Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Another’s Review of Waiting for Godot

I read Waiting for Godot while in University. It was fantastic! I can’t express how much I loved this play and the discussion in class that followed. As part of the class, a few students preformed a scene. I also had the pleasure of watching a video of the whole play. Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot is an excellent example of the Theatre of the Absurd. Read a great review by John Mutford atThe Book Mine Set.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Buffy The Vampire Slayer And Philosophy: Fear And Trembling in Sunnydale

I’ve been slowly moving through a Philosophy and Pop Culture series from Open Court Publishing. The series of books take different pop culture phenomenon and apply philosophical thoughts to it. You can find books on The Simpsons, Harry Potter, Transformers and many more. Some choices, like The Matrix I can understand its philosophical aspects. Others, like iPod, I don’t. Either way, I can definitely see myself reading many more of these books.

I really enjoyed Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Philosophy. I was a pretty big fan of Buffy The Vampire Slayer throughout high school and university. Since I’m also a fan of philosophy, when I saw the two combined, I couldn’t resist. BtVS and Philosophy was an interesting read. The various philosophers applied the philosophical thoughts of Plato, Aristotle and Kant to Buffy and her life. They discussed Morality, Ethics and Religion. Some of it was brilliant, some of it was far-fetched.

One thing that put me off the book a few times was the repetition. Almost all of the authors thought it necessary to discuss season 4 and “The Initiative”. “The Initiative” was a government run elite group of soldiers trained to fight demons. These young men weren’t like Buffy and her mystery solving friends. In contrast, they were the follow orders, shoot first types. I can see why this season would be so appealing to discuss when dealing with issues like Morality and Ethics. After a while though, I had to take a break from the book when I felt like “The Initiative” was all anyone could talk about.

Once I got to the last section of the book, my enjoyment of it returned. The last three essays were fantastic. I couldn’t wait to discover what these authors had to say. The choice of the final essay was interesting. I felt like it was inflammatory to those who read the entire collection of Buffy essays and appreciated them. It ran opposite to what pretty much all of the other authors were saying. It was almost like it was trying to undo everything. I enjoyed that I could hate it. Of the entire collection, I really enjoyed the first few essays and the final few. It was the repetition of the middle that became frustrating. Of course, because this is a collection, you don’t have to read all of them or read them in order. Skip the ones you don’t like and move on the exciting ones.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Something Random - Unicorns and White Meat

Some people are so ridiculous. It's a joke. Unicorns don't exist and if by some miracle they did, I don't think anyone would eat one. Check out the link below.

Stargazing blog by Malene Arpe

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Android Karenina

I’m not sure where to begin with Leo Tolstoy and Ben H. Winters’ Android Karenina. Forty pages from the end, there was a big twist and I thought I knew what I was going to say, where the rest of the story was going and how it would all end. That twist was just the beginning. I don’t want to give away the ending. The whole story comes together, unravels and come together again in these final pages. I want to say so much, but it wouldn’t be fair to everyone who hasn’t read it.

I do think everyone should read it. Unlike its Quick Classics predecessors, I haven’t read Anna Karenina. I decided that this time I would follow my own advice. I read first, to see if it would spark my interest in reading the Tolstoy original. It definitely has; it’s on my bookshelf waiting. I enjoyed Android Karenina. I think Winters did a great job of melding the past with robots, aliens and mad scientists. The story has a “what if” feel. “What if” this Miracle Metal, groznium was discovered? Is this what Russia in the 19th century would have been like? It takes the Industrial Revolution to a whole new level.

I also think Winters is an Isaac Asimov fan. Early on in the story, the characters talk about the “Iron Laws” which govern the behaviour of robots. Princess Betsy even puts them to a horrible test (in this scene you can see Anna leaning more towards robots than humans). About halfway through the novel, the characters finally bring up “Osimov”, a machine theorist, whose ideas brought about the Iron Laws. I found myself thinking of I, Robot occasionally.

For me, it’s Levin who is the hero. He begins as a shy man, turned down by the woman he loves. He grows, marries that woman and turns into a leader. His ideas and strength are a force upon this story. I know Anna and Vronsky are supposed to be the couple at the centre of everything, but Levin and Kitty steal their spotlight. Anna is a tool and Vronsky is selfish. Levin is the man, who in the end has everything, Vronsky has nothing. If you look closely, it’s even Levin who has Android Karenina. Not Vronsky, not even really Anna. I come out of the novel really disliking Vronsky, though I wonder, what is wrong with his tooth? If you like Russian literature or robots or both, you should pick up Android Karenina and find out what happens to these four characters.

Check out Android Karenina at Quirk Classics.  They have a sample chapter up.  Comment on the chapter, blog posts and let them know you read about the book here.