Sunday, December 4, 2016

Week 13, Lit Speculation

Remy Tost, Novemeber 14th

The feeling I got after reading last week’s story, Lilith’s Brood came back to me again while reading Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. It had sudden weird twists and turns and it made me feel off and freaked out. It also made me second guess who the characters were and whether they were good or bad. That sudden strange need to wash my hands came back a few times too. Also reminded me vaguely of A Clockwork Orange and 1984 due to the weird and fucked up actions that happened within the society that where viewed as “ok” by their standards (ex- child pornography).

But on a different note before I read the short story I read a brief synopsis to see what I was in store for, since the title didn’t really give me any clues. I found that the writer herself explained that she didn’t believe this was a science fiction story at all, but a speculative fiction and "adventure romance" because she thought this story to her wasn’t something humans today can’t do.

The story itself is again weird, but with decent pacing. The world, as messed up as it was Atwood made a reference to something that could be related to today was kind of cool. The reminded me of Avenue Q the Musical. And I’m sure they other, grosser sites are based off on real sites as well.

Crake, Jimmy, and Oryx were an interesting group of characters, and for a while it seemed strange that Crake and Jimmy made it as best friends as children to adult since they were so different. But when Crake was “sane” it lasted well enough.

Also the concept of Crackers and the idea of getting rid of the defective human race was a motif I’ve seen many times. But I liked how Jimmy (Snowman) kept his word and protected the Crackers. Overall interesting world, and apparently there are gonna be some follow- up novels for this coming up soon. Even HBO is gonna make this a series, which would make since seeing how HBO isn’t on cable and this book has its racy moments. Not sure if I wanna check that out when it comes but we’ll see what happens.

Also, random side note, when I read about Oryx when Jimmy first see her and when she has an affair with Jimmy “China Girl” by David Bowie popped in my head.

Week 12, Diverse Science Fiction

Remy Tost, November 7

Lilith’s Brood

1. What is your reaction to the text you just read?

-what the fuck is a car doing in a twisted world like this?
-the world I pictured for these characters seemed more like Luke Skywalker's house with his aunt and uncle; not from this universe
-the moment t'galoi was mentioned I was uncomfortable by her and her appearance and need of "warmth" from bodies, like a tic. Which is interesting because their "race" is called tlic.
-at first I thought t'gatoi was bigger in size. Her appliance with her limbs reminded me strangely of no face from "spirited away, when he had a lot of limbs and was chasing chihiro in the bathhouse.
-when he asks, "what are we to you?" all his questions made he, I don't want to say glad; but thankful he said them. He became a more believable character.
-near the end when the main speaker and t'galoi where alone made me hear the human in t'glaoi which made me feel….better? About the situation. It made me feel that the main character was in "better hands" at this point. Especially the last line:
"I will take care of you"

2. What connections did you make with the story? Discuss the elements of the story with which you were able to connect?

The connections need, survival, hosts, and will all had a part in this story. Also the relationship between master and slave.

3. What changes would you make to adopt this story into another medium? What medium would you use? What changes would you make?

I can see this as a strange morphed stop-motion/2d animation thing. The colors and visuals from the chapter pages of the sandman with the rust colors, dark blue hues would suit this story well. Because it’s strange and mysterious. Even though this is a sy-fi story, I can't see anything in this story with neon colors, especially neon green. No, this story is more about flesh and bone, insects and worms. So the colors would be eater toned to the point of bodily fluid colors. And rust to depict the horror feel. 

Ignoring the content of the video, "closer" by nine inch nails colors would also work for this. But during the lighter scenes of the story it would be lighter, with some off-whites? Or tan colors. 

Week 11, Cyber and Stempunk

Remy Tost, October 31

Ok so steampunk was my THING when I was a junior and senior in high school.  I was the tool who went to the small anime convention in my hometown and got that hair clip that had plastic gears and feathers hot glued on it (and it wasn’t subtle) because I desperately wanted to be apart of that Victorian steam world, man. And it’s not like I don’t appreciate steampunk anymore, because I still do! I’m just picky about it. No glued down gears on top hats. Or dumb plots.

Speaking of good plots; Blade Runner directed by Ridley Scott was such an iconic movie at the time. God when I saw this for this week’s movie of the week I was amazed by how well the pulled off all those special effects when they had to paint this dark futuristic city. And it looked like it was done effortlessly. I mean, those projections on those buildings looked like they were done yesterday.  The plot was different and told a very honest story about of humanity and the struggles of feeling and being alive.  And the villain, Roy Batty was nothing like a villain until the fight scene and when he killed Dr. Eldon Tyrell. Also kick ass soundtrack, but I’m not surprised since Vangelis did it. 

Also while we’re on the subject of good plot movies; Steamboy directed by Katsuhiro Otomo in 2004 was an amazing steampunk animated film I saw a while back with my parents. This is a great adventure movie starring a young boy, Ray Steam, with a mission to prevent a ball of energy from unleashing its destructive power.
to his town in England in an alternate 19th century. Wonderful visuals and characters, highly recommend. Also deals with relationships and humanity. Not as intensely as Blade Runner but it’s still there. Which I always find interesting when it comes to cyber and steampunk plots. Most stories in these genres constantly question and prod at the idea of humanity, feelings, emotions, and relationships, which are funny since these stories consist of robotic life and machines.

So when I looked at the reading list and saw “Infernal Devices” (1987) by K.W. Jeter I was instantly reminded of Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices Series (2010-2013). I read the first two books of Clare’s series so I of course wanted to see what Jeter’s book was about and if they had any similarities to each other.
So after reading Infernal Devices (1987) I gotta say it was not what I expected. But I think that’s because Clare’s take is serious, sometimes violent and leans towards the older teen genre (so some sexy moments, teen angst and love triangles, basically). But Jeter’s was funny as well as dark. And sure there where some sexy moments with George’s automaton double, but not in the same way as Clare’s is. But both stories do have automatons, and the setting is around the same time period, victorian naturally. But that’s really it in terms of what they have in common. I enjoyed Jeter’s writing, it was dark one page kinda campy the next and some of the creatures and characters where more than I expected.  Overall glad read and glad it’s not like the series that shares it’s name; not that I don’t like the series but glad all the same.

Week 10, Fiction of Ideas

Remy Tost, October 24

“REPENT, HARLEQUIN!” SAID THE TICKTOCKMAN by Harlan Ellison gave me Babes in Toyland meets The Spirit movie vibes hardcore, ok.

The Language, like the story all has to do with timing. There is a specific voice and tone and if there weren’t any “TICKTOCKTICKTOCK” moments it would match up with this weird child-like story with some dark under tones. The story is fairly simple: a world ran by strict time and anyone who is out of line shuts off or gets punished. So much depends on being on time here. But like in the real world, sometimes being on time isn’t possible and so understanding is very important. But in this universe it’s vital to survival.

Some of the parts in this short story get extremely dramatic thanks to the long sentences with so much energy. Especially when the story breaks I love this line:

A_n_d_ _s_o_ _i_t_ _g_o_e_s_._ _A_n_d_ _s_o_ _i_t_ _g_o_e_s_._ _A_n_d_ _s_o_ _i_t_ _g_o_e_s_._ _A_n_d_ _s_o_ _i_t_ _g_o_e_s_ _g_o_e_s_ _g_o_e_s_ _g_o_e_s_ _g_o_e_s_ _t_i_c_k_ _t_o_c_k_ _t_i_c_k_ _t_o_c_k_ _t_i_c_k_ _t_o_c_k_ _a_n_d_ _o_n_e_ _d_a_y_ _w_e_ _n_o_ _l_o_n_g_e_r_ _l_e_t_ _t_i_m_e_ _s_e_r_v_e_ _u_s_,_ _w_e_ _s_e_r_v_e_ _t_i_m_e_ _a_n_d_ _w_e_ _a_r_e_ _s_l_a_v_e_s_ _o_f_ _t_h_e_ _s_c_h_e_d_u_l_e_,_ _w_o_r_s_h_i_p_p_e_r_s_ _o_f_ _t_h_e_ _s_u_n_’s_ _p_a_s_s_i_n_g_,_ _b_o_u_n_d_ _i_n_t_o_ _a_ _l_i_f_e_ _p_r_e_d_i_c_a_t_e_d_ _o_n_ _r_e_s_t_r_i_c_t_i_o_n_s_ _b_e_c_a_u_s_e_ _t_h_e_ _s_y_s_t_e_m_ _w_i_l_l_ _n_o_t_ _f_u_n_c_t_i_o_n_ _i_f_ _w_e_ _d_o_n_’t_ _k_e_e_p_ _t_h_e_ _s_c_h_e_d_u_l_e_ _t_i_g_h_t_._ _

(Sorry about the weird spacing, that’s just how it came out.) I feel that this line gives the full picture of the story. There are some fun, jolly moments, sometimes it get’s weird, even evil. This whole line tells it all.

Normally stories like this turn me off because most of the time its hard to follow them because it gets too much. But this story about the ticktock man and harlyquinn is a basic story with a simple enough plot and world for the reader to follow. That’s why Ellison could go all out and bring out that artistic, unconventional writing style.

Also, Fahrenheit was a good movie, for a movie. Not entirely like the book in fact, but I appreciated where the movie was going and the style. Read the book in high school so I couldn’t compare too much but the movie itself had decent effects, cool acting ideas, especially the lady who plays the wife and teacher. And even though the setting was in England at the time it was made I still felt like I was in another world. Good job, Francois Truffaut!

Week 8, Urban Fantasy

Remy Tost, October 10

So before I read The Wood Wife by Terri Windling, I was curious as to what I was in for. Not looking for spoilers, mind but a general direction. And I’m glad I did because it pulled me closer to the book before I even read it. Apparently this book is one of the four-fairy book that Brian Froud (one of my favorite artists of all time) made a series out of called FaerieLand. Also, many of the characters are artists and apparently Windling made readers wish they could see it. I appreciated this because as an artist who loves fantasy there aren’t too many main characters who are, well, artists. Many tend to be outcasts, not so popular. Many have ordinary jobs as well which I believe to make the transition for reality to fantasy within story more of an impact. But as I began to read I was intrigued by the descriptions of Ana’s art and style. I stopped I the middle not because I didn’t like it, but because I needed to focus on my other classed. However it is safe to say that I will finish this story. This story almost reminds me of Skelling by David Almond because it was about identity, discovery, mystery and finding out where you stand in this world. In Skelling, two kids finding out who they are and their friend, a mysterious angel they found in their home while in The Wood Wife she fins out more about her dead friend Cooper in his old house as well as herself. I do hope however that Windling expands more on Ana and her art and backstory. I know quite a bit about Cooper, time to know about the other main character who is still living.

As for the movie, I was reluctant to watch Lady in the Water but that’s because I am a hipster and find it easy to go with the flow of the people and hate everything M Night Shamalan has ever touched in career as a director. And yet I remember watching The Village when I was in middle school and I have to say that movie freaked me out, surprised me and left me feeling satisfied and not ripped off. Maybe I was easy to please then, I don’t know. I haven’t seen the movie since then but with the changes I’ve gone through as a person growing up in the world I wondered if this movie would too make me feel satisfied. Or better still allow myself to be satisfied with it even though my new bias may tell me not to.

So I watched it…it was not awful. It was okay. And honestly Paul Giamatti saved the
 movie in my opinion. Obviously I knew there would be twists, but not M Night himself basically (a weird writer). And the fact that they never expanded on the “Blue World” that Story was from also irritated me to bits. I loved the concept of the Narf and Scrunt. But I wanted more of that and less M Night talking about his story. I wanted to see it instead. So I was disappointed with the direction but intrigued by the concept. I’ll give it a C.