Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Waving Happily at Bill Cork et al

First off, I'd like to explain that my use of the word "prolegomena" in the post below is entirely due to Lord Peter Wimsey and his biographer Dorothy L. Sayers (Queen of Geeks). If I had only known as a girl that she'd been very fond of fast motorcycles, I would have achieved an even higher plane of girl-geekness. So it's the Anglican rather than the Lutheran theologians who over-impressed me in this case.... (Sherlockians are also rather given to use of the word.)

Second, I feel a bit dim for not having noticed that Right Wing Film Geek made at least one of my points back on the 28th. Sigh.

I have to confess that I like my martial arts and samurai films as plotty as I can get them. Layers upon layers of characters with backstory...yeah, meaty goodness. Also, if you can give me characters who love each other and yet are bound by cruel fate to fight and kill each other.... Well, geez, don't you think it would have been even cooler if Shakespeare'd had Juliet running around dressed as a boy and getting in a Montague/Capulet streetfight with Romeo? Doesn't the abortive duel in Twelfth Night indicate that Shakespeare probably agreed?

Okay...maybe it is just me.

Book Report

For the last couple days, I've been listening to Cloud of Sparrows by Takashi Matsuoka. It takes place in 1861, as one of those arty young bishonen becomes daimyo and has to hold together his clan despite the enmity of the shogun's men and the chaos unleashed by contact with the West. While hosting three Christian missionaries at his house, along with the odd geisha and ninja sworn to kill him. Oh, and did I mention the young lord also is said to have visions of the future?

This is a wonderful book to hear on tape, as the hidden pasts and motives of each character are gradually revealed, while in the present they carry on the sort of understated, meaning-charged conversations that I like best. Each section permits the reader (or hearer, in this case) to see a little bit of what is about to happen, but not how or why. Later, the author returns to the action from a different point of view and lets you in on it. This device is used so skillfully that it is captivating instead of annoying. Irony is rife, characters are worth caring about, and in general it's a wonderfully plot-driven story which surprises and delights.

(Oh, and lots of people die, many in unpretty ways. This should not be surprising in a story including both samurai and guys from the Old West.)

Quote for the Day

"Love must bestow itself as a gift; if it ceases to be a gift, it ceases to be love."
-- St. Albert the Great


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