more than 500 pages? (intensely off-topic)

Tanaqui tweaver at imbolc.ucc.ie
Fri Feb 7 06:45:53 EST 2003


I'm not sure I agree with "intensely off topic" in the header. Or at least,
if these posts are lacking in obDWJs and OMTs, they're not striking in their
flagrant departure from list norms.

I think the "more than 500 pages" might be enough of a header hint, unless DWJ
has taken to writing the sort of books that are hard to read in paperback
without creasing the spine...

Anyway, besides the NS stuff, anime is tangentially relevant, in that we're
going to get a Japanese interpretation of the Material of Howl. I still have
no idea how Ghibli are going to work WWII into this. 

+ >it's all enjoyable, and I look forward to the sprawl of _Quicksilver_,
+ >but you could skip the "set pieces" like obsessional breakfasts, or the
+ >equally obsessional sexual quirks, without losing the plot. Now, I like
+ >Stephenson's set pieces, but _Cryptonomicon_ undeniably sprawls. There's
+ >even maths to skip <insouciant grin>.
 
+ in reference to my earlier message, i think i'd rather read more set pieces 
+ than a dreary action sequence. =)

ah, but I didn't know when I posted that that was your specific dislike:
you'd mentioned length and _Cryptonomicon_. I don't think the Super Action
Sequences contribute much to the length. Out of interest, um, exactly what
do you mean by an "action sequence"? The Deliverator set piece at the start
of _Snow Crash_ could be an action sequence, as could YT's skating, but I'm
not at all sure what you mean. Shooting on a WWII beach, complete with
nightmare lizard? what?
 
+ i've heard variously that i was Totally Wrong, there is no dreary action 
+ sequence, and that i was Completely Right, and it's a good thing i stopped 
+ reading because i just would have been bored silly. =) so i don't know what 
+ actually happened.

Well, via Andrew the Hard Man, we're shown that action isn't as good as wisdom
;-) although compassionate action tends to be wise. ahem. Listmembers?

Plenty of writing until the trademark NS sudden cessation. I tend to feel sad
when an NS book ends and I drop back out of his writing, and it all seems
somehow abrupt. I'm not claiming that the endings are bad, just that I have
a personal sense that there's some sort of guillotine effect rather than true
closure.
 
+ also, i felt like i knew where it was going. that might have just been my 
+ mind trying to give me a better reason to stop reading it, though. i feel 
+ vaguely guilty about stopping, so i think i'd probably pick it up again 
+ sometime.

I was most annoyed in _Cryptonomicon_ by the Amy Shaftoe/Randy romance. It
seemed simultaneously improbable and banal. All the war skulduggery, though,
made me relive my time working for Attica Cybernetics in the early 1990s as
if being stuck in the Public Records Office was actually fun. 

Don't get me wrong: I actually like being stuck in an archive, but reading
endlessly about what people find necessary in war is a bit of a grind. OK,
there are hilarious aspects (booby-traps including dead rats filled with 
explosive... ).

+ >I like my fast hits from games and anime as well... oh, and I do watch 
+ >Studio
+ >Ghibli, _Lain_, and other slowish Japanese filmic art, so I know it's not
+ >all robots and psychic powers running amok in anime/manga!
 
+ you knew what would have been coming if you didn't say this, i can tell... 
+ anime's been striving for years to overcome the image of brainless sex and 
+ violence, so we're all still a little bit sensitive when someone suggests 
+ that's all it is after all. (not that you did, but getting anywhere near 
+ that territory can be nasty!)

No, no, nothing like "brainless sex and violence", but you mentioned
_Evangelion_. Now, that's robots and psychics (via "angels") both running
amok. I am not helped by the fact that I've seen more than one of the
iterations of _Evangelion_, so I've confused myself with differing
storylines. It's not brainless; more confusing than simply weird.

And <blush> I've never understood _Akira_. I can track what happens easily
enough, but I have no idea what the resolution in the White Sphere is
supposed to mean. Something to do with Destiny, obviously, but the film
just doesn't resolve (for me)... Everything makes sense right up until
Akira intervenes personallly, and then I'm left thinking "what the heck
was that intended to convey?" again. Truly, although I wouldn't use
higher-evolution powers for short-term personal aggrandisement, I am Not Ready.

_Ghost in the Shell_ is more my speed. I look forward to seeing the latest
"Ghost" project.
 
+ to incorretly quote neil gaiman, <anime> is a medium that gets confused for 
+ a genre. (he was referring to comics originally.)

Now here I could spout endlessly about genre (content) versus mode. Suffice
it to say, though, that Western filmmakers just can't manage to make good
anime/manga. There's definitely something in the blend of content which is
more than the stylistics of the palette or eyeshapes or other artistry of
mode.

It's the same "flavour" that is present in the (non-anime/manga) film
_Avalon_. It can't be emulated by using the genre standards, either, so
it falls somewhere between genre and mode.

_The Matrix_ was Western. The future, weird machines, cognition merged with
tech and oracles... still don't have the "flavour". _The Animatrix_ will be
an interesting experience, given who the W brothers have brought into the
project. It may fall neatly into two parts: Western-flavoured stuff written
by a W and the later more Japanese projects simply using the Material of the
Matrix, but I hope it will be less classifiable than that.

+ for everyone who has a region 1 (U.S./canada) DVD player, kiki's delivery 
+ service will be available on DVD from 15 april, along with spirited away and 
+ castle in the sky. ghibli goodness anyone can enjoy. i still think kiki has 
+ the most DWJ feel of the miyazaki films i've seen.

I already have two versions of Kiki: the English sub from the original
Japanese DVD, and the American dub video with Kirsten Dunst. Jiji is
considerably more sarcastic in one version, but the soundtracks are similar. 

Streamline subs rock. Hartman's additions to his kitty role don't ruin the
movie, but it does alter the "flavour" of the familiar.

The Amazon page for Kiki, linked from the fantastic Nausicaa site, mentions
Dunst. I think it would be a shame if people only ever encountered the
American interpretation of Jiji. oh, well. It's too much to hope that the
original English sub would be used, as well as the American dub, on a DVD,
especially given that there aren't heavy deviations between the versions.
I think the only other change is in the opening/ending songs, and that is
a commonplace of Anglicisation. 

Mind you, I had a dilemma over _Princess Mononoke_ DVDs. The colour on the
UK one matches the Japanese palette, while the US one is saturated (especially
the reds). The UK DVD has only the Gaiman version, not the original Japanese.
aargh. So I bought the US DVD and hired the UK one from the library to make
a tape. I can't work out if I'm guilty of a degree of copyright theft or not.
Yes, I've paid to acquire the movie, but no single release has exactly what
I wanted from buying it.

+ >I can't think of a slow game that unfolds gorgeously. Maybe I should make 
+ >one.
 
+ the japanese seem to have more of a grip on this than americans do. final 
+ fantasy x (PS2) is a wonder. right now i'm playing a game called xenosaga 
+ (also PS2) that is unfolding slowly but interestingly, but it sort of cheats 
+ because it has almost excessive use of non-interactive movies in it (i 
+ clocked one at 45 minutes, for example.)

Ah, what I meant was "slow unfolding gameplay". I don't think simple cinematic
interludes would make for the feel I want, but it's interesting to learn that
people are trying for that sort of feel. There's heavy use of cut scenes in
_Grim Fandango_, which does help in framing the mode, but I'm looking for
something integral to the playing. 

And I don't mean sheer nerdiness in the mechanics, either (says the woman who
contributed heavily to breeding guides for Pokemon GSC, and was eventually
able to breed a Glittery/Crunching houndour...). Wandering around waiting for
eggs to hatch, and working out statistics for transferring characteristics
and skills is too much like work. Yes, I love structure, but it stopped being
a *game*.

Tanaqui
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