Monday, December 1, 2014

Week Fifteen: Revision

Week Three: J-Horror
            This week I read part of the book A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami. From my experience, he is one of the most popular Japanese writer in China, a lot people like his books especially teenagers or young adults. But I was never a big fan of his works. I remember I tried to read the book Norwegian Wood, which is of his most famous books, but I just hated it and could not finish it. But this time, when I read his work again, I found some interests.
            From what I had read of the book, I feel the novel is more like a story of emotion journey than a story of a physical journey.  There was an actual journey involved as the main character went in search of the mythical sheep, but the true focus of the book was on the character's emotions. Murakami didn't even give a lot of the characters names. The main character could stand for any one of us. I believe that the mythical sheep can be seen as either "the meaning of life”. The main character finds himself at the end of his marriage. His wife have left him for a friend of his, and he can't understand what that guy has that he doesn't, since the friend doesn't have a lot of money and he plays the guitar too much. The girlfriend that the main character hooks up with following the breakup of his marriage is a talented, quirky girl who compliments his own quirks nicely. Yet throughout the relationship, he is obsessed with her ears, a part of her, instead of the whole of her. She, on the other hand, has shown herself to be quite devoted to him, even supporting and joining him on his quest for the sheep. These examples, and his friendship with his business partner and the company that they ran together, all worked together to form a meaning to his life that the main character was unable to recognize or embrace. He was on his own sheep chase looking for meaning that he already had. When he finally caught up with The Rat and had their final chat on the mountain, he realized, to a small degree, what he had been doing wrong. 
            And I also read some of the short stories from Kwaidan. The Story of Mimi-Hashi-Hoichi is probably my favorite. The whole story offers a lot of imagery descriptions and I quite enjoy it. I found that the biggest difference between western horror and Asian horror or J-horror is that Asian horror is more about emotion, and the scary inside someone, which the western horror is more on visual. There is a Chinese book called Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio, which is very similar to Kwaidan, I read a lot, also got a lot of inspirations from it for doing my illustrations.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Week Twelve: Diverse Position Science Fiction

           The story takes a look at a group of humans forced to leave Earth for reasons that are never made clear. They are taken in by an alien race that keeps them in a ‘Preserve’ then uses them, primarily the males, to incubate their young in a process very similar to pregnancy and childbirth. The central character in this story is Gan, a young man coming of age who has been promised to the alien ‘protector’ of his family. The story focuses on several things simultaneously.
           On one hand, it is the author’s pregnant man’ story about a man choosing to carry children out of love in an unequal relationship. Gan chooses, in the end, to not kill himself or his protector but instead to allow her to, in an almost sexual scene, implant her eggs in him. He does partly to protect his family and partly because he can’t stand the thought of her being that intimate with someone else.
           On the other hand, it is a story about power dynamics between two different races where one has the power to dictate the terms under which the other shall live. The humans live a life slightly better than that of livestock where they are denied access to weapons and anything else the aliens feel they shouldn’t have, can’t leave their ‘Preserve’ and have to give up their children to act as incubators for alien children. In the end it is a truly disturbing story. But overall, Bloodchild is a fantastic reading experience.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Week Eleven: Cyberpunk and Steam Punk

I watched Paprika this week, it is one of my favorite animated film directed by Satoshi Kon. Satoshi is also one of my favorite director, I love all his works, it is so pity he passed away in such a young age. Memories, Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers, Paranoia Agent and Paprika are all amazing works, I really recommend them to everyone.
In Paprika, a gorgeous riot of future-shock ideas and brightly animated imagery, the doors of perception never close. A mind-twisting, eye-tickling wonder, this anime bears little relation to the greasy, sticky kid stuff that Hollywood churns out, those fatuous fables with wisecracking woodland creatures selling lessons in how to be a good child so you can grow up to be a good citizen. Model behavior isn’t on the menu in Paprika, and neither are dinky songs and visuals. Here, when a woman sprouts a pair of wings, she doesn’t only flit about like Tinker Bell; she’s also pinned captive to a table, a man’s hand slithering under her skin.
This is not an animation that made for children, it is made completely for adults viewers.

Week Eight: Mythic Fiction and Contemporary Urban Fantasy

Week Seven: The Novel of Spiritual Education

I am a person that don't like to read, but Harry Potter is probably the first long novel that I finished. I think that shows how much I love this series when I was a kid, I mean I still love it now and I really enjoy the movies as well. I still remember I was in middle school when I read the first book of Harry Potter, I started reading the time when I went to bed and I spent the whole night finished the book, I just couldn't stop reading it.
This week , I reread part of the first book again, I was still fascinated by how good it is. This book is full of wonderful, sly humor. In Hogwarts, exams don't mean just essay tests, but also practical tests. Professor Flitwick called them one by one into his class to see if they could make a pineapple tap-dance across a desk. Professor McGonagall watched them turn a mouse into a snuffbox -- points were given for how pretty the snuffbox was, but taken away if it had whiskers.
Throughout most of the book, the characters are impressively described and every one of them are so vivid that you can almost see them in front of you. 
On the whole, the first Harry Potter book is very funny, moving and impressive .

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Week Six: The Heroic Journey

I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t know who is J.R.R Tolkien even when I watched The Lord of the Ring Movie, but I was fascinated by the movie immediately and fall in love with the whole background story and the mystery world that Tolkien created. Then I read Hobbits and it was that time I found out Tolkien is the writer of all these masterpieces. I watched the first and the second movies of The Hobbits, it was pretty good, the dragon was amazing, but still I think the book is on another level.
I would say J.R.R Tolkien’s works is a huge inspiration for me. The movie of The Lord of The Ring fulfilled my fantasy of middle earth world. There are so many characters and creatures that I like in Tolkien’s books, some times I also like to design my own versions or think of some of the creatures when I design characters.

This week, I reread part of the book again. This is a book full of adventure, heroism, song, laughter and landscapes. One of the most appealing aspects of The Hobbit is that we can all find our inner-Hobbit; the part of us that wants nothing by an easy and comfortable life. But there is still something inside all of us that perks up at the thought of adventure and a journey into the unknown and I think this is why The Hobbit is such a firm favorite and fondly remembered by all who read it.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Week Five: Witches

       This week, I read the book of Aunt Maria, the story is clearly aimed at younger readers, but it also is a bit scary for those too young. I'd say readers from 12 up would enjoy this enormously. I loved the main character and really disliked Aunt Maria. Unfortunately, she was so well developed, and her motives so normal, that I loved her too. Despite her frightening abilities, she was only human. She wants to keep the world the way she has been used to and is scared of change. There are many people in our world these days that are just like that. I also loved the way the main character found ways to do things her aunt disapproved of. Of course that got her deeper and deeper into problems.

       A powerful woman character in a fantasy or horror type of story or film is usually in the form of a witch. Witches have magical powers and are usually more evil than good. But when talk about witches, they are usually very ugly and a bad character. But in the other hand, good witches are usually very beautiful. I recently watched a TV show called American Horror Stories the 3rd season, it is a story of a bunch of teenager witches, powerful and attractive, I think it is kind of fit nowadays young people’s imaginations of witches.

         But the Movie Kiki’s Delivery Service we watched in class is another whole different story. A young witch, on her mandatory year of independent life, finds fitting into a new community difficult while she supports herself by running an air courier service. I feel the witch Kiki is neither the ugly one nor the untouchable beautiful ones. She is more close to a normal person.