Saturday, August 02, 2003

Just Finished

Just finished reading Jules Verne's A Day of an American Journalist in 2889, which based on a bit of internet research had a previous incarnation written by his son Michael Verne with the title In the Year 2889. It was later published under Jules Verne's name, and later used as a basis for his own story La journée d'un journaliste américain en 2890. I can't understand why the year occasionally toggles between 2890 and 2889.

Anyway, the short story tells of ...well, aptly enough... the day in the life of Francis Bennett, the most powerful media mogul in the 29th century, the founder of The Earth Herald. Eloquently written despite its expositions, the story brings to life a what-if world where aerocars, telephotic gadgets, and conveyor streets are the norm. It reeks of wonder and awe, bordering on hyperbole. Some points can even be interpreted as farcical. Yet for all its over-the-top facets, it's still very much grounded on the human condition. Marginally a difficult read for me, but it was satisfying overall.

Another piece that I'm glad I held on to till the end was Rosario Cruz Lucero's The Death of Salvador Montano, Conquistador of Negros, winner of the short story category of the 2001 Palancas. It's very difficult for me to describe this piece in detail as I'm not equipped with the tools, apart from it being a magical realist slice-of-life. Deliciously written with verdant imagery, this story makes me wonder if a lot of the Palanca winners -- or Filipino short stories in general, for that matter -- are written this way. If this is true, then I'm saddened that I didn't start this reading spree earlier. There's too much undiscovered wealth out there. I'm glad I have friends who are voracious and discriminating readers.

On another front, I've finally consumed Batman: Child of Dreams and I must say that my previous impressions about it were a bit immature. The one mistake I made about it was that I didn't go into manga-appreciation mode when I read it, as this was an entirely Japanese interpretation of the Caped Crusader, which contrasts greatly with the way Americans might view the hero. I didn't like it as a whole, true, but it wasn't a complete waste of life or money.

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