ThunderPeel2001

Books, books, books...

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An odd one, this, but Warren Ellis has just worked on a new comic with D'Israeli and a design consultancy / mad scientist firm from London called BERG. It's called SVK. Here's a blurb from the site:

An experimental publication, SVK comprises the SVK object and a comic book.

Comics break the rules of storytelling, invent new ones, and break them again – more often than almost any other medium. This graphic novella is about looking – an investigation into perception, storytelling and optical experimentation that inherits some of the curiosities behind the previous work of BERG.

Litho printed on 115gsm silk paper in tones of black and blue, SVK uses a third ink invisible without the SVK object. The object is a UV light source which unlocks hidden layers woven throughout the comic book. Reading SVK becomes a unique and strange experience as you see the story unfold through the eyes of Thomas Woodwind.

First and foremost SVK is a modern detective story, one that Ellis describes as “Franz Kafka’s Bourne Identity”.

It’s a story about cities, technology and surveillance, mixed with human themes of the power, corruption and lies that lurk in the data-smog of our near-future.

Sounds pretty fascinating. The price is a little steep for what is one issue, but that's one hell of a gimmick. And I've heard from the precious few that saw BERG's test copy that it's quite special.

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I have already read the entirety of Transmetropolitan, sadly (I wish I could erase it from my mind and read it again). Doktor Sleepless is very similar to Transmetropolitan, by the way, so if you enjoy one you'll probably enjoy the other. Also for those Warren Ellis fans that don't know, he is currently nearing the end of a free webcomic called FreakAngels.

That SVK thing sounds cool, but it also sounds like it's way too expensive for me to try out off my own back. As for Patters' suggestions, I've had a look at some of the early All-Star Superman stuff, which seems cool. I also took a quick peek at the Green Lantern Secret Origin things, which actually got me quite interested in maybe finally actually reading some Green Lantern comics. For such a popular franchise, it's a weirdly complete blind spot for me.

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Have you read Y: The Last Man yet? Bone? 100 Bullets is pretty cool (although I'm on volume 5 and the conspiracy stuff is starting to wheel-spin a little...). Am I on the right track?

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For a total change, you could check out XIII.

Hey, they made a comic out of that video game? (I am joking.)

Have you read Y: The Last Man yet? Bone? 100 Bullets is pretty cool (although I'm on volume 5 and the conspiracy stuff is starting to wheel-spin a little...). Am I on the right track?

I haven't read any of those, from a brief search Y: The Last Man sounds quite interesting. I've also thought about reading Bone a few times but the visual style has always put me off. Is it really as worthwhile as I keep hearing it is?

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I've also thought about reading Bone a few times but the visual style has always put me off. Is it really as worthwhile as I keep hearing it is?

Really? The visual style is half the fun -- it's beautiful! What is it that you don't like about it? There's also a colourized version, if that helps? I'd suggest buying the first volume (it's not very expensive, as I recall) and seeing if you enjoy it. (It stays about the same level of enjoyment throughout.)

bone1zl1.jpg

bone-550x402.jpg

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The visual style slowly evolves (intentionally) from simple, flat Warner Bros cartoon style to a fuller, denser fantasy world with more depth and epic scenes, to match the story. Reminds me of Lord Of The Rings. You can get the one-volume edition for twenty quid now, so perhaps it's worth a punt on that rather than buying just the first volume (for about six quid). Perhaps get the first one out at the library for a test-run?

Y is strongly recommended, especially for Lost fans but also for the insane.

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Really? The visual style is half the fun -- it's beautiful! What is it that you don't like about it? There's also a colourized version, if that helps? I'd suggest buying the first volume (it's not very expensive, as I recall) and seeing if you enjoy it. (It stays about the same level of enjoyment throughout.)

I honestly couldn't tell you, my eye just seems to slide off it. A coloured version actually probably would help - is the entire thing available in colour now or just the start?

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The only thing I don't like about Jeff Smith's style as the story went on is that it became more scratchy and humans seemed much less meticulously drawn in some panels.

I'm guessing it's because maybe he was rushing to finish the story near the end of Bone, going by the awful art disaster that his Shazam comic was. Geez, that one is hideous. Luckily Rasl makes up for it, but I get the feeling that it's partly because the guy can sit down and take his time.

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I honestly couldn't tell you, my eye just seems to slide off it. A coloured version actually probably would help - is the entire thing available in colour now or just the start?

Yeah, the whole thing is available in colour now. I tried to find a good example of what it looks like in colour, but I couldn't fine one. It's very nice, though.

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I want to throw out a recommendation of Maps and Legends by Michael Chabon. It's a collection of essays, mostly about the merits of genre fiction, including comics, which I think is a subject that appeals to a lot of thumbs. Most of the time, this kind of thing is written by someone heavily entrenched in genre himself (Stephen King's Danse Macabre, for example) which is fine, but reminds one somewhat of when fundamentalist Christians try to talk to you about the Bible (I think Danse Macabre is good, actually, but it's the first example that came to mind). Michael Chabon, on the other hand has a foot in each world. He incorporates fantastical elements into a lot of his work, but unlike a great many of those who do so, he's well respected by critics. He won the Pullitzer Prize for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay which is a fictionalized account of a pair of comic creators during the form's Golden Age. Anyway, it's not dry in the least and I found myself jotting down all kinds of titles and authors. It may even help you explain some of your interests to the uninitiated (girls, even).

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I'm 400 pages into A Storm of Swords. It's very addictive. I'm already looking forward to A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons.

(Minor spoiler)

The sex scenes are incredibly awkward, though.

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Just finished Portnoy's Complaint; one of those books that are not very enjoyable to read, but that's clearly not the point. The writing is fast and uninterrupted, bordering on stream of consciousness and that makes it very tedious to read... and the content made be very uneasy, but I'm certain that 's the point.

Frankly, the book was great at creating grueling characters and then making me recognize in their bigger than life flaws some of mine. It's not a nice feeling at all, but that doesn't mean it's not masterful.On the contrary, I'm glad I went through it because this constant uneasiness is the point. However, the neurotic and self-loathing vibe that goes through the whole story pretty guarantees I'll never pick it up again.

Other than that, I'm back into short stories mode - thanks to the Penguin short classic series ... - having gobbled a few from Primo Levi, Nabokov and Jorge Luis Borges last week-end.

I'm lucky I picked those three at the same time because they balance each other out pretty well.

Levi's short stories are really about pushing a very simple and elegant predicate to some sort of non-sensical or emotional limit, using very light fantastic element in the process (think the Horla). I pretty much loved everything I read from him, but Knall and The Death of Marinese really stood out.I'll probably pick up The Periodic Table next.

Nabokov's are still accessible and beautiful on their own, but they also appear to be places for experimentation of styles and structures : The Doorbell and Spring in Fialta are really nice, but I also felt like they could nearly jumped to full novel status, if Nabokov had bothered.

And Borges is reaaaallly different - sometimes, too technical for me - he seems completely obsessed with seamlessly mixing fantasy and reality, using a very dry, non-sensationnal style to blur the frontier. Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius and Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote are smart and rigorous essays on forgery that sort of left a bad taste in my mouth because they are too good at passing themselves for what they're not.

All in all, :tup: for different write styles.

Still looking for Cloud Atlas in Singapore, not a lot of luck yet...

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And Borges is reaaaallly different - sometimes, too technical for me - he seems completely obsessed with seamlessly mixing fantasy and reality, using a very dry, non-sensationnal style to blur the frontier. Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius and Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote are smart and rigorous essays on forgery that sort of left a bad taste in my mouth because they are too good at passing themselves for what they're not.

I'm a huge Borges fan. I have this collection. I would not characterize either T,U,OT or Menard as "essays on forgery" but I may be prejudiced because I first encountered them in the context of being fiction. Incidentally, Bioy Casares from T,U,OT was a real person and he and Borges collaborated under a pseudonym.

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I'm a huge Borges fan. I have this collection. I would not characterize either T,U,OT or Menard as "essays on forgery" but I may be prejudiced because I first encountered them in the context of being fiction.

Ah, sorry, 'essay' is a French "false friend"; what I meant was an attempt or an exercise in forgery. I guessed it was fiction but the Menard story could really have been published as a real piece of criticism in a 60s/70s surrealistic literature journal.

Incidentally, Bioy Casares from T,U,OT was a real person and he and Borges collaborated under a pseudonym.

Nice! It adds yet another layer to the ambiguity :tup:

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Gwardinen, don't know if this would help you re. Bone:

http://www.boneville.com/2011/07/14/dedicated-apps-for-bone-and-rasl/

Critically Acclaimed Series BONE and RASL Debut on comiXology with Their Own Dedicated iOS Apps.

And to celebrate their release, BONE #1 and RASL #1 will be free with the other books on sale for $.99 from July 14th-19th.

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Gwardinen, don't know if this would help you re. Bone:

http://www.boneville.com/2011/07/14/dedicated-apps-for-bone-and-rasl/

Quite possibly. I've downloaded it and am checking out the first issue (as it's free via the app). The picture quality is really good and it's either been designed to be viewed on a mobile device or the comic is just fortuitously conducive to that process as it works really well. That said, I only have an iPhone, not an iPad, so it'd probably be even better to see it writ large, so to speak.

Each issue after this one costs 69p (during the half off sale for this week), which is $1.11 - does that seem like good value to everyone at this point or would I be better off getting them elsewhere? Worth noting is they're selling 11 parts - I don't know if these are actually issues (of which I believe there are actually 55) or if they're collected volumes of some sort. It would annoy me to end up buying all 11 and only have a fifth of the story.

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I'm reading The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman. It is amazing (if everything in it is accurate).

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For those who may have forgotten (as I did until a few days ago), a Dance with Dragons is out now. After six years of waiting, a Song of Ice and Fire continues! I've read less than a tenth so far, but it's decent.

I've heard from Tyrion, Daenerys and Jon already, three of my favourite characters, so I'm fairly happy with things.

To return some of the great comic-related advice I've gotten recently, I wanted to recommend Black Summer, Ex Machina and Nemesis. They're all twists on the superhero theme with varying levels of darkness, but all of them are well written and inject a great deal more realism into their characters than traditional superhero comics.

Edited by Gwardinen

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Gwarniden? Is it OK if you cover up any details with spoiler tags? I'm at the end of A Storm of Swords and I didn't even know if those guys survive this book. I would kind of appreciate it. :) Considering I have A Feast for Crows to tackle...I mean, I would appreciate it.

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To return some of the great comic-related advice I've gotten recently, I wanted to recommend Black Summer, Ex Machina and Nemesis. They're all twists on the superhero theme with varying levels of darkness, but all of them are well written and inject a great deal more realism into their characters than traditional superhero comics.

Which Nemesis? There are so many characters by that name. The Millar one is probably the most famous, but, other than Kick Ass, I don't like his style, Civil War was completely mediocre and undirected.

I've recently started the Dresden files which one and a bit books in I'm really enjoying.

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Gwarniden? Is it OK if you cover up any details with spoiler tags? I'm at the end of A Storm of Swords and I didn't even know if those guys survive this book. I would kind of appreciate it. :) Considering I have A Feast for Crows to tackle...I mean, I would appreciate it.

Ah, sorry! I have done so now, I completely forgot that in this series, just the fact that characters are alive is a spoiler.

Which Nemesis? There are so many characters by that name. The Millar one is probably the most famous, but, other than Kick Ass, I don't like his style, Civil War was completely mediocre and undirected.

I've recently started the Dresden files which one and a bit books in I'm really enjoying.

Yeah, Nemesis the series by Mark Millar. I haven't read Civil War, but I enjoyed Nemesis for its concept and theme. That said, it does perhaps go a little too far at the end with some fairly serious deus ex machina - unlike Ex Machina, which ironically does not have any so far other than the initial reason for the main character gaining powers.

The Dresden Files is great, I am really looking forward to Ghost Story coming out this month. The end of the last book, Changes, was a massive cliffhanger that you should be glad you won't have to suffer through a year of waiting for the resolution to.

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Started reading Jared Diamond's influential Guns, Germs and Steel. I saw the documentary last year, so the content of the book is largely known to me. However, there's much more granularity and case studies involved, which is very interesting. Can't say much more about it yet, except that I read it with Diamond's solemn voice in my head all the time.

There was a documentary? Anyway, I was reading this around this time last year when I was playing Dwarf Fortress and started to see parellels which I thought were funny.

The book takes a dive about half way and I just stopped, I tried to go back, but it just keeps taking a dive.

Interesting take on human history, a lot of neat stuff in the first half.

***

Finished Out of the Silent Planet and now want the sequels! Too bad Chapters stopped selling books and I can't find it anywhere in a major city of Canada, so waiting for an online copy.

In the mean time reading the Martian Chronicles and so far it's great too. I wonder why I stopped reading fiction when I was kid? So weird.

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Finished Out of the Silent Planet and now want the sequels! Too bad Chapters stopped selling books and I can't find it anywhere in a major city of Canada, so waiting for an online copy.

Woah, freaking Chapters isn't selling books now? What the hell is left? The crappy CD section near the check-out counter?

Also, what's the "major city"? Toronto?

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Murdoc worked for UbiSoft, right? I hypothesize Montreal. At any rate, Chapters here in Calgary still sells plenty of books, they just don't stock much that isn't on a bestseller list. I believe we're dealing with an overstatement here.

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