Sunday, January 16, 2011

Zombies and Dead Dialogue

The Walking Dead (Compendium One)
1088 pages
published by Image Comics

I read the first issue a while back and I wasn't very impressed. I bought this compendium for my wife for Christmas because we've been watching the new AMC series. So, I gave the graphic novel another chance. Well, not much had changed. The graphic novel (much like the new series) suffers from some pretty terrible dialogue. Unfortunately, there is a lot of talking. I kept reading pretty much because I wanted to know what would happen.

The World Is A Dark & Lonely Place

The Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq
272 pages
published by Vintage

It took me a while to finish this book though not because I didn't like it. Just a bad reading month, ya know? Lots of stuff going on. Life, etc.

We follow two half brothers (that is brothers who share a mother) through almost their entire lives. One, a cold, molecular biologist who can't experience pleasure or love and generally goes through life alienated from the human race. The other, a self-absorbed charmless yet oddly lovable horn-ball who endlessly searches for genuine human connection after surviving a tormented childhood.

The overall mood of the narrative is pretty dark and hopeless, which is a bit hard to take at times. Kinda in the way that Vonnegut was pretty dark but he was also very funny. The last third of the novel lost a little bit of the energy that the first two-thirds had, though that could have been because the first two-thirds dealt mainly with Bruno (the lovable horn-ball), who had a more interesting story.

This book caused an "uproar" when it was published in France, probably due to the weird "master race" cloning/genetic ideas that were presented. The book ends kinda strangely from the view point of the future dominate race of genetic clones that the molecular biologist of the story helped pioneer.


"I work for someone else, I rent my apartment from someone else, there's nothing for my son to inherit. I have no craft to teach him, I haven't a clue what he might do when he's older. By the time he grows up, the rules I lived by will have no value- he will live in another universe. If a man accepts the fact that everything must change, then he accepts that life is reduced to nothing more than the sum of his own experience; past and future generations mean nothing to him." pg.140

"Unhappiness isn't at its most acute point until a realistic chance of happiness, sufficiently close, has been envisioned." pg.203