Earthworld by Jacqueline Rayner

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This is a very awkward combination of travelling companions because the Doctor has amnesia and doesn’t know how to use his only weapon, the sonic screwdriver (so he doesn’t exactly know how to save his friends). Along with him is a girl named Anji who has emotional baggage because her boyfriend recently died, and there’s this guy named Fritz who lived in the 60’s unexpectedly experienced a serious identity crisis. The TARDIS landed in a planet recreated to look like Earth, but is unfortunately run by three android psycho girls who torture people for fun. The whole novel is just about finding each other because they all got captured and separated and that’s your adventure in between.  I don’t know if my dissatisfaction springs still from me being unfamiliar with this old, forgetful Doctor, so I guess that’s all the feedback that I could give this apparently revived story.

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Gut Symmetries by Jeanette Winterson

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“What’s the matter with you?”

“Nothing.”

Nothing slowly clotting my arteries. Nothing slowly numbing my soul. Caught by nothing, saying nothing, nothingness becomes me. When I am nothing they will say, surprised, in the way that they are forever surprised, “But there was nothing the matter with her.”

No. There is a thin line of me, wavering and not strong, that wants to learn the language of beasts and water and night. My whole self is in hiding, not daring to get too close, for the fissure smokes and belches and there are hands reaching over the edge towards me.

What kills love? Only this: neglect.

What is the separateness of things when the current that flows each to each is live? It is the livingness I want. Not mummification. Livingness.

To each his own epidural. It does ease the pain but the pain persists, the dull ache, low down as though my back had been broken and not properly healed. Perhaps it would be better to lie on his grave like a dog. To howl out the plain fact that there is no comfort, no relief, that grief, must be endured until it has exhausted itself on me. My mind repeats its exercises like a lesson-book. Over and over the same ground, memories, happiness, the said and unsaid, the last hours, helplessness of the living, autonomy of the dead.

My feelings dismay me. I so rarely control them. They are their own kingdom, too primitive to be a republic, and when they want to, they send their armies to batter me.My total self should include feeling but I do not know how to make a treaty with the warrior state. When I was growing up I rebelled against feeling and now my feelings rebel against me.

 

 

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

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I must be really easy to please because I enjoyed watching this movie despite all the bad reviews from the critics (I don’t always believe them anyways). I’m a huge fan of the books and despite my temporary misgivings about all the changes in the details of the characters and the plot, I forgive the screenplay for all its deviations from the original source. Call me nicer, but I am always open to adaptations sometimes having a different interpretation of the text. In one way or another, any young adult book turned into a movie will always be compared to Harry Potter. A lot of people say that this sequel is TOO kiddie, but doesn’t Harry Potter: Chamber of Secrets (under Chris Colombus) have the same tone? Everything changes after the third book so expectations-wise, I am looking forward to The Titan’s Curse (book 3) turning off all the sunshine and getting grander in presenting the almost impossible quests that will push Percy and his friends closer and closer to the edge of crazy.

Any mythical quest will need great visuals of the extraordinary creatures and incredible odds the heroes are in and this is the BEST selling point of the movie. The whole movie is one surreal moment after the other, the pacing too quick for any substantial existential insights or reflections that critics were easy to fault this with. These heroes are demigods, remember? With the exception of Percy and his half-brother, Tyson, all the teens who grew up in camp were groomed for warfare like all children of gods in the past. And like all offspring of higher forms, domination is always an innate life motivation that makes Percy Jackson already the heavy anchor that slows the quest because of his existential angst. I don’t think anyone should expect a YA themed movie, especially a mythologically based one, to go beyond what it already is.  The screenplay already went to lengths of explaining the historical background of their lineage as clearly as possible, and that there is a confusing prophecy that the characters have to decipher on their own as the risks of their existence. A hero story or monomyth is its own limitations. The adventures or journeys to self-discovery are popular precisely because it is formulaic and somehow predictable so lighten up, people, and don’t take fun movies like this too seriously! Don’t expect anything more than any one of them wanting to be the victor for self-fulfillment and for the triumph of their particular lineage. Go read the books because this second installment, as most complaints go, really IS full of plot holes that will keep you guessing and wondering. There are three more books that will slowly tie up the gaps of the story arcs. Isn’t it amazing enough that we’ve already said hello and goodbye to Kronos here?

As for the things that could be improved, it was just a little irritating that the actor who played Luke Castellan was as stoic as Kristen Stewart. It was a bit disappointing also that Tyson was thin and gawky instead of bulky and clumsy in the book. I imagined him as huge as Moose of Archie Comics or Ralph of Wreck-It Ralph, and he’s like the big teddy bear you would want to hug because he’s soft and childlike. Everyone’s acting can still improve greatly, so I hope the third installment really delivers its emotional punches soon. It can only get better!

In the meantime, we fans are awaiting Rick Riordan’s new book in The Heroes of Olympus (Greek and Roman hero crossover) series, The House of Hades. It will be released in October. You can read the official teaser chapter over here:

http://rickriordan.com/Files/Documents/HouseofHades_chapter%20one.pdf

It would be great if the movie franchise survives its economic constraints to translate all of Riordan’s hero books into film. I’m keeping my fingers crossed! Can’t wait for the next one!