Return from South of the Equator

05/28/2009 § 1 Comment

Gemma and I have safely returned from the autumnal lands of South America. I have been working nonstop since our return but will continue with the saga of Orlando and Angelica soon. I have much to say regarding our trip and intend to write a fairly long entry with some photos; hopefully starting today.

We had a wonderful time visiting with our friends Peter, Poala, Arturo, and the millions of other folks who are down there. I learned a lot, drank a fair amount, and even picked up a few folktales I was unfamiliar with.

To tide you over here is a photo of a not-so-old folktale that is being produced for the stage in Buenos Aires. Alas, Gemma and I did not have time to see it; one of our many regrets. Too little time.

BA23

El Joven Frankenstein

South America and Charles Brockden Brown

05/07/2009 § Leave a comment

Charles_Brockden_Brown

Charles Brockden Brown.

I’m working non-stop until Gemma and I depart for Argentina. Therefore, those of you who are dying to know what happens next in the saga of Orlando and Angelica will have to wait until after we return on the 22nd.

We are also having a party tomorrow so posting on this blog won’t be happening.

I was planning on traveling south of the equator with Borges in my bag and mat√© dripping from my lips. I was looking forward to revisiting the crazy land of ideas that he created. However, I grew excited and read Ficciones recently and another short collection we have. So I don’t want to read them again and won’t be bringing Borges with on the plane. Visiting his old haunts and smoking at sidewalk cafes in San Telmo will have to suffice for me. This is probably for the best because I imagine every jerk on the plane will be reading him.

Instead of Borges I’ll be reading some Charles Brockden Brown on my trip. Specifically I’ll be reading Edgar Huntley; or Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker. Picked it up for a buck! He has nothing to do with South America but I figure I’ll go down there representing the USA full force. I’ll probably write it up when I return. I will also be making a separate link with photos and musings on our trip.

¬°Hasta luego boludos!

Lair of the White Worm

05/04/2009 § 3 Comments

Your God is your great kite, which cows the birds of a whole district.

-Mimi Salton

Lair of the White Worm is Bram Stoker’s final novel before he died in 1912. I was particularly excited about this book after learning it was based on the legend of the Lambton Worm. The lambton worm (or Wyrm) is of course an antediluvian beast that wreaked havoc on the English countryside (something I am one day looking forward to doing…and something my good freind Mikey is currently doing).

I haven’t read all of Stoker, but I really like Dracula, at least it’s main elements. I don’t care for its epistolary format and the way in which it reads, i.e. kind of slow. Maybe it’s the format. Maybe it’s just me. But I liked it nonetheless.

And I didn’t love Lair of the White Worm but I did really like it. I can overlook all of the books faults, such as introducing characters and then forgetting about them completely, only to have them return in the final pages. I can overlook deus ex machina. I can overlook the (as is typical in this genre and time period) less than generous portrayals of woman and minorities.

I can overlook final paragraphs like

“I think it is quite time you young people departed for that honeymoon of yours! -There was a twinkle in his eyes as he spoke. -Mimi’s soft shy glance at her husband, was sufficient answer.”

I enjoy happy endings as much as anyone, maybe more, but c’mon.

I can forget about these things because the book has so many wonderful ideas; the ancient beast living in the English countryside, a kite that becomes sentient (at least to one maniac) who receives scheming messages up it’s long umbilical, Scanner-style psychic battles…..&tc. Unfortunately in the end they don’t really work together. Any one of those would be sufficient for a single novel. Perhaps it just needed to be beefed up. It’s a mere 210 pages.

A brief synopsis:

The White Worm has evolved somewhat and can roam about as a woman name Lady Arabella, with some level of scanner-power. She slinks around in white dresses seductively. She is trying to marry this rich guy….to prove once again women, even ones that have evolved from antediluvian creatures all want a rich man.

Adam Salton returns to England from Australia to reclaim his estate. He joins his uncle and his uncle’s friend in the battle against this scourge that nobody else seems to know about. Then a random stranger comes from Africa with a servant who also has scanner-like powers. There is a pair of cousins who are beautiful…also, with scanner-like powers.

The uncle is introduced and then ignored until the final pages of the book. The only explanation being, he is too old and infirm to be swept up in the intrigue and final battle with the worm. Which, I must say is the biggest disappointment. There is no real final battle. The Giant Kite is incorporated (I must say I was worried it would not be brought back for the finale), as is the madman who sends it letters up the wire. Then there is a scene very reminiscent of Tremors.

(“What the hell is going on! I mean, what the HELL is going on!”)
It’s worth it just to read it with Tremors and Kevin Bacon in the back of your mind.

A redeeming element in the book, considering it’s portrayal of woman as evil (Lady Arabella/White Worm), and helpless (all other women in the book), is that a woman does stand up to the maniac who flies his kite and the white worm (scanner-style). So that’s awesome. But then, she is named “Mimi.” Ugh. Barf.

So I don’t know. Totally unorganized post. But I just finished it and haven’t had time to let it stew in my brainpot. I liked it. It’s a quick read.

And the title is awesome.

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