Wednesday, April 30, 2014

REDO Tolkien Fandom

The Hobbit

For my redo i wanted to focus not so much on The Hobbit but more on a growing phenomenon all over the world called fandom. By definition fandom is, "Fandom (consisting of fan [fanatic] plus the suffix -dom, as in kingdom, freedom, etc.) is a term used to refer to a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of sympathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest."

There are several different types of Tolkien Fans:

Fans who read the books before the movies were released.
Fans who read the books after the first movie was released.
Fans of the movies who have never read the books.
Fans who read the books before the movies came out fall into two or three categories.
Possibly the majority are those that like the books more, and disliked changes made in the movies, but on the whole could justify them for the medium of cinema and are willing to accept them on condition.
Further, there is a new wave of fans that did not read the books beforehand, but after hearing about or seeing the movie, have read the books and liked them. Although they sometimes lack the zealot-like devotion of pre-movie fans, they nonetheless seem "legitimate" fans to the Old Guard.
Finally, there are the fans of the movies who have not read the books. Some have just never had the time to read such a long work as the Lord of the Rings, but nonetheless understand that it is an adaptation. Many are (and are treated as) quite respectable fans. There are, however, exceptions.

•Tolkien Fandom is a community of people who enjoy and study the work of J.R. R. Tolkien.
•A Tolkienist is a sub-category of the fandom who studies the languages of Middle Earth as well as “Tolkienology.” Terms used to describes Tolkiensists, Tolkienite, Tolkiendil
•Ringer is a term used for fans of the Peter Jackson film, based on Tolkien’s Lord of the Ring series.
•Tolkienology “is a term used by Tolkien fans to describe the study of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien treating Middle-Earth as a real ancient History, conducting research from an ‘in universe’ perspective.
•Tolkien Studies is realistic academic study of J.R.R. Tolkien’s body of Works
•Tolkien Linguistics study of the fictional languages used in Middle Earth as well as the written languages.

The book was originally called a “hippie” book upon it’s arrival into the United States mainly because it arrived during the Vietnam war and many correlated the dark Lord Sauron to the United States military draft. Allow this wasn’t that case whatsoever, as the book was written by a world war 1 vetran during world war two. About ten years after the book was introduced in the united states a tv series came out based on the lord of the rings and a short film based on the Hobbit, howeer these books were not geared towards an adult audience and only furthered the mainstream opionon that tolkien’s series were hippy books, and even moreso “childish.” While there was still a massive fan base after the books, a larger mainstream media developed after peter jackson’s film adaptations of the movies in the early 2000’s. Now the mainstream fandom has grown even larger with the release of the Hobbit trillogy.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Matrix v.s. Snow Crash

I tried really hard to get through Snow Crash. It reminded me a lot of The Matrix. So this week I decided to do my response on the parallels between the Matrix and Snow Crash. The first and quite possibly largest similarity between the two is that in both humans are depicted in a virtual world and in a real world. In each story, human interactions within the virtual world can impact the happenings of the real world and vice versa. In each a human can die or be seriously injured as a result of the virtual world. Both story lines but a high importance on computer coding and the way in which it can be interpreted and interacted with. Another similarity I noticed is that both characters have action fight scenes. More specifically in these action fight scenes they use surprisingly “low tech” weapons, such as guns and samurai swords. Both the Metaverse and the Matrix are presented as virtual worlds in which the user has to be connected. In the Matrix’s case the user is connected through the back of their skull and in Snow Crash the user is connected by using goggles. IN both programs the user is able to add things and change things within the program.

The effects of these realities have a great affect on the reader. First and foremost it takes time for the reader to fully understand and become involved in the dialog and surroundings of the world being invented. It takes time to imagine an object that doesn’t exsist in the real world merely based on a description. I think this is a good thing. Everyone knows what an umbrella looks like but not everyone knows what the goggles look like that are put on to enter the Metraverse. This leaves room for imagination. While it was a little difficult for me to catch onto some of the coding/computer lingo the plot was relatively clear and the world was fascinating and well constructed. This book also reminded me of the film series Caprica slightly.

Similarities Between...

Idiocracy v.s. I Think We're All Bozos on a Bus

I found many similarities in I Think We’re All Bozos on a Bus and Idiocracy. Both worlds were incredibly stupid. They were both futures in which everything around the main character was not intellectual. Both societies were affected greatly in some way or another by advertising, and commercialism. In the both the main character is significantly more intelligent than the machines and the other people around them. They are both easily able to outwit anyone or thing and elude capture. Both societies have become “anti-intellectual.” 

Both societies also have caused a uniformly stupid race of people. This is displayed somewhat blatantly by I Think We’re all Bozos on a Bus, because everyone on the bus in a clown with the exception of the main character. Another similarity I found intriguing is when the computers malfunction both characters names. In ITWABOAB the computer misinterprets Clem’s name as Ahclem and a computer does the same in Idiocracy and names Joe, “Not Sure.” Also both have amusement rides that are wildly inaccurate and history themed. Both Clem and Joe in someway “crash the system” and overcome the “idiocracy” surrounding them.


I wanted to do my response this week on Bloodchild by Olivia Butler. I was extremely intrigued by this story. Normally im not really pulled in with short stories. Honestly they are just not really long enough to develop good character structure, which is something that really pulls me in whenever I’m reading something. This story had extremely unrelateable characters. The human characters weren’t even quite “humanoid.” The thing that really gripped me was that Butler gave you bits and pieces of information that made me read on and find out what the hell was going on! The first thing that really intrigued me was the eggs. “Why are they drinking eggs?” “What type of eggs are they.” Then the read gripping part was as Butler started started describe one of the charcaters as having multiple limbs. I was confused. “Wait… It’s not human. DUH!” The story line is well constructed for a short story. It starts in a good place and ends at one too, making it feel complete. All and all it was well written, intriguing, and kept me on the edge of my seat.

As far as content goes, this is what really drew me in. This story is basically a futuristic horror story derived from a traditional and very common occurrence; birth. It is a role reversal world where woman dominate in a matriarchal society. Humans are inferior and typically male humans carry the young for the woman “aliens.” In the process of “birth” the men are cut open and sewn back together. While the method of operation is more primitive than in todays world the process is basically just a glorified C-Section on a man. Butler is basically poking fun at men as she goes on to describe how afraid the mean on this planet are of this process. She is making a statement that most women go through this at least once in their life and that our world today is still dominated by men. It is a complete gender reversal story about birth when you take out the aliens.

The Stars My Destination

I enjoyed this weeks reading although I found it quite easy to get lost. Every page something new was happing and it was hard for me to keep up with all the twists and turned. If there was one thing this book lacked it was subtly. This book came about during the late stages of the cyberpunk movement. The cyberpunk is a “subgenre of science fiction in a near future setting. Noted for it’s focus on ‘high-tech and low life’ it features advanced science, such as information technology and cybernetics, coupled with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.”

 It was meant to be a sort of premonition of a vision of the future in which there was cybernetic body enhancement. The most interesting concept in this novel is the idea of jaunting, which is basically personal teleportation. jaunting doesn’t really have any limitations, other than not being able to “jaunte” through space. There are also examples of telepathy in this world, however it is extremely rare. The characters are intriguing enough, especially Foyle. I love a character bent on revenge, however he is fairly predictable. I think that having his tattoo removed, but it resurfacing when he becomes angry is a really good touch. The plot is a little overworked. Sometimes I think simpler is better, and definitely easier to follow, although Bester truly does create a fantastic world, though sometimes there are factual errors. Not everything in the novel was completely rational, but I bought into it just the same. I loved the ending. It really made me start to think more about the evolution of the human species.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: MYTH

The story begins as the narrator visits his childhood home for the first time since he left it. While visiting what is left of the property begins to have strange memories of when he was seven and still living there. His family, in order to pay the rent, takes in boarders. One of these boarders, who is a miner, kills the narrator’s kitten by accident and later commit’s suicide in their family car. Due to this event and ancient evil is unleashed on the narrator in the form of a woman named Ursula through a wormhole in the narrator’s foot. Ursula soon wins over his whole family, and begins having a relationship with his father. With the help of Lettie Hempstock and her family the narrator is eventually able to overcome this evil, while nearly being killed in the process. Lettie saves him, almost dying herself. The narrator remembers this while speaking to the Hempstock family. They tell him it is not the first time that he has been to the property and that Lettie is resting until she is ready to come back into the world. They tell him that he returns to the property to see her. He understands this briefly but then slowly forgets. He tells the Hempstock’s to say hi to Lettie when she gets back from Australia and leaves

Myth is may not be reinvented in the novel, but perhaps reintegrated. Myth is this novel has been made relevant to the contemporary world. This myth might not be as pragmatic as some myths but it serves as far more heartening. The definition of myth is, “A traditional story, especially one concerning the early history of a people or explaining some natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events.” This tale contains all of that. It tells the history of a fight between good and evil and the past of the Hempstocks who happen to be supernatural. It also explains how evil is born into the world, such as in the suicide with Ursula, and how it is overcome. In relating it to today’s world I would say it is interestingly told from the perspective of a grown man looking back at himself from his perspective of being seven.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Spiritual Education

Harry Potter Moral Issues

This week I watched the film and reread Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone. I think the question posed for this week's reading is extremely intriguing. When i first read Harry Potter I was immediately hooked. It combined all of my favorite elements, adventure, friendship, ect. However Harry Potter contained something that other books of this genre (LOTR, ECT.) did not. This was the perspective of someone my age, doing very much what I was doing at that time in my life... school. It also contained the perspective of someone experiencing the same "coming-of-age" experiences i was. When you take out the magic, Voldemort, house elves, (the list goes on) you really just have an extremely long story about three friends who solidify their bond through adventure and love. There are some very complex moral issues presented in these novels.

The first one I'd like to point out is the issue of racism. Hermione Granger is a "muggle born." This means she does not have a pure bloodline. Many wizards want to keep the bloodline pure and not accept "muggle born" wizards and witches into their world. This relates greatly to issues of racism we face everyday here in the real world. Another strong moral issue is the decision is stand up for you friends and bullies. Malfoy is a bully and Harry is constantly standing up for Ron and Hermione through Malfoy's endless torments. Another strong theme is the occasional demand to rebel. Hogwarts is an immaculately smoothly run school with a lot of rules. Harry is constantly breaking these rules, only when important. Because of this Harry typically overcomes whatever struggle he is enduring and his rebellion is overlooked, as it was for the greater good. As a young adult reading Harry Potter I found a lot of inspiration in the books. I related greatly with the character. If i took any message from the book though, it would be that friendship and family are extremely important. Without friends Harry could have never accomplished anything.