korpi: (gentlemen's night out)
For all that I glamour Iain M. Banks, I'm bothered by many of his main characters. I guess it works out since his books don't really depend on them being likeable, but the lack of basic human courtesy starts getting old after a while. Asking a Banks protagonist for a simple favour like, say, closing a window is met with minimum of two pages of internal monologuing about how the task is stupid, the asker is stupid, and the social system that has lead to said request is stupid. And they are all so oddly sympathetic to all sorts of horrible ideas. I guess living in a utopia does that to a person.

The Culture's approach to gender identity and sexuality is also so strange. Banks speculates from the perspective of a straight cisgendered male (making assumptions here, but that's certainly what it feels like) and manages to get so many things dead wrong. (Assuming that the general Culture citizen is modeled after your everyday human being, which looks to be the case everywhere else.) People change sex (and "gender") according to a very strong binary model, and somehow almost all the sex anyone ever wants is heterosexual? You'd think that a people able to genetically alter themselves at will would be a bit more adventurous, but all of that seems to be limited to polygamy.

...Strangest of all, I don't actually find his portrayal offensive. It's naïve yet sophisticated enough if that makes any sense whatsoever, and it's not hateful at all, just biased and uninformed. Haven't seen much critique from the sci-fi community either, but apparently people think Forever War is sexually progressive, so who knows what the standards for this sort of thing are over there.

THAT SAID, I'm enjoying his works immensely. Just finished Excession yesterday, which leaves me with only three more Culture novels before I run out of things to read. DDDDDDDD:!!! It seems that every new book I read becomes my newest "best Banks book ever", and Excession is no exception. You can really see how far he has come from the haphazardly written Consider Phlebas: it's tightly-plotted and perfectly timed and lyrical and, best of all, has an extensive AI cast that plays off against each other rather than against any of those old, boring meat sacks that nominally carry the story. All those ships! The Anticipation of a New Lover's Arrival was my favourite, though Meatfucker and Killing Time (in its brief appearance) were also strong contenders, and the latter half of the book made me grow almost dangerously fond of Sleeper Service.

(...I wonder what it says about me that the characters I sympathize most with are sociopathic yet charismatic AIs. Somehow I find their moral code more relatable than that of many of the protagonists.)

I'm a bit puzzled at amazon reviews though. Everyone warns that you have to pay attention while reading. Isn't having to keep up with all of the plot threads to keep track of the plot the ideal reading situation?

While on the topic of BOOKS, I'm also currently finishing A Room with a View for a course. Forster, you crazy whimsical bastard, I'm almost having trouble trying not to get lost following the narrative. I love it so far, a lot. It's nice to see characters actually address and discuss social issues rather than make thinly veiled jabs here and there. Which has been the case with some earlier authors (*cough* Austen *cough*) (ok ok, different era, different style, but Sense and Sensibility was frustrating to read). Also:

"There is much that is immortal in this medieval lady. The dragons have gone, and so have the knights, but still she lingers in our midst."
This book was written in 1908. Why is this still relevant?

Game of Thrones premiere: I had avoided most of the hype because I didn't want to get my expectations up, so I got preeetty surprised by holy production values. The opening sequence!! And all the actors are so perfect (lol viserys). I might have to buy this on DVD when it gets released omg
korpi: (a hero's straying from the just)
Authors and other creators need to realize that whatever it is that they create, to get it to the public it needs to be processed by the readers. Not to dismiss the amount of work that goes into each book, most of the work actually happens in the heads of the readers. Authors really aren't going to be the final authority on how the fine nuances of a character/whatever is perceived; the reader is. Each individual reader is. You cannot expect to convey a perfect, unalterable idea of yours without the readers having their own take on it.

Isn't the act of writing fanfiction often just a jump to give those different readings a physical form? The distance between the thoughts and the writings of a reader is much smaller than the distance between their thoughts and the original text. So, to me, authors that forbid fanfiction on grounds of it perverting the original source are ignoring the other half of what makes their works what they finally are: the audience. I'm not a writer myself, but it still feels insulting. I'm going to read things and into things in my own way and from my own perceptive, and if you try to control that, I'll lose the will to play along. Am I not a participant too?

Disclaimer: I haven't been following any of the discussion on this topic, other than that there apparently are problems beyond the financial? ...Actually, has there been discussion?
korpi: (may hope be born anew)
Non-speculative fiction is the lowest form of literary art. It takes no risks, it creates nothing. It was born dead.

It safely anchors itself on everyday life, and thus can function in exactly two ways: imitation and escapism. Imitatory works are the ones lauded for their "literary merit", though they are the ones where nothing new is born. Whenever a work gets hauled to publicity by jaded critics, it's because the author has been blessed with a keen sense of perception of the world around them and technical skill of a quality that pleases those who fear to step away from the norm. Every single word is a mirror image of the physical reality the writer has been caged into.

Escapist works, now -- the ones most consumed the public, though people with literary "authority" tend to put them down as lesser literature. In reality, these works are the ones closer to true art, though they fall just off the mark by their very nature: they rely on preconceptions. They cannot breathe. Though escapist works use the reality around them as more of a playground, picking and choosing what to include, adding their own without being reduced to slaves, they must imitate the naïve illusionary reality of the world their readers wish to see, of what "should be".

Non-speculative fiction is a necessary evil in written art in very much the same way portraits and landscape paintings are in visual art. It can be used to show technical skill, and to hone it, but it will never have soul.

--okay no, no no no, not like that, but FUCK I. Just read an official, newspaper-published review where the reviewer basically said that though the book in question is technically perfect (as in, writing-), honestly and fairly imaginative, creates its own jargon and reality and recreates and references it faithfully throughout the whole story without ever slipping up, and yet somehow manages to be accessible (!!) to people unfamiliar with the genre WITHOUT BEING OBTUSE, it is a stagnant piece of crap, unable to create anything new, and inherently inferior to anything and everything else ever written "because it's sci-fi :)".

korpi: (see you in heaven)
I'm addicted to Twilight sporks. No, I haven't read the actual books - and never will - but there's just something so entertaining about this sort of, uh, "literary criticism".

http://www.anti-shurtugal.com/wordpress/ (now with bonus Inheritance trilogy dissing! I lie, it's critical feedback in a very real sense)

On literary news so much more sophisticated it's almost a crime to mention them in the same entry, I'm re-reading Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. This time being the "enjoy every damn sentence of it" round. WITNESS:

"He supposed the gentleman must be a guest of Sir Walter's or Lady Pole's - which explained the gentleman but not the room. Gentlemen are often invited to stay in other people's houses. Rooms hardly ever are."


The gentleman with the thistledown hair is so. Sinister. And odd in a story like this considering how it's not even trying to be an epic at all or perhaps the writing style just throws me off. IMAGINARY EXAMPLE: He explains how he threw a litter of tiny kitten infants into a well full of RAVENOUS ALLIGATORS sounding like he's GENUINELY EXPECTING COMPLIMENTS. GOD THAT'S SO HORRIBLE tell me more

Making most of the other characters unsympathetic (?? may or may not mean "common and realistic" - though I really feel for Mr Norrell this time around, surprisingly enough) works brilliantly in highlighting those characters who genuinely are just... good people. Stephen. D:

...I have the most embarrassing crush on John Usklass. Which on the one hand is UTTERLY UNDERSTANDABLE but otoh sort of funny considering he's not... really... a character in this story...? Childermass too is so great even though I'm not at that part of the book quite yet. --also ahhh the dry british wit -- how i adore thee --I like how even the most world-shattering events for characters are presented with this sort of distance so that you don't maybe even realize just how badly things affect them until it's too late. (And he wept.)

...BRB fondling my paperback edition.
korpi: (only had but one true love)
"What you loved was not her, but the time in your lives and your young bodies."

With that, I'm ready to start reading The Most Idiotic and Unromantic Love Story Ever Told, but Which Unfortunately Still is the Definition of True Love Even Today, a.k.a Romeo and Juliet. Why read it, then, if the starter opinions are that harsh? Because it has many pretty words in it, strung prettily together, and some people have had the nerve to deem it a "classic". And the more classics one has under one's belt, the better. I think I'm emotionally mature enough by now to laugh at the story instead of throwing the play at the nearest wall. (...I don't know exactly why Romeo and Juliet offends me so, but it does.)

Our library's English copies of Shakespeare's plays have nice explanations of some of the more obscure words and phrases used in the text, and they're very helpful (to this reader at least), but sometimes they underestimate the recipients' intelligence a bit. It isn't that hard to figure out what fictional character/occurrence is being referred to in, for example, "angels are bright still, though the brightest fell".

On the anime front, my three initial reactions to Gundam 00. ..."Initial" being a misleading word, as I'm in episode four already.

1) What is Loveless doing in my mecha? ♥!!!!
2) What is The Back Horn doing in my anime? See above.
3) W-wow, are those some actual politics I'm seeing, or am I just blinded by the fact that this world could nearly pass for this Earth in three hundred years' time (as opposed to the worlds with half the people living on the planet's orbit, with countries and organisations that don't really exist, as seen in every other Gundam series I'm aware of)?
korpi: (not quite like starfish)
After over a year of on-and-off reading of Monkey, I finally finished it yesterday.

The thing about 500-year-old humour is that now 500 years later it's just crude. I felt like stopping almost every other chapter in the first part of the story, because Monkey pissed me off so much. All that dicking around isn't cute or amusing, it's rude, go away, die, be sealed under a mountain okay. But Tripitaka makes me crack up all the time, I'm so sorry. Eventually everything got better, though!

One of the things characterises Saiyuki the manga series is the repetitiveness, and I'd thought it was just part of Minekura Kazuya's trademark style, but now I'm wondering if it's at least partly meant to be a nod towards the original story. It really stood out in the story for me. Other than that, it was nice to recognize some of the familiar storylines. In the cast, Goku is really the only one who resembles his original counterpart in any way, while Gojyo has more of Hakkai's original character than his own* and Sanzo is pretty much Tripitaka's negative shadow.

*I know I'm probably drawing inexistent parallels here, but the way Sandy was so utterly forgettable made me think of how, when all is said and done, Gojyo really is the average one in the group, and how he often feels so useless. :(

...The other point of this post is to announce that as of today I'm nineteen. Woo! I can feel an age crisis coming up in a year!
korpi: (still raw and uncertain)
1) I'm not going to watch the Air Gear anime. I tried the episode Akito/Agito is introduced in and. The execution is too amateurish. :( The manga is better xinfinity.

2) Very belated thought re: Darker Than Black (triggered by the Pandora episodes): some things in this world remind me of that one Soviet author's sci-fi novel, A Roadside Picnic. How everything within these alien, secluded areas is unpredictable and dangerous in thought-defying ways. (Mostly this came to mind by the randomness that was the lines of arranged boots, only that was explained later. :/) But in DtB it seems to happen more in the mind than in "reality" as it did in the book.

3) I can't. Stop. Thinking about Cecil/Kain/Rosa. Curse you, announcement of a DS remake. I also can't stop playing around with the new scans on photoshop. Witness, one of the many unfinished icons I've started!

--Hey, that's not half bad.
korpi: (not quite like starfish)
Third day in Oulu, and already I'm starting to feel the terrible lack of no musical instrument expect my own voice. I knew there was no piano here - what flash of brilliance made me leave my violin home? If I'm to spend three whole weeks here like this, I just might go maaad.

Maybe I can buy a flute of some kind from some second-hand shop in here. Or maybe I can get someone to fetch the violin. From hundreds of kilometres away.

Quatrevingt-treize/93 by Victor Hugo )

Next up, Les Misérables!
korpi: (not quite like starfish)
Things I should've been reading after matriculation exams, and, consequently, getting out of high school:

-entrance exam book for medical school

Things I HAVE been reading after getting out of high school (+ one-sentence commentary!):

-The Epic of Gilgamesh: I feel like Finnish wasn't the optimal language in which to read this one.
-(unfinished) Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen: Hey, this is like the BBC series!
-Tales of the Earthsea (parts 1-4), by Ursula K. Le Guin: I shall need nothing anymore, for I have seen dragons dance in the twilight.
-The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. Le Guin: For two days after I finished reading, I had difficulty speaking of my room as MY room.
-Swordspoint, by Ellen Kushner: What charming homosexual domesticity.
-(Second reading of) Elfquest, by Wendy & Richard Pini: The first time around - how did I manage to miss most of the very in-your-face sexuality again?
-(unfinished) Xi You-Ji (Journey to the West), by Wú Chéng'ēn: Dated peasant humour that came with Monkey mostly made me irritated, but things are looking up with Tripitaka.
-House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski: --honey dearest I don't feel all that stable.
-The Vagina Monologues, by Eve Ensler: The part with the old lady reacquainting her long-lost vagina nearly made me cry.
-Elianto, by Stefano Benni: If only all long-winded description was this entertaining I'd be skipping dialogue instead.
-Empire of the Ants, by Bernard Werber: The way the separate storylines joined in the end was rather impressive.
-La Revolution Francaise (vol. 1), by Octave Aubry: Dear author, I have no patience for your royalism.
-Sex With Kings, by Eleanor Herman: Madame de Pompadour was rather kick-ass, and Nell Gwynn is my idol.
-(unfinished) A Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin: It's not my place to comment on a book after reading less than twenty pages. D:
korpi: (Default)

A book thing. )
korpi: (Default)
Ah, I just finished LeGuin's Left hand of darkness.


Thank you.

And just yesterday I read Sinisalo's Sankarit. No-I-didn't-actually-read-it through the whole philosophy lesson. And certainly not through the whole physics lesson. Meaning, I'm on a... book high. Two good books in less than three days. :) And there's one more waiting for me on the kitchen table - I'm not getting any school work done this night, either. (Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay. Of what I've read around, it's generally thought to be a good book.)

Mom thinks that the Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide is a book that should belong to any home library in two languages = I might get to read it in English this summer.
korpi: (Bai-bai)

Maybe I should try to stop all the unconscious matchmaking I do when reading books. It seriously hinders the reading experience, because the wrong people get together in the end, dammit.

Such as in Monte-Cristo.

And in Robin Hobb's Fool's fate. I haven't managed to read the last ten pages. I just shut the book when I got to them and refused to read them. Woe if there is something important there for me to read, as there very probably is. Possibly I'll read the rest of the book again, someday. Not the end. I can't. And after I finally got to like the main character, too.

The puppies are keeping me up at night. At this point I'm wishing they disappear somehow. They're not mine to sell, but does anyone still want to buy them? 670 euros each (not including health checks). Pricey, yes. Good quality, yes yes. -_-
korpi: (Default)

For [livejournal.com profile] nejisiili, who apparently doesn't want to talk to me.

Vague spoilers for /la Comte de Monte-Cristo/, nothing to see here. )

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