Monthly Archives: January 2007

The House of Asterion – Jorge Luis Borges

I know they accuse me of arrogance, and perhaps of misanthropy, and perhaps of madness. Such accusations (for which I shall extract punishment in due time) are derisory. It is true that I never leave my house, but it is also true that its doors (whose number is infinite) are open day and night to men and to animals as well. Anyone may enter. He will find here no female pomp nor court formality, but he will find quiet and solitude. And he will also find a house like no other on the face of the earth.

And the queen gave birth to a child who was called Asterion.

This short story gives me goosebumps just even thinking about it. I became briefly obsessed with the legend and the idea of the humanisation of monsters (such an unoriginal theme I know) when reading The helmet of horror.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Finished TP last night finally! As soon as I finished I felt very sad and at a bit of a loss for about half an hour (those post-game blues… everyone knows them right?) and then I loaded my last save and went and did all the last subquests I’d ignored because I wanted to save princess zelda. Obviously not collecting all the Poes or anything, cus that would just be insane, and not collecting all the bugs either. The final bit of the ending with Midna leaving didn’t really work for me, but I liked watching Link finally get to go home and peacefully herd goats and whatnot.

It’s a great game. Midna’s an awesome character. I want more now but it sucks that games like that take so long to develop.

Edit: It seems that folks on the internet think that Link was riding away from the village, not back home at all, to a new adventure. I could have sworn he was heading the right way back though. Hm…

Crime and punishment (and a repeat of last post, I guess)

Okay, so I’ve finished crime and punishment. I didn’t put the book down feeling as stunned as I’ve felt before about some books. I keep thinking about it though, and Raskolnikov’s character has stayed with me and poked at my brain and made me think and see things from other people’s perspective… I never thought I could empathise with a murderer. I don’t think I’ve never read anything as adept at manipulating the reader’s emotions and thoughts. I’ve given it 5 stars in my catalogue though, right up there with Anna Karenin and The Tiger who came to Tea (what a classic).

I’ve made the mistake of reading an in depth analysis of the novel though, and you’ll be pleased (or disappointed) to know nothing’s changed – I still don’t like it when people try to tell me what the author meant/was thinking about when he/she wrote such and such. I still think that the deeper analysis and thoughts behind novels, art, music, whatever, should come naturally, as you reflect on it over the few days after you’ve experienced it. I hated it when it was forced on me in English lit at school; it pretty much ruined Macbeth for me. I didn’t care what the underlying meaning was in such beautiful prose, all I wanted to do was enjoy it uninterrupted by teacher “explaining” it to us. But I guess…:

“We don’t know what Shakespeare meant. Or what he wanted us to learn. Or if any of the Cool Shit that modern scholars find in his work is in there because the historically-extant Shakespeare deliberately put it in. But that doesn’t mean the Cool Shit isn’t there (the other mistake students commonly make).”

The Darkening Garden reviewed by Sarah Monette

I’d make a new years themed post but I can’t really think of anything to put. It was uneventful, although the fireworks I went to see with Fergus and Alessa and Gavin were pretty awesome. So, onwards.

I’m very much interested in language and I guess just different ways of expressing things to people. Emotions and thoughts and feelings and expression. Videogames and multimedia in my mind have such power to deal with these things, and probably has a somewhat wider appeal than, say, the small-text edition of Crime and Punishment. And that’s the reason why I’m enjoying the course I’m on so much, that and the excitement of all the programming ;).

Sarah Monette writes beautifully, so I usually keep tabs on her livejournal and read her essays and so on. She’s clearly very intelligent and her opinions are always insightful and usually miles ahead of whatever I thought about writing and literature. So I was surprised when I saw my own thoughts about design mirrored in her review of John Clute’s The Darkening Garden: A Short Lexicon of Horror, which I think I’m going to have to dig out and read for myself (yes yes I know it’s terrible, reading a review before you’ve read the actual book, but there you have it).

The other thing that makes me uneasy about Clute’s argumentative definition of horror is his use of an explicitly prescriptive four-part structure in talking about the narrative progress of horror. I am dubious about this rhetorical move for several reasons. One is that, as a genre theorist myself, I am suspicious of and philosophically opposed to prescriptive definitions. In my experience, this leads to a habit of fitting the facts to the theory instead of modifying the theory to suit the facts.

I hate the thought of having a set structure to any form of art, be it writing or not. Yes of course I realise that if you look at things generally enough it works, and design processes are there to help and everything, but it still gets on my nerves for some reason. So, I thought I’d share.

Another interesting article on processes.