Monday, February 14, 2011

Review: Zombies vs. Unicorns (Round Six)

ZOMBIES VS. UNICORNS ROUND SIX!
Story Reviews for Duey and Bray
from Zombies Vs. Unicorns Anthology 



The Third Virgin
by Kathleen Duey


If your favorite unicorns are the Lisa Frank type or the ones you imagine springing out of the fairytales your mother reads to you long time ago before you escape to dreamland, Kathleen Duey’s story contribution will definitely not float your boat.

The Third Virgin is perhaps one of the longest stories in the anthology, and in my mind’s catalogues I filed this under the heading ‘not really enjoyed’, right next to Margo Lanagan’s A Thousand Flowers. Not because I prefer fluffy unicorns—they’re too cloying in my opinion—but because the story is not engaging enough, and I admit I almost gave up and left it unfinished.

This is the only story in the collection that was told from the perspective of a unicorn, which is a bit new to me because the only tales I’ve read with animal POVs are the fables we have in our elementary and high school textbooks (with the exception of Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull, which I loved to death). I think this would pass up as a dark fairytale, but there’s something about the dull and melodramatic tone of the narrator that had me rolling my eyes. The gist: it is about a unicorn searching for the virgin who could finally kill him. He is desperately trying to escape a life he mostly spent ‘appearing’ to be helping people but actually taking more years of their lives. Now, I can tolerate a lot of melodrama, but overkill is a no-no for me. The narrator is like, an emo unicorn or something.

All in all, not a very good read. 
____

Prom Night
by Libba Bray


After reading this story, I immediately scribbled Going Bovine by Libba Bray on my list of to-reads this 2011.

Prom Night is an eerily realistic take on a zombie apocalypse, where parents are already zombified and the children are the only ones left to survive.  For me, the most disturbing part is how most of the kids have hardened; you could feel through their actions that they have gone through a lot already before the story started. There are a few times when their adult shells would show a few cracks, flashbacks surging in to thaw their hearts and send their consciences in chaos. I love how the heroine effectively stood out as a flawed character, and how her sidekick, Jeff, acted with rationality and still be able to goof around (his entrance into the Prom is cool and fun).

Zoroastrianism, drugs, punk kids, teen police officers, and the slowly disintegrating hope of survival all rolled into one haunting package—you’ve got to agree that this is one fitting ending to an amazing compendium. It left me an uneasy, tingling feeling.

This is not a regular story; it does not have a climax to speak of, no denouement, and no real ending. It’s like we took a peek from the future to know what it would be like, and plunged back into the present when the fireworks set off in the end to announce that the time is up.

 ____

MY VERDICT FOR THIS ROUND:
Team Unicorns- 0
Team Zombies- 1

Total as of Round Six:
Team Unicorns- 2
Team Zombies- 6

(Round One is HERE)
(Round Two is HERE)
(Round Three is HERE)
(Round Four is HERE)
(Round Five is HERE)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Haul

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You think I can get through a week without books? No way. My week’s been hectic, but I still managed to insert a little reading time whenever I get the chance. Still haven’t finished the books I have in January, but I shopped a little and bought a few more books to add in my queue list (‘cause I roll like that).


  • Red Dust by Ma Jian. I didn’t buy this. We were at our school paper’s publishing house (Think n’ Print) for an overnight layout session, and Mr. Eros Atalia (Carlos Palanca Awardee and author of Peks Man, Mamatay Ka Man, Nagsisinungaling Ako) let me borrow this book. He’s a huge Murakami fan like me, and after a few chitchats about some books, he recommended me Red Dust. He said I’ll like it.
  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Same old book I bought last month. My first Kostova book is The Swan Thieves, which is okay. Lots of people are saying The Historian is way better than TST, so I’m going to try it. It has something to do with the historical figure Vlad the Impaler and his fictional counterpart, Dracula. :D
  • Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. It wouldn’t hurt to throw in some LGBTQ literature into the mix, right? Already finished half of this book and so far it’s a fun and poignant read. Also, I secured a copy of this because I want to know the style of Levithan first before I read Will Grayson, Will Grayson, his collab work with the awesome John Green.
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. Heavy and ultra-deep. I loving the character of Sabina. :)
  • The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor. Who would’ve thought? According to Frank Beddor, Lewis Carroll got it all wrong. :D I think I’ll like this.
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. I’m. Trying. Hard. Not. To. Spoil. Myself. O___O

Just my Opinion

Maybe it’s just me, but I find the little rants rotating in a popular mini-blogging site called Tumblr about Facebook users migrating to it a little…immature.

This is just my opinion, though. I believe that anyone who wants to blog—no matter what ways they use to express themselves, no matter what their choice of words is, no matter where they want to post, no matter who they are—can blog, as long as they’re not violating laws of any sort. Maybe I’m a little too involved in my course, but as a budding writer and journalism student I strongly believe in freedom of expression. What if that certain person only knows one means in expressing himself? Is it his problem that lots of people happen to dislike this said means?

I’m afraid that there will come a day when the majority of Tumblr people will turn out as bashers and cyber bullies—which is freaking ironic, since lots of people there claim to support anti-bullying campaigns.

Whenever I see memes discussing this little dilemma on Tumblr, I just shake my head. I just don’t get the point, that’s all. I attempt to understand, but whenever I ask other people, I still find the answers insufficient and unfair. So yeah, maybe there are jerks, pervs, egoists, nerds, trolls, *insert other labels here* who came from Facebook—big deal. There are some folks there who kept on reblogging nonsense or promote themselves to gain followers—maybe they have so little friends in real life and just wanted to turn the tables online? I don’t mind. Guys, there’s always that wee button called “unfollow” on your blogs, let it do its job. Keeping the said people away from Tumblr is like saying, “we’re awesome and you’re not, so stay away from tumblr”. It’s like saying, “you cannot express yourself well without sounding like the cheap person that you are, so you’re not allowed to air your thoughts here”. It’s like saying, “we are white, and since you’re black, you can’t go here.” I’m very sorry but these are the analogies I came up with regarding the situation; to me, it all looks like discrimination.

This sort of ruins the spirit of Tumblr. For me, it’s not just a mini-blogging site—it’s a place where DIFFERENT people from all over the world can connect through little similarities. Those “awkward moments”, those typographies and quotes that everyone can relate to, nostalgic posts that can make everyone go “aww, yes I did that too”… it’s a very special abode for me. It still is, but little doubts about its residents are sprouting in my heart already.

The first time I saw a post concerning these rants, I wondered what the real reason is. I thought everyone is fussing about how the servers go down frequently because of its many users, so they’re trying not to expand the population of the site by not telling Facebook users about it. Seriously, it’s not like your Tumblr dashboard is linked to your heartbeat; you may have online friends there, but not they’re not ONLY friends, I bet. Whenever Tumblr is unavailable I read a book, chat with my friends and family, study my lesson—all of which I can tell my Tumblr peers about. Real life. I hate it when Tumblr goes down, but then again, Twitter goes down too—and I’ve never heard of Tweeps shooing away other people so it won’t go down again. I think the said reason is immature, so I shrugged it off. But I didn’t think there will be an even more childish and sorta selfish reason.

Again this is just my opinion. No matter what angle you look at it from, Tumblr will NEVER be just an underground site, and trying to keep away “other” people from it doesn’t make the site better. Honestly, I don’t think David Karp wants it to have only a very small population; after all, he’s still a businessman *thinks of Mark Zuckerberg’s story about Facebook*. If Tumblr becomes more famous than it is now, don’t you think he will benefit from that? I’ll be happy for him, because he created a place that I enjoy staying in.

I’ll still promote Tumblr, because I know people will have fun there; it’s up to them how they will express themselves, but what’s important is that they’re happy blogging whatever they want to blog. It’s their freedom.