Like a lot of people, I first came to this book because of the film of the same title. That film – though different in some ways to the book – is a classic of weird UK cinema, featuring Richard Burton as a suitably bitchy novelist with a catastrophic chip on his shoulder. Suffice it to say, I was intrigued enough to find a copy of the book to see how much it differed.
So. The final volume of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira has rolled around on supercharged wheels. It’s carrying some kind of monster thing that I think was a kid once. There’s carpet bombing and from-orbit lasers. There’s annihilation and birth; grotesqueries of form and the simplicity of connection. There’s death, and there’s life.
There’s also a fair chance that for a reasonable part of the work, it’ll feel like you have no idea what the fuck is going on. But that’s ok, because the ending to this tale of conspiratorial struggles to contain universe-warping power really wants to remind you of one thing: everything comes down to the friends you make along the way.
So here we are, the penultimate Akira trade. Though there’s plenty of action, it can reasonably be said that this is the calm before the storm. Characters reappear and regroup, and the progression of both political jockeying and methods of government contingency ‘management’ is marked.
BUT. There’s still a lot of batshittery in here. I mean, did you ever gather in an arena with your raggedy-arse compatriots to watch the moon explode? Well?
Remember ole H.P. Lovecraft? He’s the guy who’s incredibly influential – cosmic horror as we know it really came about because of him – despite being a faintly awful writer. I mean it: I dig a lot of his work, but his writing is stilted and often ludicrous.
The worst mistake you can make, Kroeber taught, is to see another person through the lens of your prejudices. And the second-worst mistake is to think you aren’t looking through the lens of your prejudices.
As befits a misanthropic nihilist, he was also pretty mad racist – and not a lover of jazz – though to mention this seems to attract its fair share of pitchforks. (This is a pretty great article, now deleted, about the topic.) (more…)
I know, I know. Only four stars. But it’s a classic! But it’s important! But it’s stuck around a lot longer than you have!
All of these things are true. And it’s really difficult to think of many reasons to not give the thing five stars, because when it comes to widescreen stories, Homeric narration is pretty much in a league of its own.
The Iliad is, for all its importance, still something that would, if written in straight prose today, be interesting, but also strongly in need of an edit.
A quick review for a quick read: it’s useful, charming, and you won’t go wrong if you get it.
Slightly longer: I’ve been to Japan a couple of times now and so am probably not the intended audience for this book. I had picked up a lot of what’s described within by osmosis – I travelled there initially as a performer in a taiko group, after all – but gee, it would’ve been great to have this as a fast guide to Not Sucking. (more…)
So you should all know that Erick Purkhiser and Kirsty Wallace – or Lux Interior and Poison Ivy, to give them the names by which the world most readily identifies them – were The Cramps. You know: the band that invented the term psychobilly (even if they didn’t think they had much in common with the double-bass music that ploughs that furrow today), who were often written off as a novelty act (because monsters) and who were stalwart protectors and exponents of the history and primacy of rock and roll.
This is a brief book, but it’s an important one if you’re familiar with Sydney’s most notable piece of Brutalism, the Sirius building, hunkered in The Rocks just beside the Harbour Bridge.
It’s a building that’s had a contentious history, but is much loved by those who’ve lived there. It’s also a building the government wants torn down, so that 250 luxury apartments can be made because presumably, people who can afford a box in the sky deserve to see the harbour and the city much more than people who might live there because of a social housing program. (more…)