were even printed in the early 1990s. It was definitely worth the read, but the art style wasn't so much to my tastes. The colour in particular tended to feel rather ad hoc. On the whole, I liked the film a lot better.

In the Shadow of No Towers
Art Speigelman, author of Maus writes about his experiences being at Ground Zero of the Sept 11th disaster. I had to think about what word to use there. 'Attack' is still true but wasn't completely appropriate, but disaster will do, even if it is a bit clumsy. A very timely read, given that it's Sept 10th, as I write this. I'd read this book before but wasn't able to afford it, so when I saw it in the second hand bookshop at a scarce fraction it's original price, I picked it up. It's still a good read.

And finally

Inside Out with Gadget
This is a terrible book. I only bought it because it was incredibly cheap and clicks to a certain mental mode with me. I only mention it for the sake of completeness. So what is it? It's a book full of stills of extremely detailed steam punk sets rendered as CGI. The lighting is good, the palettes tasteful, the machinery intricate. The human characters, stiff, unattractive, and sticking out rather badly. I got it mainly for drawing inspiration.

Faust

Sep. 8th, 2006 11:36 pm
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I started reading Faust on the train on the way home from San Francisco last night and finished it up just now.

By in large, it's the same story as The Tragical Story of Dr. Faustus but made a bit clearer and about 3 times as long. There were things I liked about Dr Faustus better than Faust, and vice versa, but those were probably due to the translators more than the story itself.

Unlike the later americanized remake of these stories The Devil and Daniel Webster Neither Faust nor Faustus meet a happy end. Their version of God gives them no last-second redemption for a life of sin. Interestingly, Faust starts off much the same as the story of Job in the Old Testament, and maybe most simply put that's what Faust is about. A man tempted by the devil who didn't have the religious fortitude of Job.

Worth the time to read both of them. Together, they're scarcely 1/16th the length of the bible and quite a lot more fun.

I found the translator's footnotes in Faust to be much more interesting than the ones in Dr. Faustus. In particular, this one caught my eye as something that might be fun to read.

[Footnote 37: "The Talmudists say that Adam had a wife called Lilis before
he married Eve, and of her he begat nothing but devils." Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy.


I can't help but think this isn't the kind of book one might find in the library of Egon Spangler. ;) Alas, gutenberg.org is down for updates so I can't search and see if they have a copy.

Ohwell. In the meanwhile, I've got plenty of other books to read.
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Some time in the near future I shall be turning my brain into coleslaw. :)

When I was small, my parents were very down on art in general and things like comics and rock in particular. Ergo, the most evil thing in the universe would have been Heavy Metal I never even dared look at it. I mean it'd just suck the brain right out of my skull, wouldn't it?

Well. Let's find out. I just picked up 65 issues of HM from e-bay ranging from 77 to 96. When they come, I may need friend sand booze and loud music to fully enjoy them. Any takers?

*sigh* On another note. Still waiting for Dr Caligari to arrive. :( About ready to complain. Though honestly I don't care if it arrives late so long as it arrives and is in good condition.

Books!

Sep. 25th, 2005 12:41 pm
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I spent a good deal of time browsing used bookstores yesterday, though you'd think that wasn't in the gameplan. :)

Decided I needed a good Java book since in the past I've just borrowed one or winged it off google searches. So I went to the bookstore in Mountain View and browsed around in hopes of finding something good. Finally settled on an Osborne book, "The Complete Reference for Java 2" About the size of a phone book, with all the info I needed AND it was used and only cost $15 (As opposed to the probably 60 I'd have paid for something similar at a new shop.) So yay!

Later on, Julia and I went up to the The Love Parade in SF but we were too late and there was mostly just a long line and a huge mess, so we hopped a train and rode up to the Castro but we discovered (as we mostly already knew) there were no lesbian bars. Julia thought she knew where one was a few blocks away (near 16th and Valencia) so we walked down that way. Somewhere along the way we ran into a used book store. I didn't even catch the name of the place but it was open at midnight and it was musty and filled with old books. Not a computer book in site. Yay! I wandered off into mythology and soon found just exactly what I was looking for.

The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm The standard 210 stores plus 32 others that were not previously translated into english. Sadly, it's translated from Grimm's final version in 1856, by which time the brothers had tried to water down the stories and make them more suitable for christian children. I'd rather have the 1810 version, but wouldn't we all? Anyhow, this writer does at least keep as much of the nastiness as was in the 1856 version, so it's still pretty grim, just not as sexy, but at least it's free of the lacey white gloves of victorian morals. The Illustrations are by John Gruelle (who I've never heard of) He's got a clean style with good use of charicature and contrast. I like it. Very nice pen work. OHHOHO! Now I feel like an idiot. A quick google search reveals that John Gruelle is the creator of Ragedy Ann and Andy No wonder I was liking this artwork. *^_^*u I wish I were better at remembering names.

Second up: Russian Fairy Tales collected by Alexsandr Afanas'ev, translated by Norbert Guterman, illustrated by Alexander Alexeieff. Weighing in at around 200 tales, this is a nice fat book too. Many of these stories are old. 10 were first written down in 1610. The translations are a bit gutteral and gives them a harsh feel. The book also belonged to a student and is annotated in the edges in a few pages and has a couple of sheets of notes on storytelling left stuck between the pages. Maybe I'm weird but for me this always enhances reading a book for me rather than detracting from it. Anyhow, amazingly there doesn't seem to be a lot of crossover between the Grimm (german) stories and the russian ones. The russian book is a reprinting of a 1945 book and as such will be making me spend more time with the Dictionary Arcana but that's good too. :) I spent a total of $15 on the two books together. :)

Sooo. If anyone needs me, I'll be exploring story ideas for short films and just enjoying folklore from around the world. Also, I notice that I seem to be working my way around the globe. Started with English/Irish fairy tales, now on to germany then russia. Maybe before I'm done with these I'll find a nice fat book of chinese stories, then japanese. Though I think I might zig-zag back after that. Make my way down to India, then Persia, Greece, Rome, Egypt, and then Africa proper. By then I should be well enough read that when I hop to the americas, I might identify what parts of stories were added by conquerors and what parts are local. :)

But now off to watch the Corpse Bride! ^_^
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On Saturday, Stacey and I met up with Jon and went to the Flea Market at DeAnza. That was largely a bust but after that, Jon and I went to the bookstore. I rummaged trough the childrens books and found that the book of Brother's Grimm I'd spied a few months ago was now of course, long gone. *sigh* Ohwell. I consoled myself with a copy of English Fairy Tales, written by Joseph Jacobs and illustrated by John Batten. Published in 1890. Nice little book. Jacobs was a member of the 'New Shakespeare Society' and prided himself to be a scientist in the collection of fairy tales, so he carefully noted where he got the story, what the origins were, local variations, and what he'd changed to make it flow and when he'd rewritten from old english or 'lower scotch' as he called it. Many of the stories are nearly identical to some of those of the Brother's Grimm and he suggests that some of them are even just alterations of Grimm's stories, already disseminated into popular culture, and a few were unique and new. I had a great deal of fun really. I had to consult my arcane dictionary (A 1950 Webster's Unabridged) about a dozen times, looking up words that while I guessed their meaning, I thought it might be interesting to look up, and generally it was.

I also bought a 1986 printing of Through the Looking Glass with the standard illustrations by John Tenniel. I did quite a lot of comparision of three different versions though and chose the one with the best prints (much to the annoyance of poor Jon, I think)

I laid in the floor and read through both of them in the order I wrote about them, pausing rather frequently to sketch random images in my head brought on by the books, sometimes relating to the scene, sometimes not. Most of it isn't worth scanning but some of it, I might.

I learned two lessons from the fairy tales. The first is never to trust a hen-wife. Even step-mothers are occassionally kind but Hen-Wives are always cruel. The second lesson (and more important) is about humility.

I went intot he stories, looking to read old versiosn that hadn't been watered down and softened for modern audiences (in fact, I compared various fairy tale books but skiping to the ends of a few stories and seeing how horribly people died). The idea in my head had been to look for some material to animate (which I found) but to retell the story more strictly in accordance with the old versions rather than the 'child safe' stories Disney and the like told to american children. What I realized, of course was that this was arrogant. All these stories had been rewritten and retold a thousand times with all sorts of local embellishments and changes to personal flavour. One might as well search for the one-true-beer.

So. Among other things, that's where I've been instead of online listening to updates about a storm half a continent away, and a government which cries out, LET THEM EAT CAKE!
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So, I went to the post office this morning to pick up my book which they hadn't brought back to the post office last night. Finally, I can open it and comment on it with or without smugness.

I spent $20 on eBay for a copy of The Illusion of Life not bad. There are three things wrong with the book. 1) A small scuff on the paper cover in the top right corner, a black marker stripe on the ends of the page at the top of the book, and most unsightly of all, a 1.5" square '101 Dalmations' (the TV series) sticker on the front page. The scuff and marker line I couldn't care less about but.... Ugly TV animation in an unremovable spot. Ugh. Ohwell. At least it wasn't Disney Hercules, or one of their newer, uglier shows, I guess.

Anyhow, that gets me thinking about an absurdity of america.. The paper sleeve on books. I don't care for them. I often remove them. I feel like they're like the wrapper on candy. It's puzzling to me that so much of the (monetary) value of a book seems tied up in this feature of the book. Why? They're often gaudy (this one is quite gaudy although the book beneath is bright blue and thus not much better) Nowdays, 'expensive' books are wrapped in plastic to protect the paper cover. Crazy! The cover is to protect the pages, the paper cover is to protect the hardcover before sale, and now plastic wrap to protect the paper. Guh. Just ditch the sleeves! You don't buy candy to look at the wrapper.
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Yesterday I watched a biographical film on Howard Zinn on Sundance. Quite inspiring and made me feel guilty about not having picked up any of his books and read them. I particularly like his stance on activisim NOW I know a lot of people who were pulling in a lot of money in the dotcom booma nd swore up and downt aht they'd be activists later when they had money put aside and blah blah blah. It made me so furious because it was so obviously a lie.

Although for myself, I'm not sure what radical activism is precisely. I don't see chaining myself ot something and being arrested as a useful action and rarely do I see being a face in a crowd as being useful. On the other hand, working through personal interaction doesn't seem to do much either. In person it works but there's only so many people you can meet in person and online is just a complete waste of time. Mass media seems to be where I feel most useful. Flash animation that can spread memishly... Except I've yet to make anything that fills the bill.

Maybe catching up on my reading will inspire me with some new ideas for direction.
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A book wherein Arthur C Clarke interrupts a perfectly good invasion story with a bunch of religious mumbo-jumbo.

Fiery rant contained within )
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I was sick yesterday. How sick? I picked up the first book I came across and read it though... It was a Harry Harrison book... (see title above)

I didn't know I was that sick.

Ashamed I am to say that I enjoyed this piece of awfulness. The premise (if you can call it that) is a cheese-powered 747 converted into a starship miraculously saves the universe, thanks to Yankee Knowhow!(tm)

I made it through 2 chapters before throwing it across the room due to it's similarity to Heinlein's The Cat Who Walked Through Walls but picked it up again, read another chapter, threw it again, picked it up again, and finally decided he was mocking Heinlein, not worshipping him. (The black liberal pinko commie calling the americans honky capitalist pigs was a bit much)

Finally, it dawned on my disease-addled mind that this was in fact parody (gosh, one of the reviews on the back even said it was a parody) and I settled in to grittingly enjoy it (Okay, often it still clashed with my sensibilities but I could deal) I swear he used every single one of the bad radio serials that I hated in this book and left the ones I did like untouched. At times the ridicule of Buck Rogers and Space Patrol was so thin that you'd be surprised he didn't get sued for plagurism. And Heinlein. At last I know what killed Heinlein. It was probably this book, considering select quotes like (paraphrased, I don't have the book in front of me!)

Jerry: We're fighting for truth! Justice! and Democracy for all!
Prrthl: Well wait, let's be clear here. You mean we're fighting for oligarchy and preservation of the class system!
Jerry: Yes! Democracy!!!
All: Hurrah! Democracy!


And that's not to mention Johann, the black commie liberal spy's TWO SENTENCE conversion to screaming proud patriotic american John.

This book was like picking up Heinlein and bitchslapping him for 5 hours solid. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I also rather liked the tacked-on all-american happy ending, wherein there's only one girl and 3 guys and since everyone has to get married and live happily ever after, Chuck and Jerry suddenly turn incredibly gay and kiss each other passionately while Sally, suddenly goes from a meek 50's girl to a raging feminist marrying a black commie!

So. Not exactly hard sci-fi, in fact, it barely would have passed as tripe in the 50's and yet it was written in the early 70's, so that should give you an idea how bad it is but heck, a little junk food now and then won't kill you.
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So. Stacey and I went to see War of the Worlds tonight. Not sure what I should say about it. The machines were designed closely off The Tripods Woe that the story had not been. Speilburg takes a prefectly good, dark, human-slaughtering film and makes sure that the tension of a real drama is broken every couple of minutes with some ignorant chuckle scene, none of which made me laugh. The aliens got little screen time, instead, he (ironically) goes for the 'human' angle by spending 98% of his camera time on Tom Cruise (A man who believes he's part alien.) The scientology and religious intervention stuff is tangible and overstated in about half the scenes, giving me a (what's the opposite of feel-good moment?) Spielberg also makes an ass of himself by replaying images of the World Trade Center disaster (dust, smoke, falling shredded materials) and in a lot of ways glorifying the noble sacrifices of the military and, much like in Iraq, hides their utter failure off-camera.


This movie was just utter propagandist crap and the few seconds of sleek alien spacecraft vapouring (not nearly enough) pathetic quivering humans does NOT make up for it. He also goes with the ham-handed 50's ending where it was GOD who planned all along that the aliens would be defeated by our viruses! 1) Wells was a hard-line atheist and the whole POINT was that we'd evolved to handle our bacteria and the bacteria had evolved along with us and the alien's data was incomplete. 2) That idea played well in Wells' day when people died left and right of seemingly mysterious diseases but the story seriously needed to be updated to take into consideration things like remote controlled drones, biotechnology, and the rest. In the book, Wells explains the gap in the alien's technology by giving other examples where they have gone in a different direction from us and not made the same discoveries. The movie does nothing of the short. It's all Mystical Shit

All in all, it COULD HAVE BEEN a fantastic movie as awe-inspiring as Close Encounters and it could have scared the crap out of you and made you feel weak, powerless, small, and insignificant. Instead you feel like 'I want to strangle these kids, Tom Cruise is an ass and DUDE! Where's my WAR OF THE WORLDS WE NEVER EVEN SEE ANY FUCKING WAR! ARMY VERSUS ALIENS!?!? ALL OFF CAMERA! There's only massacre of a few humans who are running in less than convincing 'terror'.

GODDAMNIT! I wanted this movie to be good! AT _LEAST_ It could have been half as good as the 1950's version but I'd rather watch that than this again. Fucking assholes. *sigh* I wish I had the comic.

February 2012

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