Project Wonderful

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

So, feeling my way to a question here … Terrorists aren’t just movie villains any more. Do real-world catastrophes such as 9/11 (and the bombs in Madrid, and the ones in London, and the war in Darfur, and … really, all the human-driven, mass loss-of-life events) affect what you choose to read? Personally, I used to enjoy reading Tom Clancy, but haven’t been able to stomach his fight-terrorist kinds of books since.

And, does the reality of that kind of heartless, vicious attack–which happen on smaller scales ALL the time–change the way you feel about villains in the books you read? Are they scarier? Or more two-dimensional and cookie-cutter in the face of the things you see on the news?

In some ways I think because of the attack I have become numb to some violence but yet I say that and I use to be a big scary movie watcher and now I don't watch any because I am tired of scaring myself or getting scared about stuff. So the same goes for books really if it is scary or to violent I stop reading.


gautami tripathy said...

When terrorism is part of lie, you can't escape it by ignoring it. I think we need to read/wath movies about it as much as we can.

Villainy is not the right word

ThorinMcGee said...

You know, the specter of real war and real terrorism does make me respect action books less in general because when you compare the action to the reality, all the action is just so much bullshit.

to paraphrase, it's like, "I'm a terrorist, and I'm gonna do some things to push readers buttons." And then, "I'm the hero, and I'm gonna run around and do silly things that should get me killed, only I never get shot unless ... unless it would push the readers buttons!" And of course whatever jackass plan the hero came up with works, everything gets solved by some good old facist violence, and the bad guys die or go to prison.

That's why i liked Anathem, for most of the book, it dealt with finding answers and coming up with intelligent solutions, not bullshit. And when the bullshit did start to fly, there was a very good explanation for why it worked.

As far as how does it make me feel about literary villainy, man, there's nothing you're gonna see in print that compares to actual ethnic cleansing going on in places GWB doesn't care about that we're not lifting a finger to stop. So again, I see something horrible happen in a book, and geenrally it's not even remotely a good plan in real life, I know it's bullshit written to push my buttons. so I don't really connect what I'm reading to what goes on in the real world.

When the villainy is somewhat on target, I like it because it makes me think about and face what I might do in those situations. It makes you think, even if it's uncomfortably so.