Sunday, 22 April 2012

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Absolute Write April Blog Chain: Dead Bunnies!

Here we are, once again I've decided to sign up for the Absolute Write blog chain. This month's topic is "Dead bunnies".
At first I thought I'd write a small ficlet set in the world of Elven Lacryment about Issues complaining about how all they've been eating is rabbit. Rabbit skewers, rabbit stew, rabbit steaks...
But then I thought I'd do something a bit more personal. Something to help you all get to know me, Q.

Thus, I decided on a new way to approach this topic. So without further ado, I present to you...

My Top Five Favourite Dead Bunnies!

Number 5)
I'll be honest, Frank is the only thing I really remember from Donnie Darko. That having been said, he had a great design and twisted juuuuust right. He obviously left a lasting impression on me as he did with all the other troubled goth kids who thought Donnie Darko was an epic peice of existentialism.

Number 4)
Landstriders from The Dark Crystal.
I guess technically this is cheating because landstriders aren't rabbits but they're just so cool and creative. They're friendly and dedicated fighters and yes, one dies. One screams and dies. Little 7 year old me will forever have that burned into my memory.

Number 3)
Robbie the Rabbit from the Silent Hill series.
While Pyramid Head quick became an icon for Silent Hill as a whole, Robbie first made his debut in Silent Hill 3, as the Mickey Mouse-y mascot of Lakeside Amusement Park. We first found him lying around slaughtered, he was just atmosphere. But soon he showed up in extra things, other SH games, and even DDR and merchandise. He's even been spotted in the upcoming Silent Hill sequel movie!
Robbie has that perfect juxtaposition of cute and creepy that I love. It's so easy to do "Creepy kids thing" wrong but the makers of SH3 did it so, so right.

Number 2)
The Dead Bunny from DooM
12 Year Old Me: "OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD!" You must understand that this was back when I was still sensitive to animal cruelty in video games. And even then the only animals we had to hurt in serious, non-cartoony violence were dogs, which always made me sad. The final shot in the original DooM was several punches to my gut and possibly watering eyes.

Number 1)
The Maxx
All of you who know me knew this was coming as soon as you read the title. This is kind of hard to explain without getting into spoiler territory. The Maxx is a super-hero who fights evil. He believes that under the mask he is a bunny rabbit.
The Maxx was a cartoon that made me realize that animation could be intelligent, that comics were more than capes and powers, that anime wasn't the be-all and end-all of 'brain-screw' animation. The character of Maxx himself is the sort of protector I think everyone needs. Driven, moral, caring and not squeamish. Also, he'll help you pack your belongings when you're moving to a new home!

So there we are, my top 5 dead bunnies. Now, hop along down the chain and read everyone else's Dead Bunny Blogs.

orion_mk3 - (link to this month's post)
KatieJ - (link to this month's post)
kiwiviktor81 - (link to this month's post)
Nissie - (link to this month's post)
SuzanneSeese - (link to this month's post)
pyrosama - (link to this month's post)
dclary - (link to this month's post)
randi.lee - (link to this month's post)
Turndog-Millionaire - (link to this month's post)
julzperri - (link to this month's post)
Penelope - (link to this month's post)
AFord - (link to this month's post)
Araenvo - (link to this month's post)
writingismypassion - (link to this month's post)
magicmint - (link to this month's post)
Anarchicq - YOU ARE HERE
Ralph Pines - (link to this month's post)
Joliedupre - (link to this month's post)
Tomspy77 - (link to this month's post)
Whisky - (link to this month's post)
Bogna - (link to this month's post)

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Book Review: The Strain (The Strain #1)

The Strain (The Strain Trilogy, #1)The Strain by Guillermo del Toro
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It took me 13 months to read this book and for the longest time Goodreads shamefully displayed that I was 94% finished with it. I didn't want to finish it because I know myself and I knew as soon as I finished this book I'd want to devour the second and third book. Well, they're both out now and I got my hands on the second book last week.

Never before have I ever wanted so badly for a book to be turned into a movie.

I really enjoyed The Strain. It was creepy and atmospheric and debuted just at the right time. Vampire lore has been reduced to sparkling tween pro-marriage rhetoric or celluloid comedy. Don't get me wrong, I love me some vampire comedy. SUCK (That's "SUCK" not "Vampires Suck") is one of my favourite movies, and it would be even if Alice Cooper wasn't in it (Case in point, I'm not looking forward to Dark Shadows, despite the fact that Alice Cooper is in it...). The only recent thing we had to shelter us from Twilight was Let The Right One In. Or this.

This isn't a subversion of vampire lore, it's merely another type of vampire and vampire story, and it's great. Del Toro's vampires are gruesome, inhuman monsters and takes away anything from their once human hosts that makes them relate-able. He strips them of their cleanliness, their voice, and even makes a blatant point to take away any and all romanticism or sex appeal by reducing any sex organs to doll anatomy.

Some reviews criticize this book for having too much of a "Hollywood ending", but I feel that's alright. It's completely a "popcorn movie" type of book, a horror action/adventure, and that's fine. It is what it is. It might not be high-brow but it's not stupid or pandering, and it's very engaging.

My one issue is that, while he's a visionary, I think it's unfortunate that Del Toro's name is all over this thing. It had two writers, the other being Chuck Hogan. He wrote the book "Prince of Thieves" the book that the Afflek movie "The Town" was based upon. He's no slouch so let's just give him a nod.

All in all this was a great book and a solid start to what I hope will be a great, horrifying trilogy.

View all my reviews

Thursday, 5 April 2012

The Basics

According to Christopher Booker, there are seven basic plots, which are as follows.

  • Overcoming the Monster A terrifying, all-powerful, life-threatening monster whom the hero must confront in a fight to the death. An example of this plot is seen in Beowulf, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Dracula.

  • Rags to Riches Someone who has seemed to the world quite commonplace is shown to have been hiding a second, more exceptional self within. Think the ugly duckling, Jane Eyre and Clark Kent.

  • The Quest From the moment the hero learns of the priceless goal, he sets out on a hazardous journey to reach it. Examples are seen in The Odyssey, The Aeneid, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

  • Voyage and Return The hero or heroine and a few companions travel out of the familiar surroundings into another world completely cut off from the first. While it is at first marvellous, there is a sense of increasing peril. After a dramatic escape, they return to the familiar world where they began. Alice in Wonderland and The Time Machine are obvious examples; but Brideshead Revisited and Gone with the Wind also embody this basic plotline.

  • Comedy Following a general chaos of misunderstanding, the characters tie themselves and each other into a knot that seems almost unbearable; however, to universal relief, everyone and everything gets sorted out, bringing about the happy ending. Shakespeare’s comedies come to mind, as do Jane Austen’s perfect novels.

  • Tragedy A character through some flaw or lack of self-understanding is increasingly drawn into a fatal course of action which leads inexorably to disaster. King Lear, Madame Bovary, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Bonnie and Clyde—all flagrantly tragic.

  • Rebirth There is a mounting sense of threat as a dark force approaches the hero until it emerges completely, holding the hero in its deadly grip. Only after a time, when it seems that the dark force has triumphed, does the reversal take place. The hero is redeemed, usually through the life-giving power of love. Many fairy tales take this shape; also, works like Silas Marner and It’s a Wonderful Life.

As well as these seven basic plots, there are said to be seven basic conflicts.

  • Character vs. Character A fight between, say, Cyclops and Wolverine.

  • Character vs. Nature The movie Castaway. Tom Hanks is stuck on an island with a soccer ball.

  • Character vs.Machine Terminator, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, The Matrix.

  • Character vs. Self  The internal conflict within his or her self. Hamlet.

  • Character vs. Supernatural Ghostbusters, Poltergiest, Night of the Living Dead, Twilight (Just kidding.)

  • Character vs. Society I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest Disney's Mulan.

  • Character vs. Destiny MacBeth.

So I decided it might be an interesting exercise to try to fit my stories into these plots and conflicts and see what goes where.  Let's begin, shall we?

Elven Lacryment falls under the category of  The Quest and unbeknownst to many of the characters it becomes Character vs. Destiny.

Next to Godliness is equal parts Tragedy and Rebirth story. Since they're all gods it would likely be Character vs. Supernatural

Amethyst Breed is a Quest. One of the characters is given some information and sent on a mission to recruit others to their cause. It is largely Character vs Character with a dash of Character vs. Machine, against a backdrop of Character vs. Society.

Project C I don't know if this one was the easiest to classify because it's one of my oldest or what but it's definitely Voyage and Return and the conflict is clearly Character vs. Society as well as Character vs. Self.

Blood in the Water is also a Quest, and is Character vs. Character while also being Character vs. Nature.

ABC Kid's Book Voyage and Return, and it is Character vs. Society.

So, what about you? What are the basic plots and conflicts in your stories?

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