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Facebook Meme: Perspectives

I decided to participate in a Facebook meme going around lately. I’m sure I could make this better, but I’ve been at the computer too long already for not doing any actual (paid) work.

comiccollectormeme

Booking Through Thursday: Cereal

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If you’re like me, you grew up reading everything under the sun, like the cereal boxes while you ate your breakfast, the newspapers held by strangers on the subway, the tabloid headlines at the grocery store.

What’s the oddest thing you’ve ever read? (You know, something NOT a book, magazine, short story, poem or article.)

Honestly, I’m not really sure how to answer this, off the top of my head. I don’t really think much about what I’m reading, except for this meme, or other occasional random/isolated moments. Like: for as few books as I really read anymore, I read a crapload of comics and graphic novels—which is still reading, just in much smaller chunks than full-length prose novels.

Reading headlines on magazines, tabloids, strangers’ newspapers, or random text on cereal boxes or signs in stores or posted on the door of the apartment building, or whatever….I’ve never really considered those as any particular reading material, nor as something odd TO read.

I suppose email or blogs could factor in here. Facebook statuses and Twitter posts. Subtitles in tv programs or films. But I don’t find it odd TO read any of those.

Maybe warning labels and disclaimers. Heck, even claims that I find to be outright ludicrous given experience.

Like this claim by Sprint regarding their Picturemail service.

I find it EXTREMELY odd that they claim that it’s easier to download stuff using a Flash-y interface, where you cannot simply download an entire album, and that is highly UNfriendly when one has over 5,000 photos they want to download and can’t reliably do it more than 21 photos at a time.

I guess I’m just being extremely wordy to not really say anything at all.

What do YOU think is the oddest thing you’ve read? (Besides any of my writing, that is). Feel free to comment on this post to share!

Booking Through Thursday: Headlines

bookingthroughthursdaybuttonHmm … I can’t quite come up with an outright question to ask, but thinking about the theory of fiction and how it can affect and be affected by real world events can act as a buffer between the horrific events on the news and having to actually face that horror. So … what happens when the line between fiction and reality becomes all-too slim? Discuss!

We often use fiction to escape reality, or at least visit something beyond “reality,” so when the huge events of fiction happen in real life…or something from real life pops up in our fiction, it really can be a bit jarring.

dckingdomcomeIn DC ComicsKingdom Come—the novelization of the graphic novel, at least—there’s a scene where the main character is going about his life, and comes to realize that everyone around him is focused on a giant tv screen—where news of a nuclear explosion that’s wiped out much of Kansas is coming through.

The morning of September 11, 2001 was eerily like that for me. I got out of an early morning class, to find the entire lobby filled with people, all focused on a  single tv on a cart someone had wheeled out of an office. It was a standing crowd, and people lined the stairs, no one really talking, everyone just taking in the shocking news.

I recall coming across a quote that I believe was attributed to Grant Morrison, then writer of New X-Men:

“How close is the real world coming to the comic world?  We were talking about crazy madmen launching attacks on the world years ago.”

bttexmachinaThen there’s Ex Machina by Brian K. Vaughan…whose premiere issue brought a huge surprise twist as its cliffhanger, providing a huge “what if..?” and setting itself in an “alternate reality” from our own, splintered off based on what happened that day.

In the last several weeks, I’ve been on an Ultimate X-Men tear, reading from early in the series right up to Ultimatum in barely a week…and then realizing that I actually now own Ultimatum, reading that as part of the experience…the whole thing also filling out my knowledge from the confusion I had last year when I read about half of the Ultimate Spider-Man series.

ultimatumIn Ultimatum, a huge tidal wave suddenly strikes Manhattan, destroying it. The various heroes rally to deal with the disaster—but many of their own are lost when the “Ultimatum Wave” first hits, and many others are lost in the aftermath.

There’s also reference to Europe freezing, as it seems Magneto managed to switch the magnetic poles of the planet, and the destruction caused is world-wide.

In the Magic: The Gathering novels, the early books in the series begun in 1998 with The Brothers’ War…we find all sorts of disaster, localized and global…all of which affect the local or global culture.mtgapocalypse

Additionally, this is seen in the Dragonlance novels, where an entire continent is devastated by a “fiery mountain from the sky” that completely destroys one city, and causes a huge upheaval that changes the terrain (another city famed for its sea and ships finds itself suddenly landlocked without a sea).

Given how I’m rambling a bit here…I would really suspect it possible to write a whole series of posts, each one focusing on and digging into any of these examples individually, and so many more. I’ll probably kick myself later today as more examples come to me.

Ah, yes: The Sum of All Fears. I don’t honestly recall if I’ve read the book, but I certainly saw the movie…and I recall that freaking me out.

Booking Through Thursday: Cheating

imageDo you cheat and peek at the ends of books? (Come on, be honest.)

superman075For the most part, no. If I don’t already know the ending, I don’t want to know it ahead of time. The only reasons I really ever have to “peek at the end” of a book is to check the pagecount of the story itself (doing my darnedest to view the page number while forcing myself to NOT visually register the words on the page) or to see if there’s a “preview chapter” of some other book lumped at the end that’ll throw me off by a couple dozen pages with the true end of the book hitting too soon.

Now, the main exceptions come from graphic novels. At the bookstores or occasionally comic shops, if there’s tons of internet buzz and no one’s spoiling online, I might take a peek to see what the hype’s all about. I also have the problem occasionally with hardcovers, where I’ll remove the dust jacket so I can carry the book around and not worry about the DJ getting screwed up. Occasionally while pulling it away from the back side of the book, I’ll wind up catching a glimpse of a page or two at the back, which might grab my attention just enough to see what, exactly, is going on there.

The other primary exception comes if I’m trying to determine if I’ve already read something—such as a Star Trek novel I may or may not have read 15 years ago…I may look at the end to see if I remember it, as I have an easier time recalling endings than I do beginnings.

endersgamemmpbANECDOTE: If you’ve read Ender’s Game, you know that that has a doozy of an ending. It’s that ending that draws me back to the book on occasion (and partially influenced me on Ender’s Shadow a couple years back). Early in college, a friend was telling me about the book, and I convinced him to sum it up for me, as I didn’t see getting around to reading it. Sounded interesting, but having been told, I mentally filed it away as one of those things, and life went on.

A couple years later, for some reason or another, I happened to get a copy of the book, and got pulled in enough to read the whole thing. And I was blown away by the ending…only later realizing that this was THAT book my friend had told me about. And here I was “lucky” enough to not have made the connection, so I was still taken by surprise.

DragonsofAutumnTwilightIt’s this sort of phenomena that causes me to see re-reading books as a bit of an analogy for the time-travel experience, were it not fiction.

Having read the book, if you go back and re-read it…you’re traveling to the past, and re-joining characters who don’t yet know what’s going to happen…but as the reader…you DO know what’s going to happen. Or at least, have access to it. Of course, you can’t change what’s going to happen…but you’re aware of it.

Yet, there are details that slip away, and you might only remember the broad strokes and biggest players.

highlordskiesI’m near the end of Dragons of the Highlord Skies, and something’s just happened to a couple characters that has me on-edge, as I’d swear this isn’t something that happened to them, and I thought I remembered them doing something else. But this book delves back to a time between-pages of Dragons of Winter Night, which I haven’t actually read in a decade or more now…so I may be thinking of other characters.

Just as, if someone were to travel back 100 years…they might know big details, broad strokes…but not have any clue of what roles people play in the smaller stuff.

But I digress from the topic at hand.

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