Nathan (vovat) wrote,

Heading for Paradise, or Basingstoke, or Reading

So, I finished Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series yesterday. Yeah, that was pretty quick, wasn't it? But they were definitely good books, full of adventure, humor, and all that good stuff. And Riordan definitely did his research on Greek mythology, working a lot of characters and references into a modern setting. I think part of its success is that, while it did modernize things, I don't think it tried to be overly hip about it. It just showed a fairly logical progression as to how the Greek gods and monsters might have adjusted to the present-day United States. Ares is a biker and Apollo's chariot can change into a sports car, but there's no suggestion that they were ALWAYS like that. The plot was also interesting, coming across as somewhat reminiscent of Harry Potter (for instance, there's a hidden training place for kids with special powers, and a major villain who's been neutralized but gains in power throughout the series), but it's not like most of the themes in the Potter series were original with Rowling.

Another cool collection I've gotten recently and would like to say a bit about is I Wanna Go Backwards, the box set containing Robyn Hitchcock's first three solo albums, plus a lot of bonus material. Robyn was always someone I thought I should check out, based largely on his collaborations with Scott McCaughey. The first album of his that I picked up was Respect, which wasn't that great, although it had some tracks I quite liked. (I guess that's why I could buy it for only $5.) But I'm definitely enjoying these earlier albums. Some of my early favorites include "The Man Who Invented Himself," "Do Policemen Sing?", "Uncorrected Personality Traits" (which I was actually already familiar with, through a live version that I got from eMusic), "Ye Sleeping Knights of Jesus," and "Cynthia Mask."

Finally, here's a quiz that I learned about from doktor_x, and ended up getting the same result he did.

Your result for Which fantasy writer are you?...

Philip Pullman (b.1946)

9 High-Brow, -25 Violent, 5 Experimental and 5 Cynical!

Congratulations! You are High-Brow, Peaceful, Experimental and Cynical! These concepts are defined below.

Philip Pullman was already a prominent author of children's books when he published his most praised work to date, the trilogy known as His Dark Materials (1995-2000). In this work, set both in parallel worlds and our own, Pullman made a courageous attempt to write a book for young readers which incorporated a whole vision of the universe, as well as a discussion of ethical issues. He managed to combine this with a burst of thought-provoking and entertaining imagination, bringing to life a Europe where the church is still in control, "souls" that have been externalised as animal presences, intelligent, sentient polar bears and much more. The series have been described as a sort of "anti-Narnia", as Pullman's attempt to write an updated variant of the kind of books C S Lewis, whom Pullman has criticized for having racist, misogynic and preaching tendencies, wanted to write. His Dark Materials has also spawned some controversy among Christians, who see the the work as an attack against Christianity, Pullman being one of Britain's most outspoken atheists. Other Christians have, however, claimed to have found spirituality in the books.

Either way, Pullman's combination of renewal and expansion of the genre, his profound messages on the value of life and his refusal to under-estimate his young readers' ability to see life as it is makes Pullman one of the most interesting and important writers of modern fantasy.

You are also a lot like Tove Jansson.

If you want something some action, try Gene Wolfe.

If you'd like a challenge, try your exact opposite, J R R Tolkien.

Your score

This is how to interpret your score: Your attitudes have been measured on four different scales, called 1) High-Brow vs. Low-Brow, 2) Violent vs. Peaceful, 3) Experimental vs. Traditional and 4) Cynical vs. Romantic. Imagine that when you were born, you were in a state of innocence, a tabula rasa who would have scored zero on each scale. Since then, a number of circumstances (including genetical, cultural and environmental factors) have pushed you towards either end of these scales. If you're at 45 or -45 you would be almost entirely cynical, low-brow or whatever. The closer to zero you are, the less extreme your attitude. However, you should always be more of either (eg more romantic than cynical). Please note that even though High-Brow, Violent, Experimental and Cynical have positive numbers (1 through 45) and their opposites negative numbers (-1 through -45), this doesn't mean that either quality is better. All attitudes have their positive and negative sides, as explained below.

High-Brow vs Low-Brow

You received 9 points, making you more High-Brow than Low-Brow. Being high-browed in this context refers to being more fascinated with the sort of art that critics and scholars tend to favour, rather than the best-selling kind. At their best, high-brows are cultured, able to appreciate the finer nuances of literature and not content with simplifications. At their worst they are, well, snobs.

Violent vs. Peaceful

You received -25 points, making you more Peaceful than Violent. This scale is a measurement of a) if you are tolerant to violence in fiction and b) whether you see violence as a means that can be used to achieve a good end. If you aren't, and you don't, then you are peaceful as defined here. At their best, peaceful people are the ones who encourage dialogue and understanding as a means of solving conflicts. At their worst, they are standing passively by as they or third parties are hurt by less scrupulous individuals.

Experimental vs. Traditional

You received 5 points, making you more Experimental than Traditional. Your position on this scale indicates if you're more likely to seek out the new and unexpected or if you are more comfortable with the familiar, especially in regards to culture. Note that traditional as defined here does not equal conservative, in the political sense. At their best, experimental people are the ones who show humanity the way forward. At their worst, they provoke for the sake of provocation only.

Cynical vs Romantic

You received 5 points, making you more Cynical than Romantic. Your position on this scale indicates if you are more likely to be wary, suspicious and skeptical to people around you and the world at large, or if you are more likely to believe in grand schemes, happy endings and the basic goodness of humankind. It is by far the most vaguely defined scale, which is why you'll find the sentence "you are also a lot like x" above. If you feel that your position on this scale is wrong, then you are probably more like author x. At their best, cynical people are able to see through lies and spot crucial flaws in plans and schemes. At their worst, they are overly negative, bringing everybody else down.

Take Which fantasy writer are you?
at HelloQuizzy

Well, hey, I DID enjoy the His Dark Materials trilogy. Never read anything by Tove Jansson, but he's yet another author I remember learning about in The Dictionary of Imaginary Places. He's the Mooninpapa guy, right? Maybe I should check out his work.

Finally, happy birthday to countblastula, happy one-week-belated birthday to colbyucb, and happy one-day-early birthday to kristenjarrod!
Tags: albums, books, mythology, percy jackson, quiz results
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