2014년 11월 10일 월요일

Week Eleven - Cyberpunk and Steampunk

I think steampunk is really interesting and attractive theme in books and movies. Actually I have watched Laputa, Castle in the Sky, which represents steampunk animation in Japan. This animation is based on the world when it was late of 19th century and industrial revolution was happened. Also, I have watched The Good, the Bad, The Weird which released in Korea and this movie is also based on steampunk. For this week, I read The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers. The story of The Anubis Gates is about time travel, magic, and romance. When I was little, my fantasy was all about time travel and that's why I was attracted by this book. Honestly it was hard to understand to me when I read this book at first because there are so many characters and the novel's setting jumps from place to place throughout the entire novel, as well as from time to timeand all description and expression are so detailed. But the more I read, the more interested I become. The main character, Brendan Doyle is a literary professor and he is hired by Cochran Darrow who is a rich and powerful man. He travels back in time but he is kidnapped, and left behind in 1810, where he is forced to beg for food and money. He has gone through all sort of hardships and finally he got freedom to live out his life as he chooses. So The Anubis Gates is a great book for people who have dreamed about time travel.

The Good, the Bad, the Weird

Laputa, Castle in the Sky

Week Nine - The Stars my Destination

Star Wars is a famous movie that made space scientific genre popular over the world. Actually I'm interested in natural universe but didn't really like space stuff, so I haven't watched Star Wars until this week. After I read The Stars my Destination and watched Star Wars, I realized that those kind of book and movie were awesome. I really was interested in how author thought about future in 1956. The author described main character Gulliver Foyle as "the oiler, wiper, bunkerman; too easy for trouble, too slow for fun, too empty for friendship, too lazy for love." I could feel how the author felt about people in 25th century. He has no skills, no merits, and is not educated. He is the last remaining survivor of the Nomad, a merchant spaceship attacked in the war. This spaceship was drifting in the universe.

Week Eight - Anansi Boys

The theme of this week was interesting to me because mythic fiction and contemporary urban fantasy is kind of new to me. Well sometimes I imagined that I live in a world where all the gods of mythology are real. Both Lady in the water and Anansi Boys are about "mythic fantasy." According to wikipedia, animism is the worldview that non-human entities possess a spiritual essence. In African and west Indian indigenous folklore, Anansi is the spider god who created the universe. This book is about Fat Charlie, whose father is Anansi realized that his father is died in Florida. Anyways the theme of this book is Animism, so there are some spirits like Tiger or Bird woman.
I thought it is a very visual story and I was not at all surprised to read that offers had been made to turn it into a movie. During I read this book I always imagined scenery of this story and I think it is really interesting book.

Week Seven - Night Circus and Harry Potter

I had kind of fun for this week because I really like books or movies of fantasy magical theme. That's why I have read all of Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, Howl's Moving Castle and etc. Those books are so interesting and I think it is because fantastic world in the books arouse people's curiosity. When I read The Night Circus first, I liked its introduction which said; The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not." It already attracted me a lot. Basically The Night Circus is about two magicians from two (old and new) magical schools. Young illusionists fall in love during the course of the deadly game. This book is totally focused on "circus". I thought author's description about circus and expression of mood are quite interesting too because I could feel his effort for describing how this book flows. All the time when I was reading The Night Circus, I felt that I was dreaming like the name of circus "Cirque des Reves" which means the circus of night. Actually this book is not really meaningful, but it was good book for just having fun to read.

2014년 10월 6일 월요일

Week Five - The Witches in Aunt Maria

I like stories about witches. I think the witches in Aunt Maria show what people think about witches well. Diana Wynne Jones is known as a writer of Howl's Moving Castle. Jones's many stories are rich in witches, ghosts, enchanted animals, and mythical figures—even a moving castle. She treats serious themes through characters' encounters with magic, time travel, and transformations of humans into animals, such as occur in Aunt Maria. Always there is humor to make her novels not only exciting and suspenseful, but also fun.
Aunt Maria features a rich cast of characters. Mig (a nickname for Naomi Margaret) is a central figure along with brother Chris, mother Betty Laker, and of course, Aunt Maria. Mig, through whose words the story is told, is the most intriguing character, partly for the way she changes as the story unfolds. She is bright, ambitious, resourceful, chatty, and unswervingly loyal to her brother. Inner strength and a matured outlook emerge as she is drawn into a power struggle that engulfs her immediate family members and leaves her alone to thwart Aunt Maria. Aunt Maria herself is characterized as the "Great Dictator," the "Queen of Cranbury," and the "Female Pope." I knew and realized about Aunt Maria's characteristic when Aunt Maria turned Chris into the wolf.
The elderly woman gives the appearance of being lonely, helpless, and kind, but she rules with an iron hand through provocation of guilt, disapproving suggestion, and magic. Anyone who does not obey her every whim may be transformed into an animal or even a buried ghost. The best that can be said about Aunt Maria is that she is unable to see the error of her ways. The results are momentous, however, since Antony Green becomes a character who can undo Aunt Maria's powers. The Witches in Aunt Maria were not really good, but what finally happens to Aunt Maria introduces the theme of just punishment, which ends the story with hope.

2014년 9월 7일 일요일

Week Four - Weird Stories

             The "Weird" stories always attract people, and I think it is because the mood from those stories linger on people's minds.

             I read The Snow Child and this story can tell what's the mood of weird stories. The Count in the story just said he wished he had a girl as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the bird's feathers. However, the girl who the Count exactly wanted just showed up and stood on the road. The story doesn't tell why she is there and how she was created. In my opinion, this mood makes people curious and it could be why people are attracted in the weird stories. In the end of The Snow Child, the girl picked a rose because the Countess wanted to get rid of her. She pricked her finger on the rose's thorn and she was just gone. Literally, she went nothing; There was nothing left of her but a feather was dropped. I think this sentence could make readers think about who is the girl.
             Also, I read The Werewolf and this story was really interesting to me. I thought about Red Riding Hood which is a fairy tale and I guessed The Werewolf is based on that tale but this story is really weird and horrible version. I was so shocked when the child cut the wolf's fore-paw off, and shocked more when the fore-paw was no longer a wolf's paw. If people don't know about this story and read at the beginning, they would thought about Red Riding Hood like me, but at the end they would be shocked. I think this could be one of attractions of "weird" stories.

             This movie is not on the required movies list on course website, but I watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button because I thought it could be very weird movie. The story of this movie is very fresh and shocking. In the beginning, a baby who looks like an old man was born and he grew up but not like normal people. The more time went by, the more he became younger. The picture on above is Benjamin Button was young. I thought that people couldn't really imagine this weird situation and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button made it happen. 

2014년 8월 31일 일요일

Week Three - J-Horror : Asian Supernatural Narratives

    I think "horror" is one of genre that shows clear differences between eastern and western style. People must feel fears of different things and have different thoughts about horror. I felt what's the feature of eastern horror when I read Kwaidan for sure, because I'm a Korean and I think Asian horror things all have this feature.
    Kwaidan is about Japanese strange story. I think variety of eastern horrors are not much as those of western horror, and almost movies and books are about spiritual beings. Like Mujina in this book, spiritual being who doesn't have its eyes, nose and mouth can be a theme of oriental horror story.
    One of the episodes in Kwaidan, Diplomacy was about people's psychological fear of ghosts who have vengeance. As a result of this story, nothing at all happened and dead man couldn't do anything but people were seized with panic and fear. This shows that what's the feature of eastern horror very well because almost of eastern horror story arouse fear using spiritual beings or bizarre situations psychologically. On the other way, I think western horror is almost about mysterious beings or monsters like Frankenstein, zombies, or murderer. For example, there are a lot of animations that show this feature; Paranoman, Corpse Bride, or Casper. Those are all about mysterious beings that arouse our curiosity.
    I think Of a Mirror and a Bell was also similar case. In the story the author already said "You must know that the last wish or promise of anybody who dies in anger, or performs suicide in anger, is generally supposed to possess a supernatural force". I think the author emphasized the feature of eastern horror very well. Like those stories, there are many movies or books about advanced horror stories that was passed down orally and personal spiritual experience. They also usually use everyday objects like bell and mirror in this story. In my opinion those stories are really good examples for Asian horror- but I'm not sure other people can understand it because there was some superstition like "a mirror is the Soul of a Woman".
    Actually I felt interested in fact that people from all over the world must feel about "horror" in different way. For me, I'm not really scared of ghosts or spiritual things; I'm scared of disturbing and brutal horror stories like one of western horror styles. Kwaidan was quite simple and ordinary for me.