I’ve been reading, writing, playing, watching: so it’s time for another review session, this time of a comic, a book, a game, and a movie.
1. The Clarence Principle – This comic was entertaining, and had some amazing bits, but for the most part it didn’t do very much for me. The same thing goes for the art. During the entire reading, I kept thinking “That was good writing,” or, “That was a fantastic panel.” However, I don’t have that great of an impression of the work as a whole. The story moves back and forth between contrived heartfelt poem-statements and just random things, like falling down a well to advance the plot. A lot of things just seem to happen with little or no explanation. I don’t think I would buy anything else by Fehed Said, but I probably would by Shari Chankhamma.
2. Modern Times – I had to watch this for a class, and I’m glad that I did. The plot is this: Charlie Chaplin has a nervous breakdown and fucks a factory up, so they send him to a mental hospital. After he is rehabilitated, he is arrested for accidentally being a communist. Then, while in jail, he quells a prison riot by eating and snorting a stupid amount of cocaine. Then he hooks up with a really hot homeless girl, who falls in love with him because he takes the fall for her stealing bread. I’m not going to tell the whole plot, but it genuinely is a good film, and I really think that the message of “being fucking crazy is the only way to cope with modern life” is probably a true one.
3. Mr. Shivers by Robert Jackson Bennett – I have mixed feelings about this book. While it is genre-defying, and tells a great story, I feel like a lot of the words could be left out. The best metaphor I can think of is that it’s a grand ballroom with no one in it. It looks great, and there’s a huge amount of potential, but it needs to be all lit up. The lights, in the case of the novel, are more substance. I think that the book could have had about 100 more pages. The Pike relationship with Connelley could have been developed more, especially since they’re pretty ok and then they aren’t at all. I also don’t really like the idea that Death is somehow inherent to America, that the very concept of Death takes root here in America. It seemed very Gaiman, but without any real substance behind it; Death simply is born in the U.S., and that’s all Bennett gives me.
At the same time, I get it. The book does a good job of making me feel like Connelley is a decent man who falls down a very slippery slope, and it’s good writing that makes me empathize with a character that does things like he does. The things I’m complaining about above are also good things, even if I don’t like them. The design of death, and the way death works, have no explanation. They simply are, and I don’t think they’re able to be analyzed.
So I’m split over it, I guess, but not split enough to say that I didn’t like the book. I think it’s a solid first effort, and I’m glad that I read it.
4. Assassin’s Creed 2 – So this game was good, but the nonresponsive-ass controls kill me. There are three different contexts for the “A” button while climbing, and the game seems to pick at random which thing it wants to do. That usually means that I will: Fall to my death – 85%; fall so far that I give up on my objective because it’s going to take me fifty years to get back there – 10%; or succeed – 5%. Those are some real numbers, too, because I ran them through my fact checker. In any case, the metaplot of the AC games is cool, and the end of this game (what.the.fuck) really left me excited for the third game. It was a good purchase, I think.