Sunday, April 25, 2010


How about a story about the horrors of parasites, inserted via a long narrow stinger, growing in the human body, feeding off blood and the flesh, and ultimately cut out in a horribly painful manner. No, I'm not talking about the shows about birth on TLC, it's a short story by Butler, (the same one who wrote Lilith and it was no surprise to me when the short story turned out to be about more disturbing tales on sex and reproduction. Oh! And horrible grotesque aliens.)

The story is very confusing at first. We get little to no explanation. But this is what makes the story work so well. I kept reading because I wanted to understand more about what I was reading and then when I found out it had some sort of reproduction plot I wanted to read it even more because let's face it, young people love that stuff. I don't know why so many horror movies focus on slashing and chasing, they should just play a women giving birth on the big screen and call it a horror movie. Teenagers everywhere would stand ten feet from the opposite sex for a couple days after that (I know I did). So, Butler is intelligent enough to figure out that the idea of birth is very scary to young people (mostly girls I would guess) and the pain that surrounds that. Let's not forget also the idea that, it can happen over and over again. Butler takes this idea and then suggests, what if men went through something similar? Also, she adds, "I wrote this to get over my fear of botflies". Right. You wrote an amazing and deep short story, that is a rather feminist view of birth to get over your fear of botflies. Genius.

The story itself was, as disturbing as it is, very well written and suspenseful. The themes represented were very deep (come on, it's Butler you guys) and intrusive thought wise. You have Tilcs and Terrans (humans). They supposedly live on a reserve (a prison)? The Tilcs have a pick at the Terran men; which ones they will "join families" with. Butler's main character is the representation of this ignorance. The "joining" of families, the sharing of the eggs, the idea that the Tilcs and the Terrans are jolly good buddies is like telling women in the 50s that having a kid was like going to sleep and then waking up with a baby. We follow the main character through the story until he realizes at one point his true purpose, thus his blind faith is questioned through events and his brothers jabs. In the end, he questions his soon to be "mate" T'Gatoi and forces her to come to an agreement with him, (the tables have turned). I really loved the line he used to win the argument as well. "You take chances in relationships." Or something like that.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Oryx and Crake

I for one love to read different writing styles, but usually I think it's only fair that if I read someone's novel they would have the decency to at least leave me with an ending instead of forcing me to question what will happen next. Other then that, this was a very interesting take on the future. (at lease, it seems like the future). This book to awhile to finish as CA got very busy. So please bear with me as I try to recall all the themes and interesting parts/ observations.

The novel starts of with a lot of questions from the reader. There are strange creators running around and the main character, who goes by the name of Snowman, seems to be the only human left. As the novel goes on we learn more about Snowman (Jimmy) and his tale, of which leads back to his current standings. Atwood has a lot of themes going in this novel. Human transplantion, (the pigoons, etc.) human value (this is questioned a number of ways throughout the book), and religion. Snowman (Jimmy) was established as a god to the Crakers by Crake, his old friend and creator of human demise. The book takes place in America, but there is no mention of government in any form. Corporations each sort of have a compound that people stive to live in. People have become so dependent on the materials these corporations sell, from vaccines to body parts, that they have become powerless consumers. The compounds seem to be united though (Jimmy's mother works for the establishment). It is important to work for a corporation for this reason alone so that the characters can stay out of the pleeblands, which are lawless. This made the book and the future feel bleak and hopeless for me. The idea that religion can be easily made up also added to the bleak feel. I thought the idea that Snowman is used in place of Jimmy's name for present tense and then Jimmy's real name is used to bring the reader to the past made the book much easier to follow at times.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lilith's Brood

What if you had to choose for yourself and others between death or a comfortable place to live and thrive,....but at a big price?
This book seems to touch on a lot of major issues dealing with the basic human thought. I loved this book, I simply could not stop reading it once I picked it up. The only thing that got me to stop was the fact that I had CA homework and projects that needed to be completed, but you can guess what I did when I was done with all of them.

So, this book has some pretty deep set themes about sex, and reproduction, but not just about those, in fact, there are a huge range of subjects that are arguably touched on, such as reproductive rights, racism, sexual consent, disabilities, rape (sexual violence), slavery, the human difference, and what is ultimately means to be human. The Oankali introduction just makes everything even more interesting. Butler's writing is intense, she'll show you a grotesque alian and won't let you look away, she'll throw questions before you and they will be very deep questions that more people don't discuss and what politics are made of. She'll force you to think about who you are and what you would, and what makes you human in the end. What makes as all human.

Speaking of humans, the human sects in the book (the ones who want to stay away from the "aliens") are almost Butler's cruel joke. She starts you off thinking that it would be an easy answer,of course any human might not want to see the race end, but then you are given the alternative, the actual human race, of which has become a voilent animalistic life. I really found that made the choice even more intriging and difficult. You feel for the main character of course, but at the same time, the reader is left wondering, which side would I choose?

There also seems to be a good bit of biblical subjects in the book.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Blade Runner

Have you ever heard someone talk about a movie they liked and thought, "Hey, sounds like a movie I might enjoy!" and then you never see it? That's blade runner. I really like Ridley Scott films and I had kept urging myself to take a secound to watch this film since a lot of people have suggested to me, but I never had the time nor the incentive. After watching some of it in class I was hooked. I had to watch more and not because Harrison Ford was in it (swoon) but because the story was really interesting and the character's (unlike today's action packed films) weren't 1 dimensional. I'm a computer animation student. I hate that computer animation is ruining movies today. Yes, it is. I think directors are depending too much on CGI to make an "eye candy film" more then a memorable movie. I hear people say "It was a great movie! The special effects were awesome!' too much for comfort. I admit, I love older movies for the shear fact that they have to depend on the characters and the story to make money. Once in a while a movie will have CGI and a great story. But more then half of the time, that movie won't be recent.

I watched it and I loved it! When the movie ended I was so enchanted, I felt so much for the characters. The replicants left such a strange taste in my mouth. I didn't know if I should hate them or feel pity for them. In the end, the hero is at a replicants mercy. The whole story was a rude awaking to the truth. Our hero finds out his job...ok I won't ruin the movie for you, but lets just say the ending was the best part. Yes, I cried, but never have I been so moved by dialogued. I still remember the words because I thought they were so perfectly recited and so beautiful. The music, the mood, everything, as sappy as it was, worked perfectly together. The music in the film was also excellent, as 80's as it was. The music kinda moved slowly compared to most action flicks today. In fact, it wasn't really a sci-fi film, nor an action flick. I'm not sure how I would describe it. I guess it was sci-fi for the shear fact it was in the future. But it could have been any time frame and still been a great story.

Some of it I was confused by, or I didn't understand. Maybe it was because I have become too used to movies giving me all the answers that when i see any older flick that challenged my intellectual side i become a little confused. I did have to ask my friend what was going on at times, but I was happy when he told me to watch and let me figure it out, because in the end I got everything and then some and finding my own answer made the movie all the more amazing to me.

This film will really make you question life and what it is to be human.

" All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain... Time to die."

Great movie, I would strongly suggest it to anyone looking for a good flick.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

When you're waiting for a class to end or for your mom to stop shoe shopping, time seems to go on forever. That said, this book seemed long. I say that because, it really did. I don't much like Sci-Fi, but in the end, after reading his book on and off, I actually liked this book (thats saying a lot of cyberpunk). As scarily realistic as it sounds at times (hehehe), the book had an engaging story and a satirical feel (the main characters name is a good indication of that for one, but the book seems to not really take anything seriously. Regardless, the Snow Crash has a lot of modern day Sci-Fi themes and models, but this one seems more original to me. The concepts are great and make for an interesting take on the present,...oh! I is really scary how well thought out the book gets at times. I really thought it was interesting that the author was able to take something extremely old and make plausible stories with plausible outcomes to effect the main plot. What was even more interesting is that it almost seemed like the book was verging on "magic" themes, since a lot of fantasy relies on "old forgotten" things or "long ago in a far away land" type models. The snow crash virus was almost like a "spell" of sorts, since it revolves around language, which, lets face it, is a popular theme in fantasy novels, (Tolken anyone?). It also reminded me again about Babel 17, seems language, be it computer language, Sumerian, or whatever, itself can make for a great plot line.

The main characters were clever and likable. As a video game nerd, the idea that the internet (called the metaverse in the book)) is now sort of like a huge MMO (massive mult. player online game) where everyone has an avatar and is represented that way and that the two "worlds" are so intertwined made things exciting and...confusing. Sometimes I'd get confused , about who was talking, or how or what snow-crash was, or the back story of snow-crash, yeah, a lot of that I had to reread because for some reason I couldn't get it from the audio book, (had to find a pdf to read).

Over-all the book was very cyberpunk, it had pretty much everything any cyberpunk would want and then some. The concept that America was divided among big business and that even currency was dependent on corporations made the culture of the book very interesting for me, and was one of the many things about the book that I enjoyed learning about (aside from the metaverse). I think Stephenson made it so believable in a way, like, chaotic of course, but it just sort of, worked.
A pretty good read in my eyes, even if it's sci-fi.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Samuel R. Delany, Babel17/Empire Star

Babel 17,....I still don't know what the 17 stands for, maybe some code or something. This sounded like an interesting read, but in the end it didn't really ienchant me enough. I read through it and found the only thing enjoyable about the book for me was the characters and the culture. Rydra Wong was a great character. She was some what out of place for me though. She was empathetic and caring. She was between two wars and didn't really side with anyone. Lets not forget also that shes a hot asian chick.

One thing I thought was clever was how Delany explained what was going on through a characetr. In fact, I think theres a pretty strong argument that Rydras sidekick, knows nothing, army buddy turned lover was made a character for that soul perpouse. To learn and help us learn as well, more about the culture (which I loved) and about the other characters, whom Rydra knows pretty well already.

The concept behind the plot was very interesting. I never thought about the thought process of someone who speaks a forign language as being vastly differnt, or the concept that they may think things I would never grasp and vs. versa. The notion of language is also a huge part of the book. In the end some of the theames felt a little, under-explained, or left to our own thought. WHich, isnt such a bad thing, but lets face it, I lik being told all the answers, I dont want to have to think one up...

I don't really like Sci-Fi. But if you do, you'll most likely enjoy this book more then I did. I didn't really hate it, but I found it relly confusing and annoying to read. Why didn't I just stop and read something else you ask? Well, I was too far into it to stop, so I kept going. But so much of it was left in the dark for me, I need explainations to let me know where everyone is in the story and what is going on, but any explanations from Delany in this book are as rare as a hot girl at a Sci-Fi convention. Yes, there are hot girls at Sci-Fi conventions, but I'm talking about the ones who weren't hired to be there.
In the end Id say this book is worth reading for the sheer fact that its old school and its a the birthplace for some more modern day sci-fi. It stays on plot and reads quickly. The characters are liakable, some of the book is lengthy and hard to understand were they are at times, but otherwise, give it a read.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

Let me begin by saying that this book was a "pain in the" to find a download, by "downloaded" I mean I read it at the library. Anyway, where do I begin? This book was, well, it reminded me very much of "The Count of Monte Cristo". If you've never read the book or seen the movie then I strongly suggest you do so. If you have seen or read it, then you might enjoy this book.

The main character Foyle reminds me very much of the Count. The only major differences is that instead of being the master of sword fighting, Foyle has much more interesting wepons up his sleeves. He can "juant" as a way of transportation, for one (the first chapter gets you interested with this notion) and of course since it's sci-fi he has some alteration made to make him super fast, super human like, blah, blah, blah. This book, as dated as it is, was exciting and full of action. It was hard o believe it was written in the 5o's. I would think it would make for a great movie, if nothing else.

Foyle in my opinion was a very sad and twisted character. He's very, "anti-hero". I didn't know what to make of him, he was terrible and he was glorified (mostly near the end did I feel most for him). He rapes, he kills, he has lovers (some of which he abandons) and generally he makes messes for himself later on but somehow he manages. When he is left for dead by the upper-class (a ship called Vorga), his revenge and hate drives him to better himself. I thought it was interesting in that, Bester was able to pull this off so well (regardless of the Monte Cristo plot line). Maybe I should find someone to hate with a passion so I would stop being lazy and go to Harvard to better myself, then I could get the revenge I deserve! Aside from being satirical throughout this review I might add that this book was a page turner for me. I enjoyed it for the meat of the book, it was action packed and had some great twists! I would still suggest it even if you don't like Sci-Fi all that much. Some of the sci-fi did make the story confusing at times, I had trouble following and at times and didn't get the full effect because I sometimes missed things. But, the important parts were understandable and I was able to follow the main plot pretty well. As a main character, I thought his evolution was very interesting. Foyle learns to imagine and learns to dream. In the beginning he does neither, but it all changes with his first "dream" as twisted as it was. I won't give away the ending, but it was worth reading this through to the end just for the satisfaction of knowing what becomes of Foyle.