Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy (Pretty much all the books listed in this week)
This was one of the most enjoyable weeks of the semester because it was an exploration  of one of my favorite authors of all time, Douglas Adams. i read the complete works as far  as the hitchhiker area goes, as well as having listened to the original broadcast, seen a far share of the old television show, and the film. i absolutely love how his works are able to transcend mediums.
   one of my favorite aspects about Adams is of course his Wit and humor. there is something about the sheer randomness of this train of thought that is just magical to be apart of. but what amazes me even more was the low key predictions made in his novels about technology. think Marvin for example, who was an experiment in imputing personalities into robotics. the idea of such a thing would have seemed ridiculous, yet now robotic advancements are making incredible leaps and strides. another example would be the sighing doors, which in my mind seems rather close to our interactions with devises that have voices, such as siri on our phones.
   another achievement of Adams in my opinion was his courage to attack/poke fun at religion, an extremely controversial area. (the rant about god disappearing in a poof of logic is pure gold). i feel that many authors avoid such things for fear of limiting the potential pool of readers and subsequently profits, but Adams did not and i regard him with a higher level of respect because of it. he goes deeper into this by exploring human origin in his later novel, hat would conflict with the religious Adam and eve version. instead he reasons that we were a useless and dull populace that was marooned on earth. and if that wasn't far enough, we were also responsible for the wipe out of what would have been our ape ancestors. (there is also a nice hat tip to supply and demand theory when the shipwrecked proceed to establish currency via leaves and reason that the should burn all the plant life to increase its value. truly nothing was out of bounds from Adams touch).
   the works of Douglas Adams are truly timeless and astoundingly thought provocative. each time i revisit the material i am always finding things i missed or develop new ideas from his own. it was a great way to end off the semester; everyone should have the chance to enter the mind of this man.
The Nine Billion Names Of God 1954
i really liked how this story played out especially the ending. the main characters seem so demeaning towards the monks beliefs about the world ending after discovering all of the names. yet the characters are acting in much the same way any of us would. the concept of the world ending in such a way (if at all) is too preposterous for many to even give a second thought. by reiterating the characters speculations on the audacity  of the presumed destruction, the author has crafted relatable characters that the reader can identify and agree with. at the closing paragraph though, the author exercises the shock factor by revealing in the most minimalist way that the monks were truly right. just the simplest of statements, "the stars were going out" was able to send shivers up my spine. having connected with the relatable characters i could now place myself in their shoes and feel the overwhelming dread of realization set in.
   on a larger note, i could take away a rather different message than would come to the mind of most. in this story it is the monks who have indeed onset the end of the world, without any announcement to the rest of man kind. a small group of people singlehandedly were able to end the world. extrapolating from this, i take part of the message as a warning of never letting to much power end up in the hands of a singular group.
i really enjoyed the flavor of this story. in a way its play out reminded me of Douglas Adams style. it was quirky but really packed a punch. i will definitely be looking this author up again.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Distance of the Moon
this was one of my favorite reads of the semester. i loved the imagery the author conveyed, especially the textures present on the moon: the scales, the smooth mud, and the moon milk between the cracks. i also found it an interesting treatment of a love story because not everything is explained completely. at the end we still do not know whether the wife was in love with the moon or the cousin, and both remain justifiable with the information presented to the reader.
  while reading the beginning my mind immediately made a connection between this story and the animated short Luna. i would not be surprised if i found out it served as inspiration. the largest similarity was the use of ladders. the moon in Luna is very close just like in this story, and the characters use a ladder to reach its surface. they are also in the middle of a vast expanse of water and are in a boat.
   one part i particularly enjoyed was the little girl who starts of floating between the gravitational pull of the two bodies. the imagery of her being covered in sea life was fantastic and has inspired me to latter go on and attempt to illustrate such a scene.
   another aspect that stuck out to me was the wife being left on the moon. so often in stories we here of the man in the moon, yet here it is a harp playing woman residing on then moon. i am curious to here what the authors inspiration was for this story and whether they use any of the older folk lore.
   this story was not only fun to read but was creatively inspiring as well. there was definitely a mystical and calm quality the came through the text, almost tranquil in a way. i will definitely look for other works by this author in the future.
I Live With You
This was a very neat piece of writing because of the point of view it is told from. in fact the writer is careful to make sure we never know quite who is talking to us, whether it is a manifestation of mental making or an actual being. this is what drives the readers curiosity.
   i really liked how the author used so many things that we have all experienced to make this secret character come to life. by blaming common place actions on this creation the author keeps the readers attention; we have experienced these things before, is the author going to tell us what has been causing them? things like misplacing objects or tripping over nothing are relateble to the average reader an therefore a safe thing for the author to extort.
   while reading i found myself postulating on whether the this being was actually supposed to be within the character. that we all have a sort of split personality where a part of us pushes the other out of its comfort zone. it is the lady's inter self that causes her to change and become more noticeable and social. perhaps the author is also commenting to the situation of self bullying.
  i think that i enjoyed this piece mainly because it was different. i had never read anything quite like it. reading it was almost like a scavenger hunt in a way, searching for all of the things that are blamed of this being that i too have experienced. the writing was not just intriguing but seemed to spark paranoia out of the already present ember that all individuals have. it felt as though i had been let in on a secret.
Johnny Mnemonic
this was the first time i had ever read cyberpunk, and it was not what i was expecting. a few of what i expect are motifs of the genre were familiar to me, such as the storage of information in a characters brain resembling a computer. i recall an episode of Dr.Who in which this was applied via a bank heist operation. the idea of renting out space to others was a very interesting concept that i had never seen explored before. another aspect of the story which i suspect is common place with most cyberpunk was the technical gargen. much of the descriptive language used was centered on synthetics and metals, very little organic references. this makes sense considering the robotic aspects of the genre. such terminology use gave off a very cold feeling to the writing.
   The dolphin character was probably the most interesting in my eyes. again, like i have found in other readings this semester, i find myself draw to characters whom are very restricted in movement because of my own childhood. the man was confined to a tank, yet played a crucial part in helping others. there was also a drug culture aspect introduced with this character, something i think we as readers tend to not consider or associate with futuristic texts.
   over all i actually did not like this weeks reading. i found it very difficult to fallow, and a lot of the paragraphs seemed only half thought out or switched around in the middle of ideas. there also were numerous errors in the copy of text provided, which seemed to add to the difficulty. i felt almost lost in a sense when reading this text, perhaps this is part of the genre's goal (to offset the reader or make them uncomfortable). i am not entirely sure, but there are other genres during this course that i have enjoyed much more and am inclined to revisit.
Three Moments of an Explosion,What the moon brings, The unnamable, The rope is the world
These stories were defiantly different from any others in the course. the topics that they centered around were either supernatural or futuristic, both strange to the targeted reader. The unnamable was the most interesting to read, where the protagonist's friend believes that everything is subjectifiable to labels. only after the supernatural attack dose the friend condone that the creature is without shape/form/name. at the time it was written i belie there was probably a large rift between the more superstitious country persons and the scientific community of city persons. this was likely some of lovecraft's inspiration. he took an existing social problem/ discrepancy and pushed it to the extreme with supernatural influence.
   Another of the stories that i found intriguing was The rope is the world. this was a futuristic piece about a situation in which massive constructions are built up from the earth in to space in the form of freight elevators. the author's focus seems to be on the separational effects technology and advancement can have on earths society. in certain outdated towers we are told that groups of people live solely in them, cut off from the rest of the earth's people. the building of the towers are a tremendous feat, yet they have been the cause of a defragmentation of society. the idea of the human race being capable of creating such a situation is frightening to say the least, especially in such a way that the society is generally unaware of any issue. the author even hints at the visiting alien races as being unimpressed by the towers. perhaps they could see what was to eventually happen.
   these stories were definitely unlike anything i had read previously, and to a point felt quite difficult to grasp at the point the author was making. part of this could have been attributed to the dated language. overall, i find myself more inclined to do further readings in the other weeks denominations because i was able to connect better with the characters.
The Night Circus
i had actually picked up this book earlier but had not found time to read it until this class. the writing style felt very fresh and almost exotic to the tongue. i really loved how Morgenstern crafted her sentences, the linguistic embellishments really helped add to the mystical feel of the novel. i also liked how the author split the narrative between the two characters to display how differently they are raised.
   both grow up in a well off way, yet the social aspects of their development are completely different. Celia travels via the backstage, learning from an active performer (her father) and exposed to large crowds.  Marco on the other hand is raised in almost complete isolation with the exception of trips with his teacher.yet despite the vast difference each grows very powerful (weather through books or pain), showing that both methods are indeed effectual.
   the author also writes n such a way that the reader feels included, adding a new personal level to the experience that would otherwise be absent. this style really pulled me into the story and i felt as if i were actually walking around in this world.
   the only other time i have seen an author switch between multiple character views has been in Rick Riordan's hero's of Olympus. i think that to a point this author was even more successful with it because of its effectiveness to her story. the first time the two meet is so much more powerful because we as the reader know the struggles of both sides while each remains oblivious to the other. looking back at both of their history, i actually found myself connecting more with Marco. while not nearly as extreme, i too had a rather reclusive childhood and was very absorbed in books. i was also brought to numerous museums and spots of cultural interest growing up. finding so many similarities in this character allowed me to ease into his mind set and in turn deeper into the always seems to bring a book to a new level when i as the reader find such a strong connection and in turn  usually find that i cannot put it down.